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Customer ratings & reviews
Great sounding speakerPosted
I thought that this would be a great speaker I wanted the Google assistant while at work but couldn't get it to work on hotspot also will not let me make calls on it the final straw was when I couldn't get it to bluetooth to my phone anymore after about a week will be returning it
No, I would not recommend this to a friend
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Google assistant is impressive!Posted
JBL Link 20 works as advertised. Music sounds good and the Google assistant is very good at hearing and understanding my speech. Few disappointments however. JBL doesn't allow a phone call to be made, nor does it allow an alarm to be set, which I'm pretty sure the Google Home (hardware solution) supports.
I would recommend this to a friend
First and foremost, if you are looking for a bluetooth speaker that is just that, a bluetooth speaker, keep looking, there are plenty of great options on the market, especially in this price range or above. But if you are are looking for a speaker that is a step in the direction of a Smart or voice assistant device, this is definitely the one. When it comes to the sound quality, its near top notch. Comparing it to my bose speaker that is nearly the same size, and also round, the difference in very small between the two. Depending on what you are listening to, the difference is sometimes not even noticeable at all. I would say the JBL is only a hair behind in bass boost and an overall clear sound. Another thing I noticed is it is not completely an even sound all the way around, if you stay in one spot and spin it in front of you, there are three or four spots where it sounds slightly muffled. The overall build quality of this speaker is impressive, I would not recommend it as it would probably be cringeworthy, but it seems like it could definitely handle an accidental drop or two. I have also used it under humid conditions in the bathroom while showering and it does not even phase it. Also a plus is this really is a nice looking speaker. There are some speakers out there that are not all that great or sleek looking, but this one is honestly very nice looking. Also seems to be made out of nice materials, materials that will not scratch or break easily, and the fabric over the speaker area is solid too! Another plus is the fact that JBL made this speaker able to charge thru a micro usb plug, the most common charge plug out there these days, I LOVE that it does not come with its own special power adapter that adds to wire clutter, I can simply plug it into my phone charger when needed. @@@@@ Note, its does come with a charger; a power block for the wall outlet and a usb cable, however any other one you have for other micro usb devices do the job. When it comes to the voice prompts and smart features, once you get it all set up with your device and such, it is great! I never thought I needed to speak to my devices or needed a "smart" device for home other than a smart tv, but I was wrong. Not only can you ask all sorts of questions to google and get an intelligent response nearly every time, but you can also control what is playing. If your hands are busy or messy, if you are in the shower, if you are in the pool and the speaker is several feet away, you can easily say hey google, next song, or volume up, or switch to spotify or pandora. Functions like that are far more impressive and useful to me than being able to ask what the weather is like or asking for google to tell you jokes. Also worth noting is how long the batteries charge seems to last, playing at a medium to high volume level I get nearly ten hours of solid playback before it starts asking for more juice. Only two minor complaints I have on this speaker, first one being the start up time. It takes a good 15-20 seconds before it starts making noises like it is on and either working on connecting to your phone or is connected. I understand it may take longer due to it having to also connect to wifi. Just worth mentioning. Biggest complaint overall though, is how often this speaker stops music playback for absolutely no reason. As I have typed out this review, it has now done it five times. The battery is fine, had 4/5 dots of power but I plugged it into the charger anyway, did not make a difference. The wifi in our house is excellent so that is not the issue. My phone is literally only six inches from the speaker, so it is not a distance thing. And I am playing music through google play that is on my phones memory card, so I am not trying to stream anything thru a music app. I connect my phone to my bose speaker for hours and hours at a time and the same pause never happens so it is not my phone. I do not understand why it keeps doing it but it takes quite a few times of hitting play on both the speaker and the phone to get the music to resume. Not major when both devices are right here in front of me on my desk, but come summer time when I use this out by the pool, I sure hope a software update comes out by then to fix this annoying bug. Overall, a very nice speaker and well worth the price.
