Best JBL Link 20 Speaker Review By Our Experts 2020
The JBL Link 20 will come in a few different color options, nevertheless, you can’t fail with black.
Plenty of folks have discovered that having a speaker with a good assistant built-in can be handy for quick Google searches and controlling your music hands-free, but they’re not necessarily the most lightweight solutions. Speakers just like the Home Max from Google as well as the Apple HomePod require they are connected to a wall and linked to Wi-Fi to be able to work. Not forgetting they’re very costly. Luckily, if you need something less costly and a lot more portable, there’s the JBL Link 20. Unlike the Google Home Max, you’re in a position to hook up to the speaker using either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. But could it be any good?
Who’s the JBL Link 20 for?
People with out a smart speaker. If you haven’t yet bought a HomePod, Amazon Alexa, or Google Home, then your JBL Link 20 is a great choice for you since it combines the smart capacities of these speakers with the ruggedness of one of the better Bluetooth speakers around.
Android phone owners. For those who have the Google Home speakers or anticipate getting some later on, this speaker will fit correctly into that ecosystem.
People that want the very best of both worlds. In the event that you can’t decide between an excellent, lightweight Bluetooth speaker or a good speaker for your house, then your Link 20 was designed for you.
How is the construction of the JBL Link 20?
A very important factor that I’ve been noticing about speakers created by JBL is that each of them share similar build materials, and the hyperlink 20 is no exception. The speaker stands about 21cm tall and is wrapped in the same sort of fabric covering that you’ll find on the JBL Charge 4, Flip 4, and Clip 3. This signifies that besides looking really premium and feeling great in the hand, it’s also IPX7 waterproof which isn’t something you normally hear in terms of smart speakers. Whether you’re using it in your kitchen and spill a glass or two, or in the yard and accidentally drop it in the pool this speaker may take it without breaking a sweat. A very important factor worth mentioning is that the speaker is rather large, so despite the fact that it’s Bluetooth capable: I think it is more useful indoors linked over Wi-Fi because you don’t need to move it around an excessive amount of. If you’re buying a lightweight speaker, then you’d oftimes be better off just getting something similar to the Flip 4 or the Clip 3.
On either end of the speaker, you’ll locate a smooth plastic finish, although bottom has some added textured rubber to greatly help with grip. At the top is where you’ll find the playback controls plus a Bluetooth pairing and Google Assistant button. Then on the spine of the speaker are two more buttons. One is a mute switch that may switch off the microphone when you don’t want to buy to be listening for the “Okay Google” smart word, and the other is a power button which includes fives small LEDs accompanying it to inform you just how much battery life is left. On underneath of the speaker is a tiny rubber flap that protects the micro-USB charging port from water damage and mold, so take extra care to keep that closed shut as it’s simply the only weak spot of the speaker.
As a good speaker, the JBL Link 20 includes a few more what to get right in comparison with its Bluetooth-only siblings just like the Flip and Charge series. For just one, it should be able to find your voice from various distances and in various settings. There are two far-field microphones up top that may grab your voice, even though there’s music playing at max volume. It might not exactly appear to be it, but that’s really impressive and useful. You don’t understand how annoying smart speakers could be until you’re yelling “Okay, Google” near the top of your lungs rather than getting almost any response.
Voice commands also work fine outside, but I came across you need to be nearer to the speaker for this to join up since there’s so much going on outdoors. Another nice touch may be the four LED lights included in the most notable plastic of the speaker which light at the sound of your voice which means you know specifically when the speaker is listening. In addition they become volume indicators when you’re raising or lowering the quantity.
Using the JBL Link 20
As similar as the JBL Link 20 is to other JBL speakers in construction, it certainly sets itself apart with regards to connectivity. As I mentioned already, along with having Bluetooth 4.2, in addition, it connects over Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, it’s lacking any high-quality streaming codecs if you wish to hook up over Bluetooth, but thankfully the Wi-Fi capability accocunts for for that. This signifies that you can extend the normally 30-foot range to so far as your router range. For me personally, this meant that while visiting family over the weekend I could pay attention to a podcast while showering and bring the speaker right to the backyard to the play music seamlessly and with out a single skip. The JBL Link 20 has Chromecast built-in so if you’re by using a streaming service that supports it, then you can certainly hook up to the speaker and control music easily if you don’t feel just like using your voice.
