JBL Flip 6 isn’t perfect, but it’s by far the best Bluetooth speaker in the Flip series. Its fuller and more refined sound make it ideal for small parties and movie nights.
JBL’s Flip lineup of portable Bluetooth speakers is one of the best solutions for music on the go. With their ideal size and power, you simply can’t go wrong with them.
After more than 2 years, JBL has finally introduced a successor to the Flip 5 portable speaker.
JBL Flip 6 comes with quite a few changes. Apart from the most noticeable change in design, the speaker features a dedicated tweeter, making the sound more resolving in the highs.
The companion app is actually useful now since it stores a custom EQ, which helps correct the sound on higher volumes.
Also, the new speaker is more durable than before, adding dust resistance to an IP67 rating.
Is the JBL Flip 6 all good, or are there any cons for the speaker? Should you upgrade if you already own a previous-gen Flip speaker? Read the full review to find out.
- Rugged, portable design
- Fuller, more refined sound than Flip 5
- Custom EQ inside the JBL app
- No built-in mic for phone calls & summoning voice assistant
- Pricier at launch than its predecessor
How Has JBL Flip 6 Evolved From the Previous Model?
The new model started at a $10 higher price tag than the Flip 5. However, the price has recently dropped to $130, which is the same MSRP as the Flip 5’s at launch.
The new speaker has a different exterior design (no more orange JBL tag), a little foot that prevents it from rolling, and a slightly softer rubber protecting the dual passive radiators.
JBL Flip 6 has a more balanced frequency range and sounds airier compared to the predecessor, mostly due to the extra tweeter. However, when listened to side by side, the Flip 6 can sound a bit quieter next to a more aggressive Flip 5.
The battery life is sadly worse on the new speaker, probably due to that tweeter eating up additional power (Flip 6 is rated for 30W compared to 20W of the Flip 5).
You get a much-needed custom EQ inside the app for the Flip 6.
The best sounding JBL Flip speaker to date, with good sound dispersion. However, the lack of sub-bass extension leaves a lot to be desired.
Check the JBL Flip 6 Sound Test
Despite being as tall as a 0.5-liter bottle of soda, the new JBL Flip 6 can sound surprisingly full.
The new dual speaker design helps to keep higher frequencies nice and crisp.
That’s also the most significant difference between Flip 6 and Flip 5. The other Bluetooth speaker only uses one driver to cover the whole frequency spectrum, resulting in a lack of resolution.
However, the Flip 6 still isn’t perfect.
The woofer boosts the lower bass a bit more than in the upper bass.
Consequently, the Flip 6 sounds warmer and fuller than the Flip 5. Also, the bass feels ever so slightly more controlled compared to the last-gen speaker.
A hump at around 130Hz helps bring out the punch on more popular music genres. This hump is pretty standard among wireless speakers.
At around 65Hz, the deep bass dives down and disappears. That’s understandable since simple physics prevents the speaker from going even deeper.
However, that also means that the sub-bass is occasionally painfully missing. Especially when playing songs where you know it’s there, but you don’t hear it.
The bass quantity stays the same on volumes above 70%, whereas other frequencies get louder.
That’s normal for Bluetooth speakers to prevent drivers from burning out. But that also means that the sound isn’t as full and punchy when cranked all the way up.
Be aware that the bass does distort a little at pretty much all volumes, so don’t expect a tight, audiophile performance.
The mids are relatively balanced and free of sibilance and harshness.
You can hear both vocals and instruments like drums nice and clear, even at lower volumes. Details are pretty good for a Bluetooth speaker but nothing special.
The best thing is definitely midrange clarity and naturalness. A separate tweeter helps bring the vocals to life compared to the Flip 5, which sounds muffled in comparison.
Higher frequencies are a big improvement over the previous generation.
Cymbals don’t feel as mushed together, and if you listen to music at lower volumes, boosting the treble in the app brings out more details.
However, it can quickly become harsh when raising the volume above 70%. In that case, it’s advisable to lower the treble all the way down in the JBL app.
Another huge upgrade over previous Flip speakers is the sound dispersion.
Before, you would have to carefully position the speaker to sound the best for everyone. Now, the sound remains unchanged even at more extreme angles, which is excellent.
