The Flip was one of the better sounding Bluetooth speakers for its size and the Flip 2 takes things up a notch. It's not a big notch, but it's noticeable. The Flip 2 handles bass a little better at higher volumes and has a little bit smoother, cleaner sound. It can also play slightly louder, though you will encounter some harshness when you raise the volume above 70 percent (all these speakers do better at more modest volume levels).
The midrange is pretty forward, so vocals get accentuated, and there's a little treble push. I did throw some techno and rap at this little guy, and the bass comes off a little restrained (as you might expect), but the speaker does have more kick than many competing models. That said, the more expensive
The Flip 2 beats some other popular Bluetooth speakers in this price class, including the
Speakerphone performance was good (callers' voices sounded very loud and they said they could hear me fine). No complaints there.
Alas, JBL hasn't improved the new model's battery life -- it's still rated at 5 hours, which is only so-so. You can do a little better by playing your music at quieter volume levels. And you'll fall short of 5 hours if you really crank your tunes.
If you're looking for better battery life, JBL also has the Charge, which currently retails for around $120 -- roughly the same price as the Flip 2.
My only real gripe with the Flip 2 is its middling battery life. Otherwise, the tweaks to the design, slightly improved sound, and the ability charge via USB are nice upgrades over the original.
This speaker does cost a little more at $129.99 (the original Flip sells for less than $100), but relatively speaking, it remains a decent value, especially if you can pick it up at a slightly discounted price. The Flip 2 has its limitations, but the fact that it can play as big as it does (and sound fairly decent) for a small, highly portable speaker, makes it easy to recommend.