I would recommend this to a friend
Good for sound, bad for Smart functionPosted
JBL has been making great portable bluetooth speakers for a while and were one of the first to dominate the market. This speaker itself has really sound, but I'm very disappointed with the Google Assistant integration. It's very poorly integrated, takes forever to get going, and depends heavily on the app. To compare, Amazon's Alexa device basically has no dependence on an app after you set it up, aside from detailed customization and adding skills. Of course, that's more for the powered devices not for portable, but it's my understanding the portable speaker functions similarly. If you are looking for a portable bluetooth speaker, JBL is definitely a great brand to go for. However, I would suggest a model without the Google assistant function. Pros: Sound Loudness Design Accessories JBL includes a wall charger and cable which is nice since many high-end speakers only come with the cable. They are colored bright orange which doesn't match the sleek black look of the speaker. The speaker itself is heavy and feels like it's quality. The sound is superb. I was pleased with the balance of sound but the bass could be much. I felt it was either muddy or not packing enough punch at times. Although overall the sound quality is excellent and can fill a patio or medium size backyard. Perfect for small gatherings. Battery life has been good, I keep it plugged in when I'm outside. Cons: Google Assistant Setup Connections Overall, Google Assistant is still behind Amazon's Alexa system. The gap is closing but the capabilities are still not fully matched. When it works, the response is quick and accurate. Setting up the speaker was a breeze but its requires a google account and the app on your phone. The big problem is that it has to connect to the app on your phone to work, it cannot work based on WiFi alone. This is a huge disappointed. The speaker turns on by itself after inactivity. When you turn it back on it has to reconnect to WiFi and your phone, which takes quite some time and doesn't always work. They really limited the capability of this speaker with these problems. It gets stuck trying to boot up and I cannot even connect via bluetooth to stream music to it. Very disappointing. There is no AUX in and no USB port to charge your phone or other device. Both are commonly found on other devices.
No, I would not recommend this to a friend
Awesome sound with built-in smartsPosted
Sound Quality The JBL Link 20 features two 10W drivers and can get loud enough to fill a large room with music without distortion. As is typical with many JBL products, the sound quality is very good with crisp mids and highs and adequate bass, although I was expecting a stronger bass response from a speaker this size. That's not to say the bass is bad: the lows are enhanced nicely and do not muddy the sound. But it won't give you a strong "thud" like the bass-enhancement feature of the Sony SRS-XB30. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be any type of EQ setting or bass enhancement feature for the speaker. Design The JBL Link 20 sits tall (8.3 x 3.7-inch) and can easily be carried from room to room, although holding it is a little awkward due to the wide size. A fabric mesh surrounds the speaker. The power and mute buttons are located on the back of the speaker while the Google Assistant and volume controls are located on the top as well as two microphones. Four white LEDs on the front of the speaker indicate when Google Assistant is listening. Near the bottom of the front, 3 white LEDs in the shape of the classic WiFi symbol show you the signal strength (and seem to flash if it temporarily loses connection). There are also 5 white LEDs located on the back of the speaker, directly above the power button, to show you how much power is remaining. Features The most notable feature of this speaker is that it is powered by Google Assistant. The Google Home app guides you through the setup process of connecting it to your WiFi, giving the speaker a name, learning your voice and connecting it to your speakers. The Google Home app also installs JBL's software updates to the speaker, which is nice as you do not need to download a specific JBL app to manage the speaker. The Google Assistant does an excellent job of hearing my "Hey Google" command from across the room, even if it is already playing music. You can ask Google to play music from supported services such as Google's own music service, Pandora and Spotify. Unfortunately, Slacker Radio (one of my favorite streaming music services) is not directly supported by Google Assistant, so I can not activate Slacker Radio by voice. However, the JBL Link 20 acts as a Chromecast Audio receiver, so if I have the Slacker Radio app open on my phone, I can cast the music to the speaker without needing to pair via