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JBL Clip vs Bose SoundLink Micro (2020): Which Mini Bluetooth Speaker Wins?

When headphones cramp your style (and your head) and most portable speakers are a pain to lug around, you can turn to mini Bluetooth speakers for a nice middle point. Here’s a face-off between two popular wireless gadgets in this category: the JBL Clip 3 and the Bose SoundLink Micro. Which pint-sized loudspeaker is more worth it?

JBL Clip vs Bose SoundLink Micro Comparison Chart

ModelJBL Clip 3Bose SoundLink Micro
 JBL ClipBose SoundLink Micro
PriceCheck Price

at Walmart

Check Price

at Walmart

Dimensions5.4″ x 3.8″ x 1.8″3.87″ x 3.87″ x 1.37″
Weight0.49 lbs0.64 lbs
CoverDurable fabricSilicone rubber
AttachmentCarabinerStrap
AppNoneBose Music
SpeakerphoneYesYes
Voice InputNoYes
Multi-speakerNoYes
WaterproofYesYes
Battery Life10 hours6 hours
Charging Time3 hours4 hours
3.5 mm InputYesNo
Colors143

Design

Both JBL and Bose mini Bluetooth speakers are lightweight and easy to attach.

JBL Clip vs Bose SoundLink Micro Design
Roughly the same size, the JBL Clip 3 (left) has a distinctive carabiner while the Bose SoundLink Micro (right) has a strap at the back.

Right away you’ll notice the contrasting looks of both speakers. Wrapped around the edge of the JBL Clip 3 is an integrated metal carabiner, designed to hook into belt loops and zipper pullers. It has a durable fabric cover that comes in a multitude of colors, so you’ll have more to choose from. Meanwhile, the Bose SoundLink Micro sports a more premium-looking silicone rubber finish, which handles scratches and dents like a boss. At its back is a flexible tear-resistant strap that locks nicely.

Since both speakers have an IPX7 rating, dropping either device into water won’t simply render them non-functional. Their fully waterproof builds actually let them keep on playing in water, though you’d of course want to fish them out asap. Interestingly, the JBL Clip 3 will float while the Bose SoundLink Micro sinks right away.

While the Bose SoundLink Micro is a bit bigger and heavier than the JBL Clip 3, it isn’t by much. They will both sit comfortably in the palm on your hand, and won’t drag it down even when held long. Of course, ideally you’d want to attach them onto something, like a bike handle or backpack, for maximum portability. They’re designed to be easily clipped (or strapped) onto something, freeing your hands for more important uses.

Overall, you’ll find the flexible strap of the Bose SoundLink Micro to be more versatile. There are more things you can strap the Micro onto than the carabiner of the JBL Clip 3. This is partly because of the narrow opening of the Clip 3, while the strap can easily sneak into smaller spaces. You’ll want to consider where you’d want to be hanging either speaker before making your choice.

Setup and Controls

The JBL Clip 3 doesn’t require an app to set up, but the Bose SoundLink Micro has a voice assistant button.

JBL Clip vs Bose SoundLink Micro Setup and Controls
You can simply pair your device with the JBL Clip 3 out of the box and start playing music right away.

There’s practically no setup required for the JBL Clip 3. You just turn it on and pair it with your phone via Bluetooth and it’ll start streaming your audio. Not so for the Bose SoundLink Micro, which requires that you install the Bose Music app first before you can even connect your phone to it.

While this might be business as usual for Bose fans, those who don’t own one of the brand’s current speakers might find it annoying, or just simply unnecessary. The app does let you access more controls for the SoundLink Micro, along with more features which will be discussed below.

Both speakers sport the typical volume and connectivity controls right in front, though the Bose SoundLink Micro has a multi-function button right in the middle. When connected with your phone’s Siri or Google Assistant, pressing it will allow you to access voice input for your chosen voice assistant.

The JBL Clip 3 does have a mic, too, but it’s solely for speakerphone functionality. Its mic is a bit more featured than the one on the SoundLink Micro, though, since it has noise and echo cancelling properties.

Sound Quality

The Bose SoundLink Micro has a stronger bass and better overall audio quality than the JBL Clip 3.

JBL Clip vs Bose SoundLink Micro Sound Quality
For such a tiny speaker, the Bose SoundLink Micro can really turn it up, and quite nicely too.

