JBL Flip 4 vs. UE Boom 3: Similar Sound & Battery But Differ w/ Price

After weeks of use I’ve determined that UE Boom 3 is better than JBL Flip 4 due to its superior bass, lovely design, and wireless charging. However, when it comes to JBL Flip 4 vs UE Boom 3, it’s a toss up as both are quite similar and Flip 4 is more affordable.

Read on and see how these compare in sound, design, durability, power, and software.

Sound

This is a very close call, but I rank the Flip 4 as somewhat higher. However, this category is close between them.

UE Boom 3 has two 2-inch drivers along with two 2” x 4” passive radiators. It’s balanced and solid when you consider the size. The bass is much stronger than Flip 4, but neither the bass or overall sound keeps up with higher-end portable speakers like Megaboom 3 or JBL Charge 4.

The speakers are omnidirectional, making this ideal for outdoor use or parties because everyone can hear the music equally. Although the standard equalizer is best, you can alter the sound if you’d like.

While Boom 3 has superior bass and better lows, Flip 4 has better mids and highs. It’s actually one of the clearest sounds I’ve heard. The Flip 4 is somewhat quieter. While it’s not omnidirectional, it sounds quite well outside. The sound quality will dip somewhat depending on where you’re standing, but not by much.

Flip 4 sounds great for its size, but keep in mind that JBL Charge 3 and Charge 4 are about the same price as Boom 3 and sound superior to both speakers here. Sound always comes down to preference and I preferred Flip 4, but it depends whether you prefer mids and highs, or bass and lows. Because of that, I urge you to consider the other features more since sound quality is roughly equal here.

Sound winner: JBL Flip 4

Check Price: JBL Flip 4 ->

Check Price: UE Boom 3 ->

Design

While Flip 4 has a good design, I think Boom 3 wins by a large margin.

UE Boom 3 weighs 1.3lbs and is 7.2 inches tall. There were two significant problems with the previous version, Boom 2, that this speaker fixed. The previous version required you to use gestures for playback controls, but Boom 3 uses a Magic Button that can pause, play, and skip songs. The Boom 2 also wouldn’t allow you to charge and play simultaneously, but now you can.

Boom 3 looks great and uses more mesh material and less rubber than the previous version. While I love the Magic Button, it took me some time to get used to it since it’s located where a power button would usually be. The color is better as well with two-tone fabric. You can get the battery life by pushing both volume buttons. However, there’s no 3.5mm port.

JBL Flip 4 is both lighter and smaller at 1.1lbs and 6.9 inches. However, since neither can fit in your pocket, they are essentially the same form factor. It has a string strap, but I don’t know why. One confusing thing is the Flip 4 sounds best when sitting horizontally, but all the marketing photos show Flip 4 standing vertically. This is confusing because then one of the radiators is covered. Despite this, there’s no base, so the speaker will roll around.

It has a port cover for waterproofing, but it’s hard to open. I actually had to use a pen to open it. The 3.5mm jack allows you to connect any type of media player or computer. One thing I like is that the side radiators bounce as music plays. It doesn’t do anything, but I like how it looks. It has a triangle button that either activates your phone’s smart assistant or manages playback controls. It can only do one or the other and you set it through the app.

While JBL Flip 4 looks fine, the UE Boom 3 is far more practical and looks much better in my opinion.

Design winner: UE Boom 3

Check Price: JBL Flip 4 ->

Check Price: UE Boom 3 ->

Durability

Durability is very close between these two, but Boom 3 has two distinct advantages and I consider it the winner here.

Boom 3 has an IP67 rating for superior waterproofing. It can be exposed to a meter of water for 30 minutes, and it’s dustproof. Not only that, but Boom 3 will float to the surface if you drop it in the water. This will be great around pools, but even better if you’re on a boat. Boom 3 has no exposed radiators, which could be damaged, and Boom 3 is rated as drop-proof from 5 feet.

Flip 4 is durable as well, but it’s not quite as good. It has an IPX7 waterproof rating. The previous Flip 3 was only splashproof, but this is good in a meter of water for 30 minutes. However, if you’ve liked Flip 4 so far and aren’t worried about waterproofing, then you might want the Flip 3. It’s virtually identical outside of the waterproofing, but costs much less.

While both speakers are waterproof, Flip 4 won’t float. Also, the exposed radiators might break from a drop, though the speaker itself should be fine.

It’s a close call and both can take a hit, but Boom 3 ranks a little higher.

Durability winner: UE Boom 3

Check Price: JBL Flip 4 ->

Check Price: UE Boom 3 ->

Power

Both speakers are pretty equal in terms of battery life, so I can’t give a winner here. It’s basically the same for both.

Boom 3 has a listed battery life of 15 hours, but I can’t see how they got that. With the latest firmware, I got 6 hours at 60% volume and 3.5 hours at 85% volume. However, I can say that this is a vast improvement over Boom 2. You can use a UE wireless charging port for $40, or you charge from a side port simultaneously, so you’ll never have to worry about the battery dying.

Flip 4 is basically the same. JBL lists the battery life as 12 hours, but I also got 6 hours at 60% volume and 3 hours at 85%. It takes 3 hours to charge the battery using a micro USB port.

Power winner: Neither, both are equal

Check Price: JBL Flip 4 ->

Check Price: UE Boom 3 ->

Software

Unlike most other categories that are close, there is a wide divide here in UE Boom 3’s favor. Boom 3 has significantly better software and you’ll soon see why.

UE’s app is excellent with Boom 3. You can customize the mids, treble and bass to your liking, or select from the four presets. You can also pair 150 UE speakers with the Party Up feature. Set them to play duplicate sound, or make them a stereo pair. Bluetooth speakers frequently struggle with being paired, but Boom 3 does a good job with duplicate sound. However, the sound will cut now and then (as is common with Bluetooth speakers).

Block Party allows you to connect three source devices and eight control devices simultaneously. Plus, the Magic Button will play a preloaded Apple Music playlist as long as your device is connected. However, unlike Boom 2, you can’t use a smart assistant. The firmware is frequently updated, which isn’t typical for Bluetooth speakers. While the Bluetooth range is listed as 150 feet, I got nowhere near that far. Also, you can turn the speaker on through the app.

JBL has an app, but it’s awful. You don’t get firmware updates, it isn’t needed for pairing speakers, it doesn’t tell you battery life, and it can’t power on the speaker. You can connect two source devices, like a phone and laptop. You can easily connect with other JBL speakers as long as they have the Connect+ feature. This is only available on newer JBL speakers, not those with the older Connect system. It also uses Bluetooth 4.2 and has a 30-foot range.

I think it’s easy to see why Boom 3 wins this battle. Better features, better app, and much smarter software.

Software winner: UE Boom 3

Check Price: JBL Flip 4 ->

Check Price: UE Boom 3 ->

Final Thoughts

While JBL Flip 4 has somewhat better sound in my opinion, it’s really a toss up in that category. However, UE Boom 3 has a better design, better durability, and significantly better software. They both have pros and cons, but I would definitely recommend UE Boom 3 between these two.