CES 2018 has struck many new Bluetooth speaker models and JBL has also launched JBL Link family of speakers.
JBL Link Family members: 10, 20, 300, and 500 series
In this review we will mainly speak and compare the Portable series which consists of Link 10 & Link 20. In the next blog post we shall discuss on bigger speakers i.e. Link 300 & Link 500 (read review here).
What’s Notable in JBL Link 10 & 20 Series ?
- Look & Feel:
Both are styled similar shaped (cylinder) uses Durable mesh type fabric material and rugged rubber housing which looks Premium, though its much more traditional and JBL has not done much to drastically improve upon the looks.
- Integrated Google Assistant control:
I think its demand of time to get assistants in everything that we use and here JBL has done pretty good job, integration of Google Assistant.
Also if you create a group of speakers at home in the Google Home app, you can simply tell Google. “Hey Google. Play “Take my hands” on all speakers.” and all speakers will simply sing the same song 🙂
If you have a Spotify, Pandora, or Google Play Music account, you can then stream music by asking the Assistant to play music.
Most of the smart products at your home such as a Nest, Philips Hue, LG smart appliances, WeMo switches, can be controlled from your Link speaker by instructing something like…”Hey Google. Turn off my WeMo light.” Or “Hey Google. Set the temperature of my Nest to xx degrees.”
Remember that Google Assistant can’t make phone calls or send text messages from these speakers !!
- Buttons and Controls:
The power button and microphone mute buttons are placed on the back of speaker along with the battery level indicator.
MicroUSB charging port is located at the bottom back.
The Google Assistant button, volume/track buttons, play/pause button and Bluetooth/pairing buttons are placed at the top of speaker. And finally the LED indicators at the top front for volume and at the bottom front for Wi-Fi connectivity.
- Waterproof: IPX7
Yes, portability is closely connected with water which you face during hiking, camping or poolside parties, with IPX7 Rating which indicates survival even after submersion in 1 meter of water depth, you are worry free from water. So feel free to use them outdoors, even a child can handle it.
- Charging port USB-C:
Yes, it has the all new trend making USB-C port … so either you need to use new charger cable or an adapter to your regular Mico-USB connector.
- I would say that Link 10 is very good alternative to the Google Home in terms of Price, with improved audio & portability.
JBL LINK 10 vs JBL LINK 20 Voice Activated Portable Speaker Specs Comparison Table
|Waterproof Speakers||JBL LINK 10||JBL LINK 20|
|Speaker Type||Voice activated portable speaker|
|Material||Durable fabric material and rugged rubber housing|
|Waterproof rating||IPX7 waterproof|
|Transducer||2 x 45 mm||2 x 50 mm|
|Output Power||2 x 8 W||2 x 10 W|
|Frequency Response||65Hz-20 kHz|
|Signal-to-noise ratio||>80 dB|
|Wireless network||802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4/5 GHz)|
|WiFi Version||Support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi connection|
|Supported audio formats||HE-AAC, LC-AAC, MP3, Vorbis, WAV (LPCM), FLAC, Opus|
|Google Assistant||Yes, Built-in|
|Hands-free voice control||Yes, using Far-field voice recognition|
|Google Home app||Free Google Home app on iOS & Android|
|Cloud streaming||24 bit/96kHz High quality sound, powered by the cloud|
|Multi-room playback||Control multi-room playback with the Google Home app|
|Music play time||Up to 5 hours (varies by volume level and content)||Up to 10 hours (varies by volume level and content)|
|Battery||Lithium-ion Polymer (3.7V, 4000 mAh)||Lithium-ion Polymer (3.7V, 6000 mAh)|
|Battery charge time||4 hours @5V 1A||4.5 hours @5V 2.3A|
|Dimensions||86 mm x 169 mm||93 mm x 210 mm|
|Weight||670 grams||950 grams|
|What’s In The Box||JBL Link speakers|
|USB-A to MicroUSB cable|
|Instructions, warranty, and documentation|
|Waterproof Speakers||JBL LINK 10||JBL LINK 20|
What are the differences in JBL Link 10 & 20 Series ?
- More Sound: 20W
JBL Link 20 features more powerful transducers delivering 20W power (1 x 10W) using its 50 mm drivers
- Extra Long Music Play time: 10 hours
JBL Link 20 features double the music playtime in comparison to Link 20, this is because of the powerful 6000 mAh battery that Link 20 is using.
- Weight and dimensions:
JBL Link 20 is slightly bigger and heavier than Link 10, that’s because of the powerful battery as well as the bigger driver size.
Issues reported so far from users (reference internet resources)
- Larger Speaker Boot time:
JBL Link 10/20 takes around 10~20 seconds after Power-up to connect to your wireless network and get itself ready to receive voice commands. In today’s world where things are speeding up, this time is felt as sluggish by users. (Refer Cnet.com review)
- Absence of docking station:
Again docking station is a trend and people don’t like to find the micro-USB port for charging, in case of JBL Link 10/20 one has to uncover the micro-USB port to plus it in.
both the speakers feature Google Assistant which is great to have feature and preferred by most of us. In between Link 10 or 20 , you can choose Link 10 for hiking, cycling since its light in weight and smaller in size, however if you are looking for camping, you can go for bigger the better Link 20 with extra long music playtime.
Hope this helps !