JBL FLIP: Big sound, small footprint

Written by Sudhir Chowdhary | Updated: Jan 31 2013, 14:52pm hrs
Dont let its size fool you. The JBL Flip delivers room-filling audio with serious bass from a compact speaker thats ready to roll wherever you go. Not only that, it has a microphone and a call answer button so you can answer phone calls from the speaker. Priced at R5,990, the nicely designed JBL Flip with Bluetooth is an ideal audio solution for smartphones and tablets. With two 1-5/8-inch (40 mm) drivers, a built-in bass port and an acoustic volume of 200cc, the speaker delivers clear and loud sound with exceptional bassall in a portable stereo speaker that travels easily with you.

Recently, I got the chance to try out a JBL Flip portable wireless loudspeaker. I am happy to report it is the perfect solution for compact, but loud sound. Though not as loud as my Bose, but again for its size it is quite impressive.

In the box came one black coloured JBL Flip stereo speaker, one AC adapter and a user manual. The speaker also comes in white colour. The control buttons are on top and the speaker has a rubbery surface. It plays from either a vertical or horizontal position, so you can place it in a variety of locations. Whats more, it fits easily into a backpack, so you can take it from one place to the next.

Set up was a simple affair. Instructions in the user manual easily guide you through how to plug in the power cord, how to plug in a wired apparatus (such as a non-Bluetooth-enabled iPod) to a line-in port, and how to sync your Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone or tablet.

Once this speaker is synced up, which takes seconds, it is just a push of one button. I synced the Flip to my better halfs iPhone 4S and streamed some dance music from ABBA, Ace of Base and Boney M. I was immediately pleased with how clear the sound quality is. I turned up the volume and still the sound quality was unaffected. For those who like it loud, you wont be disappointed!

It is always a treat to listen to your favourite music on a speaker as well balanced as the Flip as it tends to bring forward instruments that have a tendency to get buried. It really can breathe new life into songs you have heard a hundred times. In my test-run, the JBL hardware produced very clear, very accurate sound across a very broad and eclectic range of music.

You can connect the JBL Flip wirelessly to any Bluetooth-equipped device. It features two high-performance drivers, a built-in bass port and wireless Bluetooth streaming. The speaker has a built-in Li-ion rechargeable battery that provides up to five hours of playback time. You can easily recharge the battery using the adapter, which saves you battery hassles and money. A clearly visible LED lets you know when the built-in Li-ion battery needs to be recharged, as well as when the speaker is in Bluetooth listening or pairing mode.

This small speaker can make a big impression in other ways as well. The Flip also works as a microphone/speaker for your Bluetooth-enabled phones. You can control the pickup and hangup of the phone with the button with the telephone icon.

My takeaways: with performance that comparably priced products cant match, the JBL Flip is a very good wireless portable stereo speaker for any environment or any portable device. You cant go wrong with this speaker and I highly recommend the JBL Flip!


Transducers: 2 x 1-1/2 inch

Amplifier power: 2 x 5W

Frequency response: 150 Hz 20 kHz

Signal-to-noise ratio: >80dB

Bluetooth transmitter power: 20 dBm

Listening time on battery power: >5 hours

Battery charge time: 3 hours

Estimated street price: Rs 5,990