JBL Link Portable and Link Music review – hello Alice!

Content

  1. TECH SPECS
  2. Positioning
  3. JBL Link Portable
  4. Working hours
  5. About sound
  6. JBL Link Music
  7. About sound
  8. Impressions

TECH SPECS

JBL Link Portable JBL Link Music
Speaker diameter 1×49 mm 1×64 mm
Peak power 20 W 20 W
Frequencies  65 Hz – 20 kHz 60 Hz – 20 kHz
Signal / noise 80 dB 80 dB
connection  Wi-Fi 2.4 and 5 GHz
Bluetooth 4.2 
Wi-Fi 2.4 and 5 GHz
Bluetooth 4.2 
Battery  4800 mAh
Size 88×170 mm 112×134 mm
The weight  735 grams 730 grams

Positioning

Not so long ago, the JBL brand introduced two compact speakers on the Russian market – Link Portable and Link Music.

The first name speaks for itself: a portable speaker that you can take with you anywhere and in any weather, thanks to the IPX7 protection. It is available in a large number of colors and is sold for 12 rubles.

The second column is intended for local placement, that is, it is “tied” to an outlet by a network cable, and you can buy it only in black. The price is much more democratic – 8 rubles.

But they have two things in common. This is support for Alice’s Yandex assistant – voice commands and, of course, tight integration with Yandex.Music, as well as the ability to use the speakers as Bluetooth speakers.

JBL Link Portable and Link Music review - hello Alice!

JBL Link Portable

Personally, I associate the JBL brand with something youthful and bright, but the Link Portable model is closer in spirit to Harman Kardon: strict, rather faded colors (brown, blue, yellow, gray, green and black), cloth braid of the outer casing , the minimum amount of various kinds of decorations.

The dimensions are quite compact – 88×170 mm. It is lower in height than the JBL Pulse 4 and JBL Flip 5. The Link Portable weighs about 800 grams. Easily fits into any backpack, if you wish, you can put it in the outer pockets of the jacket.

The device is equipped with an IPX7 degree of protection. This means that the speaker is quite likely to be taken with you to the pool or to the beach. Of course, you should not be afraid that the device will fail during bad weather. For example, at the dacha, I left JBL Link Portable on the table near the house. It started to rain, and the column fell under a decent onslaught of water droplets. Half an hour later I remembered about the gadget, took it into the house, left it to dry. Now everything works fine, the fabric part has not changed color, I did not notice any streaks either.

The lower and upper parts are made of plastic, the cover is soft-touch. The front panel bears a metal nameplate with the JBL inscription.

There are four indicators in the upper area. They indicate the volume level of the speaker, visually display Alice’s interaction with you.

JBL Link Portable and Link Music review - hello Alice!

The speaker has six mechanical buttons: volume control (louder, quieter), turn on / off the voice assistant, pairing via Bluetooth, turn on / off the microphone and power.

JBL Link Portable and Link Music review - hello Alice!

One connector – USB Type-C. A charge indicator is located next to it.

JBL Link Portable and Link Music review - hello Alice!

By the way, from below you can find a contact pad for installing the speaker on a charging stand. It connects via USB-C cable. In fact, the purpose of the stand is not very clear, since the speaker stands perfectly on a flat surface even without it. The impression that it was necessary to create some kind of small chip in order to slightly distinguish the device from the rest of the brand’s gadgets. And, probably, in this way also justify the high cost.

Working hours

JBL Link Portable battery capacity is 4800 mAh. Everything is very simple here, since the column does not have any special operating modes. At a volume level of 80%, the battery is discharged in about 6-7 hours.

JBL Link Portable and Link Music review - hello Alice!

From a typical 5V / 2A power adapter, the column fills up to 100% energy in 3 hours 20 minutes.

About sound

The first thing to mention is the volume. Despite its relatively compact size, Link Portable sounds very loud. At the maximum sound level, the speaker is perfectly audible within a radius of 30 meters. Of course, you can still hear it, but this is no longer listening to music.

