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JBL Clip 3 Review

Still hanging around…

JBL is still going strong, making some of the best portable Bluetooth speakers available on the market. Their Clip series is one of their cheaper, smaller designs, but still packs that solid, warm JBL sound you get from their larger, more expensive speakers.

The Clip range are tough, little portable speakers that can endure a decent beating, whether out at the pool or going on a hike. With the Clip 3 come some much-needed features, without messing with the things that made the previous generation so great.

So, let’s dive a little deeper into everything that’s new, and find out if it’s actually worth the upgrade in our JBL Clip 3 Review…

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Our rating:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Design

At first sight, you might not notice any differences between the 2nd and 3rd generations. But upon closer inspection, some small tweaks have been made to the design. For example, the carabiner was previously attached to the speaker separately, but has now been built into the speaker. This adds some extra durability to the whole unit.

The front buttons remain the same, although they are now embedded into the fabric of the speaker, providing the modernized look most wireless speakers have adopted. The back of the speaker is now a solid plastic mold, with a 3.5 mm jack for those who still want to plug in a device.

Come rain, come shine…

The Clip 3 is fully waterproof with an IPX7 rating, meaning it can be submerged in water up to 1 meter. Unlike UE products, though, it cannot float. So, don’t be taking it on any boat rides soon.

The whole speaker is quite light, weighing only 222 grams, making it perfect for carrying around anywhere, including hikes, beach strolls, or clipped on your bag.

Sound


Sound quality wise, it hasn’t changed much from the previous generation. That isn’t a bad thing, though, because the 2nd generation had a pretty decent sound profile. Listening to music is pleasurable, with a nice rounded sound. We never like we were missing something, with instruments sounding warm and clear, with the vocals nicely mixed into the sound.

However, the speaker does struggle a bit when there are a lot of instruments playing together, which is forgivable, considering the small size of the speaker.

Let’s be realistic…

Bass-heavy music also lacks some punch, again due to the small size of the speaker. But, to be honest, expecting earth-shattering bass from something this size is unrealistic.

If a louder, bass heavier sound is what you want, then there are plenty of other options like the JBL Flip 4 and JBL Flip 5. These speakers are still portable, but a little larger with some extra low-end.

We found the clip perfect for the average consumer who wants to listen to all types of music and podcasts on the go or at home. This is also the perfect shower speaker, for those who like listening to music or podcasts while getting covered in water.

Connectivity and Battery Life


Connecting to the JBL Clip 3 is relatively simple. After powering on your speaker, just press the Bluetooth button and connect your device to the speaker. The Clip series has definitely had its fair share of connectivity problems, and that doesn’t really change here. There aren’t any hi-res codecs available, so the connection is only standard SBC.

The speaker has Bluetooth version 4.1, which means the range is only about 10 meters or so. This is more than enough for regular use, and consider the purpose of this speaker, with its clip, it probably won’t ever be far from the user.

Ring, ring…

There is also a built-in microphone, which is quite useful for answering and ending calls with voice prompts, especially when the speaker is wet or out of reach.

The battery life on the Clip 2 was quite average, but JBL has made considerable improvements to the battery life on the 3rd generation Clip speaker. It can now provide just over 16 hours of playback on a single full charge. That is some really solid performance for such a small unit.

Expect less in the great outdoors…

That said, this was indoors at about 60% volume. If you are outdoors, you might need some extra volume, which will lower the amount of battery life.

However, one of the biggest disappointments is the fact that the Clip 3 still uses micro-USB charging instead of USB-C.

Who is the JBL Clip 3 for?


Basically, active people who enjoy long hikes, picnics, or camping. The JBL Clip 3 with its carabiner that makes it easy to clip onto anything like a bag or belt and take it around with you.

It’s also great for the shower superstars who enjoy performing renditions of their favorite songs whilst showering. It’s easy to clip on anywhere in the shower and blast out your favorite tunes.

Fans of podcasts…

If you are like us, you also enjoy the occasional podcast. We found this speaker the perfect podcast companion, with a great, clear vocal sound profile. With its awesome portability, it makes listening to podcasts anywhere you want simple and easy.

JBL Clip 3 Review Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Stunning battery life.
  • IPX7 waterproof.
  • Vocals sound great.
  • Decent Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity.

Cons

  • A lack of low end.
  • Still uses micro-USB.
  • No hi-res codecs.

Looking for more excellent JBL speaker options?

If so, check out our reviews of the JBL Charge 4, the JBL E45BT, the JBL Xtreme, the JBL Charge 3, and the JBL Xtreme 2.

You may also be interested in our in-depth reviews of the Best Wireless Outdoor Speakers, the Best Bluetooth Speakers with Radio, the Best Solar Powered Bluetooth Speakers, as well as the Best Tailgate Speakers currently available.

JBL Clip 3 Review Round-Up

The JBL Clip 3 is a solid addition to not only the Clip range, but all of JBL’s speakers.

JBL CLIP 3 review


With great vocal clarity, excellent battery life, and a durable, solid-body construction, finding a better small portable speaker is going to be difficult. It’s also priced well, making this speaker a hard one to turn down.

Happy listening.

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