Monday, October 13, 2014

JBL Flip 2: A Little Bluetooth Speaker with a Mighty Punch!


A great way to enjoy the boom!

I thought it would be nice to do a little bit more than phone and tablet hardware for a change, I started asking my review partners for a few cool accessories. After all, there is a lot more to mobile technology and enjoyment than just the phone/tablet itself. Ok, there are smartwatches too, which I'm still trying very hard to get my hands on.

So here is a cool toy that everyone can appreciate, no matter which OS you prefer. While there are several bluetooth speakers out there to choose from, and I've played with a dozen or so, the JBL Flip 2 bluetooth speaker has a pound and a punch to dish out. Stick with me a little longer and let's walk through what the Flip 2 speaker has to offer, together.




As a true lover for music and all things with a beat or rhythm, I love to listen to music during all parts of my day. During the day in the office, something low playing in the background is best, but when at home with the family, or in the car, I really like to crank up the tunes. The hardest place to get tunes though, is outside in the yard or by the pool. And by the pool is where we really need some tunes. Aside from installing a grandioso outdoor sound system, the JBL Flip 2 is a melodious alternative.

The JBL Flip 2 is a cylindrical speaker that is just over eight inches in length and 4 inches in diameter. The main body of the speaker is covered with a pinhole grill just as that of a car stereo speaker. The capped rubber ends include functional buttons to interact with the device. On one end are buttons for power, volume up and down, bluetooth sync, and believe it or not, answer a phone call. Yes, just as most all bluetooth devices, the JBL Flip 2 will allow you to talk to callers while connected to your phone. That must also mean that somewhere in there behind the pinhole speaker grill, there is also a microphone. On the other end of the speaker is a spot for NFC connectivity which will make pairing and connecting NFC capable devices much easier and faster.


In addition to bluetooth connectivity, it also has a standard headphone jack, along the back, as another option for musical input. The Flip 2 uses a micro USB connection for charging and it's plug is also around back right beside the headphone jack. When fully charged, there are five tiny battery indicator lights which glow white, turning off one at a time as you use the device and use up the juice. Because the speaker is a completely round cylinder, it uses a small rubber foot which wraps around the back to support it and keep it from rolling around on the table. This also allows it to tilt backwards so that the music projects up as well as out.



The JBL Flip 2 is available from Verizon Wireless in 5 different colors: Blue, Red, Black, White, and Yellow. It will only set you back about $100 bucks (and no, there is not a 2 year contract involved with that price). That sounds relatively inexpensive comparatively to others you may find on Amazon or Best Buy. But after you hear the sound quality coming out, you'll soon agree that $100 is a great deal. There are a few additional parts to come along with the speaker. In the box you will find a micro USB cord and a wall charger, and their color will match that of the speaker you chose. Also, a small leather pouch which fits all parts and makes it easy for on the go such as the beach or camping trip. Completing the package are user manuals and warranty paperwork. 


My kids and family really enjoyed this bluetooth speaker. Inside the house, the kids enjoy playing a game they call "Dance Party". Turn off the lights, turn on the music, and crank it up loud. Dance around the living room until your feet fall off. The JBL put off so much sound, we had to turn it down. That's not something we are used to with our "other" bluetooth speaker which just so happens to be a Jambox. The music streamed flawlessly without hiccup or distortion. 



In the outdoors, I took the Flip 2 out to my sister's pool, and the sound quality and performance was just as remarkable as before. To test it's limits I walked as far away as her half acre backyard would allow. I had crossed the entire terrain with nowhere left to go but around the house and the music is still playing crystal clear, and loud. I was over 80 feet away from the Flip 2 speaker with the phone in my hand. I decided to round the corner of the house and make my way to the side yard. The instance that I completely rounded the corner and there was longer a direct line of sight between the phone and the speaker, the music started to choke out. I was somewhere between 80 and 90 feet away from the speaker before that happened though.

Final Thoughts
Personally, I have 2 different bluetooth speakers. One the Jambox mentioned earlier the other is an iHome product. Both of which are blown out of the water by the quality, volume, and distance of the JBL Flip 2 speaker. The fact that it is so unexpectedly loud, actually builds up the adrenaline during a good ole Dance Party and you have to keep dancing. This is a recommended buy if you are in the market for an accessory of this type. It's light, travels well, very loud, and the battery lasted for hours: from late morning to late afternoon, non-stop music by the pool. 

What other bluetooth speakers have you tried? Do any of them seem to compare with the JBL Flip 2? Let me know your recommendations down in the comments.

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