Under its appearance of not touching it, the portable JBL Flip 6 speaker marks a pure break with the Flip 5, thanks to a revised acoustic formula. JBL has installed an extra speaker and amplifier to make it more musical, especially at high volume. Small, robust, easy to transport, the JBL Flip 6 has serious assets to gain in its category.
Still just as compact, the JBL Flip 6 Bluetooth speaker is one you take with you everywhere to listen to music or enjoy quality sound while watching a series on a smartphone or tablet. Solid, waterproof, it is not afraid of being pushed, immersed in water or placed in the sand. For this sixth year, the JBL has made only minor aesthetic changes, but doubled the number of transducers and amplifiers to better separate the frequency registers. Flip 6 is therefore a 2-way model and it is a significant advance.
JBL Flip 6 specifications
This test was performed with a speaker lent by the manufacturer.
Design of JBL Flip 6
The JBL Flip 6 changes slightly 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 dress. . Flip 6 is therefore presented in the form of a cylinder of approx. 18 cm long and 8 cm in diameter, very largely covered with Kvadrat fabric. The gray color of our model is achieved by weaving black, anthracite and light gray mesh, giving it discreetly sophisticated reflections. The fabric is curved at the level of the contact zone with the side reinforcements of the cabinet, which it covers on the front part.
The speaker’s silicone base prevents it from tilting or rolling when placed, and orients it slightly upwards for a more direct spread towards the listener. At the top are the silicone control buttons, while the back contains the backlit power and Bluetooth pairing buttons, as well as the USB-C charging port and an LED bar indicating battery status. Finally, the JBL Flip 6 speaker has a wrist strap for hanging or transporting.
JBL Flip 6 oozes toughness, is completely waterproof and dustproof with IP67 certification and impresses with its design and build quality.
Use and use of JBL 6
The JBL Flip 6 is meant to be used in the privacy of a room a few dozen inches from you, placed on a bed or a bedside table, as much as on a picnic tablecloth, a poolside or even the sand from a beach. Throughout the many weeks that this test lasted, it was always comfortable: easy to transport, easy to place and even to hang or fasten thanks to its strap. There is always a place for it, hanging in the armrest of a motorhome seat or attached to the luggage carrier on 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 increases are quite numerous and allow you to adjust the volume quite nicely, more than through the buttons on a smartphone. The play / pause button allows you to skip to the next track with a double tap. However, there is no option to go back to the previous issue.
By default, the speaker emits a tone when it is switched on and when connecting to a Bluetooth source. However, it is possible to mute all interaction sounds.
An app with equalizer
JBL still offers the same basic application to control its Bluetooth speakers. JBL Portable provides access to some useful features, in addition to updating firmware, such as a three-band EQ (bass / mid / treble) or Party Boost mode. The latter can combine multiple 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 Flip 6, JBL Charge 5 and Extreme 3 at the same time.
The built-in Bluetooth 5.2 controller supports multipoint connectivity, making it possible to use the JBL Flip 6 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 turned on, the speaker will be restored to the last paired device very quickly.
JBL Flip 6 sound
JBL Flip 6 marks an important development in the Flip series, as Flip 6, unlike Flip 5, which only had a broadband speaker, inherits a soft dome tweeter, such as JBL Charge 5 and JBL Extreme 3. A 16 mm transducer is necessarily added , dedicated exclusively to high frequencies, changes the behavior of Flip 6 at the top of the spectrum and makes loud sounds more audible in the midrange range. But that’s not all theoretical, as the 8 x 4.5 cm bass midrange speaker, now working on a narrower frequency range, should gain in efficiency and precision.
This speaker is connected to two passive radiators, which mechanically amplify low frequencies below 80 Hz and reduce the oscillation of the main transducer diaphragm. After checking, the speaker produces ample bass up to 55 Hz and interrupts clearly below. This is a fine performance for such a small speaker and good news, as efficient reproduction of bass sounds around 60 Hz gives an impression of listening volume.
The gain also changes with now two amplifiers instead of one: the first 20 W, for the bass midrange speaker, and the second 10 W, dedicated to the treble speaker. We can therefore rightly hope for a better transient regime for each speaker and generally 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 audio transmission method.
I listened to the JBL Flip 6 speaker with an iPhone 13 Pro Max from Apple Music, under different conditions: indoors, from 50 cm away to several meters, as well as outdoors, in quiet nature and by the sea, with the sea surf in the background. Either way, the speaker performed fantastically and delivered a 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 gain and the diaphragm of its speakers.
It is slightly smaller than a Charge 5, which reduces the bearing surface above 60%, but in absolute numbers not very annoying, because Flip 6 plays very loud with 40% and can be heard without difficulty on several meters.
The JBL Flip 6 is simply excellent in my ears, clearly superior to version 5. It delivers a generous sound in the bass, soft and analytical in the midrange, fine and light in the treble. The balance between the different registers is skilful and the recipe completely successful. Despite its small volume, it manages to beat quite hard and quite low (55 Hz) and does not leave the listener hungry.
Flip 5 did not seem to go that low, its midrange was rougher and its heights 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 air resistance (passive radiators generate little inertia)
- Medium: precise and textured, its balance can appeal to many ears. The voices are very well reproduced.
- Treble: thin and airy thanks to the new treble speaker
Dynamic behavior and sound image
This is a strong point of the JBL Flip 6: its macrodynamic 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 quite satisfying, and in this game, Flip 6 does just as well, if not better, than Charge 5. You have to borrow your ears for Extreme 3 to taste more detail and sophistication. The small JBL Flip 6 performs very well with movies and series played from a laptop, smartphone or television.
Monophony obliges, the soundscape may not be wide, but it surprises with its depth. The good dynamic behavior enables a comfortable shifting of the sound planes without annoying compression. In practice, the broadcast sound is well-articulated, and the voices stand out well. In this game it performs better than JBL Flip 5 and 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 not call her.
Autonomy of JBL Flip 6
JBL advertises for up to 12 hours of battery life, and I measured 13 hours after using the speaker at about 10-30% volume while listening to my usual playlists. It’s a little smaller 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, gray, red and blue at a price of 139 € including VAT. It’s not the cheapest of the small mobile speakers, but one of the best in its class.