Third time's a charm, right? When it comes to JBL's Flip 3 Bluetooth speaker, it is. This third-generation model has a more streamlined, splashproof design and better battery life (at 10 hours), while the price remains the same at $100, £100 or AU$150. And as with all such speakers, the JBL plays any audio content from a Bluetooth-enabled source -- nearly any smartphone or tablet, and most recent computers -- so long as it's in the same room, or relatively nearby.
I received a black review unit, but the speaker, which weighs in at just less than a pound (15.9 ounces or 450 grams), is available in seven other colors and like its predecessors can be stood up vertically or laid out horizontally. Since one of the bass ports gets covered up a bit when you go vertical, you do get a little more bass in horizontal mode.
No carrying case is included with the speaker like it was with the(that speaker launched at $120, then came down to $100). But it seems pretty durable and, as I said, it's water-resistant and has a flap that securely covers its USB charging port and audio input.
At first we thought there there was no pause/play button on the speaker, but it turns out the answer/end button doubles as a pause/play button and also allows you to skip tracks forward and back (double tap to advance forward, triple tap to skip back).
As far as other extras go, it's equipped with a built-in noise and echo canceling speakerphone and you can wirelessly link multiple JBL Connect-enabled speakers together to amplify the sound. (JBL Connect is a free app for iOS and Android devices.) The speaker uses Bluetooth 4.1 technology and has the typical wireless streaming range of about 33 feet or 10 meters.
It'd be good to pair up a couple of these, but a single Flip 3 sounds just fine and plays very loud for its size with ample bass, though a speaker this compact has its limitations. The original Flip delivered 2x5 watts of sound while the Flip 2 was augmented to 6 watts. This model gets an additional boost to 8 watts -- and it makes a difference.