JBL Go 4 vs Clip 5

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JBL Go 4 vs Clip 5 1

Winner – Clip 5

The Clip 5 is a slightly more impressive speaker than the Go 4. It reaches higher volume levels and has slightly better sound quality.

The JBL Clip 5 and Go 4 were released together in April 2024, and while they have distinctly different designs, they share striking similarities in features. The Go 4 is substantially cheaper than the Clip 5 ($49.95 vs $79.95), but at what cost? I’ll cover everything you need to know about these two Bluetooth speakers and help you decide which to buy.

Technical Specifications

ModelGo 4Clip 5
Water ResistanceIP67IP67
Output Power4.2W7W
Bluetooth Version5.35.3
Bluetooth ProfilesA2DP 1.4, AVRCP 1.6A2DP 1.4, AVRCP 1.6
Battery LifeUp to 9 HoursUp to 15 Hours
Charging Time3 Hours3 Hours
Frequency Response90 Hz – 20 kHz95 Hz – 20 kHz
Auracast (TWS/Pairing)YesYes
Weight6.72 oz10.08 oz
Dimensions3 x 3.7 x 1.7″3.4 x 5.3 x 1.8″
App SupportJBL PortableJBL Portable
Price:Check PriceCheck Price

JBL Go 4 (Left) & JBL Clip 5 (Right)

Design, Build, & Durability

While similar in size, the Go 4 and Clip 5 have distinctly different designs. Unless you’re hanging the Clip 5 up, it needs to be positioned with the driver facing upwards, which limits how you can channel the sound towards the listener. The Go 4 on the other hand is a more traditional design and can be faced directly towards the listener or placed on its side with the speaker facing upward.

Durability

Winner: Clip 5

The Go 4 and Clip 5 offer similar levels of durability. Both speakers utilize high-quality, soft rubber and a tight fabric woven wrap to protect them from scratches. Either speaker can be frequently used outdoors with limited risk of damage.

Waterproofing

Winner: Tied

Both speakers are water-resistant and come with an IP67 rating. This rating is given to speakers that are protected from dust intrusion as well as featuring comprehensive water resistance. You can use these speakers in the rain for extended periods and they can also be sprayed down with a hose to wash them off. Additionally, they can withstand submergence in water of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes (this should be thought of as a protection measure, and not a feature).

Portability

Winner: Tied

The JBL Clip 5 is a slightly larger and heavier speaker than the Go 4 (10.3 oz vs 6.72 oz), but both are easily portable and can fit into one hand. The Clip 5 has a slight advantage because of its built-in clip that lets you attach it to just about anything in just a few seconds, but the Go 4’s more compact size and light weight also have an advantage. The Go 4 features a handle loop which can also aid in portability, but it isn’t as versatile as the carabiner.

Controls, Connectivity & App Support

There is little difference in the controls, connectivity, and app support between the Go 4 and Clip 5. They use the same Bluetooth chip and both support the JBL Portable app, but slight variations in button design distinguish the two speakers.

JBL Go 4

  • Bluetooth version
    5.3
  • Bluetooth profiles
    A2DP V1.4, AVRCP V1.6
  • Bluetooth frequency
    2402 MHz – 2480 MHz
  • Bluetooth transmitter modulation
    GFSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK
  • Bluetooth transmitter power
    ≤ 8 dBm (EIRP)

JBL Clip 5

  • Bluetooth version
    5.3
  • Bluetooth profiles
    A2DP V1.4, AVRCP V1.6
  • Bluetooth frequency range
    2402 MHz – 2480 MHz
  • Bluetooth® transmitter modulation
    GFSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK
  • Bluetooth transmitter power
    ≤ 8 dBm (EIRP)

Controls

Winner: Clip 5

Both speakers share the same general controls, with two main button areas. The Clip 5 and Go 4 have the same power and pairing buttons on the side, and feature track and volume controls at the top. There aren’t any differences in the power and pairing buttons, but the Clip 5’s track/volume buttons are more tactile and slightly more responsive than the Go 4, which has a narrower clickable area that requires you to click towards the center of the buttons.

Bluetooth

Winner: Tied

The Go 4 and Clip 5 feature Bluetooth 5.3, which facilitates LE Audio and Auracast support. It is a modern Bluetooth version that excels in low-energy data transfer, meaning reduced battery consumption and the ability to transfer higher-quality audio data, for improved sound quality. Both are easy to pair and retain stable connections, even at range.

Multi-Speaker Pairing

Winner: Go 4

The Go 4 and Clip 5 support multi-speaker pairing, a new feature to both the Clip and Go series. They support Auracast, a versatile connection format still in its infancy. Auracast lets you pair two of either speaker together and enables multi-speaker connections between a wide range of JBL’s new releases. You can pair the Go 4 and Clip 5 together, or even pair it with one of JBL’s larger speakers, like the new Xtreme 4 or PartyBox series (just not in TWS).

You can connect two of each speaker in TWS (True Wireless Stereo) or a multispeaker group pairing. TWS will assign the left channel audio to one speaker and the right channel audio to another, which improves soundstage. In a group pairing, both speakers stay in mono, but allow for larger groups of speakers to be connected, to increase coverage.

Because the Clip 5 is limited in its orientation, the benefit of TWS is more noticeable with the Go 4, where each speaker in the pairing can be angled towards the listener.

