How could JBL make the sixth version of its award-winning Flip speaker work even better?
Add a mic for use as a speakerphone? Put in a port that lets you charge your device?
Make the battery last longer?
No. But JBL has always focused on two things: how portable it is and how good it sounds.
To do this, the Flip 6 now has Bluetooth 5.1 instead of 4.2, a dustproof.
And waterproof IP67 rating (updated from the IPX7 Flip 5, which was only waterproof).
And a reworked driver configuration for even better sound at the same level.
As with its older sibling, the JBL Flip 6 is still “just” a Bluetooth speaker, and in 2022.
It seems like a risky choice when other products with the same price offer voice assistant integration.
And outdoor-boost buttons, and other cool features.
Let’s find out if the risk paid off…
What About Build Quality?
If you put the JBL Flip 6 next to its predecessor, the Flip 5, it’s hard to tell them apart from the outside.
The “ruggedized” rubber accents on the edges of the tubular speaker have been toned down a bit by JBL.
And the passive bass radiators now feel cool, textured, and metallic instead of smooth and rubbery.
The power button, Bluetooth button, and USB-C port are still in the same place.
But they are now on a slightly smaller rubber panel that doesn’t go all the way across the speaker.
The Flip 6 now has a little rubber foot under the screen to help keep it from actually flipping off your desk.
What About Other Features?
Before, the larger rubber panel covered up where the fabric jacket of the speaker joined, but now it’s all out in the open.
We bring this up because JBL made a similar decision for the Go 3 and on that smaller speaker,
We found that it made a weak spot that could tear over time.
Here, on the other hand, this spine feels finished and there isn’t a single thread sticking out that could be pulled.
When you download the JBL Portable app to your Flip 6, it gives you a real ace up your sleeve.
Here, you can find other JBL Partyboost-enabled speakers, like the Flip 5.
And connect them in “party” mode, which is mono, or in stereo if you have another Flip 6.
A Flip 5 and a Flip 6 can’t be used together to make a stereo pair, which is a shame but not a big surprise.
Above the feedback tone slider on the Flip 6’s in-app dashboard.
Which lets you turn off audible notifications when pairing, disconnecting, turning off the power, etc.
You’ll now see a three-band equaliser that lets you change the sound.
This is a feature we’ve been hoping for for a long time.
After playing around with the bass, mid, and treble sliders for a while.
We found that adding more midrange or treble was the easiest to hear.
Sad to say, bass lovers won’t get much out of sliding the bass tab to the top, even if they turn down the mid and treble tabs.
But with a design about the size of a hotdog, that shouldn’t come as a surprise, and this speaker has plenty of basses.
We wouldn’t recommend it for indoor listening, but there are times when turning up the treble.
Or mid frequencies to cut through outside noise (like at the beach) is a good thing.
And it does add value in these situations.
What About Sound Quality?
Which, wait for it, it is. Putting the equaliser back to neutral, we stream Prince’s funk-heavy Sign O’ The Times on Tidal from our iPhone.
And are immediately reminded of how quick, agile, and fun JBL’s Flip has been for a long time.
There’s a lot of power and energy across all the frequencies.
And any bloatedness disappears after the speaker has been properly broken in for a night.
Revealing a low end that is surprisingly snappy and has more body than the older model.
Our playlist moves on to “Adore,” and as Prince’s vocals come out, the Flip 6 gives a cleaner and more emotional performance overall.
It sounds more open and spacious than its predecessor, but the timing stays the same across all frequencies.
The keys, kick drum, and lilting guitar at the beginning of Feed Me To The Lions by Amateur Theatre Group.
Gives the song a nice three-dimensional feel. During “Curtains,”
Flip 6 gives a surprisingly accurate idea of where each band member is on the soundstage.
What Is The Final Verdict?
Since the Flip 5 won a What Hi-Fi Award in the past, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Flip 6 is also a five-star product.
It’s easy to hear how the sound has improved in terms of clarity and breadth across all frequencies.
If you want more from the midrange and less from the highs, for example, you can change that in the app.
There is more detail here, and the price is only slightly higher than when the Flip 5 first came out.