JBL Link 20 Review

JBL is one of the well-known names in the audio and speakers industry. And just recently, they just released their JBL Link 20 a portable speaker that is integrated with the convenience and efficiency of Google’s voice assistant technology.

Today, we’re focusing on this specific product from JBL and everything else about this speaker. We’re going to check out its features, specifications, and its performance to see just how awesome it actually is. If you’re someone searching for a speaker that functions effectively while also producing excellent audio, the JBL Link 20 may be a good option for your needs.

First up, let’s check out what’s inside the box of the Link 20 from JBL to see what they have for us.

JBL Link 20 Review – What’s in the Box?

When you get your hands on the Link 20 from JBL, you’ll see that it comes in a sturdy rectangular box that has the logo of the company in front. Aside from the logo, you’ll also find a photo of the device and a note stating “Link 20 – Voice Activated Bluetooth Speaker”. This is to let you know that the device can be used with Google Assistant. Also, you’ll find the logos of Google Assistant and Bluetooth.

Now if you look at the right portion of the box, you’ll see the name Link 20 that is underlined and beneath this, you’ll see “Immersive JBL Sounds” written in all caps. On this side’s bottom portion, you’ll find another note that says “Now with Google Assistant”; obviously the JBL is stressing this feature for everyone to see.

You’ll find the name and another logo of the company at the back of the box; however, it comes with a good list of all the key features of the device. An image of the top portion of the Link 20 can also be seen here.

If you’re having a little trouble with the box, don’t worry; you just need to pull the flap which is the package’s front portion. Once you get that opened, the first thing that you’ll see is a photo together with the JBL logo for aesthetics.

Set that aside and you’ll see that the device is protected by a black cardboard piece with foam just beneath this. We liked how protected the speaker is and JBL made sure to prevent damages when shipping the device to you.

Underneath this is the speaker itself which is protectively wrapped in paper then set in a plastic tray. Next to the Link 20, you’ll find a long black package that is filled with important documentation and accessories to use the device.

Inside, you will find the warranty details, an orange power brick, the manual, and a USB cable. JBL made things neat and convenient and put each of these items in their own resealable bags.

The Product

JBL Link 20 Review

The Link 20 speaker has a cylindrical appearance that follows the usual design profile of every portable speaker from JBL. If you look closely, you’ll notice that it looks quite like the Charge 3, but slightly larger. It’s also both thinner and taller compared to the Google Home.

The speaker comes in a nice black shade and is protected by a tough mesh fabric. It’s also capped with durable black plastic on its ends. The Link 20 also includes minimal yet adequate controls which is great since Google Assistant will be able to help with almost all functions. At the top of the device, you’ll see the volume and pause / play buttons; the Bluetooth pairing button can also be found there as well.

For activating Google Assistant, there is also a button specifically for this; plus, there are also two microphones available. When you get to activate Google Assistant, you will see four LED lights pulsing in front to show that it’s activated.

Right at the bottom, you will also find a Wi-Fi indicator that shows when the Link 20 is connected to the network. When you check the back of the speaker, you’ll find its power button, a mute button for the mic, as well as the battery life indicator. You’ll also find a micro USB port for charging the battery; this is located under a flap which also helps make the device waterproof.

The JBL Link 20 is a voice-activated speaker which is also Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled, allowing it to produce rich and clear stereo sounds. Since the Link 20 also features Google Assistant, you can simply start off with a simple “Ok Google” to trigger the device. This will allow it to start playing music, podcasts, and even radio from services such as Spotify, Google Play Music, Pandora, and a lot more.

The compact device is powered by a 6000 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery that gives you 10 continuous hours of high-quality audio listening and playtime. Since it’s also made of durable and waterproof materials, the Link 20 is a great device that you can take everywhere. With the built-in Chromecast, you’ll be able to stream instantly from your preferred music apps to the JBL Link 20.

The speaker’s transducer is 2 x 50 millimeters and features two full-range drivers with a diameter of 1.97 meters. For the speaker’s dimensions, it has a height of 8.3 inches and a diameter of 3.7 inches while its overall weight is 949.9 grams. Its output power is 2 x 10-Watts with a frequency response of 65Hz to 20kHz, and its signal to noise ratio is > 80dB.

Wireless network for this device is 802.11b | g | n | ac (2.4/5GHz) and has the 4.2 Bluetooth version. Supported formats for the Link 20 includes LC-AAC, HE-AAC, Vorbis, MP3, WAV (LPCM), Opus, and FLAC.

Talking about the device’s battery, it runs on a 3.7-V 6,000 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery that charges for 4.5 hours @ 5V 2.3-A. With this, you’ll be able to have up to a total of ten hours of music play time though just like other speakers, the play time varies by the volume and content.

