Robust and well-built speakers are vital to hiking trips, get-togethers, and pool parties, and the Bose SoundLink Flex and the JBL Flip 6 fit these descriptions. These speakers are well-built and can easily survive a day out in the wild or the beach. At the same time, they are powerful and deliver a loud sound output.
So this brings us to the question—which portable Bluetooth speaker should you pick between the Bose SoundLink Flex and the JBL Flip 6?
Well, that’s what we will explore in this post as we pit the Bose SoundLink Flex against the JBL Flip 6.
Let’s get started. But first,
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Design and Connectivity
Bose’s SoundLink Flex is the successor to the old glory of yesteryears—SoundLink Micro. And like its predecessor, it boasts a solid build. The IP67 rating makes it safe from water and dust damage. Interestingly, it can also float on water.
Though it’s a hardy speaker, it’s lightweight and portable. It barely weighs 1.23lb and doesn’t add much bulk, especially if you want to carry it on your hiking trip. At the same time, the smooth silicone exterior does its duty of absorbing the impact of minor bumps and falls. It’s worth noting that while the silicone layer adds a smooth finish, it also attracts dust and lint.
It’s a versatile device and can be laid on its back or propped up. Interestingly, the PositionIQ tech inside adjusts the audio output as per the placement. And irrespective of the device’s placement, it will balance the sound.
When it comes to connectivity, unfortunately, Bose has still stayed with the older version of Bluetooth. For now, the SoundLink Flex comes with Bluetooth 4.2. The latest crop of portable speakers sports Bluetooth 5.1 or Bluetooth 5.2. So that’s a little bummer for SoundLink Flex. However, the folks at CNET felt that the connectivity was solid and the speaker rarely dropped the connection.
The JBL Flip 6 looks very similar to its predecessor – JBL Flip 5. It has the same cylindrical look with plastic bumpers on either side. The grille goes around the device, except for the spine, which bundles the Power button. It also has a loop. However, there is no clip to fasten it.
Like its counterpart, the Flip 6 is also ‘almost’ lightweight. If we talk numbers, it weighs around 1.12 lbs, and you can easily carry it in your tote bag or outdoor bag.
One of the best things about this JBL speaker is its IP67 rating. Unlike the SoundLink Flex, this one can also survive a dip in salt water. And this makes it perfect for beach parties. On top of that, you do not have to worry about sand and grit getting stuck behind the grille.
Regarding connectivity, the JBL 6 comes bundled with Bluetooth 5.1. The new version of Bluetooth has a comparatively better range and bandwidth. It supports SBC and AAC audio codecs. However, JBL has excluded high-quality Bluetooth codecs like aptX or LDAC from this portable Bluetooth speaker.
Most portable speakers come with a smart companion app, and the SoundLink Flex is no exception. The companion app, Bose Connect, brings a handful of features, including Party Mode and Voice Prompts. The former makes it easy to connect the speaker to other Bose speakers for an amplified sound. The good news is that you can enable the Party Mode directly from the speaker.
At the same time, the Voice Prompts allow you to use voice assistants like Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant through your phone. However, it’s not a smart speaker and doesn’t have Wi-Fi. It means your phone must always be connected to the speaker for this to work.
The JBL speaker also comes with its own JBL Portable app. And like its counterpart above, it also has a PartyBoost Mode. You can pair it with another JBL speaker to amplify the volume output. However, note that it will switch to stereo only when you pair it with a JBL speaker of the same gen.
The best part is that you can tweak the EQ, per your preference. As you may already know, this option is missing in the Bose SoundLink Flex.
The JBL Flip 6 and the SoundLink Flex are built for the outdoors. Hence a longer battery life on these portable Bluetooth speakers seems apt. Thankfully, JBL and Bose did add a sizeable battery to these speakers.
The SoundLink Flex is rated at 12 hours. Provided you do not blast music at high volume and have a good connection, it should last you that long. At the same time, the USB-C charging fastens the charging process. If we talk numbers, it takes just 4 hours for a full charge.
At the same time, the JBL Flip 6 doesn’t bundle a huge battery. It still has a decent battery life and can last up to 12 hours on moderate volume. The folks at Sound Guys tested this speaker and found it to last just a little over 9 hours.
The 10+ hours of battery life makes these devices apt for the outdoors, whether it’s a hiking trip, camping trip, or poolside party.
Being outdoor speakers, the Bose SoundLink Flex is powerful and can deliver a fairly loud audio output. However, it’s not powerful enough to fill a large outdoor or indoor space. For that, you will have to take the aid of other speakers.
That said, it delivers a balanced audio output. The audio appears clear and crisp. The best part is that the bass is more defined. However, you can’t tweak the EQ.
Thankfully, the JBL Flip 6 has no such limitations. The customizable EQ in the companion app means you can tweak the EQ as per the song type. More importantly, it delivers a dynamic sound. The folks at Hi-Fi argue that the speaker delivers enough oomph and energy. The audio is clear, and the bass is more pronounced than its predecessor.
In short, it’s the party speaker that you are looking for.
Bose SoundLink Flex vs. JBL Flip 6
So which portable Bluetooth should you choose—Bose SoundLink Flex or the JBL Flip 6? Well, let’s start with the SoundLink Flex. It delivers decent audio and the IP67 rating makes it very versatile. However, the lack of EQ and the loudness (as claimed by Bose) dampens this speaker a little. That said, it’s a robust speaker and you can easily carry it for your trips outdoors. More importantly, it can belt out quality music.
Besides a solid build, the JBL Flip 6 offers support for EQ customization. As long as you are not looking for audiophile-level music, the Flip 6 should satisfy the music lover in you. Besides, it’s the less expensive of the two.
Last updated on 19 September, 2022
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