JBL Flip 4 vs UE Boom 2: Which Will You Love More?
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Bluetooth speakers are my favorite audio product of recent times. Sure, anyone can get behind a meda expensive set-up for the utmost audio fidelity, but there is something so nice about a compact and inexpensive system that produces fantastic sound.
The compact and tough exteriors make these speakers perfectly suited for taking on the go. Add that to 360 degree sound on both and these Bluetooth boxes are sure to spruce up a party.
While both will achieve that, only one is right for you. Read on to see how the JBL Flip 4 fares against the UE Boom 2.
My Bottom Line Up Front: For most users, I prefer the UE Boom 2 available here for the excellent app functionality, better midrange, and custom color options.
|JBL Flip 4||UE Boom 2|
|Frequency Response||70Hz – 20kHz||90Hz – 20kHz|
|Transducer||2 x 40mm||2 x 45mm|
|Output power||2 x 8W||2 x 8W|
|Music playing time||up to 12 hours||up to 15 hours|
|Battery Life time||3.5 hours @ 5V1A||2 hours @ 5V1A|
|Price||About $99.95 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)||About $149.95-$199.95 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)|
JBL Flip 4
Coming out of the gate, the Flip 4 distinguishes itself as being a no-frills option for a Bluetooth speaker. The sleek waterproof design accents the fantastic quality with no extras to drive up the cost.
Despite being straightforward in design, the Flip 4 has a smorgasbord of features to boot. From the excellent waterproofing to the expansiveness with JBL Connect+, the Flip 4 has a list to satisfy personal users and those trying to be the life of the party.
The first and most obvious feature is the IPX7 waterproofing built into the exterior of the Flip 4. This means that the speaker is completely rain and splash resistant. It can even be fully submerged into water up to three feet deep.
Using the Flip 4 is more than just listening to must. A speakerphone feature is built in allowing you make and receive calls. The microphone cancels out echos so your voice comes through crystal clear.
The mic pulls double duty allowing you to access both Siri and Google Now. Simply speak like you would to your smartphone and the speaker will communicate back to your phone and pull up whatever you need.
However, none of these features compare to JBL Connect+. You can pair up to 100 (yes, you read that correctly) Connect+ enabled speakers to all stream the same source. This could mean that you have a full system of Bluetooth speakers around a party.
100 speakers can be a lot to handle and latency issues will come into play at the high end. However, there are better ways to spend $10,000 outside of buying 100 Flip 4s. Really Connect+ is best suited for moderate amounts of speaker pairing.
Still, the functionality is there and, for that, the Flip 4 is something special. JBL Connect+ is the standout feature, rounded out by the built-in microphone, Siri and Google Now functionality and stellar IPX7 waterproofing.
The design of the Flip 4 is streamlined. A simple cylindrical shape is familiar, but a limited color palette helps keep the price low. The compact size and low weight ensures that it can be taken anywhere you can.
A departure from the UE counterpart, the Flip 4 only comes in six mono colors. As opposed to the smooth gradients seen on the more expensive Boom 2, you only get a single color. While I love the elegant designs of the Boom 2, the monochromatic scheme works well for the JBL speaker and is a small flaw.
However, the simple color scheme doesn’t match the engineering. Outside of the fantastic waterproofing, the Flip 4 is built to take a beating. Lifestyle materials ensure that, no matter where you take the speaker, it’ll survive.
The internals of the speaker are housed completely inside of rubber. This, as opposed to a more durable material, will absorb much of the shock if the speaker is dropped, protecting the insides. Additionally, a strong clothe grill stands up to rust and decay unlike a metal one would.
The look of the Flip 4 is simple, but the internal design is focused on durability. While you may not find all the color options imaginable, the straightforward approach ensures a consistent price for all speakers.
Unfortunately, the sound doesn’t have the attention to detail that the rest of the speaker does. While it sounds good, the speaker isn’t exceptional and proves that this speaker valued form slightly over function.
The draw of the speaker comes from the two passive bass radiators placed on the sides of the speaker. This takes the strain off of the drivers to reproduce bass frequencies and instead let hollow radiator resonate it. This leads to a much more defined low-end and doesn’t muddy up the rest of the spectrum.
The high-end is equally defined, albeit a little shrill. The highs don’t pierce the ear, but they are very pronounced. The top-off at 20kHz leads to this, instead of extending the range and taking the burden off of the frequencies that the human ear is most sensitive to.
What suffers is the midrange. Underneath all of the bass and treble, the midrange disappears from the speaker. It’s not completely lost, but it’s definitely scooped out. For a Klipsch fanboy such as myself, this is too large of a tradeoff.
That isn’t to say the speaker sound bad because it certainly does not. For my tastes, taming the highs and allowing the mids to come through more would be a huge advantage. However, a extra hyped sound may be what you’re looking for. Plus, the context this speaker is intended for doesn’t lend itself to high fidelity audio equipment anyway.
