Bose Soundlink Flex vs JBL Flip 6: Bose Soundlink Flex is the latest Bluetooth, portable speaker with features that can compete directly with the JBL Flip 6. Fundamental similarities include IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, 12 hours long battery life and 500 to 600 grams weight range, and the ability to link with similar speakers (Party mode).
- Portable speaker, small in size
- Lightweight, about 500 – 600 grams range.
Both the Bose Soundlink Flex and JBL Flip 6 are being released around the same time. Below is a comparison table and include the older JBL Flip 5.
|Tech Specs||JBL Flip 5||JBL Flip 6||Bose Soundlink Flex|
|Release Date||August 2019||November 2021||October 2021|
|Size||180 x 74 x 69mm|
7.12 x 2.91 x 2.71in
|178 x 68 x 72mm|
7.0 x 2.6 x 2.8in
|200 x 91.4 x 53.3mm|
7.9 x 3.6 x 2.1in
|Weight||540g (1.2lbs)||550g (1.21 lbs)||590g (1.3lbs)|
|Audio and Microphone|
|Driver/Transducer||– 44x80mm race-track shaped woofer|
-Dual passive radiators for deep bass
|– 45x80mm race-track shaped woofer|
– Dual passive radiators for deep bass
– 16mm tweeter
|– Race-track shaped woofer|
– Passive radiators
|Range||No Info||No Info||9m|
|Multi-Connection||2 devices||2 devices||2 devices|
|Power and Battery|
|Output Power||20W RMS||20W RMS(Woofer)|
|Maximum Playing Time||12h||12h||12h|
|Battery Type||4800mAh (3.6V)|
|Battery Type||Lithium Polymer||Lithium Polymer||No Info|
|USB Input Power||5V/3A (15W)||5V/3A (15W)||No Info|
|Charging Time||2.5h||2.5h||3h (5V/1.5A)|
|Voice Assistant||No||No||Yes, via phone|
|Special Features||Party Boost|
Can float on water
New logo design
Can float on water
Can float on water
|Price and Warranty|
Bose Soundlink Flex speaker layout looks somewhat similar to the JBL Flip 6 with a race track and a cone placed next to each other, which we assume is the woofer and tweeter respectively. Unlike the JBL Flip 6 where the radiators are at both ends of the speaker, the Bose Soundlink Flex radiators are directly over the speakers and underneath the powder-coated steel grille.
Now, if you compare the JBL Flip 6, could you see the similarity or difference? The race-track speaker for the Bose Soundlink Flex is smaller than the race-track woofer of the JBL Flip 6. We would also expect the excursion of the radiators for JBL Flip 6 to be lesser than Bose Soundlink Flex due to the further distance.
IP67 Rating, Corrosion and Floating
We opine that the powder-coated steel grill is not an ideal material and finishes to protect against corrosion especially by saltwater. So even though the unit is IP67 rated, the recommendation is to rinse the unit properly after exposure to seawater. If the coating gets chipped, the underlying steel could get rusty and corrode easily unless it has a secondary protective coating.
It is interesting to note that Bose Soundlink Flex can also float like the JBL Flip 6.
One major advantage of the Bose Soundlink Flex is the built-in microphone. When connected to the smartphone, the Bose Soundlink Flex can also function as a speakerphone, or accept inputs for voice assistant – whichever you use on the smartphone, be it Siri, Google Assistant, etc.
JBL Flip 6 does not have any built-in microphone but you can speak into the smartphone and listen on the JBL Flip 6. This is fine for one person but in a conference call where multiple users share the speakerphone, it would not be convenient to pass the smartphone around. There could also be sound interference when the smartphone is near to the speaker.
Bose Soundlink Flex is also the only portable speaker to specify the operating range of 9 meters, which is the same as most True Wireless Earbuds with Bluetooth 5.0 or higher. However, it uses the older Bluetooth 4.2 protocol instead of the latest Bluetooth 5.0.
We do not think there is evidence to prove that this is a disadvantage because none of the manufacturers stated their operating range even when they are using the latest Bluetooth 5.0. Theoretically, Bluetooth 4.2 has an operating range of around 40-60m, while Bluetooth 5.0 operating range could be as far as 240m. However, the actual range is much shorter.
At least Bose feels that users deserve to know how far we can extend our music without guessing. It is just like every earbud’s specification always come with the operating range, or electric bikes always specify their maximum range.
Bose Soundlink has an interesting technology not found on the JBL Flip 6. Bose called it the “PositionIQ” sensor, which automatically adjusts to however it’s oriented to optimize the sound. Whether it’s standing upright, lying on its back, or hanging from its tear-resistant utility loop, the SoundLink Flex will deliver your music in full, balanced tones.
We are not quite sure if the sound “should” be different if the speaker is “standing upright, lying down or hanging”, but it sounds like a gimmick than a benefit that anyone can understand easily. We can understand a photo or video looks differently in portrait or landscape mode, but why should the music sound differently when the speaker changes orientation.
Besides more colour options, we could not find any features where JBL Flip 6 is better than the Bose Soundlink Flex. Maybe some users prefer the shape of the JBL Flip 6 because it is cylindrical, but others could be attracted by the 11 or 9 colour options offered by the JBL Flip series.
Currently, Bose Soundlink only has 3 colours but this could change in future.
Bose Soundlink Flex vs JBL Flip 6:
Bose Soundlink Flex cost $20 more than JBL Flip 6 but it could be worth the extra cost because of the built-in microphone. The microphone transformed the portable speaker into a speakerphone for a conference call and a smart device that can accept voice commands. We are wondering if JBL has overlooked this for the past 6 iterations of the Flip series.
We are also hoping that JBL Flip 7 will finally get the reverse charging capability like the JBL Charge 5.
Both brands offer the same one-year warranty.
About the feature photo: