JBL Flip: Lilliputian loudmouth

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Watching movies from the comfort of my home beats standing in line, putting up with rude moviegoers, spending extra for mall food, and having to look presentable enough for public consumption. While waiting for amped up audio paraphernalia, I turn to computer and portable speakers, which come up short somehow, somewhere. But JBL wants to change our minds about this product type. The first-generation Flip doesn’t sound and isn’t built as cheap. It is loud enough to fill an average-sized room with clear, strong sound. Turning up the volume maintains fidelity, and its propensity for tinny sound is lower than other speakers’ at this price point. The Flip delivers bass a little better, too, but it performs best when handling rich mid tones and movie audio. Both orientations—standing and horizontal—lend themselves to practical use and balanced sound. I prefer laying the Flip on its back and pushing it a few feet away when I need it to cover a wider space. You can connect to a non-Bluetooth device through an aux cable. When the Flip’s paired with your smartphone, you can also use it as a speakerphone. The Flip comes with a spiffy neoprene case. But the bulky, socket-needy AC adapter for charging can be inconvenient. Verdict For a budget-friendly wireless speaker, the well-built JBL Flip proves to be a solid performer worth more than the few thousands it asks of you. Review by Aritha Zel Zalamea First published in Speed December 2013