JBL Flip 6 Review

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JBL Flip 6

JBL offers a remarkably large catalog of Bluetooth speakers, spanning from lightweight options perfect for music on the go, to large and powerful party speakers capable of getting a whole room dancing. Initially released in 2012, the first-generation Flip catalyzed their success in the Bluetooth speaker market. More than a decade later, the Flip has retained its dominance, providing a popular choice of portable Bluetooth speaker. In this article, I’ll be reviewing the JBL Flip 6, the latest release in this series – looking at its durability, battery life, sound quality, and more.

The Bottom Line

Look no further than the JBL Flip 6 for a reliable Bluetooth speaker that can be integrated into your daily life. Its compact and lightweight build makes it easily portable, and its weather protection means it’s suited for whatever nature throws at you. The sound quality is a marked improvement from the Flip 5, but sub-par battery performance is a weak point for the speaker.

Pros

  • Lightweight, compact design
  • Clear sound
  • Protection from dust and water
  • Easily portable

Cons

  • Sub-par battery life
  • Control positions are a bit awkward at first

Battery Life:Up to 12 hours
Water Resistance:IP67
Wireless Stereo Pairing:Yes
Power Output: 30W
Frequency Response:63 Hz – 20 kHz
Charging Type:USB-C
Mobile App:Yes (JBL Portable)
Size:7 x 2.6 x 2.8″
Weight:1.21 lbs

What’s In The Box?

  • JBL Flip 6 Speaker
  • Type C USB Cable
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty Card
  • Safety Sheet

Introducing The Flip 6

The Flip series is one of JBL’s most popular speaker ranges, along with the Charge and Clip. The JBL Charge is a little larger and more challenging to carry, making the Flip a popular speaker for daily use. Its features are relatively stripped back, providing a simple solution for casual listeners who aren’t fussed about having all the bells and whistles found in some of the other modern releases.

JBL Flip 6 Speaker

Design & Build Quality

The Flip 6 retains a similar silhouette to the previous generation, with a cylindrical design that features fabric wrap and rubber accents. It is a well-built speaker that can withstand the harsh outdoor environment. Its lightweight and compact build makes it ideal for going outdoors.

Durability of Finish: 8.5/10
Feel of Buttons: 7.4/10
Weatherproofing: 8.8/10

The JBL Flip has an iconic silhouette that has become synonymous with Bluetooth speakers, with a cylindrical design that’s 7” long and 2.8” wide. It’s an extremely easy-to-carry speaker with a carry handle for added ease. At 1.21 lbs, the Flip 6 can be carried in a purse, backpack, or even the front pocket of a hoody, making it extremely useful outside of the home.

Two bass reflex ports are located on each end of the speaker, which helps improve low-frequency performance. Most of the body is wrapped in a tight-knit fabric, except for the edges of the speaker and the control panel, which are made from rubber.

The JBL logo is noticeably more visible on Flip 6 than on Flip 5, and it no longer features the small red square JBL logo that you may associate with JBL. The Flip 6 was one of the first JBL speakers to introduce their new, larger logo design.

For stability, the Flip 6 features a single rubber stopper that helps to keep it from rolling around. With the speaker rested, the controls lie offset to the side, with the power button and charging port sitting near the speaker’s base.

With a comprehensive IP67 protection rating, you get both dust and water resistance. It can withstand splashes, pressurized sprays, and limited submergence in water less than a meter deep. The Flip 6 also floats in water, a feature that useful when using it around large bodies of open water.

Controls & Connectivity

The Flip 6 has a mediocre control layout, with the buttons sitting off to the side, making them harder to see and reach. The buttons cover the basics, and with the Flip 6 being a fairly barebone speaker, they offer broad control of the speaker. Its wireless connectivity is excellent, retaining stable connections over distances of up to 50 meters with a clear line of sight.

Bluetooth Profiles: A2DP 1.3, AVRCP 1.6
Bluetooth Version: 5.1
Bluetooth Range: Up to 50 meters

The Flip 6 has two sets of controls, one that sits offset from the top of the speaker and another that lies near the base when the speaker is laid horizontally.

This design can initially feel awkward, as it’s typically standard for the control panel to lie at the top of the speaker, not off to the side. Because some of the buttons end up lying near the base, navigating those buttons is more complicated than it needs to be. This is where the main power button and Bluetooth pairing button are located. Additionally, with the speaker facing you, you cannot see the main controls and need to turn the speaker around to see where the buttons are situated.

JBL has removed the auxiliary input from the Flip series, which helps improve design practicality. However, for those who rely on a wired connection, this can prove a dealbreaker.

The main controls are near the top and consist of a play/pause button, volume up and down, and a PartyBoost pairing button. Disappointingly, the volume buttons do not offer a secondary function, and to skip tracks, you can only skip forward by double pressing the play/pause button. The PartyBoost feature is a welcome addition to the design; however, it allows you to pair multiple Flip 6 speakers together for broader sound coverage.

