JBL's wireless speaker lineup just got a little bit larger. The Samsung-owned audio powerhouse announced three new Bluetooth speakers today at IFA, the giant European consumer tech trade show taking place this week in Berlin. The Link Music and Link Portable further expand the company's already considerable portfolio of Wi-Fi-enabled smart speakers, and the Pulse 4 Bluetooth speaker will offer a dance club in a box when it ships later this fall.
Link Music and Link Portable
If you're not familiar with JBL's Link line of smart speakers, you should be: They're basically Google Assistant speakers that offer better sound quality in a wider range of price ranges and shapes than many of Google's own Home speakers. To that end, the Link Music looks like a slightly more affordable version of the $150-- a speaker we liked when we reviewed it last year. Starting at $100 (£90 or AU$145), it's fully loaded with support for Chromecast, AirPlay 2, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, along with voice control via Google Assistant.
The Link Portable, which bears a resemblance to, has all of the same features as the Link Music but adds IPX7 waterproofing and 8 hours of battery life, as well as a more compact form factor and a higher price tag ($150, £139 and AU$220).
The two new Link speakers will be available sometime this fall.
JBL has also introduced a new version of the JBL Pulse -- its waterproof, pool and hot tub-optimized Bluetooth speaker that resembles a lava lamp. The company says the new model, the Pulse 4, has more LED lights and can produce its signature light show with or without music. It adds USB-C charging, too.
Otherwise, it's similar to its predecessor, the. As such, it can simultaneously connect to two phones or tablets, so you and a friend can take turns controlling the tunes, and is rated for up to 12 hours of play time. The Pulse 4 will cost $200 (£229 or AU$295) and is scheduled to ship in October.