JBL has been making a push into the portable speaker space with several products, including the
At this price, it sits between the
While the JBL has a couple of small drawbacks, all in all I thought it sounded decent for the money and was a solid value.
The cylindrical speaker has two orientations -- you can lay it down or stand it up -- and it has rubberized parts in the right places so it stays in place whether you go horizontal or vertical. I can't say I noticed a difference in sound quality but I ended up listening to it more often oriented vertically than horizontally. It has a smaller footprint in this mode, and the physical buttons (power on/off, call end/answer, and volume) end up on top where they're a little easier to see and reach.
The Flip's biggest shortcoming is that it doesn't charge via USB. Rather, you have to plug a somewhat ungainly AC adapter into the wall to power the Flip (when you're off battery power) or to charge it. I always think it's a shame when you have a well-designed, sleek-looking speaker that's coupled with a generic charger, which is a little bit of pain to lug around. Also, if you lose it for some reason, it won't be so easy to find another. If you could charge via USB as you can with the Jambox, you could just swap in another Micro-USB cable and be good to go.
Yes, this is a stereo speaker, but the drivers are spaced so closely together you really have to be sitting 2 or 3 feet away from the speaker to get any sort of stereo separation. The speaker can play fairly loudly and fill a small room with sound, but it's probably best to listen to it at more moderate levels because it just doesn't sound quite good enough to really rock out to -- at least not if you're used to listening to a decent pair of headphones or a larger set of speakers.