Gone will be the days when getting multi-room audio tracks at home meant spending 1000’s of dollars and hours after hours on research. Nowadays, there are a large number of smart speakers, almost all of which can be utilised in multi-room setups. Not just that, but given the rise of the digital assistant, these speakers are also getting smarter. Advertisement

JBL was an early on adopter of the smart speaker and its own selection of JBL Link speakers is beloved by Google Assistant fans who would like a good speaker at an acceptable price. The JBL Link 20 Smart Portable Bluetooth Speaker (currently $99.99 on Best Buy), specifically, appears to embody this – it isn’t expensive, has smart features to help you make make use of it in various rooms according to what your location is at any given moment, and includes a built-in battery to help you make make use of it when it’s not connected to an outlet.

But buying economical smart speakers can often be daunting – specifically for those that value good sound quality and their wallets. So, in the event you choose the JBL Link 20 or stay away from it entirely? We put it to the test.

Design
Much like any new product, the essential thing you’ll notice about the JBL Link 20 may be the design, which is sleek and minimal by speaker standards. These devices comes in all black (which may be the one I’m reviewing) or all white, save for a tiny JBL logo on leading.

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At the top of the speaker, you will discover volume and playback controls in addition to a button to summon Google Assistant and never have to say “Hey, Google.” On the trunk, you’ll discover a power button with a battery indicator above it and a microphone mute button below. Lastly, there’s a micro USB port toward underneath of the speaker.

The speaker isn’t very big in comparison to other smart speakers today, but it isn’t tiny either. That’s in the end a good thing since it means there’s a lot of space for a durable built-in battery. For context, the JBL Link 20 is approximately two inches shorter and an inch smaller in diameter compared to the Libratone Zipp 2. Another best part about the JBL Link 20 is that it is water-resistant. According to JBL, the speaker can withstand being immersed in up to at least one 1 meter of water for 30 minutes, that makes it an outstanding option for things such as taking to the beach or pool.

Set-up process
Establishing the JBL Link 20 is incredibly simple to do – especially given the actual fact that the Google Home iphone app is easy to use. To create the speaker, whatever you should do is start these devices, download and get on the Google Home app, then follow the instructions for the reason that app. The speaker should appear automatically, which makes it simple to hook up to your house network. Advertisement

Connecting to the speaker through Bluetooth is quite easy too, it’s simply like connecting to any other device. Simply start the Bluetooth settings on your own phone, and if the speaker is powered on, it will show up as a choice for connecting. Since Google Assistant fails without Wi-Fi, this Bluetooth connectivity would can be found in useful if you anticipate using the speaker at the beach or the park in order to still pay attention to music if you wish.

What makes it stick out
Perhaps the perhaps most obviously may be the fact that it has Google Assistant built right in. Basically, you need to use the speaker to regulate your smart home, play music from your own linked music streaming service, ask questions about the elements or news, and more. Google Assistant is basically considered to be one of the better digital assistants (if not the single best) and it’s really a breeze to use when the speaker is linked to a Wi-Fi network.

Given the actual fact that the speaker has IPX7 waterproofing, it is also very versatile. If you are looking for something you may take on vacation, then your JBL Link 20 could be the speaker for you personally.Advertisement

There is also the sound quality, which is very good. The speaker offers pretty balanced sound – a slightly laid-back bass response with decently-tuned mids and good clarity in the top quality. It is important though to understand that that is a budget speaker, and therefore, it might not exactly sound as effective as an expensive option just like the Sonos One.

Cons to consider
As the JBL Link 20 generally sounds good, as stated, it might sound better. The bass extension on the whole is actually a little deeper and we wouldn’t say no to just a little extra bass response too. The same holds true for the top quality – the speaker is relatively clear and detailed, but having a bit more sizzle in those ultra-high frequencies is always nice. Advertisement

The only other issue you may have is that Google Assistant fails when it’s not linked to the web, so when you take the speaker to the beach, you will have to hook up via Bluetooth. Technically, that isn’t JBL’s fault – it’s precisely how Google Assistant works.

The bottom line
The JBL Link 20 is finally a great speaker for many who want a Google Assistant-powered speaker they are able to take on the street with them. There are some things to take into account – just like the fact that the sound quality isn’t quite as effective as some other more costly speakers and that Google Assistant fails without an Web connection. Assuming you do not have a problem accommodating those a couple of things, the Link 20 is a fantastic way to go.
Pros: Nice design, built-in Google Assistant, inexpensive