JBL Clip (Black) review: A tiny Bluetooth speaker that sounds good for its size and travels well

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.8
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Sound quality: 7.0
  • Value: 8.0
Review Date:

The Good The JBL Clip Bluetooth speaker is a compact, hockey-puck size speaker that has a built-in lithium ion rechargeable battery and offers decent enough sound for its size. It also has an integrated line-in cable that stows away in the bottom of the device, as well as speakerphone capabilities.

The Bad Doesn't handle big bass well and distorts at higher volumes.

The Bottom Line The JBL Clip is good for someone looking for a very compact, travel-friendly wireless speaker that's more affordable than the Jambox Mini.

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If the JBL Clip looks like a mini Bluetooth speaker that you've seen somewhere before it's because it's very similar to JBL's popular Micro Wireless speaker, which hit the market a couple of years ago. However, it has a couple of small changes, including a carabiner-style clip at the top (instead of a closed loop), and it also sports speakerphone capabilities. It should run around $50 in the US, which equates to AU$53. It will be available in the UK in mid-August for £39.99. Other international release dates are not currently available.

Like its predecessor, the 32-pound (158kg) Clip delivers good sound for its small size. This is a mono speaker and is designed to be laid flat or worn -- yes, JBL calls this a "ready-to-wear speaker."

jbl-clip-product-photos04.jpg
The compact JBL Clip with the carabiner-style loop from which it gets its name. Sarah Tew/CNET

As I said, aside from the clip, the only other significant change here is the addition of speakerphone functionality. There's a call answer/end button on the side of the speaker, along with volume controls and a dedicated Bluetooth button for easy pairing.

Other extras include an audio input as well an integrated cord that allows you to connect the speaker to non-Bluetooth-enabled devices or, say, the audio output on a laptop computer. It's nifty how the cord stows in the bottom of the speaker.

Performance

Sound quality is pretty good for what this speaker is. There's some bass, just not a lot of it, and the speaker will distort with certain bass-heavy tracks at higher volumes (the American Authors' "Best Day of My Life," for example). It's strongest in the midrange, and it does best with acoustic music and speech. It makes for a good lightweight companion for a tablet or smartphone for watching movies, television shows and sporting events.

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Where to Buy

JBL Clip (Black)

Part Number: JBLCLIPBLKAM
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Regional specs shown for US. AU specs are unavailable.

  • Color black
  • Amplification Type active
  • Connectivity Technology wireless