App Support

Winner: Tied

The Go 4 and Clip 5 are supported by JBL’s Portable app, which is available on Android and Apple. The app adds a lot of additional value and features the following:

  • Battery life indicator
  • EQ Presets
  • Custom EQ
  • Auracast pairing control
  • PlaytimeBoost

The added support for a mobile app is a big upgrade to both series.

Audio Performance

Aside from design, audio performance is where the differences between these two speakers become most noticeable. They both use the same 45mm driver, resulting in a similar sound, but Go 4 has a more modest output (4.2W) than the Clip 5 (7W).

JBL Go 4

  • Power Output
    4.2W
  • Frequency Response Range
    90 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Drivers
    1x 1.75” (45mm)

JBL Clip 5

  • Power Output
    7W
  • Frequency Response Range
    95 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Drivers
    1x 1.75” (45mm)

Highs

Winner: Clip 5

There isn’t a big difference in the ways the highs sound between these two speakers. Bells, hi-hats, and other high-frequency sounds come across as detailed and present in the Clip 5 and Go 4. Depending on the song you listen to, the result will change, with each speaker having slightly different tuning. The Clip 5 tends to retain more detail in the highs near max volume, but not by a distinct margin.

Mids

Winner: Clip 5

Both the Clip 5 and Go 4 have a strong defined midrange that makes heavy music sound particularly good, especially given the size of the speakers. The Clip 5 has more emphasis on the upper midrange, making vocals particularly clear. The Go 4 on the other hand has a substantial lower midrange that affects chunky guitar riffs, making them sound full and powerful. Again, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two speakers, and both produce clear midrange vocals and instruments with good detail, but the Clip 5 holds the advantage due to the increased definition and clarity in the vocal range.

Bass

Winner: Clip 5

The Clip 5 and Go 4 both have relatively good bass for their size and have both gotten improvements to the low end. The Go 4 can produce slightly lower frequencies than the Clip 5, but the Clip 5’s bass feels a touch more powerful than the Go 4. There isn’t a big difference between the two speakers, but again – the Clip 5 sounds just a bit better.

Soundstage & Dynamics

Winner: Clip 5

Soundstage refers to a speaker’s ability to depict the position of an instrument in the mix. The Clip 5 has a superior soundstage, but its limited orientation options mean some of that detail may be lost. When a speaker is placed with its driver upwards, it becomes more difficult to isolate these instruments and their location. So while the Clip 5 holds the advantage when it’s hung facing towards the listener, the Go 4 has the benefit of being able to get angled directly towards the listener, which can help in the perceived soundstage.

Dynamics, on the other hand, refer to the subtle details and changes in volume levels between different frequencies and help to create a lifelike sound. The Clip 5 does very well in creating a detailed sound with a lot of subtle variation being audible. This creates more nuance in its sound.

Volume

Winner: Clip 5

The Clip 5 is louder than the Go 4, while both speakers can fill a small room, the Clip 5 can do it effortlessly and without needing to dial up the volume to the maximum. This also allows the Clip 5 to sound better when more volume is required. We measured the Clip 5 at 85.5 dB and the Go 4 measured 83.3 dB. The Clip 5 is slightly better suited for small group gatherings of friends than the Go 4.

Battery Performance

Winner: Clip 5

JBL Go 4

  • Battery Type
    3.7V Lithium-ion
  • Charging time
    3 hours
  • Estimated Playtime
    Up to 9 Hours
  • Cable Type
    USB-C

JBL Clip 5

  • Battery Type
    3.7V Lithium-ion
  • Charging Time
    3 hours
  • Estimated Playtime
    Up to 15 Hours
  • Cable Type
    USB-C

Both speakers perform close to their manufacturer estimates. The Go 4 is rated for 7 hours of playtime or up to 9 hours when using the PlaytimeBoost feature, we measured just over 7 hours at 50% volume during our testing (without PlaytimeBoost). The Clip 5 has a longer battery life and is rated for up to 12 hours of playtime by JBL, or 15 hours with PlaytimeBoost. We measured just shy of 12 hours during testing without PlaytimeBoost active.

This makes the Clip 5 slightly better for traveling and camping, where charging may not be as easily accessible. Both speakers can be recharged in around 3 hours using a USB-C charger.

Price & Value

With the JBL Go 4 retailing for $49.95 and the Clip 5 for $79.95, there is a substantial price difference between them. The Go 4 offers excellent value at its price point and for the average music listener, it’s the better choice.

However, for those who spend a lot of time outdoors, the Clip 5’s built-in carabiner and louder volume are compelling. You can easily carry it with you wherever you go, latching it onto bags, bikes, and more.

There isn’t a wrong choice to make, as both speakers have value. The right one for you will depend on which features you consider most important.

Conclusion

Both the Clip and Go series have been around for a long time and have become favorites for many. This new generation is more impressive than any of the previous ones, its introduction of multispeaker pairing and app support cannot be understated. Additionally, improvements to durability make both speakers capable of handling a rugged outdoor lifestyle. The Go 4’s lighter weight and orientation make it better suited for traditional listening, while the Clip 5’s built-in carabiner and louder volume make it a great choice for dedicated outdoor enthusiasts.

JBL Go 4 vs Clip 5 1

Winner – Clip 5

The Clip 5 is a slightly more impressive speaker than the Go 4. It reaches higher volume levels and has slightly better sound quality.

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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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