JBL Flip 4 Overall
The Flip 4 is a great speaker for someone on a budget. The limited color options make the choice easy, and the inclusion of the wonderful JBL Connect+ and IPX7 waterproofing give this option both flexibility and longevity. Faults in audio are disappointing, but easily overlooked in the intended context.
UE Boom 2
The UE Boom 2 stacks up with a considerable more amount of options. However, color combination accourt for very little, especially since some will run up the cost. Still, the UE gains advantage over the JBL due to its stellar audio fidelity.
The Boom 2 is highly competitive with the Flip 4 in terms of its features. The pairing abilities with a massive load of speakers is still present, as well as waterproofing and an integrated app.
It trades blows and wins against the Flip 4 in terms of pairing. UE allows up to 150 devices to be strung together at any given moment. This includes the Boom 2, the original Boom, and the Megaboom speaker. The app will show you a layout of every speaker connected and where they are at in relation to your mobile device.
The app is another huge advantage over the Flip 4. In its base form, the app serves basic play/pause functionality, but it’s much more than that. In addition, you have individual controls for all speakers chained together, customizable EQ and more.
You can find the same IPX7 waterproofing here as well. As mentioned before, that makes the speaker complete splash and rainproof, as well as allowing full submersion in up to three feet of water for up to thirty minutes.
The only downside is lack of integrated speakerphone. A microphone is there and you can take and receive calls, but the echo cancellation on the Flip 4 isn’t seen, so it’s not ideal. You can access Siri and Google Now with the microphone, but must tap the top of the speaker first.
The Boom 2 looks pretty much the same on paper to the Flip 4. However, the small distinction of an app makes a huge improvement. UE has done a fantastic job of making an app that works effectively without getting in the way of using the speaker.
While the Flip 4 opts for a simple, monochromatic aesthetic, the Boom 2 will come in just about any color combination you could want, as long as you’re willing to pay. Outside of that, a few additional features make the usability of this product far better than the Flip 4.
The color combinations are some of the craziest out there, but each looks fantastic. Simple color choices are available with the brilliant cross accent on the front. However, UE also offers beautiful and smooth gradients that wrap around the speaker.
There is much more functionality, though. At the bottom of the speaker is a thread for tripod mounting, as well as a D ring to plug it up. This small feature is important as it allows you to hang speakers up when chaining them together. This is a huge advantage for those putting speakers together for a party.
Another small addition is a plug for the micro USB port and 3.5mm input. While the speaker is waterproof, these plugs are not, so it’s important you use the door if the speaker may get wet. There’s a cutout in the center as well, so you can use the cover while mounted on a tripod.
The beautiful looks of the Boom 2 is primary to the expanded functionality of design. The small additions do a lot for the speaker and expand its usability in a variety of contexts.
What stands out the most about the Boom 2 is the sound it produces. While similar techniques are employed as with the Flip 4, this speaker stands out with a better midrange and less pronounced highs.
Two bass radiators are situated on the opposing ends of the speaker like the Flip 4. The technique stands the same: drivers don’t fully produce low-end and,instead, that bass is amplified through the radiators.
That’s not the distinction between the two. The distinction comes from the high-end. The treble is not as pronounced on the Boom 2 and that’s a huge advantage. Highs are pronounced without becoming shrill and hurting the ears.
Due to this, the midrange flourishes. Now, without the highs and low taking control, the midrange can come through in a beautiful way. While the response isn’t as great as on a Klipsch or something similar, it’s nice to see a good amount of mids present.
The sound from the Boom 2 is much more balanced over the Flip 4. While both speakers sound great, this one edges out with less pronounced highs and, because of that, a better midrange.
UE Boom 2 Overall
This speaker is a considerable improvement over the Flip 4 with just a few tweaks. The extra cost is justified with the fantastic app, better midrange, and multitude of color options. All of that is, if you can afford it.
Conclusion: JBL 4 or UE Boom 2?
Both the JBL Flip 4 and the UE Boom 2 are speakers worthy of your attention. Saving some money on the Flip 4 will grant you with a great sounding speaker with a keenness for rigidity and expandability.
However, if you want all the bells and whistles and a slightly better sound, than the Boom 2 available here is the speaker for you. The multitude of options are great, but you’re going to a pay a premium for it.
Which speaker would you go with? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.
Other Alternatives to Consider
I don’t always like comparing things in a vacuum. If neither of these devices seem like a good fit at this point, check out some of the other similar comps I’ve done:
JBL Xtreme vs Bose Soundlink 3: The Xtreme is a more rugged outdoor alternative, while the Soundlink might offer the higher end sound that you are looking for.
JBL Flip 4 vs Charge 3: The Charge 3 is very similar to the Flip 4, but might be an option worth looking at as I call it the “supped up big brother of the Flip 4.