The JBL Clip 4 is a mini speaker with built-in carabiner, designed to be easily attached and hung just about anywhere. It is equipped with a pair of speakers, one active and the other passive, to produce powerful sound despite its small size. Waterproof, durable, practical, the Clip 4 is indeed the custodian of the famous JBL sound.
The second Bluetooth speaker in the nomadic range opened by the JBL Go 3, the JBL Clip 4 is distinguished by an increased size, doubled autonomy and, above all, the presence of a carabiner which facilitates its suspension. Its size / power ratio is rather surprising: the JBL Clip 4 knows how to play hard… and it does it rather well.
JBL Clip 4Technical sheet
|Model||JBL Clip 4|
|Number of speakers|| |
|Autonomy announced|| |
|Built-in microphone|| |
|Bluetooth Version|| |
|Protection sign|| |
This test was carried out with a loudspeaker lent by the manufacturer.
JBL Clip 4Design
The JBL Clip 4 is a loudspeaker in the shape of an oval puck, equipped at its top with a metal carabiner, which extends over the entire circumference of the loudspeaker and reinforces the frame. This mini-speaker can thus be placed on its back – there is an adherent silicone base – hung or suspended. The particularity of the carabiner is based on its finger, the color of which depends on the color of the Clip 4. JBL also offers a string of them (nine in total), from the classic black to the most dapper yellow/green or blue/pink, without forgetting the famous camouflage dress. A little refinement, the Clip 4 logo is embossed and glued to the carabiner.
The front of the speaker is covered with wide mesh acoustic fabric and receives the buttons for controlling playback, volume, as well as a large JBL logo. Here again, buttons and logo are made of non-slip material, which facilitates their use. It is the front of the speaker, also covered with fabric, which houses the power button, as well as the Bluetooth pairing button.
The JBL Clip 4 is equipped with an LED that lights up permanently as soon as the speaker is powered on, and flashes during the Bluetooth pairing phase or when the battery is almost empty. Charging takes place via a USB-C port for which JBL provides a cable.
The speaker is obviously very solid: it supports a fall of one meter without difficulty and stabilizes quickly thanks to its many adherent surfaces. Finally, it is dust and waterproof (IP67) and therefore not afraid of immersion. We can therefore use it at the edge of the water without fear and why not throw it while playing in the water.
JBL Clip 4Use and application
The JBL Clip 4 is very easy to use. It powers up quickly and is accompanied by the traditional guitar riff of JBL Bluetooth speakers, followed by a little melody confirming the correct Bluetooth association. The format of the speaker encourages you to take it in your hand to operate the various buttons. The volume and play buttons fall naturally under the thumb. However, nothing prevents you from leaving the Clip 4 on your back and pressing the buttons. In short, all of this is child’s play.
Unlike the JBL Flip 6 or JBL Charge 5, the JBL Clip 4 is not supported by the JBL Portable app. It is therefore not possible to equalize the sound or use the Party Boost mode in order to use several speakers simultaneously.
The JBL Clip 4 has a Bluetooth 5.1 controller, unfortunately without multipoint compatibility. The speaker can therefore only be connected to one device at a time. The Bluetooth link proved to be stable throughout this test, up to 10 meters indoors (through a wooden floor and a thin partition) and, outdoors, a little beyond 15 meters (unobstructed).
JBL Clip 4Audio
The JBL Clip 4 may be very small, but it still has two transducers, one active and the other passive. The first is housed in the front panel, while the second, which only diffuses bass sounds, is installed on the back of the speaker, directly behind its rubber base. This acoustic load, called by passive radiator, makes it possible to obtain an extended response in the low frequencies, despite a very small volume of internal air. The passive radiator vibrates when the active plays and mechanically amplifies the low frequencies, without therefore requiring additional power from the integrated amplifier.
JBL uses this technique on practically all of its mobile speakers, from the JBL Flip 6 to the large JBL Xtreme 3, where there are also several passive radiators to maximize performance. The JBL Clip 4’s active transducer is a tiny 4cm wideband, with no central cone to spread the sound more widely. It is associated with an amplifier which can deliver up to 5 Watts to it (an increase in power compared to the Clip 3).
