Under its appearance of not touching it, the portable speaker JBL Flip 6 marks a clear break with the Flip 5, thanks to a revisited acoustic formula. JBL has installed an additional speaker and amplifier to make it more musical, especially at high volume. Small, sturdy, easy to transport, the JBL Flip 6 has serious assets to win in its category.
Still just as compact, the JBL Flip 6 Bluetooth speaker is one that you take everywhere with you to listen to music or enjoy quality sound while watching a series on a smartphone or tablet. Solid, waterproof, it does not fear being jostled, immersed in water or placed in the sand. For this sixth vintage, JBL has only made minor aesthetic changes, but doubled the number of transducers and amplifiers to better separate the frequency registers. The Flip 6 is therefore a 2-way model and this is considerable progress.
JBL Flip 6 Specs
This test was carried out with a loudspeaker lent by the manufacturer.
Design of the JBL Flip 6
The JBL Flip 6 evolves relatively little compared to the Flip 5, except for the brand logo, which goes from the small red square to the large embossed JBL letters and the same color as the speaker’s dress. . The Flip 6 is therefore presented in the form of a cylinder approximately 18 cm long and 8 cm in diameter, very largely covered with Kvadrat fabric. The gray hue of our model is obtained by weaving black, anthracite and light gray mesh, which gives it discreetly sophisticated reflections. The fabric is curved at the level of the contact zone with the side reinforcements of the enclosure, which it covers on the front part.
The silicone base of the speaker prevents it from tipping or rolling when it is placed, and orients it slightly upwards for a more direct diffusion towards the listener. On the top are the silicone control buttons, while the back side houses the backlit power and Bluetooth pairing buttons, as well as the USB-C charging port and an LED bar indicating the power. battery status. Finally, the JBL Flip 6 speaker has a wrist strap for hanging or transporting.
The JBL Flip 6 oozes toughness, is fully waterproof and dustproof with IP67 certification, and impresses with its design and build quality.
Use and application of the JBL 6
The JBL Flip 6 is intended to be used in the privacy of a room a few dozen centimeters away, placed on a bed or a bedside table, just as much as on a picnic tablecloth, a swimming pool edge or even the sand of a beach. Throughout the multiple weeks that this test lasted, it was always comfortable: easy to transport, easy to position and even to suspend or attach thanks to its strap. There is always a place for it, hanging from the armrest of a camper van seat or secured to the luggage rack of a bicycle.
The control buttons are simple to operate and their relief makes it easy to identify them, even with your eyes closed. The volume increments are quite numerous and allow you to adjust the volume fairly finely, more so than by means of the buttons on a smartphone. The play/pause button allows you to skip to the next track with a double press. No possibility to go back to the previous track though.
By default, the speaker emits a tone when turned on and when it connects to a Bluetooth source. However, it is possible to turn off all interaction sounds.
An app with equalizer
JBL still offers the same basic application to manage its Bluetooth speakers. JBL Portable provides access to some useful features, in addition to updating the firmware, such as a three-band EQ (bass/mid/treble) or Party Boost mode. The latter can combine several JBL speakers together (up to 100 in theory) to deliver more immersive and powerful sound.
JBL Flip 6 firmware update enables 3-ban EQ
The update only takes two minutes.
The main page of the JBL Portable app.
This mode does not require having the same speakers and I was able to listen to the Flip 6, the JBL Charge 5 and the Extreme 3 simultaneously.
The onboard Bluetooth 5.2 controller supports multipoint connection, allowing the JBL Flip 6 to be used with two Bluetooth sources simultaneously. The connection is very stable and the advertised range of 10 meters is respected, even through a wooden floor. When powered on, the speaker reconnects to the last paired device, very quickly.
