JBL Link 10 review: Portability is nice, the bass is better

JBL Link 10
  • JBL Link 10
  • JBL Link 10
  • JBL Link 10
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Portability
  • Waterproofing

Cons

  • Lack of sleep mode

Bottom Line

With the Link 10 and 20 JBL leverage their strength in the portable speaker space to deliver a product that sounds great and pushes the smart speaker category forward as a whole - even if it trips up on some of the finer details of that push.

Would you buy this?

The Pitch

As we touched on in our review of the Sony LF-S50G smart speaker, we’re now firmly in the second wave of smart speaker developments. The ground-rules have been established - now is the time for expansion and diversification. On paper, any company can try to build a better speaker than Google or Amazon whilst leveraging the same software experience. Sure, there are always going to be purists who want to stay true to Google or Amazon’s vision of what a smart assistant should look like. However, for everyone else, it’s important to have options.

Sony’s new LF-F50G promised to provide just that: an experience that’s exactly every bit as smart as Google’s own offering but with a few added perks to justify the padded price-tag. Unfortunately, as we noted in our review, it rarely felt like the $100 improvement it ought to be.

Now, JBL are tackling the same problem with their own take on things: the JBL Link 10 and 20 portable smart speakers.

Specs

The JBL Link 10 is a wireless smart speaker that produces 360-degree audio using two 8W speaker units paired with two 45mm transducers. It’s IPX7-rated against water and dust damage, includes a 4000mAh battery (good for five hours of playback) and boasts Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.

It comes accompanied by the slightly-larger JBL Link 20. This speaker bumps things up to two 10W speaker units and 50mm transducers. Like its sibling, it’s IPX7-rated against water and dust damage, includes a 6000mAh battery (offering ten hours of playback) and boasts Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. Both Link speakers boast a frequency response range of 65Hz–20kHz.    

Design

When it comes to the software side of things, there’s not a hugely-long or grandiose story to be sung about the JBL Link 10 and 20. At a glance, they look strikingly similar to JBL’s Flip and Charge speakers. They rehash and relish the same rubber-and-fabric cylindrical design with little shame - instead settling for a little added bulk.

Then, in practice, the JBL Link speakers quickly reveals themselves to be 'just another Google Home speaker.' You say “OK, Google” and it can do all the things that the Assistant is capable of doing. You can check the weather, you can ask it questions, you can tell it to play music. There’s no huge difference or additional limitations here in terms of what you can and can’t do compared to the regular Google Home. 

That said, there are a few physical quirks worth touching on. Specifically, the control panel. Sitting atop the JBL Link like a crown, it’s here that a set of physical buttons (pause, play, volume, pairing and a shortcut key for quickly summoning the Google Assistant) compliment the speaker’s more naturally-intuitive voice-controls. This control panel looks - and feels - a little bit unpolished. However, given our reservations about the gesture-based controls in Sony’s LF-S50G, it emerges as a reliable fallback by comparison. 

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?