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JBL Flip 7 wishlist: All the features I want to see

Sticks and stones are no match for JBL's rugged and durable bones.
By

Published onMarch 25, 2024

The JBL Flip 6 in black on a bed of flat stones.

JBL has a proud legacy of producing some of the best Bluetooth speakers for withstanding the rough outdoors. The company has released six of its Flip model Bluetooth speakers thus far. However, there is growing anticipation that it will launch its newest flagship speaker soon. JBL’s most recent Flip 6 is a standout piece of gear that is durable, loud, and user-friendly. However, many high-end features have been left at the wayside. With that in mind, here is a list of features I hope to see included as part of the JBL Flip 7.

An AUX input

Image showing the top side of a JBL Flip 6 speaker with controls, placed on a wooden surface

Despite fashioning micro-USB charging and shorter battery life, the JBL Flip 4 is the last speaker in the Flip line to host an AUX input. This is a shame, especially given how JBL has yet to support any high-quality Bluetooth codecs for its Flip-series speakers. The JBL Flip 6 may not reproduce music to the standards of fine-tuned audiophile ears, but it would be nice to have a wired connection to retain audio quality. Furthermore, wired connectivity is a useful backstop when wireless signal strength becomes unreliable. This can be a siginificant problem when streaming Bluetooth audio in crowded environments, such as railway stations and airports.

Support for the AAC and aptX Bluetooth codecs

A JBL Flip 6 Bluetooth speaker sitting on a wooden desk next to a smartphone at its right and a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to its left.
The JBL Flip 6 supports Bluetooth multipoint, but it is up to your devices to find and connect to it.

It is becoming increasingly common for smartphones, headphones, and Bluetooth speakers to ditch the aux input. This means users are forced to pair wirelessly to their chosen device. Without a viable wired connection option, it is more important than ever for Bluetooth products to incorporate high-quality Bluetooth codecs. I hope JBL will adopt AAC and Qualcomm’s aptX Bluetooth codec for the Flip 7. With this, users could gain up to 320kbps, 44.1kHz/ 16-bit, and 352kbps, 48kHz/16-bit audio sampling respectively. While this by no means replaces the quality of a wired connection, it would go a long way to making the JBL Flip 7 an attractive, high-quality speaker.

An IP68 water and dust-resistant rating

A JBL Flip 6 Bluetooth speaker sitting on wet sand by the ocean.
The JBL Flip 6 survives dunks into saltwater and sand doesn't get behind its grille, thanks to its IP67 rating.

JBL remains a master of producing some of the most durable Bluetooth speakers on the market. While there is no denying that the JBL Flip 6 is about as hardy as they come, I would like to see the company take this further with its flagship release. An IP67 rating protects from total dust ingress and immersion for up to 30 minutes between 15cm – 1m of water. However, an IP68 rating protects from total dust ingress and long-term submersion under high pressure. While I don’t expect users to take the Flip 7 with them for a scuba dive, it may provide more reassurance that the speaker can endure a trip to the beach or a dunk in the sea without breaking.

Backlit controls

A JBL Flip 6 sittin on a table with the large "JBL" logo visible and the carrying strap seen in the background.
The JBL Flip 6’s new, larger logo scuffs more easily than the Flip 5’s small red badge.

On the JBL Flip 6, the power and Bluetooth pairing buttons illuminate with a backlight. However, the volume, skip song, play/pause, and PartyBoost buttons do not. It would be undeniably handy if JBL brought backlit buttons to all its controls for the JBL Flip 7. This would help users to operate the speaker in darker environments and add more color and style to the design. The all-black finish is pleasing, but some colored LEDs could help the speaker stand out.

Backward-compatible Stereo Mode functionality

A JBL Flip 6 sittin on an inclied surface next to a brick wall.
The JBL Flip 6 doesn't slide down much despite its round shape, so setting it on a slanted surface outdoors isn't a worry.

JBL’s PartyBoost feature connects multiple Flip series speakers to amplify sound in different locations. This works whether pairing JBL Flip-series speakers from the same product line or different generations. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for JBL’s Stereo Mode feature. Unfortunately, this only works for JBL Flip 5 or Flip 6 speakers connected to another speaker of the same generation. I would like the JBL Flip 7 to adopt backward compatibility for its Stereo Mode feature. This would allow users to enjoy stereo sound without throwing away their older JBL Flip speaker.

What would you like to see JBL bring to the Flip 7?

337 votes

Will there be a JBL Flip 7?

A JBL Flip 6 Bluetooth speaker sitting next to a small fountain.
The JBL Flip 6 is water- and dust-resistant and loud enough to keep a small patio party entertained.

JBL announced a comprehensive list of new audio products at CES 2024. From six new headphone models to the JBL Xtreme 4 and Clip 5, 2024 looks like a great year for JBL fans. Unfortunately, there was no mention of the JBL Flip 7. Nevertheless, I fully expect JBL’s next-gen Flip speaker to be in the pipeline. It has been over two years since the JBL Flip 6 debuted. Given the company favors a roughly two-year release window, we shouldn’t have to wait too long for the new model to come to fruition. The JBL Flip 7 may launch alongside the highly anticipated JBL Charge 6.

  • JBL Flip 4 — February 21, 2017
  • JBL Flip 5 — August 1, 2019
  • JBL Flip 6 — December 6, 2021

It is clear from JBL’s previous launches that it favors fall and winter releases for its flagship Bluetooth speakers. Given winter is nearly behind us, we could see the JBL Flip 7 come to shelves in the spring of 2024. However, without an official announcement, this remains uncertain.

