Ah JBL, you’ve done it again. You’ve surprised me with a sound device that performs not just better than expected, but better than the things I already had to do the same thing.
The JBL Link Music seems initially like just another home speaker… and yeah, alright, that’s exactly what it is. But there are key differences that could make the Link Music a solid choice for you over the next competing brand.
You know the one I mean.
Google vs Alexa; The Eternal Struggle
Thinking back, I probably began my commitment to the Amazon ecosystem in 2010, when I was given a Kindle 3 for my birthday. This is back in the times where I still thought physical keyboards were vital to doing anything correctly (and I still think that, fight me).
Why am I talking about a Kindle I got a decade ago? Because when it came time to start converting into a smart home, I figured that I’d already started on the Amazon route, so my default has always been Alexa and the Echo. Whether or not this was wise has recently been thrown in question for me though.
As the JBL Link Music has revealed to me, this was possibly not my best move. Even though the Link Music is a little pricier than an Echo Plus, there seems to be a reason for this. Sound quality is very similar, but the fact that Google Assistant can understand me with minimal prompting gives me serious pangs.
I never put much stock in the Assistant, and damn do I regret that now. She’s not as connectable as Alexa, but for what I was doing (music, lights, Keep) she was easier to use by a significant amount. Honestly, being able to loudly dictate parts of this review to a speaker and have it show up in my phone? Nothing short of miraculous for those of us with memories like sieves.
Beauty is in the eye and ear of the beholder and… belistener
The JBL Link Music isn’t the prettiest speaker, at least not for my taste. I tend towards the tall, dark, and sleek in terms of tech, and the Link is a bit more on the short and stout side of that. However, as I learned when one of my cats decided the shelf was PartyClub 2020, this does make the Link more stable and secure. Always a plus.
The sound quality is excellent as well; my new testing playlist on Spotify has really come in handy, flowing through eras and genres to fully test the range of the device. From black metal to J-Pop, the Link Music handled the highs and lows of the various tracks with aplomb. Yeah it’s a little bass-heavy, but that’s what the kids like these days, right? It’s cool.
Are kids still saying that? Cool?
I’m trying to not let this become a Google Assistant review, but honestly it was a big plus. Google handled my requests to skip songs, pause, explain, and all the usual shenanigans. When your speaker has like 2 buttons, this is useful.
Now you’re speaking Smart
There are other Google support smart speakers, sure. Similarly, there are other options for speakers in general. The only downside to the JBL Link Music is its immovable nature, requiring AC power, but are we really so spoiled by wireless tech that we can’t leave an appliance in one place on the regular?
I don’t think so. I think we’re good.
In summary, I approve of the JBL Link Music. It’s got all the trimmings you want and, while it’s not as fancy as it could maybe be, you definitely get what you pay for.