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JBL Flip 3 Review

Updated on January 26, 2017

First Things First: Bluetooth Speakers...You Need One!

Speakers have come a long way since the wired monstrosities that your parents used to have hooked up to their HiFi stereos with turn-tables and cassette players. Now days you can have all the great sound that you like literally in the palm of your hand.

Bluetooth technology makes it so that the smallest of devices can stream great music from a plethora of sources all around the house. You can even hook them up directly to WiFi so you can always have thousands and thousands of music tracks a simple voice command away.

Heck, you can even have audio books read to you while showering. Life is good these days.

Music and Audio Books...

...at the beach.

...in the shower.

...on your front porch.

...by the pool.

...on hikes.

...while camping.

...while at the park with the kids.

Do you get my drift?

Bluetooth speakers are a luxury convenience that ANYONE can afford.

The JBL Flip and JBL Flip 2

I've long been an afficionado of Bluetooth speakers. I've made it my business to get my hands on as many as possible and try them out. Sometimes people give them as gifts, sometimes I borrow my friends, but most of the time I buy them myself and try them out.

I haven't really found one as awesome as the JBL Flip 3, though.

As the name implies, the Flip is JBL's 3rd iteration of the speaker. The Bluetooth, connectivity, and speaker/sound technology keeps improving so JBL keeps putting progressively better speakers out there. It's a novel idea, really. ;)

JBL Flip: Regarded as a great speaker that was loud for its size. A bulky AC adapter and only a 5 hour battery life was its weaknesses.

JBL Flip 2: Most of the same strengths as well as lauded for intending to be set horizontally or vertically and shipping with nice carrying case. Its weaknesses were that pesky battery life but generally considered an improvement.

Now, at the time both the Flip and Flip 2 were considered great Bluetooth speakers with only minor drawbacks. However, as more and more speakers hit the market many of them were doing so with a better battery life.

This led us to the 3rd generation and the much improved JBL Flip 3...

A Look at the JBL Flip 3

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JBL Flip 3 Features and Benefits

So, when you're aiming to create an improved generation of speaker what do you do?

You improve on the perceived weaknesses of prior generations and you do your best top beat the competition in the same price range with your new speaker. So, is the 3rd time the charm?

For the JBL Flip 3...it was.

JBL set the Flip 3 to have a better battery life than its predecessors right off the bat. The JBL Flip 3's battery doesn't only beat the JBL Flip and Flip 2....it crushes it. At double (yes, 10 hours of play time) the Flip 3 is not only an awesome sounding speaker but it has the power to push through long play periods even when you forgot to charge it the night before.

Weight: Less than a lb at just under 16 oz (15.9). Why does this matter? Well, it's easier to pack and lug around in luggage while traveling. It also makes it a sensible choice to bring hiking or biking to a campsite.

Water Resistance: The design has been streamlined to make the Flip 3 better at being splash resistant and the USB charging and audio port has a cover. While there are many speakers on the market today that are completely water proof the JBL Flip 3 is not one of those choices.

Sound: Sitting horizontally, the Flip 3 is a whoop whoop whoooomping great listen! It has the rich, deep bass that you'd expect. However, turned vertically then one of the bass ports does get covered and you lose some of the bass.

Functionality: As you'll note below, that multiple JBL speakers can be linked together for more sound and oomph...but it's really not needed. A single Flip 3 is a powerful machine. The original Flip had 2x5 watt speakers, the Flip 2 increase to 6 watts and the Flip 3 is a whomping 8 watts and it makes a nice difference.

Initially, I thought there there might not be a pause/play button on the speaker, but lo-and-behold the answer/end button is also 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). We found this to be so simple that at first, it's too complicated. A little while of using the Flip 3, though, and it's easy to learn the tap, tap-tap, and tap-tap-tap cadence needed for the different button functions.

Compatibility: Easy to connect to any Bluetooth device and able to paired together multiple JBL bluetooth devices to enhance sound and functionality from room to room in your home, dorm, etc.

Range: I found the best distance for listening to the Flip 3 is somewhere between 3 and 12 feet (1 and 3.6 meters) with the volume level at around 75 percent-ish.

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Style

The JBL Flip 3 is a stylish, modern and powerful Bluetooth speaker that is a great value at about $100 where ever you're looking. However, possibly the best thing about this speaker is its versatility in regards to style.

The ability to stand up right or horizontally and come in so many colors (See image above) allows for the JBL Flip 3 to be an accessory in a room rather than something that you try to hide in a corner or on the second shelf of a night-stand.

While adding style and pizzazz with a Bluetooth speaker may not be your primary concern, it is a benefit to have a decent looking speaker. Many of them on the market today seem to resemble a dark, oddly shaped brick.

Conclusion

JBL has a great line of Bluetooth speakers and, truth be told, I'd actually prefer the JBL Charge 2 over the Flip 3. However, the Charge 2 comes in at $30 to $50 more than the Flip 3 and a little bit heavier. However, while I'd "prefer" a Charge 2...the common sense and value factor of having a Flip 3 just wins out. It's a compact, powerful, long lasting, Bluetooth speaker with style and versatility. It's hard to beat for most people in the market for one of the best Bluetooth Speakers.

Overall Rating

4 stars for JBL Flip 3

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