JBL’s Flip 6 portable speaker is a familiar speaker that doesn’t do a lot to mix up the market. However, it does introduce some welcome improvements over the JBL Flip 5.
Boasting the same sporty aesthetic as its predecessor, this is a speaker you can take almost anywhere. This time around, though, the Flip 6 has an IP67 resistance rating, meaning you can take it to the beach without worrying about sand damaging it.
It has an improved 2-way speaker system that delivers good room-filling sound. It’s easily portable and has a good 12-hour battery life.
This is a simple portable speaker. There’s no Wi-Fi connectivity or voice assistants here. Connect your device via Bluetooth, and away you go. It’s a simplicity that JBL does well, and the Flip 6 continues that winning trend.
- Durable design
- Dust/sand resistant
- Simple and easy-to-use
- Good price
- 12-hour battery
- Can sound tinny at max volumes
- No premium features like Wi-Fi connectivity
The JBL Flip 6 costs $199. This is a competitive price, the UE Boom 3 costs $219, and the JBL Flip 5 costs $180.
Like the Flip 5 before it, JBL’s Flip 6 has a rugged and durable design that allows it to be used almost anywhere. On the outside, it looks identical to its predecessor. It’s a cylindrical speaker with the same wraparound grille and the same bass radiators on the sides. It’s functional and looks good.
It comes in a range of colours, red, blue, black and grey. We were given the red version to review, and it’s a sporty design that stands out.
The Flip 6 has an IP67 resistance rating. This means it’s resistant to dust, sand and water. It means you can take the Flip 6 to the beach without worrying about sand damaging it, and it will survive a splash of water as well. The Flip 5 has an IPX7 rating meaning it’s water-resistant but not dust/sand resistant. Taking the Flip 6 to the beach without worrying about it is a welcome improvement.
The Flip 6 is a light speaker weighing only 550g, and it comes with a carry strap which adds to its portability. It’s easy to take anywhere without being a burden.
There are two rubber caps on the sides that protect the speaker and allow you to stand it up on its end. Underneath, there’s a rubber foot that helps prevent the speaker from rolling around.
On the top of the device, there’s a control panel that allows you to turn the volume up/down, pause music and turn PartyBoost on (more on this below.) Double tapping the play button will skip tracks, but unfortunately, there’s no way to replay or go to the previous song.
On the bottom of the device is the power and Bluetooth buttons and also a USB-C port for charging. Overall it’s a functional, simple design that works.
I was pleasantly surprised at how loud this little speaker could get. It will easily fill a room, but the quality does suffer slightly at higher volumes.
This is to be expected in a speaker with only a 2-way speaker system, though. It’s the same with other portable speakers in this category. They start to sound tinny when turning the volume up to its maximum. However, when compared to the already impressive Flip 5, the Flip 6 produced a clearer sound at high volumes.
To get the most out of the speaker, you’ll need to download the JBL Portable app. It’s a basic app with not much in regards to customisability, but it does contain an equaliser that allows you to adjust bass, mid and treble frequencies. I would’ve loved an equaliser with more controls; however, the three available made a difference. Pushing bass up to its maximum made a noticeable change.
The bass quality is competent. It would be foolish to expect a small speaker to shake the ground with its bass, but it’s present and clean. The lower frequencies didn’t muddy the mix in bass-heavy tracks like Blow Yr Head by Asher Roth. It’s well balanced and provides an impressive soundstage for a small portable speaker.
Less bass dominated tracks like And When I Die by Blood, Sweat & Tears also sounded good. It was easy to pick out individual elements of the song, with the vocals coming through clearly. The higher frequencies of the music did sometimes get overbearing at higher volumes, though. The sound of the trumpets sounded much louder than anything else, creating relatively shrill/sharp sounds at times. This was only at max volume, though. At medium volume settings, I didn’t come across this problem.
There’s an option for PartyBoost, which allows you to connect up to 100 JBL speakers and play the same music simultaneously across all of them. It’s important to know that if you want stereo playback, you can only do this if you pair the Flip 6 with another Flip 6. Any other speaker and the playback will be in mono, which is disappointing.
Battery and Connectivity
The Flip 6 boasts a 12-hour battery life which is plenty but is a little behind the 15-hours provided by the UE Boom 3.
You can charge the speaker via the USB-C cable on the back, and it takes roughly 2.5-hours to charge the speaker fully. It’s fine.
The Flip 6 supports Bluetooth 5.1. This helps with connectivity. It takes no time to connect to the speaker, and not once did I have an issue with my phone losing connection.
JBL’s Flip 6 is a speaker defined by its simplicity. It’s easy to connect to and listen to music in seconds.
If you’re looking for a premium portable speaker with the latest flashy features like Wi-Fi connectivity, voice controls or even a charging port for your phone, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a speaker you can take anywhere, with a decent 12-hour battery life and rugged, durable design, this is one of the best on the market.
The Flip 6 doesn’t bring many changes with it. It’s very similar to the Flip 5. It looks the same and sounds only slightly better. The main improvement here is the resistance rating. The Flip 6 boasts an IP67 rating, meaning you can take it places where you might not have taken the Flip 5, mainly the beach.
While this doesn’t sound like much, the Flip 6 is only $20 more expensive than the Flip 5, and being able to take it to the beach is worth the extra money.