JBL has historically increased the release window between each of its Flip-series products. However, while the Flip 5 came to market two years and six months after the Flip 4, the company threw tradition to the wind with the release of the Flip 6. This followed only two years and four months after the Flip 5. It would therefore make sense for JBL to release its Flip 7 speaker imminently.

Should you wait for the JBL Flip 7?

A hand wearing a black leather glove presses a button on the JBL Flip 6 Bluetooth speaker sitting on a metal bench.
The JBL Flip 6’s control buttons aren’t backlit, but they are shaped differently from each other and easy to press—even when wearing gloves.

The JBL Flip 6 is still available for purchase and provides party-goers with a loud and powerful sound profile that won’t break when you need it most. Given its popularity, it makes sense to question whether the next-gen upgrade is worth the money.

That said, the JBL Flip 6 ($99 at Amazon) showcases many of the reasons why JBL is an audio behemoth. Sporting an IP67 rating, JBL’s latest iteration is a seriously robust kit capable of enduring occasional water submersion and dry environments. They host JBL’s “signature” sound, with a punchy bass response and loud profile. The JBL Flip 6 is a fine example of the company’s best work, integrating smoothly with iOS and Android. The ability to pair with JBL speakers from generations 5 and 6 via PartyBoost also means you do not necessarily need to throw away your older JBL speakers. While some may miss high-res Bluetooth codecs, the JBL Flip 6 was never intended as an audiophile-grade speaker.

However, the JBL Flip 6 does not exactly reinvent the wheel. The JBL Flip 5 ($89 at Amazon) features many of the same characteristics as its newer sibling. For example, it hosts virtually the same battery life as the Flip 6, lasting over nine hours on a single charge. It also wears an IPX7 water-resistant rating to protect from submersion in 1m of water for up to 30 minutes. The sound profile is loud and bassy, and JBL fans can utilize the company’s PartyBoost and stereo mode features. While the Flip 5 costs roughly $30 less than the Flip 6, it does reproduce slightly lower-quality audio.

Those looking for something a little different should consider the JBL Charge 5 ($149 at Amazon). This speaker reproduces even louder audio than the JBL Flip 6, can charge portable devices, and boasts a battery life of over 20 hours. Although there is no aux input with the Charge 5, you receive the same IP67 water and dust-resistance rating as the Flip 6. Bluetooth Multipoint also features, which is a valuable asset at parties when you want to connect multiple devices to the speaker.

Another great contender if you want something a little more compact is the JBL Clip 4 ($59 at Amazon). This speaker benefits from a carabiner out of the box, making it easier to take your music anywhere. It also packs a surprisingly loud punch for its size and supports USB-C charging to keep it future-proof. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to connect the Clip 4 via JBL’s PartyBoost feature to other compatible speakers. Nevertheless, this little workhorse supports Bluetooth 5.1, an IP67 water and dust-resistance rating, and up to 10 hours of audio playback.

For those willing to stray outside the JBL sphere, the UE Boom 3 ($129 at Amazon) is a great alternative that offers loud, if not a little sub-standard, audio. However, what this speaker lacks in audio quality it makes up for in features. These include wireless charging, an IP67 rating with a floating design, compatibility with over 150 other UE speakers, and a battery life of up to 15 hours on a single charge. It is worth noting that the charging dock that enables wireless charging is sold separately, which is a bit of a bummer.

Finally, the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II ($249 at Amazon) works well for those looking to use their speakers as both an audio player and for calls. This is thanks to its built-in microphone. The housing also boasts an IP55-resistant rating, access to voice-prompted smart features, a convenient carrying handle, the Bose SimpleSync feature, excellent sound quality, and up to 17 hours of juice. However, the eye-watering price of this speaker may put some people off.

JBL Flip 6JBL Flip 6
JBL Flip 6
Easy to use Bluetooth pairing • Loud output for parties • Portable
MSRP: $129.99
A solid successor to the Flip 5.
The JBL Flip 6 makes for a solid update to the JBL Flip 5 and the IP67 rating is a welcome upgrade. You still get JBL's signature sound and it's just as easy as ever to sync this Bluetooth speaker with your devices.

FAQ

There has been no official announcement from JBL so far. Additionally, there was no mention of the company’s flagship speaker during CES 2024. However, it has been over two years since the Flip 6 came to market. I hope the JBL Flip 7 will launch in the spring of 2024.

The JBL Flip 5 and Flip 6 share many of the same features. For example, the JBL Flip 5 hosts almost identical battery life as the Flip 6. It also wears an IPX7 water-resistant rating and has a loud and bassy sound profile. Likewise, both speakers utilize the company’s PartyBoost and stereo mode features. If you want to save a bit of cash, grab the JBL Flip 5 ($89 at Amazon.) Otherwise, the JBL Flip 6 ($99 at Amazon) are currently the company’s flagship speaker.

At CES 2024, JBL unveiled six new headphones and Bluetooth speakers. These included an update to the JBL Tune Series and Live series headphones. The company also unveiled its JBL Xtreme 4, JBL Clip 5, JBL PartyBox Club 120, JBL PartyBox Stage 320, and JBL Go 4 speakers. However, there has been no mention of the JBL Flip 7 yet.

Yes, the JBL Flip 6 has a loud output volume that should appease those hosting indoor and outdoor gatherings. However, those looking for an even louder output should consider the JBL Partybox 310. This speaker delivers 240 watts which should be more than enough for house parties.

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