Judging by the specs on the official website, we find out that the Link Portable theoretically plays 65Hz – 20Hz. To my ear, this is roughly 000 Hz – 80 Hz.

They tried to pump the column with low frequencies, but in most situations there is a slight overload. Apparently, because of it, the overall volume level decreases at the time of low frequencies. Especially noticeable when playing Yandex.Music. In other sources, the effect is less pronounced.

JBL Link Portable and Link Music review - hello Alice!

Best of all, the column is given electronic music without an abundance of bass. Pop, jazz will do too. If something is heavier, the sound can turn into mush.

I won’t talk about Alice. I think everyone knows its capabilities anyway. The only thing to note is the sensitivity of the microphones. If the music is loud and you are trying to ask Alice something at a distance of two meters, you will have to shout. Well, or you need to come closer. I had an LG Xboom speaker with Alice on my review, and there the sensitivity was high: we communicated with the assistant in an ordinary voice, even when the composition was playing.

JBL Link Music

Available in black only. Probably, the brand understands that this model will be in little demand. It seems to me that otherwise at least a couple more colors would be available. After all, almost all JBL devices are bright and elegant, but here they are in black.

The Link Music design repeats the Link Portable device: fabric upholstery, soft-touch plastic. Only Link Music is wider and lower – 112×134 mm, and it weighs 730 grams.

The buttons are exactly the same – volume, enable or disable Alice’s voice assistant, microphone and Bluetooth pairing. There is only a power button, since the column operates on a 220 V network. The cable is about 1.5 meters, I would like to be longer. Naturally, the column has no protection against water, but you can wipe it with a damp cloth after unplugging it from the outlet.

It is also worth noting that the buttons are easier to press and more pleasant than on the Link Portable.

About sound

In terms of volume, everything is the same as that of the Link Portable. He impresses me. In this case, by the way, it is not necessary to have maximum decibels, because it is designed to be a bedside assistant.

The device, according to official figures, produces 60 Hz – 20 kHz. Again I listen and understand that there is about 000 Hz – 80 kHz.

JBL Link Portable and Link Music review - hello Alice!

Unlike the Link Portable, the Link Music speaker is shifted towards the middle and high frequencies. Here there is no overload on the bottoms. In this case, it is extremely pleasant to listen to classical compositions, and even rock and metal sound good – the very “mess” that Link Portable has is missing.

Naturally, Link Music perfectly conveys Alice’s voice – loud, clear and clear. The microphone sensitivity is slightly higher than that of the Link Portable: commands are recognized without problems.

Impressions

The release of JBL brand devices with Alice on board was quite logical: the brand is well-known, a huge number of people use the voice assistant (my mother-in-law is so used to Alice that she has not used text input in search for a long time), people like Yandex.Music (I for two years already an active user of the streaming service), and with a subscription you get several pleasant bonuses.

As for the speakers, in terms of design, everything is very calm, as I said, closer to the Harman Kardon brand.

The portable version works for a long time, sounds good, but I would not load it with something heavy. Link Music has a smoother frequency response, so it is suitable for listening to almost any genre of music.

Let me remind you the prices: JBL Link Portable – 12 rubles, JBL Link Music – 000 rubles. It seems to me that the price could be reduced by 8 – 500 rubles.

JBL Link Portable and Link Music review - hello Alice!

JBL Pulse, JBL Link Music, JBL Link Portable

What competitors exist in our market:

  • Yandex.Station… Price – 11 rubles. Large and powerful speaker. Knows how to connect to TV via HDMI.
  • LG Xboom Ai ThinQ… The price is 11 rubles. An excellent option for those who want to purchase quality sound. Large and heavy speaker.
  • Yandex.Station mini… The price is 5 rubles. A compact version of a smart speaker from Yandex.
  • Elari SmartBeat… Price – 4 500 rubles. An inexpensive portable 5W speaker, of course, with Alice inside.
  • Irbis A… The price is about 3 rubles. A compact column designed only for acquaintance with Alice and the Yandex ecosystem.

Do you communicate with voice assistants? If so, what are the main scripts you use?

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