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Portable Bluetooth speakers are widely available now, with some of the most trusted and biggest brands having their own offerings. This is a great development because it gives users plenty of options and allows them to get excellent speakers at lower prices. In fact, UE Wonderboom and JBL Flip 4 are just two of the many outstanding speakers that are priced well below $100.
Which one of these two speakers is the better buy than the other? First, let’s take a look at the features, design, and the things that each product got right.
Do not let the Wonderboom’s small size fool you. Despite its compact form, this speaker from Ultimate Ears delivers serious sound. The Wonderboom has a barrel shape and measures 4.02 by 3.68 inches.
The speaker projects sound from all sides, giving you 360 degrees of music. What’s more, the controls are all hidden behind a rubberized enclosure, which helps keep the speaker safe from water. The speaker is wrapped in a mesh fabric and that is only broken by the huge volume buttons. At the top, you will see the buttons for pairing and power. It also has the UE logo, which doubles as the playback button.
One of the things that people would love about this speaker is the range of colors you can choose from. It has fun colors, too, such as cashmere pink, fireball red, and unicorn.
Waterproof and Shockproof
The Wonderboom is designed to last for a very long time. First, it has an IPX7 waterproof rating, which means that it will survive being submerged in water up to 3.3 feet deep and for up to 30 minutes. These speakers can also withstand getting dropped from a height of five feet.
How Does the Wonderboom Perform?
There is only one word to describe how the UE Wonderboom sounds: excellent. It does mids and mid-bass well, and the highs are not bad either. However, there is some distortion at higher volumes. The Wonderboom delivers clean bass.
The UE Wonderboom comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that gives you up to 10 hours of music at full charge. When the battery runs out of juice, you can charge it via the micro-USB port hidden away at the bottom. It takes less than three hours for the battery to fully charge.
You can wirelessly connect up to two devices to the speaker via Bluetooth. Wireless devices need to be not more than 100 feet for music playback.
You can also connect the UE Wonderboom to another speaker. Plus, it works with Google Assistant or Siri.
What You Would Love About the UE Wonderboom
Music lovers and party people would love the UE Wonderboom as it delivers crisp and excellent sound in one small, compact, and handy package. In fact, for a speaker its size, it may even exceed most people’s expectations. What’s more, the UE Wonderboom is very affordable. It first came out in the market at less than $100, but now you can buy this Bluetooth speaker for a much lesser price. You can get it for around $50 to $60 on Amazon.
It is easy to fall in love with this speaker. It doesn’t cost too much, it sounds great, and it is loaded with features that you can usually find only on more expensive Bluetooth speakers.
UE Wonderboom: What Can Be Better
For a speaker that is made to withstand being dipped in the water and survive even the roughest drops, the Wonderboom is not tested to be dustproof.
The UE Wonderboom has an elastic loop at the top that allows you to hang it. But this loop is really small, and while it makes it ideal for you to attach it to your backpack, bike, or bag using one of its hooks, it is challenging to find other good spots to hang it. For instance, if you want to bring your speaker into the shower and enjoy some K-Pop music while scrubbing up, you won’t be able to hang it from the showerhead. A carabiner would have helped, but it is not included in the package.
JBL Flip 4
JBL’s Flip line of portable Bluetooth speakers has always been praised for its excellent sound and durability. The Flip 4 continues that reputation, with even more amazing sound, toughness, and longer battery life.
The JBL Flip 4 is available in several colors, including black, camouflage, teal, and red, among others. It has a cylindrical form that measures 6.9 by 2.8 inches. You have physical buttons on the speaker itself, allowing you to set the volume and pair it with another device using Bluetooth. It also has a play button that allows you to skip a track by pressing it twice.
Then there’s a power button, an indicator light for the battery level, and another button that will start the process of connecting the JBL Flip 4 with other speakers from the same manufacturer.
Waterproof and Tough
The JBL Flip 4 has a waterproof rating of IPX7. You can put it underwater up to one meter deep and for up to 30 minutes. It can accidentally fall into an aquarium and still play music for your fish.
How the JBL Flip 4 Fares
You may think that Flip 4 would compromise sound quality because of its size. Most small Bluetooth speakers often have lousy bass and vocals. However, the Flip 4 will surprise you as it delivers crisp and clear treble, a full mid-tone, and excellent lows. Without seeing the speaker, you wouldn’t be able to guess that the high-quality sound you are hearing is coming from a device that small.
What else should you know about the JBL Flip 4?
- Battery. The JBL Flip 4 has a rechargeable battery that can give you uninterrupted music for up to 12 hours.
- Speakerphone. The Flip 4 can also act as a speakerphone that delivers great sound quality and makes your voice sound fuller than ordinary speakerphones.
- Connectivity. The JBL Flip 4 connects to other devices via Bluetooth. You can also control your music and skip tracks using the companion app.
