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JBL Clip 2 review: Tiny Bluetooth speaker improves with full waterproofing, boosted battery life

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The Good The JBL Clip 2 Bluetooth speaker is a hockey-puck-size speaker with a built-in lithium ion rechargeable battery that offers decent sound for its size, improved battery life (eight hours), and is fully waterproof. It also has an integrated line-in cable that stows away in the bottom of the device, as well as speakerphone capabilities.

The Bad It doesn't handle big bass well and distorts at higher volumes; should cost a little less.

The Bottom Line If it's a tiny wireless speaker you're after, the JBL Clip 2 is an appealing choice with some small but significant improvements over its predecessors.

8.0 Overall

JBL's Clip speakers have been among our favorite micro Bluetooth speakers, and the new Clip 2, which comes in five color options and costs $60 (£50, AU$80), is also a winner.

The Clip 2 has couple of notable changes from its predecessor. For starters, it's fully waterproof. It also comes equipped with a real metal carabiner instead the plastic "clip" mechanism found on the Clip and Clip+. And finally, battery life has been improved to eight hours from five.

Like those earlier models, this one has a nifty integrated audio cable for devices that don't support Bluetooth, and there's a built-in speakerphone that works reasonably well.

The fully waterproof speaker floats for a short period before sinking.

David Carnoy/CNET

As you can see from our video, the speaker initially floats when you put in water. But eventually it will sink. I gently put it in a pool and it played for about 10 seconds and then cut out as it dipped a little below the surface. It's rated to be submerged in four feet of water for 30 minutes. But drop it in a deep lake or ocean and you'll want to rescue it pretty quickly or you won't see it again.

On the sound front, I didn't notice a significant improvement, but the speaker still sounds relatively impressive for its tiny size. There's some bass, just not a lot of it, and the speaker will distort at higher volumes with certain bass-heavy tracks, such as the American Authors' "Best Day of My Life" (I tested this speaker with some of the same music as the Clip+). It's strongest in the midrange, and it does best with acoustic music and speech.

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