JBL Flip Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
JBL is always a safe bet for quality speakers, and they have delivered yet another solid product in the Flip. It is very well-built, and both looks and feels like a very high quality product. It puts out substantially more volume than most competitors, and has a healthy bass punch for its size, in part due to the faux-woofer it sports on the side. It isn't very deep or extended bass, but it has enough punch to do justice to electronic music and hip hop, and it remains audible over moderate wind noise at the beach. The midrange is very clear, and instrument separation isn't half bad for a speaker of its size at any price. There is some emphasis in the lower treble to make up for the lack of extension inherent to its form factor, but it sounds clear enough, and has no trouble portraying any instruments acceptably, albeit without exceptional realism.The real high point for the Flip is volume: it can easily fill a small room with music without distorting terribly, retaining some level of control with vocals and instruments even when the volume is maxed out. It even has a decently dynamic sound for the size (and price), although the sense of realism decays as the volume is increased. It also has a very usable microphone that is of noticeably higher quality than cheaper competitors like the BTV-1 and Jam Plus.
The JBLs biggest pitfall compared to competitors, especially more expensive products like the UE Boom and Beats Pill, is battery life. The Flip only lasts about 3-5 hours playing music, which is plenty for a single outing, but it will probably need to be charged every time you use it, a bit like charging your smartphone every night; the Jam Plus, on the other hand, will last for ages, and has close to flip-phone-life battery life compared to the JBL. The other downfall is lack of USB charging; while the Jam Plus and UE Boom have the now-standard micro USB port for charging, the JBL uses a generic charger that, while easily replaced through JBL or at Radio Shack or any standard electronics retailer, isnt something that everyone (probably) already has in the car or by the bedside.
That being said, looking at its price, audio quality, and build, the Flip is an outstanding choice if you want to keep it under $100; the UE Boom is its strongest competitor, considering the noticeably better sound and much better battery life, but if the extra hundred bucks just isnt in your budget, the Flip will not disappoint.