Speaker makers have upped their game in recent years, and now Bluetooth speakers can do much more than just belt out quality music. One such portable speaker is the Sonos Roam. This one brings Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to the table and lets you connect with other Sonos speakers for a multi-room experience. On the other hand, we have the JBL Flip 6, a simple Bluetooth speaker with a robust body, and lets you customize the music per your preference.
It boasts of the latest Bluetooth specifications and has a rugged body. And like the Sonos Roam, it’s lightweight and belts out quality audio.
Hence, this brings us to a simple question—should you invest in the JBL Flip 6 rather than the Sonos Roam? That’s what we will find out in this post. We compare the Sonos Roam against the JBL Flip 6 to help you figure out the right Bluetooth speaker for you.
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Design and Connectivity
Design is one of the vital factors of any speaker. You wouldn’t want a speaker that sounds great but has a heavy or big form factor. Thankfully, Sonos Roam and JBL Flip 6 have slim and lightweight form factors. The Roam is lightweight, which makes it great to carry around in backpacks and tote bags. That said, it has a smooth and polished surface, and it justifies the price tag to some extent.
However, the smooth surface doesn’t make it slippery, and not a magnet for dust and lint. It’s easy to hold it in your hands or put it into bags or tote bags. And the IP67 design is the cherry on top. You can easily take it to pool parties and beach holidays. The only drawback is the lack of a loop or lanyard hole makes it difficult to carry it around when walking.
The Roam is not a 360-degree speaker, but you can use it vertically and horizontally, owing to the flat surface at the end.
When it comes to connectivity, Sonos has kept things new and fresh. The Roam features Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0. These two features make it ideal to use it outdoors and indoors. At the same time, the Qi-wireless charging adds to the experience. Yes, you read that right! The Sonos Roam supports Qi-wireless charging, and you can place it on a wireless charging pad to refuel the battery. Sonos also sells a dedicated Qi-wireless charging pad, but you’ll need to buy it separately.
While the Sonos Roam boasts a polished and smooth look, the JBL Flip 6 sports a rugged and robust look. Like its predecessor, it also features passive radiators on each side. It’s a 360-degree speaker, and the speaker grille goes around the speaker, except for the spine at the back. The good news is that it can be used vertically and horizontally.
Despite the robust build, it’s a lightweight speaker and weighs just about 1.12 lbs, making it easy to carry in your hands or drop in your bag. The IP67 rating makes it dustproof and waterproof. Interestingly, this new generation Flip speaker is also resistant to salt water, thus making it perfect for beach runs and parties. And guess what? The silicone body is resistant to dust, and you do not have to worry about grime getting stuck behind the grills.
JBL has handled the connectivity options well. While it doesn’t have Wi-Fi, it comes with Bluetooth 5.1. Surprisingly, it lacks support high-quality Bluetooth codecs like aptX or LDAC and only supports SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs.
The Wi-Fi connection support in the Sonos Roam gives it the edge, when used indoors. Also, you can summon Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and issue voice commands. On top of it, you get features like Automatic Switching and Sound Swap.
The latter is an interesting add-on and lets you ‘throw’ the sound from a Sonos Roam speaker to another Sonos speaker. On the other hand, the Automatic Switching feature optimizes the connectivity and ensures that you switch to Wi-Fi when you step into your house and vice-versa.
These features work as advertised, especially in households with multiple Sonos speakers. It can seamlessly connect to other speakers and deliver enhanced multi-room audio experience.
While the JBL Flip 6 doesn’t have fancy features like Sound Swap or Wi-Fi connection, it does have a pretty solid app. With it, you can customize the sound as per your preference, all thanks to the built-in EQ.
At the same time, the PartyBoost Mode lets you pair the speaker with other JBL speakers for enhanced audio. The only catch is that you will get stereo output only when you pair it with a same-generation JBL speaker.
The battery life is perhaps one of the most important aspects of portable speakers. A speaker that dies within hours of playing music is not worth pursuing. Thankfully, things are different with the Sonos Roam and the JBL Flip 6.
For example, the Roam lasts around 10 hours on moderate volume. It’s a tad on the lesser side since the speaker relies on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for connections. So, for example, if the Wi-Fi is enabled for a major chunk of a day, the battery will plummet sooner. The built-in battery-saving techniques save you from seeing the red often. And the 10-hour battery life is enough to see through a day out on the beach or a get-together.
JBL does slightly better in this category. It lasts around 12 hours on moderate volume, and the folks at Sound Guys found this speaker to last around 9 hours during their test. In short, the battery life on both devices make them apt for outdoor trips, especially hiking and camping.
So, how do both speakers perform in the audio department? Well, first things first, the Sonos Roam is not the loudest speaker. Neither is it a party speaker. But aside from that, it delivers smooth and crisp audio. Plus, it can handle the details of songs and music tracks. Another nifty add-on is Trueplay. Using it, the speaker can optimize the audio output as per the surroundings, So if you (along with your speaker) move from a big room to a small one, the speaker will optimize the audio accordingly. However, the Sonos Roam doesn’t have a pronounced bass.
On the other hand, the JBL Flip 6 is a simple Bluetooth speaker. It delivers dynamic audio. The vocals appear crisp and clear. And the passive radiators on the sides add an assertive bass to songs and music tracks. During their tests, the folks at Hi-Fi argue that this JBL speaker delivers enough oomph and energy.
JBL Flip 6 vs. Sonos Roam
When it comes down to the price, the Sonos Roam is priced at around $50 more than the JBL Flip 6. That said, it brings a ton of nifty features to the table, and the multi-room audio is one of the show stoppers. And the smart features are the cherry on top.
If you are planning to invest more in the Sonos ecosystem in the future, then this premium portable speaker should be on your buy list. The audio is decent for the price (save for the assertive bass), and the nifty features make it a delight to use in the long run.
On the other hand, the JBL Flip 6 is the one for you if you want a simple Bluetooth speaker that can belt out songs and music tracks with amazing clarity.
While it does away with frills like Wi-Fi connection and Trueplay, it makes up for it with simple controls, a robust body, and a helpful app.
Last updated on 13 October, 2022
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