Over the years, JBL has expanded its audio hardware with a range of portable speakers. The goal is simple — take your music wherever you want. Released in 2020, the JBL Wind 2, for instance, brought a new dimension to the brand’s catalog. The round-shaped speaker is advertised as a device for cyclists thanks to its handlebar mount and robust design.
Side-by-side the JBL Wind 2 is the JBL Clip series. Its latest iteration, the JBL Clip 4, now sports an oval form and an integrated carabiner. Meanwhile, those on a budget may find the JBL GO 3 a better option. The GO 3 brings the vibrant styles of the Clip speakers in a block form. Between the three speakers, which one should you buy?
JBL Wind 2 vs GO 3 vs Clip 4 Comparison Chart
The JBL GO 3 and Clip 4 have more eye-catching designs than the JBL Wind 2, although the latter does boast an LCD.
It’s easy to know which JBL speaker is which. The JBL Wind 2, GO 3, and Clip 4 all have unique and identifiable designs. With the Wind 2, you’re getting a circular speaker that’s slightly thicker than the other two models. It also comes with a handle for hanging a carabiner clip and a mount for installing on a bike’s handlebar. However, its defining feature is a display for scrolling through FM radio stations.
Now, the JBL GO 3 and Clip 4 don’t have tuner radios and have no need for LCDs. But they do have the same approach even though they come in different shapes. For instance, both units are compact and wrap the metal grille of the speakers in colorful fabrics. They also have large JBL logos emblazoned on their front panels. To operate the speakers, the GO 3 and Clip 4 both use raised buttons as well.
Nonetheless, the GO 3’s block form is more versatile. With its flat sides, you can set the speaker in portrait or landscape mode. The oval-shaped Clip 4 is typically laid on its back, which comes with rubber ribs to keep it stable on a surface. However, you’ll need to hang the speaker through its carabiner if you want to use it vertically.
In terms of durability, all three speakers are waterproof. However, only the JBL GO 3 and Clip 4 are rated dustproof. The two speakers are also available in more color variants, whereas the Wind 2 only comes in black.
The JBL Wind 2 is the loudest, the JBL GO 3 the cleanest, and the JBL Clip 4 the boomiest.
Despite being compact speakers, the JBL Wind 2, GO 3, and Clip 4 can get loud. However, don’t expect any of them to bring as much thump as JBL’s larger devices. Among the three, the GO 3 offers the cleanest audio. Since it doesn’t use as much compression, the sound quality remains decent even at max volume.
The Wind 2 is the loudest of the three units, with an SPL Max of 80db. When mounted on a bike, the speaker does lose its clarity and can get muffled by external factors like wind. As for soundstage, JBL’s Clip 4 has the advantage. When laid flat, the speaker’s directivity is wide and natural sounding. It pales next to stereo speakers, however, as it only follows a mono (1 channel) configuration just like the Wind 2 and GO 3.
Frequency response also goes the way of the Clip 4. It offers a boomier sound profile than the neutral sound quality delivered by the JBL Wind 2 and GO 3. The only downside is that the Clip 4’s bass range can obscure the vocals and instrumentals. But like other portable speakers, the JBL Wind 2, GO 3, and Clip 4 struggle with low bass. Unfortunately, you can’t tweak their sound profile since there’s no support for graphic EQ.
Features and Controls
The JBL Wind 2 has more features than the GO 3 and Clip 4.
As mentioned in the Design section, the JBL Wind 2 has a radio tuner with an LCD to display the station information. The speaker also comes with a MicroSD slot, so you can play stored music. Of course, you can still stream playlists via Bluetooth. If you’re not fond of letting everyone know what you’re listening to, the Wind 2 comes with a headphone jack. JBL also includes an auxiliary port for good measure.
The JBL GO 3 and Clip 4 are more modest in features. There are no jacks or ports on the device except for the USB port for charging. You can only play music streamed wirelessly via Bluetooth, too. As for controls, you get the same set of buttons for these speakers — one for power, Bluetooth pairing, volume up/down, and play/pause.
It’s worth noting that the GO 3 and Clip 4 also lack a built-in microphone. This means no support for speakerphone functionality, a feature available on the Clip 3 and even on the Wind 2. In addition, none of the three speakers can be linked to other JBL speakers via PartyBoost mode.
Click here to read our JBL GO 3 vs Sony XB13 review.
The JBL Wind 2 and Clip 4 have a better battery life than the GO 3.
Battery life is an important aspect of portable speakers. Among the three JBL units, the Wind 2 and Clip 4 are tied with a playtime of 10 hours. The JBL Wind 2’s edge is that it only takes two hours to charge, while the Clip 4 takes three. With the JBL GO 3, you have 5 hours of battery life on 2.5 hours of charging.
JBL’s Wind 2 still uses a micro USB port for charging. The GO 3 and Clip 4, on the other hand, have upgraded to USB-C. However, these ports are exposed, whereas the Wind 2’s come with a cover.
Go for the JBL Wind 2 if you want a speaker to mount on your bike. Choose the JBL GO 3 for its versatile design. Opt for the JBL Clip 4 if you want a boomy sound profile.
Choosing between the JBL Wind 2, GO 3, and Clip 4 comes down to preference. Unlike JBL’s large wireless speakers, the portable units aren’t going to win praises from audiophiles. However, they have certain features that may make you choose one over the other. The JBL Wind 2, for instance, packs jacks and ports, giving you several options for the way you want to listen to music. It’s also best for bikers, thanks to the accompanying mount for handlebars.
If you want a speaker you can set up in any orientation, opt for the JBL GO 3. Its block design means you can lay it in landscape or portrait mode with ease. For the best sound quality, however, you cannot overlook the JBL Clip 4. The unique-looking speaker is the boomiest of the three reviewed. It also combines the colorful style of the GO 3 with the impressive battery life of the Wind 2.
No, the JBL Clip 4 does not pair with a mobile app.
Customers can get the JBL GO 3 in 12 color shades, including two-tone variations.
Yes. The JBL Wind 2 comes with a built-in microphone to take calls.
The JBL doesn’t support PartyBoost and cannot be linked with other JBL speakers.