Place them at the same volume setting, and you’ll notice that the JBL Clip 3 is a bit louder than the Bose SoundLink Micro. However, it will also become apparent that the SoundLink Micro sounds clearer and brighter, and delivers a wider soundstage. In contrast, the JBL Clip 3 can sound muddled at high volumes, with more blending going on between different instruments.

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Moreover, Bose’s mini speaker pumps out a lot more bass, and you can feel it thump with authority. Combined with its crisper delivery and better balanced tone, the Bose SoundLink Micro simply sounds better than the JBL Clip 3. Make no mistake though, the Clip 3 still has JBL’s signature rich sound, making it much better than other Bluetooth speakers at its price range.

Battery Life

The JBL Clip 3 has a much longer battery life than the Bose SoundLink Micro.

JBL Clip vs Bose SoundLink Micro Battery Life
Having a bigger battery makes the JBL Clip 3 better suited for outdoor adventures.

If the Bose SoundLink Micro has the edge over the JBL Clip 3 in sound quality, the reverse couldn’t be more true with regards to battery life. The larger batter of the Clip 3 allows it to run for up to 10 hours at roughly half max volume, while the SoundLink Micro only lasts up to 6. In terms of portability and actual outdoor use, JBL’s contender has a significant advantage that you should definitely consider if you plan on bringing one along on trips, treks and hikes.

In addition, it also takes less time to fully charge up the JBL Clip 3 than the Bose SoundLink Micro, at 3 hours versus 4. This is a bit underwhelming for Bose since they’re touting the SoundLink Micro to be their top portable offering for adventure seekers and nature lovers.

Additional Features

The Bose SoundLink Micro can pair up with other speakers but the JBL Clip 3 has a 3.5 mm audio input.

JBL Clip vs Bose SoundLink Micro Features
Bose made sure that all of their SoundLink devices work well together so you can party with multiple speakers.

Like the rest of the SoundLink line of speakers, the Bose SoundLink Micro can pair up with several SoundLink devices to play the same music at the same time. Bose SimpleSync lets you pair two together and use Stereo Mode to get actual stereo sound. Grouping three or more lets you turn on Party Mode, and have all Bose speakers playing in sync.

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We’re not sure why JBL chose to omit their similar Connect+ technology with the Clip 3, but right now there’s no multi-speaker functionality available with it. Maybe it might be added on a future update. Don’t hold your breath for it though and simply accept that getting a Clip 3 means going at it solo.

Finally, the JBL Clip 3 includes a 3.5 mm audio cable input if in case you want to play something without a wireless connection. It’s a nice, handy feature if you like having that option, though it’s becoming more and more a legacy remnant in modern devices.

Verdict

The JBL Clip 3 offers better value for outdoor enthusiasts, while the Bose SoundLink Micro is worth the extra cost if you prioritize sound overall.

With a longer battery life, a rugged exterior, and highly portable design, the JBL Clip 3 is our clear recommendation if you’re simply looking for a wireless Bluetooth speaker to take to the woods. You’re going to want every drop of battery if you’re going to be spending lots of time outside. Its durable cover also shrugs off most minor dings easily. That it’s nearly half the price of the Bose SoundLink Micro is also a big plus, given that it sounds good enough and is just as waterproof.

The better sound quality of the Bose SoundLink Micro comes at a hefty price, but it’s worth paying if you value rich listening experiences a lot more. You’ll definitely get a more premium-looking device that feels nice to the touch as a bonus. Moreover, you might find its tear-resistant strap easier to attach it to more things while keeping it tight and secure. If you already own another SoundLink device, the additional available modes will let you enjoy your speakers even more.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Bose SoundLink Micro worth it?

If you already have an existing Bose ecosystem and simply wants a more portable speaker, then the SoundLink Micro is worth it. Otherwise, you’ll get better value for money overall with the JBL Clip 3.

๐Ÿ“Œ How many watts is the Bose SoundLink Micro?

If you’re charging and playing audio at the same time, the Bose SoundLink Micro may require up to 7.5 watts.

๐Ÿ“Œ How long is the battery life of the JBL Clip 3 and the Bose SoundLink Micro?

The JBL Clip 3 can last for up to 10 hours while the Bose SoundLink Micro has a runtime of up to 6 hours.

๐Ÿ“Œ How long does it take for the JBL Clip 3 to charge?

It takes about three hours to charge the JBL Clip 3 until it’s fully-charged.

Derick Bondoc
Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.