Choosing a portable speaker is a tricky business – especially since there are quite a few ones out there. But JBL’s mini speakers have always been the hot favorite among most, maybe because they’re also quite affordable. The JBL Clip 3 costs $60 on Amazon, and Rs.7300, here, in Nepal. And is it worth that money?
The JBL Clip 3 comes in the same round form factor as its predecessor, the JBL Clip 2. But there are some obvious differences. First, the size is a bit bigger, and it is also slightly thicker. This makes the Clip 3 slightly heavier at 210 grams. The carabiner or the clip, (whatever you all it) here has also changed, and I think this is a bit more practical. Plus, the clip on the JBL Clip 3 is integrated around the speaker, i.e. it wraps around the perimeter of the speaker. This makes for a good bumper and adds protection.
But the integrated clip comes at the cost of the 3.5 mm audio cord that enabled you to connect it to your phone or laptop directly without Bluetooth. That helped save battery, but sadly, this feature is now not available. However, there is an audio port, so, you can connect it directly, but there is no cable inside the box. So, you’ll have to get your own. There’s also a micro USB port for charging besides the audio port and is enclosed by this tight seal, which adds to its water resistance.
But it is already IPX7 Water Resistant, so, you can play it while you shower or such. And this thing floats too! So, if you’re having a mini pool party of sorts, then, you can use it for that as well.
Plus, there’s a rubber pad on the bottom, that aids the grip even while lying on the table so that it won’t slide off the surface if you mistakenly push it off. As for the buttons, the Volume and Play / Pause buttons are on the speaker mesh itself.
JBL speakers never compromise on the sound quality, and this one doesn’t either. The Clip 3 plays rich sound and makes for a very immersive audio experience. It is quite a bit better than Clip 2, to say the least. It could still use more bass, but even with what it has, it’s still better than its predecessor. This one sounds fuller, and it’s also louder.
And the bass is actually okay for a speaker this size. Playing bass requires something larger, so, the constraint is its size. If you want something with a lot of bass, go for the JBL Flip 4. The bass on this one is only noticeable while playing tracks with a lot of bass. For other types of music, it performs really well.
The sound has got high definition and rich tone. If you’re familiar with “bright sounds” and “warm sounds”, this one is on the brighter side…but not to the extreme. That is why the audio from this speaker is crisp and has got clarity. You’ll have no problem understanding the lyrics of the songs you’re listening to. And this little speaker can handle the highs and lows very well. Listening Bohemian Rhapsody to test that led to a highly exhilarating experience.
Also, you get quite the head-room. That means, there is none or a negligible amount of distortion even at very high volumes. Even at full volume, the sound quality is good. Of course, if you’re listening to rock in a closed room, then, high volume isn’t advised. But if you’re having a party or get-together, then, it’s okay.
Another thing is, this speaker might not be for metal fans. It does an okay job on metal tracks, but the size is the constraint here. Most portable speakers can’t handle metal very well, and the ones who do can be quite expensive.
Just like there’s the Bose Soundlink Micro with similar size, but can give you better bass than this one, but again, costs like $100!
Connectivity and Battery
Moving on to the other aspects of the speaker, this speaker has Bluetooth 4.1, so, the range is only about 10 meters. Connecting it to your phone or laptop is very easy. You just pair it once, and for other times, it connects to your device automatically.
There is also no latency for the audio to play. The only slight delay can be seen while playing/pausing a song for about 0.5 seconds, and those are seen on all kinds of speakers!
The Clip 3 misses out on the JBL Connect+. That is, you can’t connect multiple JBL Clip 3 speakers to a single device via the Connect+ app. That feature was there in the Clip 2, but it’s not present here. Still, it’s okay. Who owns multiple JBL Clip 3 speakers anyway?
As for the battery, this small speaker has got a 1000 mAh battery, which claims up to 10 hours of battery life. And the speaker does get close to 10 hours at medium volumes. If you listen to it at very high volumes, you’ll get about 4 hours of battery life. Charging is done via a micro USB cable. There is no adapter included inside the box. And if you use your phone’s regular adapter, it will take about 3 hours to fully charge it. For a speaker as small as this one, I think that’s all well.
The JBL Clip 3 is a great speaker for the price. It’s got a very nice design, the right amount of heft, and a sound quality I can really not get bored listening to. You can use this even while gaming to make your gaming experience more immersive.
I wouldn’t recommend this for the metal-heads out there, but for others, it does a great job. And I think the price is right as well. But I’d like to point out that the Clip 2 is available for $40 in Amazon. So, if you’re looking for something cheaper, that’s a good deal.
However, here, in Nepal, the Clip 3 provides a better value for money, as the Clip 2 still costs upwards of Rs.6000. So, there you have it, the Clip 3 – good things come in small packages!