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Review Scores for Harman JBL Flip:
Sound alone: 9.5/10
1st generation Flip Bluetooth antenna: ranging from 1/10 to 4.5/10
2nd generation Flip Bluetooth antenna: 7/10
In this article I will focus on the two brand new Harman/JBL Flips with new enhanced antenna design (Flip #5 & #6 in my set of six Flips), freshly made from Harman/JBL factories in China and express couriered to me. I want to thank Andy, Global Product Line Manager of Harman Lifestyle in kindly arranging the new units to be shipped to me for testing. And special help from Chris, Senior Director of Brand Marketing of Harman International in connecting me with Andy. Without their help, I am sure my Harman/JBL Flip experiences would have been even worst!
So I won’t repeat many of the points I made in “Review: 4 JBL Flip #Fail Wireless Speaker (Bluetooth + Sound) using Logitech Mini Boombox as Benchmark“.For example, you can read what I wrote about the original antenna design and the new enhanced antenna designs for the JBL Flips (with pictures). Here are links to the raw FCC filings and a pix of the original and new antenna design in case you are very technical and want to go straight to the sources anyway.
Video Clips & Flips’ Sound – They worth a thousand words
Have a watch of this video of my “review of six Harman/JBL Flips, two with brand new Bluetooth antenna design“.
To be direct, I had fully expected the two new Harman/JBL Flips would be (should be) flawless. So I have been extremely disappointed again to see such a wide variation between two Flips! Watch the above review video again to see for yourself. Yes, Harman/JBL Flip #6 performed close to flawlessly, in fact very close to (but not quite as good) as the Bluetooth of the Logitech UE Mobile (see benchmark video). (update: I’ve performed additional tests on the Harman/JBL Flips #5 #6, and have discovered some additional problems. See my update at the end for a video of the test and some brief notes.)
The Flip #5’s performance was weaker in comparison to Flip #6. Why can’t I expect Harman/JBL to delivery better results simply be as good (not even “better than” but just “as good as“) as what others can do effortlessly?
I don’t want to draw conclusion from a sample of two Flips with the new antenna design because that will mean a defective rate of 50% on the production process. Was it workmanship, was it faulty Bluetooth chip, was it bad wiring, was it bad antenna component, did the wire come loose in the shipping process? I don’t know. But what I know is that any of these should not have happened.
Some people who left comments in my articles or YouTube videos attack or insult me personally, I just laughed them off. For one thing, there are some people will little expectations from their Bluetooth speakers. I, on the other hand, have seen how great distance with solid transmission that the magical Bluetooth speakers can perform if the manufacturers have done the right design, assembly, production jobs in their Bluetooth components (e.g. Logitech UE Mobile).
I don’t want to repeat what I said on camera in the concluding last bit of my review video, but I think it is fair to say Flip #5 (plus Flip #1, #2, #3, and #4) fell very very short of what I would expect from a major brand name like Harman/JBL that has a supposed track record built from years of excellent products and services. Since we are talking about brand reputation here, it is ultimately left in the hands of the like of Chris, Senior Director of Brand Marketing of Harman International, and other senior executives to decide how best to resolve these problems.
Serial Number Cutoff (SNC)
Quite a few readers and YouTube commenters have asked me what is the Serial Number cutoff (SNC) for the Flip with new antenna design so they can exchange for a “good” one without being frustrated more by needing to return/exchange/refund? I’ve asked Harman/JBL repeatedly for the SNC without any success. Read the rest of this entry »