What You Would Love About the JBL Flip 4
The JBL Flip 4 comes from a long line of quality portable speakers. And it shows. The Flip 4 corrects everything that people didn’t like about its predecessor, the Flip.
Even without comparing it to earlier products from JBL, it will shine on its own. Moreover, the Flip 4 is very affordable. When it came out, it was one of the best Bluetooth speakers under $100. Nowadays, you can get the Flip 4 on Amazon for around $70 to $80.
JBL Flip 4: What Needs Improvement
The JBL Flip 4 may come highly recommended for those who are looking for a speaker that is affordable yet has great sound quality. But it is not perfect. For one, the sound manifests a slight distortion when you play music at a high volume. However, this is a typical trade-off for small Bluetooth speakers.
Another thing that some users complain about the JBL Flip 4 is that the companion app doesn’t really do much. Aside from setting the play button to activate Google Now or Siri, there are only a few features offered. It doesn’t even have an equalizer that can help you tweak music playback according to your liking. There’s also no alarm or any other feature that may extend the speaker’s usefulness.
Comparing the JBL Flip 4 and the UE Wonderboom
The UE Wonderboom and the JBL Flip 4 have both been replaced with newer models: the UE Wonderboom 2 and the JBL Flip 5. So if you are the kind of person who likes to get his hands on the latest electronics with all the best features, then you might want to consider these newer versions.
However, you don’t really have to say no to the original Wonderboom and the Flip 4. For people who don’t mind not owning the latest in everything, these two speakers have always been good contenders in the sub-$100 Bluetooth speaker space. You get quality sound from waterproof, colorful, and durable speakers. In short, these are quality products that you can get for a discount.
JBL Flip 4 vs. the UE Wonderboom: A Side-by-Side Comparison
The table below summarizes the differences and similarities between these two products.
|Model||UE Wonderboom||JBL Flip 4|
|Price range on Amazon||$50 to $60||$70 to $80|
|Battery runtime (hours)||10||12|
|Dimensions (in inches)||4.02 by 3.68||2.8 by 6.9|
|Weight (in pounds)||0.87||1.14|
|Bluetooth range (in feet)||115||200|
If you are looking for a portable speaker that delivers exceptional sound playback, then you would want to get the UE Wonderboom. The Flip 4 is noticeably taller than the UE product and it weighs more as well.
Both speakers have an IPX7 rating, which guarantees that it will not break down even if you accidentally submerge it in water. Both were not tested for how resistant they are to dust, though.
Where the UE Wonderboom Wins over the JBL Flip 4
Both of the UE Wonderboom and the JBL Flip 4 speakers might be able to survive a quick swim. However, the former has one trick up its sleeve: it does not sink and just floats on the surface of the water. This buoyancy makes it easier to retrieve and it helps ensure that it does not get damaged even if it gets submerged in deeper waters.
Additionally, if you like quirky colors for your speaker, then pick the Wonderboom over the Flip 4. What’s more, the UE Wonderboom is more affordable and is lighter than the Flip 4.
Where the JBL Flip 4 Wins over the UE Wonderboom
The Flip 4 allows you to connect to another device using the AUX port. This helps you connect older non-Bluetooth devices to the speaker. The Wonderboom is completely wireless, which means that it will only allow you to connect to devices and other speakers via Bluetooth.
The JBL Flip 4 also lasts two hours longer than the Wonderboom’s 10-hour runtime. Moreover, while the Wonderboom has a variety of color options, the Flip 4 has a more muted offering for the colors of its speakers.
Other reasons why JBL Flip 4 is a better buy:
- Has a battery level indicator
- Has a wide Bluetooth coverage and can connect to devices up to 200 feet away
- Physical buttons are easier to click
- Can handle lower frequencies better
- Stereo speakers
- An active speaker and passive radiator
- Includes an AUX input
JBL Flip 4 vs. UE Wonderboom: Which One Should You Choose
In a toss-up where you have to choose between a JBL Flip 4 speaker and a UE Wonderboom, it is going to require you to spend a lot of time coming to a decision. These two speakers deliver excellent sound quality and have the same weaknesses at higher volumes. However, depending on what you need, there is one perfect choice for you.
The JBL Flip 4 has an aux port that allows you to wire it to older devices that do not use Bluetooth. It also has a wider Bluetooth range, a longer battery life, and a slightly better sound quality. However, the UE Wonderboom does not fall very far behind when it comes to delivering clear treble and deep bass. What’s more, it floats on water and it is obvious that a lot of thought went into the design. It is lighter, smaller, and more affordable than the Flip 4 too.
Looking for a slightly better sounding speaker? Go for the JBL Flip 4. Looking to save a few bucks without sacrificing sound quality? Go for the UE Wonderboom.