The separate tweeter also adds air to the sound, making it less congested. You don’t feel as if you’re listening to a mono channel. Although, you also don’t hear any soundstage.
Nevertheless, JBL Flip 6 sound quality is an overall improvement over its predecessor, both in its fullness and its more natural sound signature. It’s easily among the best outdoor speakers on the market.
JBL Flip 6 Frequency Response
JBL Flip 6 improves on ruggedness with an IP67 rating, making it officially dust tight. The speaker is dressed in a signature durable fabric but has a softer rubber protecting passive radiators.
JBL speakers are built for crazy swimming pool parties and outdoor enthusiasts in mind. That’s why they’re fully waterproof and come in a rugged shockproof body.
While both Flip 4 and Flip 5 have an IPX7 rating, the new JBL Flip 6 comes with an IP67, adding complete dust-resistant protection in the mix.
Moreso, the exterior is now more modern-looking and resembles the Charge 5 model.
Gone is the small orange JBL badge on the center. Instead, you get big JBL letters made of metal. At the first glance, they look rugged. Sadly, they’re easily scratched.
Also, the rubber protecting the two passive radiators is softer than the one on the Flip 5. It can more easily scuff when dropped, making the speaker look beaten up.
Thankfully, that doesn’t affect the performance in any way.
Another small change is that the Flip 6 uses less rubber where the charging port, on/off, and Bluetooth buttons are.
Instead, there’s more of that quality-feeling fabric wrapped around the speaker, protecting the 2 drivers inside.
Even a string to tie the speaker on your backpack is better made and feels more durable.
A cool little touch is a small rubber foot that stops the speaker from rolling and helps to keep it in an optimal position.
The battery life is worse compared to previous Flip speakers and lasts around 8 hours and 23 minutes at 50% volume. Speaker charges via USB-C charging port.
The new JBL Flip 6 should pack the same battery life as the Flip 5 and Flip 4. However, you get only around 8 hours and 23 minutes of listening time on moderate volume.
It seems that the speaker uses more power due to the additional tweeter. That also means that the RMS power has jumped from 20W to 30W. Consequently, the speaker’s louder sound eats more battery.
Nevertheless, while that seems low, it’s more than enough for a lengthy party. As long as you don’t use it on high volume levels, it should last you all night.
Also, based on previous experiences with other speakers from the JBL brand, the battery can hold a charge for more than half a year.
The USB-C charging port is exposed and water-resistant. Speaker has a protection that warns you if there’s still some moisture or foreign particles inside that could cause harm.
You can see the remaining battery either in the Bluetooth menu, in the JBL Portable app, or by looking at the illuminated LED line on the speaker itself.
- While there are no words about support for fast charging, it takes around 2.5 hours to fill up the speaker from 0-100%.
Like the Flip 5, the Flip 6 also lacks a 3.5mm jack for wired listening.
This is the first JBL speaker to come with a custom EQ. Also, it supports PartyBoost for connecting multiple speakers at once. Sadly, no mic for taking phone calls and no AUX port.
In most cases, Bluetooth speakers are plug-and-play gadgets that don’t offer that many customizations.
While some speakers provide far better control over commands and audio equalization, it’s good to finally see JBL bringing those features to their products.
The best thing about JBL Flip 6 is supporting a custom EQ. Even though the speaker sounds great out of the box, the treble can become harsh at higher volumes.
In that case, having an EQ for a quick audio configuration is a godsent, even if you can only adjust the Bass, Mid, and Treble for -/+2dB.
The JBL PartyBoost feature lets you connect other compatible JBL speakers to play simultaneously. But, they have to support the same feature, as well.
For example, you can connect a Flip 5 to a Flip 6, but you can’t pair it with a Flip 4 (even though the latter also supports a similar feature).
Fortunately, both Party mode and Stereo mode work on a previous-gen speaker. That way, you don’t need to use another JBL Flip 6 to get the full functionality of the PartyBoost feature.
Pairing two speakers in a party mode add a noticeable boost in power and bass slam. You can easily fill up a decently large room with a punchy sound, which is impressive considering the size.
