Our testing found that the Sony XB13 has overall better qualities than the JBL Clip 4. We found that the Sony speaker is better than its JBL counterpart regarding:
JBL’s speaker is only more durable than the popular Sony pick. Depending on the environments that you plan on using it in, this increase in durability might make a big difference.
In most situations, the Sony speaker will be your best choice for listening to music or whatever else. But, if you plan on hiking, running, or embarking on a bumpy road trip, then the durability of the JBL speaker may come in handy.
If you want to relax in your office, house, or backyard and listen to high-quality music, the XB13 is the best choice. However, the JBL Clip 4 has more volume than the Sony speaker, which makes it compelling for on-the-go use.
Regarding sound for these two devices, the Sony XB13 has a better overall sound quality, while the JBL Clip 4 is a little louder. Where you want to use your Bluetooth speaker will determine which speaker is better for you.
The Sony XB13 has a more profound bass that lets you hear the booms and bumps much clearer. But the bass won’t be so deep that the lyrics will start to distort.
You can also connect two Sony XB13 speakers to produce a stereo-like sound that can boost its audio (more on this below). That will make up for any shortcomings in terms of volume that the XB13 may have.
As mentioned, the JBL Clip 4 is slightly louder than the XB13. It has a listed max speaker output of 5 watts (Sony doesn’t list this info for the XB13), which is a good reminder that neither of these speakers brings a lot of power. You have to keep in mind, sub-$100 speakers generally will be limited in this fashion.
Differing in volume does not make up for the subpar bass that the JBL Clip 4 produces compared to the SRS-XB13. Couple that with the XB13 Bluetooth stereo ability, and the JBL Clip 4’s audio cannot compete with the Sony speaker.
It is also worth noting that the JBL’s audio distorts once it goes past a certain sound threshold.
In terms of design, both speakers are well-equipped to hang off your backpack or purse without breaking off. However, the XB13 has a strap that gives you more options for what you can hang it on.
Sony XB13 strap allows you to hang it off of your:
- Bike handle
- Duffle bag
- Desk lamp
Versatility is undoubtedly a plus when you’re out in the wilderness trying to enjoy some music or working in your office putting in extra hours. Meanwhile, the JBL Clip 4’s attachment is too narrow to fit around the previously mentioned objects.
The Clip 4 can primarily hang on a book bag strap and not much else. For the clip to attach successfully, the anchor point has to be either small enough to fit or flexible enough to squeeze inside.
That does not leave people with many attachment choices besides a book bag strap or a small bike handlebar. That is disappointing for something meant to be an on-the-go speaker.
Plus, the XB13 strap allows you to tighten it on whatever you’re hanging it from, while the clip does not have the same securing features.
Both speakers have a similar shape and weight profile, so there is no need to worry about that. However, the JBL Clip 4 has more color options than the XB13.
Durability is essential for a portable speaker because it will undoubtedly go through several bumps and bruises during your travels. With that said, the XB13 plastic covering makes it very prone to scratches and chips.
Keep in mind that both speakers are waterproof and dustproof, but the XB13’s plastic exterior, although durable, will more easily accumulate visible damage over time.
While the Sony can withstand drops and tumbles, the plastic covering will break much quicker than the JBL Clip’s hardened exterior. The Clip boasts strong metal that will better protect the delicate inner components.
That makes the Clip a more suitable option for rugged hikes or crowded areas where you’re bound to bump into somebody.
Of course, you should always be extra careful with electronic devices, but you don’t have to be too cautious with the JBL Clip 4 because of its sturdy materials.
Sony’s XB13 isn’t a delicate flower by any means, but it does not have the same hardened skeleton as the JBL. The all-metal exterior can protect it from:
Making it a tough nut to crack.
We cannot have an XB13 vs. Clip 4 debate without discussing the software differences between the two devices.
Pinpointing the software difference between these two speakers is pretty easy, considering the XB13 is more compatible with more than just Bluetooth, unlike the JBL Clip 4. The XB13 connects to your phone via Bluetooth, Type-C USB, and AUX cord adapter.
That means you cannot only connect it to your phone but also look it up to your computer speakers, TV, or car radio, regardless if they have Bluetooth. A convenient feature if someone has an older model car or non-Bluetooth compatible TV.
The JBL Clip 4 cannot sync with another Clip 4, so you cannot play them together and produce a boosted stereo sound. Incompatibility with the JBL Connect+ is why this unfortunate lack of a feature substantially limits its sound quality options.
Meanwhile, the XB13 has a stereo pair function that allows you to connect two devices and play from a single source. You must have two separate XB13 within 3 feet of each other, then press the Bluetooth button on both devices for about 3 seconds so they can pair.
Furthermore, The Sony speaker can be used as a phone speaker while the JBL clip 4 cannot. The XB13 has a speakerphone function, allowing you to listen and respond to callers on the speaker itself.
Our battery life battle has a clear winner since the XB13 can stay juiced up for 16 hours while the Clip 4 has only a 10-hour lifespan. It takes four and a half hours to charge the XB13 battery compared to 3 hours for the JBL.
Considering each device’s better life makes the discrepancy in charge time reasonable. Either way, the charge times aren’t too bad since you can juice them up overnight and have them ready to go in the morning.
Naturally, volume output will determine the Sony device’s battery life, making it closer to 13 hours at full blast. The same goes for the JBL Clip 4, but some reviewers have claimed to get 20+ hours from a charge.
Measuring at 1000mah, the battery power specifics explain why the JBL Clip 4’s charge lasts only 10 hours. On the other hand, the XB13 is closer to 1400 mah.
Both devices use type-c USB cords to charge their batteries. The recent boom of most devices operating Type-Cs has made it very convenient to charge whatever gadget you need, from your phone to your Bluetooth speaker.
Which One Should You Buy?
Bottom line, of the five categories we discussed in the XB13 vs. Clip 4 debate, the Sony XB13 beats the JBL Clip 4 in four. That makes it a better choice for someone who wants a speaker that produces quality music and sensational sounds.
Significant differences in the design set these two speakers apart regarding convenience and portability. The two devices’ design choices also have major differences that set them apart. The XB13’s strap provides more attachment options than the JBL Clip 4’s clip.
Material differences between the two speakers make the JBL Clip 4 a better option if durability is your #1 concern. There is no getting around that something made of metal will be a lot tougher than an object made of primarily plastic.
However, the software differences between the two devices are apparent. The JBL Clip 4 does not have the same connectivity or audio capabilities as the XB13, making it much harder for you to enjoy your music.
Sony’s XB13 is another clear winner in the battery life argument because of its 16-hour-long playtime. Although the JBL Clip 4 can charge much faster, it has to charge more often, so you’ll spend less time listening to music.
After considering all of this information, you will see that the Sony SRS-XB13 is the winner over the JBL Clip 4 speaker.