Introducing the Clip 5 and Go 4 – JBL’s Next Generation

by

JBL announced its next generation of small Bluetooth speakers at CES 2024, unveiling the Clip 5 and Go 4. Some had speculated that JBL might stop production on the Go series in favor of Clip due to the noteworthy similarities between these speakers. However, it’s clear that JBL sees value in retaining both the Clip and Go despite some overlap in the consumer demographic. Both speakers will be available in 6 color variations and are scheduled for release in June 2024.

So, what’s changed between the previous generation and the upcoming series?

JBL Clip 5 speaker

JBL Clip 5

  • $80 RRSP
  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • 12 Hours Battery Life
  • IP67 Waterproofing
  • Mobile App Support (JBL Portable)
JBL Go 4 Speaker

JBL Go 4

  • $50 RRSP
  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • 7 Hours Battery Life
  • IP67 Waterproofing
  • Mobile App Support (JBL Portable)

Introduction of Bluetooth 5.3

The Go 4 and Clip 5 both get the upgrade from Bluetooth 5.1 to 5.3.

Not all Bluetooth upgrades bring additional features to the table, but moving to 5.3 is a big step up for these speakers. Low-energy (LE) support has been used to improve efficiency in Bluetooth speaker operation since 4.0. However, LE Audio (Low-Energy Audio) is a new feature only available in Bluetooth 5.2 onwards. Without getting too technical, LE Audio has better efficiency that allows for high-quality audio transmission at low bit rates. In addition, the Clip 5 and Go 4 will introduce the long-awaited support for Auracast.

Auracast allows for a single source of audio to be broadcast to multiple devices without each listener having to connect to the source device. Historically, for listeners to hear the same music from multiple devices, they’d need to connect to the same source, use Daisy Chaining, or use a party pairing feature. Auracast broadcasts audio to a wider area, which can be picked up using other Auracast-supported devices. This is a big leap in technology that opens up a lot of new possibilities for how we listen to music.

Improvements To Sound

Improvements were made to the sound quality of both speakers, with adjustments to driver power and improvements in dynamics.

JBL has increased the driver power on the Clip 5, adding more volume and better dynamics. The Clip 4 had noticeable fluctuations in the amount of bass presence. With the Clip 5, JBL has said they’ve improved some shortfalls and produced a more consistent speaker across volume levels, particularly in the bass. The bass is also more powerful in the Clip 5.

The Go 4 sees similar improvements over the Go 3 with refinements to its sound and an increased bass, an area that was a noticeable shortfall within the Go 3’s sound.

Longer Battery Life

You’ll now get 2 hours more battery life from each speaker.

While JBL hasn’t given specifics on whether or not the Clip 5 and Go 4 have the same battery as the Go 3 and Clip 4, you will get a nice boost in battery life from the upcoming models. The improvements to battery performance are owed primarily to the advances in LE and LE Audio discussed above. A more efficient protocol uses less battery to achieve the same tasks.

The Clip 5 will get 2 hours of additional battery life, with an estimated 2 hours of playtime at moderate listening levels. 

The Go 4’s battery life is slightly more modest, with an estimated playtime of up to 7 hours, which is also a 2-hour improvement over the Go 3.

Finally, App Support

This is the first generation of Clip and Go speakers to feature app support.

Neither the Go 3 nor Clip 4 had app support, meaning they were limited in their controls, and there was no way to EQ the sound. Finally, JBL has added app support to the Go 4 and Clip 5 using the JBL Portable app. Historically, this app only supported larger speakers in the JBL range.

While we don’t yet have confirmation on what features will be available through the app for the Go 4 and Clip 5, we’re holding thumbs for the same EQ capabilities to be offered. Refining your speaker’s sound has become essential to Bluetooth speaker ownership and helps your speaker sound just how you want it to.  

Design Changes

While the Clip 5 and Go 4 look similar to their predecessors, their designs have some noteworthy differences.

Introducing the Clip 5 and Go 4 - JBL's Next Generation 1

The Clip retains its classic carabiner-style design but gets more clearance on the clip area, allowing it to attach to larger objects. A similar improvement was made between the Clip 3 and Clip 4, though it features a more noticeable design change than in the latest generation. The power and pairing buttons have also been changed from a tactile design to a touch button, making the speaker look more modern.

The JBL Go 4 also gets a makeover with softer corners and a wider carry strap. While the physical changes are subtle, they make the speaker appear more modern.

Waterproofing stayed the same. Both speakers are protected from dust, splashes, and sprays and can be submerged in water up to 1 meter for 30 minutes without damage.

Conclusion

The improvements made to both the JBL Clip and Go series are exciting. The introduction of LE Audio and subsequent support for Auracast is a game changer, while the improved audio quality improves problems found in the previous generation. Despite fairly similar designs, both speakers are better looking than their predecessors. Improved battery life is a great addition, especially for the Go 3, which was fairly lackluster.

Still, there is only limited information released at this point about both speakers, and we’re sure to see additional data come out before the launch. We’ll review both speakers in more depth once they are released in June.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!
Share:
Photo of author

Author: Bryn De Kocks

Bryn has worked in the field for several years, writing in-depth speaker reviews for various audio publications. His work has historically focused on headphones and Bluetooth speakers, while incorporating his understanding of the Bluetooth speaker market to help educate potential buyers.

See All His Posts

Leave a Comment