Bluetooth. Slacker Radio will continue to play on the Link 20 via WiFi, even if I kill the Slacker Radio app on my phone. The JBL Link 20 can also be linked to other Google Home speakers for multi-room sound. Google Assistant can also do things like check your Google Calendar, play the news and control smarthome devices. However, the JBL Link 20 cannot make phone calls at this time like the Google Home speaker. Battery Life and Portability The built-in 6000mAh battery gives you up to 10 hours of sound and portability, allowing you to carry it around the house or even out in the yard, if your WiFi extends that far. For times when you're away from home, you can pair the speaker via Bluetooth to your phone to play music. However, without a WiFi internet connection, the Google Assistant won't operate. It can not "tether" off your phone's mobile internet connection via Bluetooth (but it could if you set up your phone as a mobile hotspot and used another phone to configure the JBL Link 20 to connect to that hotspot... a somewhat convoluted process). The battery can be recharged in about 4.5 hours using the included 2 amp Micro USB charger. Summary The JBL Link 20 is an excellent speaker based on sound quality alone, but the built-in Google Assistant feature makes it even more of an excellent value. It lasts up to 10 hours on a single charge and can play music directly from Pandora, Spotify and Google Play Music via WiFi by using voice commands.
I would recommend this to a friend
The only portable speaker with Google AssistantPosted
If you are heavily into the Google ecosystem and you need a solid sounding, portable Bluetooth speaker, this is an excellent speaker for you. This is also the only speaker that has Google Assistant that can also run on a battery which finally makes for a portable Google Assistant speaker. I like the design. It is thinner and taller than the Google Home and is covered in a tough, black mesh fabric with plastic ends. The top of the speaker comes with minimal controls where you can play/pause, lower and raise the volume, a Bluetooth pairing button and a physical button to activate Google Assistant. You can also activate Google Assistant with your voice and the two microphones in the speaker worked well. I like how you know when Google Assistant activates because the four LEDs on the front pulse to let you know it is listening for your voice. Also on the front bottom, there is a Wi-Fi indicator that shows you when the speaker is connected to a Wi-Fi network. Google Assistant worked great as well as my Google Home. It set timers, told me my calendar events, answered questions, sang to me, etc. It also delivered multiroom sound when grouped with my Google Home speaker through the Google Home app. The only thing it can't do is make phones calls like the Google Home can. The speaker is rated at IPX67 which means it can be submerged in a foot and a half for 30 minutes. I used it in the shower and it was fine. So it seems like it would be a great speaker for the pool, a boat or any water area. I really liked the sound, it has a better sound than my Google Home and I was able to play my music from my iphone through the JBL speaker without any problem. Sound was well balanced, treble, bass or midtones didn't drowned out the other. The bass thumps, vocals sound full and I like how the electric guitars had good detail. I measured max volume at 90 decibels and full sound didn't distort the music. You will need the download the Google Home app to set up the speaker. It is easy and the app does a nice job of walking you through the set up. It lets you add the speaker to devices and connects you to your home Wi-Fi network. Connecting the speaker to a Bluetooth device like an iphone was very easy and a great feature since I can now play my Apple Music through the speaker. Also through the Google Home App I could also add the Link 20 to other Google Home speakers for multiroom listening. I really liked this function because now I can send an alert through the house to get my kids attention. Battery life is good at about 10 hours. The battery makes this the only device that does not need to be plugged in to use Google Assistant. The only downfall is that you do need to be connected to Wi-Fi to use the Google Assistant and since the Google Assistant is always listening, battery life will continue to drain unless you turn it off. Besides not being able to make phone calls with the Link 20, the Link 20 really outperforms the Google Home in everyway. It has better sound, you do not have to be plugged in and it is much more rugged. If sound matters to you and you want to have Google Assistant this is the speaker for you. Pros Powered by Google Assistant Good over all sound, well balanced Portable and rugged- Only portable Google Assistant speaker Cons Can't make phone calls
I would recommend this to a friend