What sets the JBL Link 20 aside from regular Bluetooth speakers may be the option to hook up over WiFi and also have full Google Assistant integration.
Connecting to the hyperlink 20 is easy. All you have to may be the Google Home application on your own phone which is on both iOS and Android. Open the iphone app and select “Add” to be able to begin looking for the speaker. Following on-screen instructions had me linked within just a few minutes, and I don’t view it being an excessive amount of a problem for the technology-inclined so if you’re seeking to get this as a surprise for something they shouldn’t have any issues. Of course, you can even sync this speaker up with any other compatible speakers via the Google Home app, if you curently have a Google Home or JBL Link 300 you then can simply get a whole home system in the event that you wanted to.
The hardest part is customizing everything that the Google Assistant can do as even I find the iphone app could be overwhelming, confusing, and jumbled sometimes. But if you just want to keep it simple, play and control music, and occasionally enquire about the elements it’s super simple. So long as you don’t care about getting the Assistant read aloud your upcoming events from your own Google Calendar, you/they shouldn’t have any issues.
What’s the battery real life?
The JBL Link 20 is rated to supply you with 10 hours of frequent playback, but at a frequent output of 75dB we could actually get 8 hours and 45 minutes of playback. This isn’t great taking into consideration the size of the speaker and if you compare it to the 13-ish hours that the Charge 4 got during our testing, it’s not too much off. Still, it’s enough to truly get you through a trip to the beach until you go back home and will plug it back. Another issue I came across is that there’s a surprisingly long time frame before turning the hyperlink 20 on and also being able to utilize it. There’s an extended pause between your power button smoking cigarettes and the sound that tells you it’s prepared to connect. It was so very bad that I took out my stopwatch to time it and on three different attempts, I acquired typically 29 seconds startup time. Not really a huge deal to the entire usefulness of the speaker, but it’s definitely annoying.
In terms of sound quality, the speaker leaves somewhat to be desired. I was expecting the same quality of something similar to the JBL Charge-not the most beautiful sounding speaker, but nonetheless really good. Instead, the hyperlink 20 doesn’t sound practically as well-rounded. It isn’t terrible, however the low end is pretty as defined and the bass in the song I’m Still DEEPLY IN LOVE WITH You by Al Greene just felt such as a lot of rumbling instead of a clear bass line.
Although emphasis is consumer friendly, that is among those times where an upgrade to a more substantial speaker will earn its keep. Although Link 20 can be an affordable smart speaker, in the event that you value sound you want the JBL Link 300, Google Home Max or Apple Homepod.
On the bright side, the mids and highs were pretty great. The claps and hi-hats through the entire song Shooting Stars by Bag Raiders all sounded nice and crunchy and the rising synths behind the vocals, that includes a ride in prominence as the song goes, never took over and masked the vocals in the mids. It handled everything pretty much, though again the thinking low end wasn’t the best.
While you’d oftimes be better off with something similar to the JBL Charge 4 if your primary concern is portability and durability, the hyperlink 20 makes a solid case for having one speaker that may do it all. The opportunity to take it outside while also adding it to your existing Google Home setup (in case you have one) produces a seamless Wi-Fi speaker setup that works anywhere throughout the house. In addition the microphones execute a solid job at picking right up voices, regardless if the functionality will probably vary according to how you utilize it. Plus, the IPX7 build helps it be safe to use poolside as well as in the shower. There’s also the solid 8-hour battery life that ought to definitely get you through a good day at least.
Still, as versatile as the JBL Link 20 is, the speaker isn’t perfect. Bass response is underwhelming and having less codec support ensures that your sound quality are affected even more when linked via Bluetooth. Plus, it charges over micro-USB which is unacceptable at this stage, regardless of the price. Talking about which, this speake