JBL Link Portable Review

JBL Link Portable Review

JBL is a speaker manufacturer best known for its Bluetooth speakers. But headphones, speakers for the home, and gaming headsets are also part of the range. Recently, the popular speaker manufacturer has also entered the field of smart speakers. As a result, we had the opportunity to test the “JBL Link Portable.” Today we will clarify what the loudspeaker can do and whether it is worth buying.

PROS:

  • Portable and fixed usable
  • Decent battery life
  • Supports Chromecast and AirPlay
  • Waterproof and shockproof

CONS:

  • Little bass
  • No connections

Scope of delivery, price, and variants

The JBL Link Portable comes with a charging cable (USB-C), a quick start guide, a charging station for wireless charging, and a smart speaker. Unfortunately, you won’t find a power plug.

JBL offers the smart speaker in many colors brown, black, gray, or blue. There are also two exclusive colors, straw (golden yellow) and green; these are only available online.

The 735 g speaker is covered with (in our case) black fabric. Google speakers already know this substance, such as the Google Home Mini.

There is a small JBL logo on the front of the speaker. A small LED lights up under this logo when connected to the WLAN. Otherwise, there are four LEDs in the upper area of ​​the front. These visualize the volume and the Google Assistant.

The top of the speaker is softly rubberized and in the middle is the Google Assistant button, which is also the play/pause button. To the left and right are the volume control buttons. There are also two small holes on the top where the microphones are installed. The underside is also rubberized and has a hole in the middle for the contacts for wireless charging.

There is a small rubber element on the back. On this rubber element is the “on/off button,” the “microphone button,” which is responsible for deactivating the microphone. And also the “Bluetooth button,” with which Bluetooth can be switched on and off. A USB port and a battery status bar can also be found on the rubber element.

What’s in the JBL Link Portable?

A lot of technology is hidden behind the shell of the 17 cm high speaker. The JBL Link Portable is a smart speaker, so a WLAN module is installed. This is essential for the integrated Google Assistant, which enables music control by voice. A Chromecast for multi-room music playback is also installed.

The Chromecast streams the music in HD audio quality (24 bit / 96 K). But Apple users have also been considered, so Apple AirPlay 2 is also on board. In addition, a Bluetooth module is installed so that the jukebox can also be used outside of the four walls.

In addition to the many functions, the smart speaker is also equipped with a 360-degree function, which means that the music is played in all directions. Furthermore, the 4,800 mAh battery provides 8 hours of music enjoyment and can be fully recharged in 2.5 hours at 5 V 3 A using the charging station provided.

The charging station of the JBL

Thanks to the two small contacts on the charging station, simple wireless charging is possible. All that needs to be done is to place the speaker on it. Thanks to the small indentation, the loudspeaker always sits perfectly in the shell and is always charged without any problems.

The top of the charging station is made of sturdy-looking plastic. The underside is slightly rubberized, which prevents slipping.

There is also a hole on the bottom with a small channel to connect the charging cable to the USB-C port.

All technical data at a glance

  • Height 17 cm
  • Diameter 8,8 cm
  • Weight 735 g
  • Waterproof Yes (IPX7 water protection)
  • Battery life Up to 8 hours
  • Chromecast (Multiroom) Yes (in HD quality)
  • Google Assistant And
  • Apple Airplay 2 And
  • Bluetooth 4,2
  • WLAN 802.11b/g/n/ac (2,4/5 GHz)
  • Speaker 360°

The sound of the Link Portable

As you are used to JBL devices, the sound is very high. Thanks to the 360° sound, good sound is guaranteed from every position in the room. We find the highs and mids to be very balanced, which creates a pleasant sound experience. The Link Portable shows its full potential, especially with bass-heavy songs.

The music is played without sound distortions or the like, even at the maximum volume. Overall, we would rate the sound as balanced and pleasant. Nevertheless, it should be noted that sound is always a matter of taste.

How do I set up the JBL Link?

No setup is necessary if the Link Portable is only used as a Bluetooth box. All you have to do is turn on the speaker, activate Bluetooth, and connect to the device. But the speaker is too good for “only” the Bluetooth function.

Setting up the “smart” speaker is very simple. First, you need to turn on the JBL Link. Now you have to download the associated app. Unlike normal JBL speakers, this smart speaker is not connected to the JBL Connect app but to the Google Home app. These are not only available for Android but also for Apple. If you are already using the Google Home app, you can integrate the speaker under “Add device.”

However, if you download the app first, you have to follow the small app guide until the app is functional. You must also integrate the JBL Link under the “Add device” item.

After adding the speaker, you can control it in the Google Home overview. You can also stream music directly to the speaker via Spotify or Apple Music.

JBL Link in everyday life

In the course of our test, we learned to love the speaker. It has never been so easy to take music to any room comfortably. It doesn’t matter whether you have it on the charging station or take it with you into the bathroom; for example, the smart speaker has enough “boom” to fill both small and large rooms with sound. The internet connection was always constant, and there were never any interruptions. The Google Assistant responds well, but not nearly as well as the Google speakers. This is probably because the boxes from Google are equipped with several microphones.

We particularly like that the smart speaker is waterproof, so you can take it with you without worrying. Since the box is also suitable for taking away, we also used it outdoors—the connection via Bluetooth works without any problems. We can confirm the battery life of 8 hours. Charging the JBL Link utilizing the charging station always worked flawlessly in our test. Likewise, the multi-room function did not cause any problems and worked perfectly.

Conclusion

There are almost no negative aspects to mention about this smart speaker. Furthermore, we noticed the high functionality in a particularly positive way. All in all, it can be said that the JBL Link is an all-rounder and meets every requirement. Therefore, in our opinion, the purchase is worthwhile.

JBL Link Portable Review
JBL Link Portable Review

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