The $400 JBL Link 500 smart speaker is on sale for $150

Equipped with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Chromecast and Google Assistant, it's powerful enough for even your largest rooms.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

The JBL Link 500 (also available in white) is a powerful smart speaker that originally sold for $400.

Sarah Tew/CNET

I don't know if JBL is clearing out inventory or what, but in recent weeks the company has offered some damn good speaker deals. The latest: The JBL Link 500 smart speaker for $149.95 with promo code CNET500. It lists for $449.95, though it was $399.95 when CNET reviewed it. The best deal I've seen elsewhere: $249.95. Update: This deal is no longer available publicly, but for a limited time, Cheapskate readers can still take advantage of it using the aforementioned code.

This is a big speaker, on par with the likes of the Apple HomePod and Google Home Max . It offers both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as Chromecast for linking with similarly equipped speakers. (Hello, multiroom audio!) The "smarts" come courtesy of baked-in Google Assistant, bolstered here by dual-microphone, far-field voice recognition. (Here's the complete list of Google Assistant commands if you want to learn more about this feature.)

I was able to test-drive the Link 500 for a few days and came away impressed. It's in my basement right now, which has a decent amount of contiguous space, and it's easily loud enough to deliver tunes from one end to the other. To my ears it sounds terrific: big and warm, with oodles of bass.

Maybe too much? I agree with David Carnoy's JBL Link 500 review, which notes that some listeners may be put off the by the bass-heavy sound.

But let's put this in perspective. The Apple HomePod costs $299, as does the Google Home Max. The forthcoming Amazon Echo Studio (which CNET has yet to test) will run $200. If you're looking for a big speaker, and prefer (or at least don't mind) the Google ecosystem, the Link 500 is awfully tempting at $150.

Your thoughts?

CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.

Get the best price with CNET Shopping.
Love shopping online but don't have time to compare prices or search for promo codes? Our CNET Shopping extension does that for you, so you always get the best price.
Add CNET Shopping
Shopping laptop image