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JBL Clip 2 review: An absolute bargain at £30

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
30

The JBL Clip 2 is not only better than its successor, it’s much cheaper too; a fantastic Bluetooth speaker

Pros 
Cheap
Sounds great
Supports daisy chaining
Cons 
None at this price
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As the name suggests, the JBL Clip 2 is a small Bluetooth speaker that can be clipped onto a bag, belt loop or indeed anything else thanks to its built-in carabiner. But that’s not its only party trick. It’s also waterproof, it has a built-in 3.5mm aux lead and supports wireless daisy chaining, making it an incredibly versatile portable speaker.

READ NEXT: Best bluetooth speakers

The JBL Clip 2 has recently been succeeded by the JBL Clip 3, which arguably has a more refined, even more alluring design but looks aren’t everything, and we’d definitely recommend picking the Clip 2 over its sibling. To find out why, read on.

JBL Clip 2 review: What you need to know

In terms of appearance, there’s not a huge amount to separate the JBL Clip 2 from its successor. Where the Clip 3 has an integrated carabiner that surrounds the entire speaker, the JBL Clip 2 has a small triangular, orange carabiner that attaches to a rubber loop at the top.

Neither of the carabiners is drastically easier to use than the other but the spring in the Clip 2’s is firmer and feels less likely to open by accident. The carabiner can also be removed, so should you want to use the Clip 2 as a plain tabletop speaker and ditch the clip altogether, it’s possible to do so.

On its base, the speaker has a grippy, circular ring that stops it from moving around on whatever surface it’s placed on and in the middle of this is a 3.5mm connector, whose 30cm cable is inconspicuously hidden in a groove that runs around the edge of the speaker. While it’s highly unlikely anyone in 2018 is buying a portable speaker primarily for its wired capabilities it’s a nice bonus that you can plug the Clip 2 into any device with a 3.5mm port, not least because it’s quicker than pairing new Bluetooth devices.

All the speaker’s controls are on the outer rim of the speaker, tucked slightly under the top. These include power and Bluetooth buttons, which flank the microUSB charging port and then there are volume buttons either side of a button for accepting incoming calls. The placement of the volume buttons on the Clip 3 are arguably more ergonomic – they’re on the front of the device – but in real world use I find that, more often than not, I change the volume (as well as skipping tracks and pausing) from the connected device instead of the speaker itself.

Like its successor, the Clip 2 is waterproof to the IPX7 standard, which means you can submerge it under 1m of water for up to half an hour. That’s great if you want to use it in the bathroom or by the pool but it’s not rated as being dust proof, so it’s probably best not to get it too mucky.

Although their physical forms are so similar, there’s a clear difference in terms of how the Clip 2 and Clip 3 sound. To elaborate, although it lacks some of the high-frequency detail of its successor, the Clip 2 simply sounds better to my ears.

Not only are mid-range frequencies more prominent on the Clip 2, meaning vocals and guitars sound clearer and more detailed, but the speaker avoids ever sounding harsh, a criticism that can be levelled at the Clip 3.

Overall, the Clip 2’s sound signature is warmer, which, for a small, cheap speaker, is preferable to something that sounds too bright. You shouldn’t expect anything breathtaking from the Clip 2 but, equally, you’ll be hard pushed to find anything similarly priced and of the same size that sounds better.

As far as battery life is concerned, the Clip 2 will last eight hours between charges. That’s 2 hours less than the Clip 3, but still enough to get you through most days by the pool and you can fully charge it again in only 2.5 hours from flat.

JBL Clip 2 review: Price and competition

It launched at £50 but now that the Clip 2 has been succeeded by the Clip 3 (£50), you can pick one up for around £30. As you’d expect, there aren’t many other small, waterproof Bluetooth speakers under £50 that can compete with the Clip 2, let alone ones with a built-in carabiner.

The Creative Muvo 2C (£25) is one such device that can rival the Clip series, at least sonically, although it lacks the integrated clip. As well as producing a sound that defies its size, it’s IP66 dust- and water-resistant and lasts six hours between charges. You can also connect two Muvo 2C speakers for true stereo sound.

JBL Clip 2 review: Verdict

If you’re looking for a small Bluetooth speaker that you can take on your travels confident in the knowledge it’ll survive a heavy downpour or a dunk in the pool, look no further.

The JBL Clip 2 looks and sounds great, lasts up to eight hours between charges and even supports daisy chaining, making it one of our favourite speakers under £30. In short, go and buy one, while you still can.

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