JBL Flip 6 Controls
JBL Flip 6 Buttons

Bluetooth Connectivity

The Flip 6 has Bluetooth 5.1 and supports A2DP 1.3 and AVRCP 1.6 profiles. The connectivity is reliable and can hold a stable connection for a range of up to 50 meters with a clear line of sight. Indoors, connection reliability will be influenced by the thickness and materials of the walls. Still, in testing, I could retain a connection between two brick walls that ranged over 15 meters.

The latency performance is good but not ideal for use with video content, as some sync issues occur. This area is where more recent releases have an advantage, as the latency between 5.1 and 5.4 is typically noticeable.

Sound Quality

Sound quality has been improved since the release of the Flip 5, now providing deeper bass with more brightness towards the treble. While the Flip 6 is still a relatively warm-sounding speaker, it sounds good with most genres of music, but some electronic tracks lack fine detail in the upper frequencies.

Bass Performance: 6.8/10
Mid-tone Performance: 7.4/10
Treble Performance: 6.4/10
Volume: 7.3/10
Balanced Sound: 7.3/10

JBL Flip 6 Review 1

Improvements have been made to the driver configuration of the Flip series. The Flip 5 had a single 44mm driver to handle all frequencies, while the Flip 6 added a 10W tweeter for improved frequency response. It has a frequency response range of 63 Hz – 20 kHz.

Bass

Bass sounds good on the Flip 6, especially for a speaker of its size. The upper bass isn’t as punchy as the Flip 5, but lower bass frequencies sound more present with the Flip 6. It has a tight bass that allows for the details in the midrange to remain clear and defined. The built-in bass reflex ports help improve the low-end frequencies, and with the speaker placed on a hard surface, you can feel the sound pulsating.

Mids

The Flip 6 is a warm-sounding speaker; despite not having a particularly elevated midrange frequency response, there is a bit more presence in the midrange than the treble, which creates a meaty sound that, at times, can sound a little dull, depending on the genre of music being played. Still, the midrange is relatively blanched and doesn’t suffer from excessive fluctuations between frequency bands.

Highs

Treble was a notorious weak point with the JBL Flip 5; it was very recessed, causing the speaker to sound dull and lifeless. This was primarily an artifact of using a single driver for all frequencies. Because the Flip 6 adds a dedicated tweeter to the driver setup, it also adds clarity, detail, and brightness to the treble. It’s still not a particularly bright-sounding speaker, but the definition and presence of the highs is a marked improvement over the previous iteration.

Soundstage & Dynamics

Despite adding a separate tweeter, the Flip 6 still has a relatively narrow soundstage without much audible separation. The audio sounds as though it originates from the same central position. It does fairly well in directionality but does sound noticeably better with the drivers pointing towards the listener.

The Flip 6 can fill a small room with quality sound, but with an SPL (sound pressure level) just shy of 90 dB, it’s not quite enough for a large room. Still, the Flip 6 is intended as a speaker to be enjoyed solo or with a small group of friends, and for those purposes, it does exactly what it’s supposed to.

The dynamic range is decent but falls behind similar speakers, like the Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3. At full volume, the Flip 6 sounds noticeably better than the Flip 5, which suffered from compression issues that resulted in a deterioration of sound quality at high volume.

Flip 6 Carry Handle

Battery Performance

Charging Type: USB-C
Manufacturer Playtime: Up to 12 hours
Playtime at 50%: 7 Hours 8 Minutes
Charging Time: 2 Hours 37 Minutes

JBL has fitted the Flip 6 with a 17.28Wh Li-ion polymer battery with an advertised battery life of up to 12 hours. This estimate feels exaggerated compared to our testing, though it must be noted that variations in volume levels will directly impact overall battery performance. In our tests, using the speaker at 50% volume, we achieved just over 7 hours of playtime.

The battery life on the Flip 6 falls short of the Flip 5 and dramatically short of competing models like the similarly priced Boom 3 from Ultimate Ears.

The Flip 6 has some redeeming qualities in this area, however, with a very quick charging time of 2.5 hours and the ability to charge while the speaker is being listened to.

App Support

Using the JBL Portable mobile app (available on Android and Apple) provides additional control over the speaker. A custom 3-band graphic EQ lets you adjust the bass, midrange, and treble, which is nice, but I’d have liked to have seen a 9-band EQ for more control over the frequency ranges one can adjust. The app also allows for stereo pairing of more than one JBL Flip 6.

The app is known to be finicky at times, and during testing, I had some initial hassles getting it to pair the speaker correctly, requiring me to turn the speaker off and on a few times before it would pick it up. These frustrations are well-documented in other forums, too.

Overall, it offers some useful features but is starting to feel slightly dated when compared to the more versatile controls afforded by newer releases.

JBL Flip 6 Review 2

Conclusion

The JBL Flip 6 is a stripped-back, easy-to-use speaker that is best suited for casual use. It’s small enough to be carried by hand or placed in a handbag or backpack, making it a popular choice as a daily driver. Its sound quality isn’t exceptional, but it performs well enough for most uses. One of its most notable weaknesses is the short battery life, something that we expect to see improve on the Flip 7. At around $100, the Flip 6 is an affordable choice for a reliable speaker that can survive harsh outdoor conditions.

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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.

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