Test setup and sound signature
I tested the JBL Clip 4 with an iPhone 13 Pro Max and a Huawei P30 Pro from Apple Music, in different listening configurations: placed on the desk of a small room, on the bed of a room or the plan of a kitchen, but also installed in the smartphone compartment of a car and, of course, outside (terrace and garden).
In all these cases, the JBL Clip 4 delivers roughly the same sound and is only slightly influenced by its environment. It must be said that it is usually the low frequencies that are impacted by the characteristics of a room and that in this case, the JBL Clip 4 produces almost no sound below 100 Hz. a full-bodied sound: the bass is very limited in extension. However, JBL has achieved a rather pleasant balance. The voices are reproduced with a lot of body and this is clearly the strong point of the Clip 4. The midrange is therefore rather precise and slightly set back from the treble. In the absence of a tweeter, the top of the spectrum is not very fine, but the sound is clear and intelligible. Overall, the JBL Clip 4 delivers a physiological sound, flattering for the ear. In other words, it’s a small speaker that’s easy to listen to, whatever the type of music being played.
Give it a synthetic and somewhat cold-sounding title, such as strangelove by Depeche Mode and the Clip 4 effortlessly extracts the voice of Dave Gahan from the metallic percussion. Same on Lovestoned (Justice Remix) by Justin Timberlake, often deafening with bad material: the voice of the artist comes out easily. On abcdefu by Gayle, the JBL Clip 4 knows how to hit the upper bass to give just enough credit to the electronic drums and, here again, extract the artist’s voice from the choirs which are nevertheless well mixed there. As for the treble, it is highlighted by a beautiful accent of brilliance, which is particularly useful for old jazz or blues titles, which gain a very pleasant additional relief: One Bourbon, One Scotch of John Lee Booker, for example, or else Alone Together by Chet Baker whose cymbals, sax and trumpet come cleanly from this tiny enclosure.
At very high volume, the JBL Clip 6 retains its sonic signature, without much reduction in the intensity of the low frequencies. Pushed to the bottom, however, it inevitably distorts and the treble turns sour.
- Bass: short (nearly nothing below 100 Hz), but with sufficient volume to balance the overall signature. The speaker bangs more when it is not suspended, but posed.
- Medium: soft and alert, it particularly favors voices
- Treble: fluid, particularly in front when the loudspeaker is suspended, slightly more discreet when it is on the back, but overall prominent to bring clarity.
Dynamic behavior and soundstage
We find in the Clip 4 the dynamism common to JBL portable speakers. The restitution is nervous and catchy, with a good sense of rhythm. Another positive point, the JBL Clip 4 manages to play really hard considering its size. In fact, it can be heard from afar. However, it is in the immediate vicinity that this mini-speaker is the most pleasant to listen to. Beyond one meter, the restitution loses a lot of its low frequencies and the sound seems more packed.
As for the spatialization, it is not bad at all, despite the mono configuration (only one active speaker). The small transducer is tight enough to properly detach sound planes, and since it hoses off at a fairly large angle, the sound doesn’t feel skimpy.
JBL Clip 4Microphone
The JBL Clip 4 is not equipped with a microphone and therefore does not allow you to make hands-free calls with your smartphone.
JBL Clip 4Autonomy
JBL announces up to 10 hours of battery life for the Clip 4 and a charging time of 3 hours. Our review unit gave up after 9 hours at 50% iPhone volume. It’s less than announced, but JBL does not specify the volume chosen for its test. In absolute terms, given the high volume produced at 50%, the autonomy is satisfactory. Recharging took just over 2h45, with a 10W (5V/2A) charger.
JBL Clip 4Price and release date
The JBL Clip 4 Bluetooth speaker is available in nine different colors, priced at €59 including VAT.
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JBL Clip 4 at the best price?
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JBL Clip 4 review: an adventurous micro-speaker with powerful sound