Sadly, the 6 doesn’t have a built-in microphone for answering calls or summoning a smart assistant.
And, the speaker lacks an AUX port, so the only way to connect it is via Bluetooth.
JBL Flip 6 comes with a Bluetooth 5.1, strong connection and range, multipoint support, and minimal lag for watching videos.
Since you usually don’t keep a portable Bluetooth speaker near when listening to music, it’s essential the speaker has a solid Bluetooth connection.
The JBL speaker more than delivers. It offers a range of 60 feet in a house, with at least 2 brick walls in between the speaker and smartphone.
Outdoors, the range gets a lot better, reaching around 130 feet. After that, the audio starts stuttering and becomes unlistenable.
The pairing process is pretty simple. When powering on the speaker for the first time, it starts pairing automatically.
For all the pairings afterward, you simply press a dedicated button for Bluetooth on the speaker. A loud beeping sound indicates that the speaker is in pairing mode.
On top of that, the Flip 6 supports multipoint connections for up to 2 devices.
What Bluetooth Codecs Does It Use?
The Flip 6 only supports an SBC. This standard Bluetooth codec is more than enough for the quality you can expect from such a device. Supporting something like an LDAC would make little sense.
The speaker works equally well on Android and iOS.
Is There an Audio Lag?
None whatsoever when watching YouTube and videos on a smartphone.
There’s a tiny delay when watching movies on a laptop, but it isn’t distracting. The speaker offers an excellent movie-watching experience if you find laptop speakers lacking in loudness and bass.
Should You Get JBL Flip 6?
The biggest problem with JBL portable speakers is their sound. While it’s perfect for parties, its bass forwardness isn’t suitable for all music genres.
JBL Flip 6 is so far the best attempt at making a universally great Bluetooth speaker that will please both casual listeners and audio purists.
It offers a very refined and full sound for its size. And thanks to the latter, you can easily store it in a backpack and bring it along.
Thanks to durability, you don’t have to worry if it falls on the floor, in the water, or gets completely covered in sand.
It’s also an excellent replacement for laptop speakers if you want a better movie-watching experience.
If you don’t already have a Bluetooth speaker, grabbing the new Flip is a great idea. You might even want to consider it as an upgrade from the Flip 4 or an older Flip.
On the other hand, if you already own the Flip 5, the purchase is a bit harder to justify. Sure, you get a more refined sound and a custom EQ, but the differences aren’t that huge.
Also, there’s a lot of competition at $140, which is $10 more than the MSRP of the Flip 5.
Nevertheless, buying from a reputable brand is usually safer, and when it comes to JBL speakers, they rarely disappoint.
How does JBL Flip 6 compare to the competition?
- JBL Flip 6 has a slightly more refined sound than the competition but not by much.
- It’s very portable and durable, with an IP67 rating. Most other speakers don’t have similarly rugged exteriors.
- Speaker offers strong Bluetooth connection with multipoint and minimal lag on Windows laptop.
- The battery life of 12 hours is about average for a Bluetooth speaker.
- While it comes with a custom EQ, speakers from other brands offer more frequency bands in their graphic equalizers.
JBL Flip 6 Alternatives
JBL Flip 5
Similarly punchy but less full sound with a more muffled treble performance in comparison.
The JBL Portable app only allows firmware updates and PartyBoost features, no EQ.
It has the same 12-hour battery life and USB-C port. The construction is almost identical but with slightly stiffer rubber around radiators, which doesn’t scuff as easily as Flip 6.
Very similar in design, this speaker has a 360° sound with punchy bass and decent clarity across the frequency response.
It also has a 3.5mm jack and a built-in microphone but lacks the app, complete water resistance, and has a worse battery life of around 7 hours per charge.
Speaker also uses a micro-USB port for charging. On the other hand, for $90, it’s also cheaper.
What’s in the Box?
- JBL Flip 6 Bluetooth speaker
- USB-C charging cable
- User guide & warranty card
|Drivers:||20W woofer + 10W tweeter|
|Weight:||18.8 oz (533g)|
|Mic & Controls:||Controls only|
|Charging time:||2.5h – USB-C|
|Active noise cancelling:||/|
|Wireless range:||130 feet outdoors, 60 feet indoors|