Price (RRP): $249.95
The JBL Link View is the latest Google Assistant speaker to add a much-needed video screen to the ever helpful and always learning, OK Google.
What makes the JBL Link View different, special, desirable?
The answer is JBL’s sound heritage – it has the best sound of all three contenders. Good mid-bass, a very flat response (good) up to 15kHz and low distortion make this a great little stereo speaker.
All this is delivered through a proprietary JBL transducer array, driven by a digital amplifier tuned to deliver full bass and crystal-clear highs.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not saying the others are shabby at all – their music is pleasant and very much fit for purpose.
Review: JBL Link View
Australian Website here
What is it?
- 8”, 1280 x 800, 189ppi, (HD) touch screen
- 2 x 2” 10W (stereo) speakers and passive bass radiator
- housed in an oval-shaped,1.3kg, 332 x 152 x 100 mm; IPX4 splash proof; half watermelon shaped pill.
- Front-facing 5MP camera (and a PrivacySwitch)
- Bluetooth 4.2,
- Wi-Fi AC dual band.
It has Google Assistant for Displays (you can read all about that here) and rather than go into detail here read the other speaker reviews for that. Suffice to say Google is always learning and improving. What she can do today is lots more than when I reviewed the other speakers.
How does it sound?
JLB claim 60Hz to 20kHz from its two Class D 10W amps which means mid good bass, clear voice (mids) and clear highs (treble). Our tests verified this, and it is clear that there is a JBL digital signal processor hard at work to gain optimal sound.
But rather than be clinical we listen for the subtle nuances.Does the Beachboy’s California Girls sound sweet and clear? Yes. Does the Blues Brothers theme song want to make you shake a tail feather? Yes. And do the violins and flutes in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony send shivers up your spine? Yes. It is a pleasure to listen to all even at the 80dB maximum volume.
How does it look
Screen colours are good, not excellent. There is no HDR or colour adjustment – just a brightness or auto brightness. Off-angle viewing past 45°starts to lose colour and definition. It’s best straight on.
It is not fair to compare an IPS LCD screen to a tablet, especially say a Samsung Galaxy Pro S4 with a glorious OLED screen. But for kitchen recipes,YouTube and Google Duo calls it is more than fit for purpose.
Google is always there
First Google Home setup is a breeze – way simpler than Alexa. The app had me up and running in a couple of minutes.
Even at full volume, we could shout OK Google, and it instantly responded. In fact, you could talk quite normally at 10 metres away, and it could hear you.
That also means you can ask it questions, find recipes and present them visually, search and play YouTube videos and so much more.
It supports Google Chromecast audio streaming at up to24-bit/96kHz with AAC, FLAC, MP3, and WAV. Music services included Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, YouTube Music and Google Play Music
What it can’t do
I found that the majority of non-Google stuff is via Chromecast. That is the same as the Lenovo. Find a movie on Netflix and cast it to the screen. One day it will have inbuilt smarts.
I have a DLNA server with all my music and movies. At present,it cannot access that, but JBL says that a Chromecast Music firmware update is coming.
And so far, Google-based speakers are not multi-room. They can all play different music source but not the same one at the same time.Google Broadcast, however, is to the entire network.
Also, you need good internet. Don’t even think of using it if you have ADSL or even NBN 12. It works fine on NBN 25 or greater. We did not test this on wireless broadband, but it should be OK – just remember that with this you will pay for data down and up so Google Duo calling could be expensive.
GadgetGuy’s take: JBL Link View
- Sound quality is above the Lenovo because it is stereo and has the JBL heritage.
- Video quality is on a par with the Lenovo 8” and slightly under 10” (that has a higher definition screen)
- Functionality – it and the Lenovo are identical apart from Lenovo’s ability to work in portrait mode for Google Duo calls.
- Compared to the Google Home Hub it has a forward facing camera.
Would I buy one?
I love JBL’s sound signature so if I was buying a Google Assistant speaker then yes absolutely. OK Google plus video is far better.
But I also love the 10” screen on the Lenovo, so it’s a hard question to answer. Sound or video?