The latest iteration of JBL’s signature mini Bluetooth speaker is a graceful evolution. Taking a quick look at the Flip 6, the differences from the Flip 5 seem a bit minor. While things like the USB-C charging port, power and Bluetooth buttons, and various media control layout look the same, there have been some clever updates.
The sound quality is a bit better due to an added 10-watt tweeter on top of the 20-watt woofer. Compatibility with JBL’s mobile app allows for some EQ tweaks to further personalize sound quality, no matter what music player you're using. Most importantly, the IP67 rating makes the Flip 6 perfect for the beach or camping trip. It’s a shame that battery life doesn’t see the same updates, though the 12 hours is still good enough.
These quality updates make the $129 Flip 6 well worth the price. In fact, it's definitely one of the best portable speaker options out there. Between the audio driver updates and JBL app that features a customizable EQ, the sound quality here is terrific. These improvements, from dust resistance to design adjustments, go a long way in making the Flip 6 way more than a simple refresh.
The JBL Flip 6 is a splendid improvement over its predecessor, with phenomenal audio quality and outstanding durability.
- Brand: JBL
- Speaker Type: Mono speaker
- Maximum output power: 20W
- Connectivity: Bluetooth
- Weight: 1.21lbs
- Dimensions: 7 x 2.6 x 2.8 inches
- Purposeful design improvements from Flip 5 including IP67 dust-resistance
- Fantastic audio quality
- Bass heavy
- Can’t use as a speakerphone
- Still no at the ports
Design and features
As mentioned previously, the design of the JBL Flip 6 hasn’t changed a lot aesthetically. However, the improvements go a long way in making it seem like more than just a light rehash. The JBL logo is much bigger, and the side radiators feature the company's upside-down triangle and dot insignia. The power and Bluetooth buttons, alongside USB-C charging port and battery indicator LED, really push the design forward, fitting in a smaller oval wrap, and the mesh wraps around the entire speaker on the sides. For a nice added touch, there’s a small bar that serves as a stand when lying the Flip 6 down horizontally.
Though the Flip allows users to listen to the speaker vertically, it’s not conducive to the absolute audio quality experience; but it’s a cool trick. For individuals who like to color coordinate their audio experience, the Flip 6 is available in six colorways. The Flip 5 already featured a sturdy build with IXP7 waterproofing. This time around, the Flip 6 adds IP67 dust resistance, which means the audio quality shouldn’t degrade after multiple trips to the beach. On its own, the sturdy portable speaker can handle bumps and drops without issue too.
Feature-wise, the portable speaker retains the JBL PartyBoost feature that allows users to connect multiple Flip 6s for a louder party experience or stereo sound. Users can connect by pressing the PartyBoost button next to the pause/play and volume up/down buttons or through the JBL app. Outside displaying battery life and pushing out firmware updates, there’s a handy equalizer that helps personalize the Flip 6’s audio experience on the app as well. Nothing too complicated or robust, but the JBL app helps improve the user experience.
It’s just a shame that the speaker can’t be used for phone calls, which feels weird considering many users are likely connecting to the Flip 6 through their phones. The biggest reason is that it doesn't have a microphone. Having a mic in addition to water and dust resistance would have probably hiked the price past its fair $129 price point, so it’s understandable.
Following the Flip 4 release, JBL axed the aux port in later releases, which is a shame, and this continues on the Flip 6. Besides the fact that wired connections sound better, it’d be nice to connect devices that may not have Bluetooth, like certain vinyl record players or projectors. Having an aux port could also possibly increase battery life on both the portable speaker and the device it’s streaming audio from. Sadly, the Flip 6 can't do that.
Sound and battery life
Flip series sound quality has always been incredibly bass-heavy with respectable volume levels. This continues with the Flip 6, but with some admirable improvements. Adding a 10-watt tweeter does allow for more musical nuance during listening sessions. If listening to jazz, classical music, or rock in a quiet area, mids and treble are clear enough to distinguish between instrumental layers. The JBL mobile app can increase the sound clarity of more complex instrumentation through EQ settings though the Flip 6 generally leans more into bass-heavy territory.
Sitting poolside or hanging out on the beach, the Flip 6 is definitely for individuals who favor bass-heavy genres like EDM, Hip Hop, and modern Pop music. Despite its size, some powerful bottoms come out of the speaker. During testing, two albums came to mind, including Rosalia’s Motomami album released earlier this year and Beyoncé’s most recent House-influenced project Renaissance. Even with the bass cranked to the max, the sound never cracked. JBL understands the market for the Flip 6 very well, and the audio experience caters to that demographic.
Though JBL promises around 12 hours of battery life for the Flip 6, we were able to get a good 10 1/2 to 11 hours before it shut off completely. During usage that test, the volume and bass were at max. This is definitely good enough for beach-side romps with friends and White Claws. Charging the Flip 6 takes about two and a half hours, and it’ll still work while being charged. Also, it’s now easier to keep track of battery life through the JBL app as well, considering the LED light doesn’t help much until it's near death.
Should I buy the JBL Flip 6?
The incremental updates from the JBL Flip 5 aren’t easily noticeable on the Flip 6, but they make a difference. Everything from the audio experience to the compatibility with the JBL mobile app helps elevate the mini portable speaker. Simply put, the music listening experience on the Flip 6 is a blast regardless of the genre. However, bass-heavy genres sound the best.
Design-wise, the small changes, including the small stand bar, cuts instability that kept previous iterations from being the absolute best. Having IP67 dust resistance this time around into the mix definitely provides a new layer of durability alongside waterproof capabilities.
Once someone pulls out the Flip 6, it’s obviously a party is about to start — especially if their outfit matches one of the colors available. During our time with the audio device, the Flip 6 was simply a joy to use. Just understand that the Bluetooth speaker shines when outdoors for a weekend party with friends or group Yoga session. The phenomenal audio clarity, cleverly evolved design, serious durability and respectable battery life make the Flip 6 a top contender for anyone in need of a small wire-free speaker within the sub $150 range. Hopefully, a phone call doesn’t interrupt any vibes, though.
At $129, there’s plenty of value with the Bluetooth speaker, as the JBL Flip 6 is also one of the coolest portable speakers out today.
Buy it if…
- You want to turn up at the beach or poolside
- Your average music experience leans more toward bass-heavy genres like EDM, Pop, and Hip Hop
Don’t buy if…
- You need to also use your phone on occasion
- You want to connect outside of Bluetooth