The Clip 4 and Go 3 are JBL’s most popular mini Bluetooth speakers. They are similar in size and purpose, with both speakers combining durability with portability to create a versatile speaker solution for everyday use, indoors or outdoors.
JBL Clip 4
The Clip 4 is ultimately a more impressive speaker; its soundstage and depth of bass, along with easy-to-access controls, are an advantage over the GO 3.
Despite their similarities, the Clip 4 and Go 3 have noticeable differences in design and sound qualities. We’ve spent considerable time testing both speakers and in this article, we’ll discuss our findings, examining how these speakers compare and which is the best to buy.
JBL Clip 4 vs. GO 3 Comparison Table
The comparison table above illustrates the numerous similarities between these two speakers. Still, the audio performance and battery life, particularly, are areas with a fair degree of differences. Let’s look at how these two speakers perform in various aspects of sound quality, build quality, battery performance, and portability.
Design & Build
Both speakers feature durable designs that can withstand harsh weather conditions. Both speakers are easy to use, but the placement of the controls and the built-in carabiner make the Clip 4 easier to use.
Best Controls: Clip 4
While similar in size, the Clip 4 and Go 3 have distinctly different designs. The Clip 4 has an oval design with the controls on the top of the speaker, making them easy to access when the speaker is laid driver-up. On the Go 3, the power buttons face upward when using the speaker in vertical placement, but when the space is placed flat down with the JBL logo facing upward, the controls are on the speaker’s side, making them a little tougher to access than on the Clip. Both speakers offer the same controls: volume up, volume down, play/pause/skip, and then a separate power and Bluetooth pairing button.
JBL Go 3 Power & Pairing Buttons
JBL Clip 4 Power & Pairing Buttons
JBL Go 3 Controls
JBL Clip 4 Controls
Best Weather Resistance: Tied
Both of these speakers have IP67 weather resistance. They can both be used indoors and outdoors without fear of damage from rain or splashes. They can even withstand accidental submergence in water for up to 30 minutes at 1 meter. Additionally, they offer an IP6 equivalent dust resistance, protecting the speakers from additional outdoor risks.
Best Durability: Go 3
The Clip 4 and Go 3 both have a tight-knit woven fabric wrapping that covers the majority of the speaker, resulting in a durable build that can take a knock. This exterior design prevents the speaker from picking up any scratches in these areas. However, sand and small debris can still end up nesting between the small gaps, which can thankfully be removed gently with a toothbrush or a spray of water.
The Go 3 has slightly better durability compared to the Clip 4 because of the rubber components featured on either side of the speaker. The Clip 4’s built-in carabiner is metal and wraps around the perimeter of the speaker. This metal can become scratched with extensive use.
JBL Go 3 Size
JBL Clip 4 Size
Both speakers have their benefits and drawbacks with audio. The Go 3 has better dynamics and can get slightly louder, while the Clip 4 has deeper bass and better soundstage performance.
The Clip 4 has a little more power than the Go 3, with a maximum output of 5W compared to 4.5W. Additionally, the Clip 4 has a slightly wider frequency response range of 100Hz – 20kHz, while the Go 3 offers 110Hz – 20kHz. Despite these two speakers being fairly similar, there are a couple of distinct differences in the audio.
Best Bass: Clip 4
The Clip4 performs noticeably better in bass reproduction than the Go 3. Not only is the bass more elevated with the Clip 4, but it is also deeper. The Go 3’s lack of low-end is a quality that makes it best for casual listening and podcasts. If you listen to a lot of bass-heavy music, you’ll want to opt for the Clip 4.
Best Midrange Performance: Tied
Midrange frequencies primarily influence instruments like guitars, pianos, and brass. Additionally, the midrange is also where most vocals fall. The Go 3 has a balanced midrange that sounds detailed and clear. In contrast, Clip 4 has an elevated lower midrange, which prevents these frequencies from being drowned out by the elevated bass. The upper midrange on both speakers is relatively similar, with a neutral sound that is clear and detailed. Neither speaker is superior in this regard.
Best Treble Performance: Go 3
Towards the upper end of the frequencies, the two speakers offer relatively similar performance. The Go 3 is slightly more balanced, with less dips in the frequency response. The Clip 4’s treble is still impressive, with a bright and detailed sound.
Best Dynamic Performance: Go 3
Dynamic performance refers to the amount of volume that a speaker is capable of reaching and how the audio qualities change across the volume levels.
With the Clip 4 and Go 3 being small speakers, they are both limited in their volume capabilities. The Go 3 is marginally louder in its maximum volume and also offers a small improvement over the Clip 4 when it comes to the audio quality at high volume.
Best Soundstage Performance: Clip 4
These speakers are limited to mono audio, with only a single driver, limiting the overall soundstage performance across both speakers. This isn’t a concern as a whole, as this is standard for small Bluetooth speakers of this style.
Comparing the soundstage between the Go 3 and Clip 4, the Clip 4 performs better, providing better sound dispersion. In contrast, the Go 3 has more directionality to it.
The Clip 4 provides between 20-30% increase in battery life when compared to the Go 3, though the Go 3 has a faster charging time.
Most Playtime: Clip 4
The JBL Clip 4 and Go 3 have relatively similar battery life. JBL’s official specifications list the Go 3 as having a maximum playtime of 5 hours, while the Clip 4 is rated for up to 10 hours of playtime. The actual battery life is influenced by the volume you’re listening at, and the actual results will vary depending on how you’re using the speaker.
While testing the Go 3 and Clip 4, we found that Clip 4 could provide 6 hours and 45 minutes of playtime during regular listening, while the Go 3 lasted 5 hours and 17 minutes.
Fastest Charging Time: Go 3
The charging time on both of these speakers is impressive. We found that the Clip 4 could be charged from 0 to 100 percent in 2 hours and 50 minutes, while the Go 3 was even more efficient, reaching the same level in just 2 hours and 3 minutes.
JBL Go 3 Charging Port
JBL Clip 4 Charging Port
Price & Value
While both speakers feature similar quality across the board, the JBL Go 3 is substantially more affordable, making it the best value pick.
The Clip 4 has the advantage in most areas of performance, as well as offering slightly better placement of the controls. However, the Clip 4 is available for around $80, while the Go 3 can be picked up for close to $50. This is a fairly substantial price difference that may be hard to justify.
For $30 extra, you’ll get a better soundstage and significantly more bass. Additionally, the built-in carabiner is a big selling point for those looking to latch it onto their bikes or belts during warehouse work.
Overall, the JBL Clip 4 stands out as the better speaker. Its low-end performance separates it from the Go 3, and its soundstage performance makes it a better option when listening in small groups. It has slightly better battery life, and the addition of a carabiner is a cool feature for those who enjoy an outdoor lifestyle where they could use it to clip the speaker onto their jeans, motorbike, bicycle, or even a scooter. The Clip 4 is also better for those who enjoy diverse music.
The Go 3 holds its own against the Clip 4. It offers a faster recharge time and better dynamics. The balanced frequency response will appeal to many, while the detail and lack of bass make the Go 3 well-suited to podcasts and genres that don’t have bass-heavy production.