Monday, 16 February 2015

JBL Clip

JBL Clip

The market for ultraportable rechargeable Bluetooth speakers is growing, I'm told. Some confirmation to this assertion came when my student daughter asked for one, so that her music can follow her around without the need for pesky headphones. This is exactly the sector that JBL is targeting with the 'Clip', a device which resembles an old style pocket watch, unaccompanied in this instance by a tardy white rabbit in a hurry.

This might seem an odd shape for a speaker, but why it was chosen quickly became apparent in some of JBL's marketing images. The Clip is meant, through the integrated karabiner, to be attached externally to a backpack or similar bag.

This is perfect for those who feel that their musical choices are so excellent that they need to share them with everyone else, so they may experience those life changing tracks in that exact order. Exactly how noisy it can be, though, is thankfully limited by what you can do with a single 40mm driver that is rated at 3.2 watts. Also, it can only run for a maximum of five hours (or less if the volume is set high) and recharging takes at another two hours, with a 0.5A Micro USB charger (not supplied). Connection is via Bluetooth or an integrated audio jack cable, and for those using it from their phone there is the added benefit of it functioning as a hands-free kit through an answer button and microphone.

The device is built to withstand some abuse, built as it is around some especially dense plastic forming a double injection housing. Although JBL don't mention any water resistance for those who like music on the beach, even if the device does look made for precisely that environment.

Audio output seems impressive for the size of the Clip, though I'm sure audiophiles would probably eviscerate the limited frequency range and inherent distortions it brings with it. What I can say is that it is significantly louder than most phones, and reduces the impact on the playing device's battery by generating the sound so it doesn't have to. Beyond that I don't have the ears or equipment to validate its musical credentials.

The price appears to be what the lower end of Bluetooth portable speakers are going for, even if this reviewer thinks it is slightly more than they're worth. You can get cheaper ones, but probably not as robustly made as this one is.

For those who feel the need to be colour coordinated with their peripherals, JBL are offering the Clip in red, blue, grey, black and purple. Mark Pickavance

A small portable Bluetooth music sharing speaker.

Clip specifications:
• Support: A2DP V1.2, AVRCP V1.4 (iOS 7 compatible), HFP V1.6, HSP V1.2
• Transducer 1x 40mm
• Rated power: 3.2W
• Frequency response: 160Hz - 20kHz
• Signal-to-noise ratio: >80 dB
• Battery type: Lithium-ion polymer (3.7V, 600mAh)
• Battery charge time: 2 hrs @ 0.5A
• Music playing time: up to five hours (varies by volume level and audio content)
• Dimensions (H x W x D): 107mm x 88mm x 42mm
• Weight: 150g