CNET First Look
JBL's voice-activated Link Series speakers are Amazon Echo alternativesThe JBL Link 10, 20, 300 and 500 have Google Assistant and Chromecast built-in and deliver strong sound for the money. What's not to like?
[MUSIC] Late in 2017, JBL released a new line of voice enabled speakers under its new Link sub-brand. The line features a combination of two fully water proof, portable speakers. The link 10 and the link 20 And two non battery models the Link 300 and 500 that require a wall plug to operate. The upcoming Link View has a screen built into it. While Amazon Alexa enabled speakers are all the rage, the Link Line uses Google Assistant for its voice commands. And here's another key thing you need to know. All linked speakers are equipped with Google Chromecast, which enables them to join up not only with other linked speakers, but any Chromecast based audio device to create a multi room audio setup over a Wi-Fi network. Speakers are also equipped with bluetooth and speaker phone capabilities. Setting up the speakers is relatively simple via the Google Home app on iOs and Android devices. You log into the speaker using a direct wi-fi connection and log on to your chosen network To get the speaker on the network. You can then give it a label for a particular room and link it with other Chromecast enabled speakers if you have them. The speakers have two microphones at the top so you can issue voice commands from across the room. It works most of the time. And there are also some physical buttons including volume controls and a microphone mute button if you don't want Google Assistant to hear you. You can access Google Assistant by pressing the middle button on the top of the speaker and issue commands without having to say, hey, Google, or okay, Google, first. Play Chasing a Youth by Phil Panton [MUSIC] As you might expect, the larger Link 500 sounds the best in the line and can play the loudest with the strongest bass. Although I wouldn't say these speakers totally outclass the competition at their price points, they do sound good for Wi-Fi speakers and seem to be frequently discounted Which makes them more considering. Personally I think the portable link 20 probably delivers the best value with a bunch, for [UNKNOWN] it compares [UNKNOWN] to the [UNKNOWN] mega boost which cause significantly more, it may not play quite as loud [UNKNOWN] is good with some tracks, but it's still a very good portable speaker for the money. I'm David Conroy for CNET.com, that's the JVL Link voice enabled speaker line, thanks for watching. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO]