The JBL Flip 3 review: Big sound for a decent price

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I have a good number of Bluetooth speakers and I can now add the JBL Flip 3 to the mix. I have a waterproof one in the shower, a Logitech UE Boombox in the kitchen, an iLive 2.1 Bluetooth speaker set in my office and another small no-name Bluetooth speaker at work. However, I’ve come to discover that while I have all these speakers at my disposal, I don’t really use any of them, well, except for the UE Boombox in the kitchen.

I’m very particular when it comes to the Bluetooth speakers I use. It must have decent battery life, must be able to take some water and it must be convenient enough to transport. The UE Boombox fits all those needs, except it’s a bit on the chunky and heavy side, so it typically sits in my kitchen. Needless to say, I’ve been in need of a decent Bluetooth speaker that doesn’t break the bank and I can take with me anywhere.

Enter the JBL Flip 3. The folks at JBL were kind enough to let me take this tiny Bluetooth speaker for a spin, but does it fit everything I require in a speaker? Let’s find out.


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What’s In the Box

  • 1xJBL Flip 3 Speaker
  • 1xMicro-USB cable
  • 1xQuick Start Guide
  • 1XSafety Sheet
  • Warranty Card


The JBL Flip 3 speaker I received came in Teal. It wasn’t my favorite color to begin with but it has quickly grown on me. The speaker itself is a cylindrical shape 64mm tall, 169mm wide and 64mm deep. Coming in at 450g (just under a pound), the speaker has some heft to it.

Wrapped mostly around the speaker is a woven fabric that gives it a good grip when you go to pick it up. The JBL logo is square in the middle of the front of the speaker. On the back is a Bluetooth, + and – volume control and a phone button. Below that is a power button, Bluetooth status and connect indicator, and a five LED battery indicator. Under the indicator, is a Auxiliary and Micro-USB port housed in a protective cover.

Buttons, ports, battery indicator, power connection and Bluetooth indicator all rest on the back of the speaker.
Buttons, ports, battery indicator, power connection and Bluetooth indicator all rest on the back of the speaker.

On each side, is a JBL Bass Radiator with the JBL logo on it. On one end is a strap and connector. The speaker has a weight at the bottom of it. It acts both as an anchor and rights the speaker for optimal sound should it get bumped or tipped, a handy feature in my opinion.

JBL's Bass Radiator packs a decent punch despite its size.
JBL’s Bass Radiator packs a decent punch despite its size.

The speaker is splash proof. What this means is you can use it near water or any place where it could get wet and be comfortable in knowing your speaker’s going to be just fine. It’s not waterproof, so submerging it is out of the question, but you don’t need to worry about it getting wet.

My only complaint with the design is where the buttons are placed. I found myself searching for the volume button from time to time and while not a deal breaker, buttons could be more conveniently placed.


The main reason we get a speaker is the sound. Duh. The one reason I use my UE Boombox is I think the sound is fantastic. The Boombox will need to take a seat on the bench. The JBL Flip 3 packs amazing sound for its size.

At a decent volume, the speaker was clear, the bass wasn’t overpowering and the speaker sounded pretty amazing. Like most speakers, sounds became muddied at higher volumes, but like Jason said in his JBL Xtreme Review, I found the speaker to be awesome with my phone set at 50 percent volume and the speaker doing most of the heavy lifting.

Once I found a happy balance between the two, the speaker performed quite well, and I have to say, it’s the most impressive sound I’ve heard in a sub-$200 Bluetooth speaker. The speaker is able to connect to another Flip 3 for amazing stereo/party sound.


One of JBL’s handier features is the JBL Connect app. While you can’t do much with the Flip 3 and the app, you can rename the speaker, check battery status (without fumbling for the button on the speaker) and learn how to pair two Flip 3 speakers together.

JBL Connect is a handy complimentary app for JBL's line of speakers.
JBL Connect is a handy complimentary app for JBL’s line of speakers.

Call Quality

Another handy feature of the JBL Flip 3 is the fact that you can use the speaker as a speakerphone. Whether it’s a group get-together or used in an office setting, the speaker works well for phone calls. In fact, my mother told me she had a hard time distinguishing whether I was on speaker or not. As she put it, “you don’t sound as if you’re talking to me from inside a well.”

Battery Life

One of the more important aspects of Bluetooth speakers I look for, besides sound, is battery life. The phone packs a 3,000 mAh battery — the same size in my G4 for reference — and JBL boasts that it lasts up to 10 hours on a single charge.

It came charged out of the box and on initial charge I was able to get about eight hours streaming Google Music at full volume. When I dropped the volume down a bit I found the battery to last longer than the advertised 10 hours, a little under 11.5 hours to be exact.

When it was time to recharge the battery on the Flip 3, I found it did take 3.5 hours to charge from empty to full and it was ready to go yet again. Overall, I was quite pleased with the battery life. In fact, in my normal day to day use, I expect this to last me two weeks or so on a single charge.


The speaker comes in at $99.95. In my opinion, while some would consider this too expensive, it’s really not. For that price, you get great sound, a tiny splash-proof package that boasts speakerphone capabilities. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more durable, better sounding speaker for the price.

Wrap Up

The JBL Flip 3 has quickly become my go-to Bluetooth speaker. From the kitchen to the bathroom to the office, I take this speaker with me everywhere. A $99.95 price tag might give some people pause but like I said before, this speaker packs in a lot of features for the price.

The battery life, durability and portability have made this my recommended speaker of choice. Button placement aside, this is the Bluetooth speaker you want to spend your money on.

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*We were sent a JBL Flip 3 for the purposes of this review.

Last Updated on November 27, 2018.


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