Over the last few years, Anker has been climbing up the popularity ladder for its range of quality and affordable electronics. Be it its powerful power banks or the handy wall charger. And the Anker Soundcore Flare wireless Bluetooth speaker is one of the latest products to join the lineup.
On the first glance, this one has all the right features under its hood such as a waterproof design, interesting design and well, a colored lighting strip at the bottom.
Another reasonably popular Bluetooth speaker is the JBL Flip 4. The successor to the popular Flip 3, this one boasts of good build quality and a waterproof design. Most importantly, it has the JBL tag attached to its name.
And the best thing is that both speakers fall in the sub $100 price bracket.
So, it’s only fair that we pit both the Bluetooth speakers against each other and see which one suits your needs the most.
Let the game begin.
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1. Design, Portability and Looks
Are you familiar with the design of the Amazon Echo? If yes, you will find the design of the Anker Soundcore Flare to be quite similar. It sports a slightly cylindrical look with the bottom gently tapering out and makes it appear stylish.
The speaker measures just around 15 cms in height, making it small enough to lift it easily with a single hand. The controls for music playback, bass boost, and the RGB LED are at the top, while the strip of LED is at the bottom. And a stylish-look fabric grille finishes up the look of the Soundcore Flare.
The Soundcore Flare sports a solid build quality, and many users on Amazon praise the same.
Most importantly, it has an IPX7 rating. That means you can easily take it to the pool or the shower. Though there’s an opening for the charging port and the 3.5mm headphone jack, a small rubber flap ensures that you do not have to worry about water damage.
Last but not least, you’ll find the light ring at the bottom. The best part about this wireless speaker is that there’s a nifty button at the top which lets you cycle through all the different lighting modes.
So, whether it’s pulsating to the latest track from Maroon 5 or grooving to a soothing song, that button is the key.
Interestingly, the JBL Flip 4 follows on the footsteps of its predecessor regarding the design. It sports the same cylindrical design with the bass radiators on either end. At 6.9 x 2.75 inches, it’s just a tad bigger than the Flip 3.
However, what makes the Flip 4 stand out is its slightly rugged design, all thanks to the exposed passive bass radiators at the end and the fabric.
Furthermore, this speaker is also rated IPX7, meaning you can take it out with for a spin either to the swimming pool or to the beach. That said, Flip 4 has neat battery indicators along the sides to give you a rough estimate of the juice left in it.
Plus, the cylindrical design and the fact that it weighs merely 1.1 pounds, which means that you can easily toss it in the bag, or hook it to your bag’s handle. Plus, the build quality is decent, something which many users agreed about.
So, who wins when it comes to looks? Well, if you are looking for a speaker with slightly gimmicky features and a distinctive look, you should give the Flare a shot.
A trendy or a quirky design goes for a dive if the underlying hardware is of sub-par quality — be it the battery or the connectivity. Thankfully, when it comes to those areas, both the JBL Flip 4 and the Soundcore Flip don’t disappoint.
The latter sports Bluetooth 4.2, though it lacks NFC. All you need to do is press the pairing button, and then pair it with your smartphone. Also, you can also connect two speakers at a time to get the surround sound feel.
On the downside, the Soundcore Flare doesn’t come with any Bluetooth codec, except for the basic ones.
Unfortunately, this means you’ll face lags and delays while watching movies and videos.
Thankfully, there hasn’t been much issues related to signal or connection drops. As per most of the users, the device is easy to connect. However, when it comes to reconnecting old devices, the situation can get a tad complicated.
Flip 4 has a similar profile, and sports Bluetooth 4.2, but lacks NFC and high-quality Bluetooth codecs. When it comes to the connection quality and the pairing process, nothing but good things have been said about it.
And the interesting part is that the power button also has a cool backlight, which makes pairing devices a charm.
For instance, when a device is paired to it, the power button glows blue. Else, it glows white when there are no connected devices. Though the JBL connect+ button allows you to pair it with other Flip 4 speakers. However, it won’t work on Flip 3 or older speakers.
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3. Sound Quality & Streaming Codecs
Yeah, sound quality is one of the most important aspects of any audio device, be it an expensive gadget or an affordable one. However, it would be wrong to expect a $60 speaker to give the same output as its pricier cousins.
With that in mind, let’s see how the Soundcore Flare performs in the sound department.
Let’s start with the right things. As per the guys at SoundGuys, this one sounds impressive for the price. Plus, it produces an admirable bass, which can be boosted even further through the Bass up feature.
Interestingly, the JBL Flip 4 has a sound signature, which is loud and clear. However, at high volumes, the sound still distorts.
On the upside, the bass radiators, that protrude from either end, does its job in giving you the grunt of the bass.
Last but not least, let’s have a look at the battery life. Both the speakers promise a battery life of around 12 hours. But for a speaker, the battery life largely depends on the volume levels. If you play at the top rung, the chances are that you will lose the charge soon. With Soundcore Flare, you also have to keep the intensity of the LED lights in mind.
When it comes to practical usage, the folks at Tech Radar tested the Soundcore Flare and found the battery to last about 8 hours in 50% volume and medium intensity LED lighting. You can get even longer hours if you switch the LED off.
Interestingly, the JBL Flip 4 with its 3000mAH battery can get you around 12 hours of battery life — something which has been verified by the folks at Sound Guys.
Also, when idle, this waterproof speaker’s charge loss is almost negligible.
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A good Bluetooth speaker has to have the right balance of everything. On top of having a great audio output, it comes with a solid build and a long battery life.
When it comes the JBL Flip 4, it checks almost all the points you’d need in a Bluetooth speaker. But look a little deeper, and you will find that it somewhat lacks originality. If you have seen the JBL Flip 3, you wouldn’t find much difference between the two, at least on the first glance.
On the other hand, the Anker Soundcore Flare doubles as your sidekick for your parties. Be it the cool and trippy LED light ring or the performance, all you have to make sure is that you do not crank it to the highest volume.
Next up: Speaking of Anker, did you know that it also produces wireless charging pads? Take a look at the comparison below to find out if you should buy one.
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