JBL Flip 6 audio
The JBL Flip 6 marks an important evolution in the Flip range, since, unlike the Flip 5 which only had a wideband speaker, the Flip 6 inherits a soft dome tweeter, like the JBL Charge 5 and JBL Extreme 3. Necessarily, the addition of a 16 mm transducer, exclusively dedicated to high frequencies, modifies the behavior of the Flip 6 at the top of the spectrum and makes high-pitched sounds more audible at mid-range. But that’s not all theoretically, since the 8 x 4.5 cm bass-midrange speaker, now working on a narrower frequency range, should gain in efficiency and precision.
This loudspeaker is associated with two passive radiators, which mechanically amplify low frequencies below 80 Hz and reduce the excursion of the main transducer membrane. After checking, the speaker produces abundant bass up to 55 Hz and cuts off clearly below. This is a fine performance for such a small speaker and good news, since effective reproduction of bass sounds around 60 Hz gives an impression of listening fullness.
The amplification is also evolving with now two amplifiers instead of one: the first 20 W, for the bass-midrange speaker, and the second 10 W, dedicated to the tweeter. We can therefore legitimately hope for a better transient regime for each loudspeaker and overall better sound. Finally, only the SBC codec is supported, which is not a problem as the quality of the amplification and the transducers take precedence over the wireless sound transmission method.
I listened to the JBL Flip 6 speaker with an iPhone 13 Pro Max from Apple Music, in various conditions: indoors, from 50 cm away to several meters, as well as outdoors, in quiet nature and in the seaside, with the ocean surf in the background. Either way, the speaker performed wonderfully, delivering consistently nice and balanced sound. Note that like many Bluetooth speakers, the small JBL Flip 6 reduces the volume of low frequencies beyond 40% of its volume, in order to preserve its amplification and the membrane of its speakers.
It’s a little less than a Charge 5 which reduces the airfoil beyond 60%, but in absolute terms not very annoying, because the Flip 6 plays very loudly at 40% and can be heard without difficulty at several meters .
The JBL Flip 6 is simply excellent to my ears, clearly superior to version 5. It delivers a generous sound in the bass, soft and analytical in the midrange, fine and bright in the treble. The balance between the different registers is skilful and the recipe totally successful. Despite its small volume, it manages to hit quite hard and rather low (55 Hz) and does not leave the listener hungry.
The Flip 5 didn’t seem to go so low, its mids were rougher and its highs less fluid. In short, this sixth iteration is very pleasant.
- Bass: soft and generous up to 55 Hz, it often surprises with its presence and low drag (passive radiators generate little inertia)
- Medium: precise and textured, its balance can appeal to many ears. The voices are very well rendered.
- Treble: thin and airy thanks to the new tweeter
Dynamic behavior and soundstage
This is a strong point of the JBL Flip 6: its macro-dynamic capacity is good and the speaker is also capable of significant dynamic differences, without giving in to aggressiveness. The sound is therefore very controlled, no matter what it is given to play. The reproduction of the voices is entirely satisfactory and, in this game, the Flip 6 does as well, if not better, than the Charge 5. You have to lend your ears to the Extreme 3 to taste more detail and refinement. The small JBL Flip 6 does very well with movies and series played from a laptop, smartphone or television.
Monophony obliges, the soundstage cannot be wide, but it surprises with its depth. The good dynamic behavior allows a pleasant staggering of the sound planes, without annoying compaction. In practice, the broadcast sound is well articulated and the voices stand out well. In this game, it does better than the JBL Flip 5 and the JBL Charge 5.
JBL Flip 6 microphone
No microphone on the JBL Flip 6, which was already the case with the previous model. So we can’t make calls with her.
Autonomy of the JBL Flip 6
JBL advertises up to 12 hours of battery life and I measured 13 hours after using the speaker at around 10-30% volume, listening to my usual playlists. It’s a little less than a Flip 5, but logical since two amplifiers are now integrated. As for the battery, it recharges in about 2h30.
JBL Flip 6 price and release date
The JBL Flip 6 speaker is available in black, white, grey, red and blue, priced at €139 including VAT. It’s not the least expensive of the small mobile speakers, but one of the best in its category.
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