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JBL Clip Review: A Budget Bluetooth Speaker That Packs a Punch

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If you’re looking for an affordable bluetooth speaker, this is it: the JBL Clip. As it’s name implies, you can clip this speaker to a backpack, tree, pocket, you name it. It’s small, light, and packs a big bang. It sounds better than speakers twice it’s size and even has a microphone and integrated audio cable.

The JBL Clip has an interesting appearance. For lack of a better comparison, it looks like one earcup of a large pair of headphones. It’s a round speaker with a large plastic clip, or carabiner, on the top. The clip allows you to attach it to a backpack or anything else. Strangely, it’s not optimized to stand up, though it can stand on a perfectly flat and still surface. It’s a dense little device and has a pretty tough design to it. The mesh speaker grille is metal and in the right light you can see through to the large speaker driver. There’s also a status light that illuminates behind the grille.

On the back of the Clip is a wrapped up audio cable so you can bypass bluetooth and plug directly into the headphone port of any device. This makes the Clip speaker compatible with just about every single audio playing gadget including laptops and old MP3 players. The built-in cable is relatively short at about one foot long, but there’s also an audio-in auxiliary port so you can use your own, longer, cable. The built-in cable is really handy for the instances where you don’t want to pair with a new device just to play one song or video clip.

Around the sides of the speaker you’ll find a few buttons: there’s volume up and down, power, bluetooth, and a phone button. The phone button is the same as the universal button on a pair of headphones. It can activate voice control, answer and end phone calls, and even control tracks. The built-in microphone is great for loud speakerphone calls. There’s a micro-USB port for charging the Clip. The battery lasts about 5 hours, which is pretty good considering its size and loudness.

The Clip sounds phenomenal for its size and price point. You can fool a lot of people into thinking the music is coming from a bigger speaker. We just favorably reviewed Monster’s SuperStar speaker, which is over twice the price, and has a very similar audio experience where the quality is surprisingly good for the size. The quality is very clear and stays that way until you crank it near max volume, where you’ll start to hear some distortion. There’s more bass than you’d expect, and it’s perfectly balanced with the mids and highs. Because it’s such a balanced speaker, you’ll be happy with most anything you play on the Clip.

Verdict

Pricing in at just $49.95, it’s going to be hard to get more bang for your buck. The Clip will provide ample tunes for any small party or ad-hoc event, plus it won’t sacrifice on sound quality. It’s easy to pair with Bluetooth, but it’s super quick to just plug the integrated cable into any phone or laptop. The built-in clip can be handy, though we’d love if JBL made this with a stand option. Music controls and a built-in microphone is a great bonus. The JBL Clip is currently available from Amazon in a few different colors: black, red, purple, gray, or blue. Again, for the price and utility, it’s an easy purchase to justify.

The Good: Great audio quality, Built-in microphone, Audio controls, Small/light/durable, Good price, Colors, Built-in clip

The Bad: Distorts at higher volumes, No stand