I Love JBL’s New Portable, Waterproof Speakers

I Love JBL’s New Portable, Waterproof Speakers

I am the person in my friend group responsible for all of our tech needs, and I take my job very seriously, especially when it comes to waterproof speakers. I’ve got a spare power bank, an instant camera, and, most importantly, a Bluetooth speaker with me at all times, no matter the occasion. So you can understand why JBL’s latest portable speakers can easily fit into my gadget rotation when I’m out with friends.

The Cleer Scene was my portable speaker of choice when adventuring in New York City. Then, I switched to Sony’s Ult Field 1 when it was launched in May. But both pill speakers took up too much space in my picnic tote bag and weighed it down more than I’d liked.

This is the biggest reason I’m a fan of (and have completely switched to) JBL’s new portable speaker line: the Clip 5 and the Go 4. The speakers share the exact weight of just 0.6 lbs and similar approximate dimensions of around three by three inches. Both come with (slightly different) clipping mechanisms, so they can easily attach to my tote without feeling like a burden.

What makes these speakers ideal to be taken on the go, apart from their incredibly convenient form factor, is also their IP67 water and dust rating. That’s among the highest resistance to dust particles, splashes, rain, and sweat a speaker can achieve. I’m specifically impressed with the reasonable price tag on both new speakers. The Clip 5 retails for $89.95 and the Go 4 for $59.95.

My roommate and I had been searching for a good shower speaker for a while now, so I also put the Clip 5 on that duty. I knew its water resistance rating would be able to handle the splashes of water and our wet hands. The clipping mechanism is ideal for convenient use on the shower head. It has been serving us quite well so far. The treble is sharper when used outside of the shower, but that’s due to its acoustics and echo.

Photo: Dua Rashid / Gizmodo

Since the Clip 5 has become a shower speaker, its 12-hour battery life easily lasts weeks before we need to tether it to a socket. The Go 4 lasts around 7 hours, more than enough for a day out with friends.

The sore spot of both speakers are the buttons. They are hard to press, and there isn’t much travel, so it’s tough to tell if you’re even pressing them. For the most part, I used my phone to adjust the volume, which was easier.

Another feature both speakers could have benefitted from was including a cover for the Type-C charging port. Since they’re both marketed as water-resistant speakers meant to be taken on the go, the port should have been covered with a flap opening to ensure water doesn’t go inside. Sony does this on its latest Ult Field 1 speakers.

Both speakers support Auracast multi-speaker connection. Pressing a dedicated Auracast button on the speaker can pair unlimited JBL speakers with Bluetooth 5.3. This list includes the Clip 5, Go 4, Xtreme 4, JBL’s Boombox 3, Pulse 5, and PartyBox Ultimate.

I tried the feature with the Clip 5 and the Go 4, and the result was a cool stereo effect that sounded too good for a $150 setup. The process is straightforward and takes less than a minute to set up. I can’t think of a simpler way to have multi-directional stereo sound.

The triangle spiral button is for Auracast connection.

JBL’s new speakers are a steal for less than a hundred bucks. It’s been a few weeks, and I have already recommended these to multiple friends. An economical, water and dust-resistant, sufficiently long-lasting, and great-sounding speaker to attach to a belt loop is exactly what you need for your adventures.

The JBL Clip 5 can be pre-ordered for $89.95. The JBL Go 4 can be pre-ordered for $59.95.

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