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JBL Flip 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

£N/A
design
sound quality
feature
performance

4.3

5

Overall

Great portable sound, smashing price- the JBL Flip 2 offers fabulous value for money. It has poor battery life, though, and inevitably the audio quality isn't as good as some of its more expensive rivals.

User Rating (18 votes)

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Sam Applegate

20th September 2014

By Sam Applegate

I like bacon sandwiches.


The JBL Flip 2 is a surprisingly small tube of sonic power that operates at the lower pricing end of the wireless Bluetooth speaker market. Little bigger than a coke can, it can be flipped either upright or on its side and is available in a range of colours, including your standards of black and white, as well as red, yellow and blue. Look hard enough and you might find even more exotic versions.

Plastic-y rather than appealing to upmarket consumers, the build quality is robust enough, but unlike the UE Boom it's vulnerable to dirt and water, so be careful how you place it.

The Flip 2 comes in at just under 800 grams, which is neither especially light on its feet nor unusually heavy. You'll certainly have no reservations about putting it in a bag and taking it out with you though, as it comes with a decent quality carry case to protect its already fairly durable frame.

Pound for pound, this a pugnacious little wireless speaker.

Heroic Characteristics

Anybody who loves value for money will love the JBL Flip 2, because for a gadget that's so small it has a great deal of power and delivers music with finesse. Bass performance is honest for such a small speaker, although treble can be a little too strong at times. Physically the speaker has two 6W speakers (rather than the 5W used for its predecessor) and offers a wider range of frequencies that the original Flip.

The JBL Flip 2 also features an improved microphone with noise-cancelling properties, so that you can use it for Skype or Facetime conversations. Apparently you can even use it with Siri, but bearing in mind the damn thing never seems to understand what I'm saying, I've yet to try it.

Establishing a Bluetooth link is quick and easy – you just have to use the button on the top of the speaker. There's also a 3.5 mm aux jack if you're using a non-Bluetooth device or are trying to conserve power.

The JBL Flip 2 has NFC built into it, which is something that many far more expensive wireless speakers lack and offers another way of getting your music playing more quickly, if that's your thing. Is it a killer piece of functionality for most people? No. But it's a great addition.

JBL have improved the Flip 2 from its first incarnation so that you can now charge it from a USB cable rather than having to take a chunky old charger with you wherever you go, which helps prevent the accumulation of yet more power plugs in your house and reduces the amount of luggage you require. On the other hand, charging takes about 3 hours, which is more than half the Flip 2's battery life. Hardly the most impressive ratio we've ever come across.

Villainous Tendencies

Given how cost competitive the JBL Flip 2 is, you do end up compromising on a number of features. The biggest of these is battery life. Whilst the Flip 2 is still a rechargeable lithium ion battery and the manufacturers claim a performance life of up to five hours, in reality you can probably expect a fair bit less.

Evidently that makes you far more dependent on finding electricity points to recharge than most other wireless speakers on the market, as you can expect the Flip 2 give you barely a third of that offered by the Bose Soundlink III. Of course, the latter's price is multiples of the JBL product, so we're not exactly comparing like with the like. But you get the picture.

Bluetooth connectivity range isn't as impressive as with other speakers out there and you'll probably want to stay within a few metres rather than attempting to control it from the other side of the house. Nor does the JBL Flip 2 remember connections to devices its previously linked up to. Furthermore, there's no app for the JBL Flip 2 that allows you to fiddle with the sound balance or control the playlist remotely. You either need to have the device or the music source on hand if you want to skip that embarrassing Britney song.

Finally and rather bizarrely, the Flip 2 does tend to fall over quite easily in the vertical position if it takes a knock, so for all that it's designed to be versatile, you're probably going to place it horizontally most of the time. Someone needs to have a chat with the product designers at JBL to sort it out!

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To read more on this model, check out the JBL Flip 2 homepage here (opens new window).

Images

  • Built-in Li-ion battery that can play for 5 straight hours of wireless bliss.
  • Easy to install, requires virtually no setup. Just connect and play.
  • Amazing wireless sound in a small, portable form factor. Dimensions: 65 mm x 160 mm.
  • Equipped with SoundClear echo and noise cancellation and a state-of-the-art microphone system.
  • Dual, performance-tuned JBL drivers with a built-in bass port for full range sound.
  • With easy Bluetooth set up thanks to NFC and stable Bluetooth connection the Flip 2 serves all your portable music needs and is connectable to smart-phones, tablets, laptops, and more.

Model

Dimensions (cm)

Power (w)

Rating

Price

Bose Soundlink

35.6 X 25.4 X 12.7

N/a

£N/A

Bose Soundlink Mini II

5.8 X 18 X 5.1

N/a

£139.00

Bose SoundLink Revolve

18.4 H X 10.5 W X 10.5 D

-

£179.95

Cambridge Audio Minx GO

23.7 X 6.3 X 12.3

N/a

£N/A

Google Home

23.6 X 12.8 X 12.6

-

£119.00

Jawbone Jambox

15.2 X 5.8 X 5.8

15

£92.99

JBL Flip 2

16 X 6.5 X 6.5

6

£N/A

JBL Flip 4

6.8 X 17.5 X 7.0 Cm

2 X 8 W

£87.19

JBL Pulse

20 X 10 X 10

12

£N/A

Sonos Play 1

11 X 11 X 16

60

£149.00

Sony HT-CT60BT

94 X 8.3 X 7

60

£N/A

Sony SRS BTM8

18.5 X 8.8 X 24.5

4

£89.99

UE MEGABOOM

22.6 H X 8.3 W

-

£145.90

UE WONDERBOOM

10.2 H X 9.35 W

-

£59.90

Ultimate Ears BOOM 2

6.7 X 6.7 X 18

9

£89.00


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