Product Features

Aid from Google Assistant

JBL Link 20 comes with built-in Google Assistant that’s always ready to help. With that, you can just talk and send commands to your portable speaker.

Easy Setup and Use

Setting up and managing your JBL Link 20 will be simple since the Google Home app on Android and iOS is free. Also, JBL Link 20 allows for easy hands-free operation since it can detect voices from a distance. Ask a question anywhere across the room and Link 20 will immediately respond.

High Quality Sounds Powered by the Cloud

The integrated Chromecast directly streams from the cloud so you’ll be able to enjoy the highest and best sound quality. With this feature, you’ll get crystal clear sounds just like how it’s supposed to be.

Outstanding Playback with Chromecast

You can easily arrange your system as well as manage multi-room playback using the Google Home application. There’s a step by step guide that will allow you to instantly stream your music.

2.4 / 5GHz Wi-Fi Connection and Network Support

Support both the 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi connection which results in a more robust, faster, and stable wireless connection for your convenience.

Great Streaming via Wireless Bluetooth

With this specific feature, you will be able to stream high-quality audio straight from your smart devices without having to connect to these via wires. This is because the Link 20 is Bluetooth operated for everyone’s ease and convenience.

Lifestyle Material – IPX-7 Waterproof

The common worries people have with portable speakers are rain and spills. Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about these anymore with the JBL Link 20 since it is rated IPX-7 waterproof. It means that this can be submerged in water up to 30 minutes. It also has a rugged rubber housing and durable fabric that will keep it protected during your adventures.

Specifications

Using the Product

Setting up the JBL Link 20 is quick and easy and it takes place in the Google Home app. Here, you will be guided through the process of linking the speaker to your devices and connecting it to your Wi-Fi network.

The JBL Link 20 can also be connected using Bluetooth; this is really convenient if you want to listen to songs from other music services that Google Assistant doesn’t support. Once set up, you can simply activate the speaker by saying the usual “Hello Google” prompt.

This makes the LED array in front of the speaker light up, letting you know that it has been activated. During playback, these LEDs also act as a volume indicator.

Sound Quality

The JBL Link 20 sounds better than other Bluetooth-only portable speakers that are out in the market today. This is because of the two-inch full range drivers that are present. When it comes to its bass, it definitely has a lot more heft compared to the Echo and there are no distortions despite maximizing its volume levels.

Since all of these come from a pair of two-inch drivers without any separate tweeters or woofers, the JBL Link 20 is definitely a well-rounded speaker that gives you great audio.

We tried a variety of music genres to see if the speakers would perform well and just as expected from a JBL device, it produced clean and clear sounds that will definitely be an enjoyment for your audio-listening sessions.

Acoustic music was good and guitar plucking sounded great, jazz and even rock music sounded exquisite so we really liked how the music sounded.

Despite the size, the Link 20 can sure fill a room with nice-sounding music without any distortions and that’s a very big plus for us. We measured the volume and it reached a total of around 90 decibels without having any problems or issues with distortions.

Google Assistant

Google Assistant was able to give us good search results and we were also able to check on follow-up questions regarding our requests. We also got to check on follow-up questions to various requests that we had; this was without having to repeat the entire process.

Everything was seamless and easy. You basically just have to say “OK Google”, again. You can also set it up for this to notify you with a short beeping sound so you don’t have to look at the speaker and know if it can recognize your voice.

Ruggedness

The Link 20 is rated IPX7 so this means it can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes. We tried soaking this in a tub of water for 5 minutes and the music still continued playing.

Battery

The biggest advantage of JBL Link 20 is that it is portable. It includes a built-in battery that makes it good for 10 hours of use. When we tested it, we found it could really last for as long as 10 hours before it needed a recharge.

Thing is, you have to keep in mind that Google Assistant is always ready so it doesn’t shut down automatically when you’re not actively using it. Just like with other speakers, it would drain the battery unless it’s switched off. But when it comes to playing music, you can really enjoy 10 hours of use which is more than enough for a portable speaker.

Overall Performance

In our experience, the JBL Link 20’s worked well. We had no issues with the setup, streaming, and the Bluetooth so we can say it delivered a flawless performance. Even its sound quality was great unlike other portable speakers in the market.

Conclusion

The JBL Link 20 is a wireless speaker that works both as a smart home unit and a portable Bluetooth-operated music player. It’s durable, waterproof, has sensitive mics, and you can take it anywhere you go.

We liked the mics sensitivity since it easily detects your voice and commands without having to speak out loud. With this, you can take your favorite music even when you’re on an adventure thanks to it being tough and with a good build quality.

If you’re looking for a portable speaker that offers good sounds and is portable, we highly recommend the JBL Link 20.

Where to Buy

You can get the JBL Link 20 for $229AUD from over at the official JBL store.

Design
Features
Performance
Usability
Value
4.7
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