After testing both devices, we have decided that the Baby Boom XL is recommended over the Clip 3 due to its higher durability at a lower price. The sound quality on both products is similar, and the JBL has longer battery life and a stylish design, so we still endorse the Clip 3 if you are willing to spend a few dollars extra.
Read on to learn more about Altec Lansing Baby Boom XL vs JBL Clip 3 bluetooth speakers, and how they compare in sound, design, durability, power, and features.
Sound quality was impressive on both speakers. If you factor in the low price, the sound quality is excellent. These speakers can’t compete with premium devices in the $200 range, but the difference is less than you would expect.
Both speakers achieve a similar volume, which is louder than expected considering how small and lightweight they are. But, neither of these speakers packs the punch you need for a jobsite or outdoor party. Instead, these are in the middle range between phone speakers and powerful outdoor speakers. If you need a speaker for a bedroom or bathroom, and want something that sounds better than your phone, either the Baby Boom XL or the Clip 3 is perfect.
My personal preference in sound quality favors the Baby Boom XL. The bluetooth speaker is much more than I expected. The base isn’t booming, but is very clean and doesn’t have the rattle that you hear with some cheap speakers. And while the volume isn’t the loudest of the speakers we have tested, the sound is crisp up to 90% full volume.
Sound winner: Baby Boom XL
Both speakers have a nice design. But, most will agree that the Clip 3 has a more modern and sleek look, along with more color/design options. Honestly, it comes down to your personal preference. If you like the round design, go with the Clip 3. (And, let’s face it, the JBL logo provides more of the “cool factor” than Altec Lansing.) If you want something that is rectangular and looks like a mini boombox, choose the Baby Boom XL.
An important design feature for both of these products is the clip. The Clip 3 has a carabiner clip build onto the frame of the device. Because the base of the clip is attached to the device, you would expect it to be sturdy. However, the clip itself is somewhat flimsy, and many users complain of it malfunctioning and failing to close. This renders the clip useless, and it cannot be replaced due to its attachment to the frame of the device. The other downside to this design is that the clip is surprisingly small. Other than a belt loop, most of the things we wanted to clip the device to were too large in diameter to be compatible.
On the other hand, the Baby Boom XL comes with a removable carabiner clip. The frame of the Baby Boom XL has a dedicated area where the clip can be attached. Although the clip that comes included with the device is lightweight and feels cheap, we had no issues with the durability. And if the clip does fail, you can always buy a higher quality replacement and clip it on.
The Clip 3 (as well as the updated Clip 4) can be ordered direct from the JBL website, and comes in 12 base color options. You can also order the speaker with custom patterns, prints, images, text, and stickers, so the design options are endless. The Baby Boom XL has fewer options, depending on the retailer you purchase from, but we have found 5 base colors plus camo.
Design winner: Clip 3
The Altec Lansing Baby Boom XL technically has a better waterproof rating, but this is essentially a tie. The Baby Boom XL is IP67 rated, while the Clip 3 is IPX7 rated. Basically, this just means that the Baby Boom XL is certified as dust-proof, while the Clip 3 is not.
Both products are well sealed, waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes, and float. In my opinion, floatation is the under-appreciated part of the “waterproof” discussion. Car keys are technically waterproof, after all, but good luck finding them if you drop them into a lake.
For overall durability, we would rate the Baby Boom XL slightly higher than the Clip 3. The Baby Boom XL has a compact, solid frame, with no parts that are at high risk of breaking. On the other hand, the Clip 3 has a speaker cover that is known to fall off, and many reports of clip failures. When the major selling point of the device is the clip, it is concerning to hear frequent stories of the clip breaking or becoming loose, and rendering the device useless.
Overall, both of these devices are quite solid, especially for the low price. And the waterproof feature is great to have.
Durability winner: Baby Boom XL
The battery life for the Clip 3 is listed as 10 hours, and our testing showed this number to be fairly accurate. At the listening volumes I prefer, I was unable to get a full 10 hours, but anything over 6-8 hours is solid for an affordable bluetooth speaker.
The Altec Lansing also comes close to achieving its advertised battery life. However, this is only 6 hours. Again, for the price you pay, this is not a poor performance. But if battery life is an important factor, the Clip 3 might be a better option.
Power winner: Clip 3
Features & User Experience
The clips on both devices were surprisingly convenient. I had previously never walked around with a speaker on my belt loop, but when testing the speakers I actually found it more convenient than wearing headphones.
Both devices were easy to connect to bluetooth, and had good bluetooth range.
Both devices are compact and portable, and have high enough sound quality that they can be used on-the-go.
Neither device will blow you away with features, but that isn’t the point of either product. In this price range, the most important features are ease of use, battery life, durability, and sound quality. And both the JBL and the Altec Lansing score high in these areas. If you want a speaker that works well with a voice-activated assistant, or can replace your tv’s soundbar, or connects to other speakers for a surround sound experience, it would probably be better to expand your price range and look at other options.
Features winner: Tie
If you are looking for a quality bluetooth speaker on a budget, the Baby Boom XL is one of the best options we have seen. The device has a great combination of sound quality, durability, and affordability. If you are willing to spend a little more, but you still want a budget-friendly option, the Clip 3 is a great choice. Both speakers wowed us with sound quality, and are waterproof and easy to use.