To sum up this JBL Flip 6 review: if you want one of the best Bluetooth speakers but you don’t want to spend hundreds on it, you won’t find many that are better than this.
JBL is one of the most well known audio brands there is with a whole range of speakers for every type of person and budget. More often than not the very best JBL Bluetooth speakers combine great sound, cool designs and a few really handy features.
Not long ago, I tested out the JBL Charge 5 and the JBL Xtreme 3, both of which were out to impress. Not everyone will be willing to pay that much money for a new speaker though, no matter how powerful or durable it may be.
The JBL Flip 6 takes everything that was so good about those devices and squeezes them into a much smaller, cheaper piece of kit. Because of that, it's one of the best waterproof speakers you can buy.
JBL Flip 6 review: price and what’s new
You can buy the JBL Flip 6 now starting from $130 in the US, £120 in the UK and AU$210 in Australia. To see where you can pick one up, take a look at widgets on this page.
As the name suggests, this is the sixth generation of the JBL Flip speaker, so what’s new about it?
While it has the same tube shape, JBL has given the design a bit of a refresh with the new JBL logo plastered across the front. They’ve also boosted the IP rating from IPX7 to IP67 which means it’s now not only waterproof but dustproof too. That makes it that little bit more durable so you can take it to more places without damaging it, like to the park or the beach.
Crucially, the most significant change is to the speaker system. You’ll now get a separate tweeter and dual bass radiators so the sound should be even more powerful than it was before. And JBL has finally included manual EQ settings in the app too.
JBL Flip 6 review: design and battery
One of their more compact portable speakers, the JBL Flip 6 will easily fit in a backpack or tote bag with space to spare. Measuring 18 x 7.4 x 6.9cm and weighing about 540g it’s a really good size and weight for a portable speaker so you can take it out and about without it being too much hassle. There’s even a little strap to help carry it around.
With a similar cylindrical design as a lot of their portables range, the JBL Flip 6 comes in loads of colour options including red, blue, pink and grey. You’ll definitely find one to suit your own personal style.
As the name suggests, you can use this speaker horizontally or ‘flip’ it to use it vertically without affecting the sound. Because it has a rubber strip along the bottom and grips on either side, it’ll stay stable however you place it down.
An IP67 rating means it’s both waterproof and dustproof so you can play music just about anywhere. You'll be safe in the knowledge that it won’t get damaged if you get caught in the rain or if you take it with you on a forest camping trip.
You’ll find the music controls along the top of the JBL Flip 6. You can use them to pause or play the music, to skip through tracks, to adjust the volume and to activate PartyBoost. Then on the underside, there's a rubber strip that holds the power button as well as a Bluetooth button to pair it to your phone, a USB-C port to charge it and an LED light strip that lets you know its battery level when it's on charge.
All of the buttons are integrated into the surface of the speaker so they can be quite stiff to use but they are still responsive.
You’ll get about 12 hours of playback from a full charge so while the JBL Flip 6 won’t be able to play music for an entire weekend it will easily last a whole night. When you do go to charge it back up again, it’ll take about 2.5 hours to reach 100% from empty.
JBL Flip 6 review: sound quality and features
The really great thing about the JBL Flip 6 is that considering its size, the sound manages to pack a punch. While it won’t shake your walls, it will be loud enough to fill up the room or to use outside in a wide-open space.
Granted it’s not as detailed or as crisp as much pricier portables and you sometimes lose out a little on the highs which weren’t quite as impactful as the lows. But having said that none of those faults are significant enough to be a dealbreaker.
When you turn the volume up it certainly feels like a party because the sound is energetic, bright and bassy. For most people and in most situations, the JBL Flip 6 is clear and powerful enough whatever type of music you’re into.
One new feature worth talking about is the fact that there are now manual equaliser settings in the JBL Portable smartphone app, available for both iOS and Android. In the past, we've noted that as being a problem so it’s great to see it be introduced. You can adjust the sound according to your own tastes with controls over the bass, mids and treble.
If you want to make the sound even bigger, you can connect two or more PartyBoost compatible JBL speakers together in either Stereo or Party mode. If don't have a speaker powerful enough for a party at home then it's a great way to get around that.
You can only connect to the JBL Flip 6 using Bluetooth. It’s very reliable and doesn’t cut out when you move away from the speaker. There’s no 3.5mm audio input here so you can’t connect using a wire. There's also no microphone to take calls through it as a speakerphone.
JBL Flip 6 review: verdict
Packing everything you could need from a wireless speaker into a cool and compact device, the JBL Flip 6 can be used by yourself or in big groups, inside or outside.
At this price, you can’t expect it to be completely flawless. There are a few small niggles here and there like the average battery life, the fact that you can't use it as a speakerphone and the lack of a 3.5mm audio input.
If you’re still undecided on whether you want to buy the JBL Flip 6 then let me leave you with this - the JBL Flip 6 is a people pleaser, whatever type of music you’re into, whichever colours you like and whatever you plan to use it for this speaker will be able to do it all, and it will be able to do it all very well.
JBL Flip 6 review: also consider
If you’re not worried about a budget then the best portable speaker you can buy is the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 2nd Gen, you literally won’t find anything better. It has jaw-dropping sound, a stunning design and the companion app is very easy to use.
Another small speaker to consider is the Marshall Emberton because it costs a similar amount to the JBL Flip 6. While you won’t get as many features, the design is undeniably cooler as well as being waterproof. The sound is equally, if not more impressive than the JBL Flip 6 and you get 20 hours of battery life from it.