Sunday, December 3, 2017

JBL Link 300 Voice-Activated Speaker Review

JBL makes some great sounding products. Up for review today is their JBL Link 300. It’s a speaker system with Google Home built-in. There are a lot of options for Google Home products, but most don’t provide the big sound of the JBL Link 300. MSRP is $249.

Features and specs:
  • Get Help from your Google Assistant 
  • Hands-free voice control 
  • Simple setup with the Google Home app on iOS & Android 
  • Chromecast built-in 
  • 24 bit/96kHz High quality sound, powered by the cloud 
  • Multi-room playback across speakers that have Chromecast built-in 
  • 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi connection network support 
  • Wireless Bluetooth® streaming 
  • Room filling sound

Transducer1 x 89mm woofer, 1 x 20mm tweeter
Output power2 x 25W
Frequency response55Hz–22kHz (-6dB)
Signal-to-noise ratio>80dB
Power supply19VDC, 3.0A
Wireless network802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz)
Bluetooth® version4.2
Supported audio formatsHE-AAC, LC-AAC, MP3, Vorbis, WAV (LPCM), FLAC, Opus
Dimensions (W x H x D)236mm x 134mm x 154mm
Weight1.7 kg

The JBL Link 300 came in a great looking color printed box, with photos and specs of the Link 300. Opening the box revealed a well protected product held in place by custom fit foam. Also included was the quick start guide, and power cord. Materials used in the construction was mostly plastic with some rubber, and wrapped in a black meshed cloth. Quality of materials was excellent, as was the fit and finish. As I have come to expect from a JBL product, the JBL Link 300 was built very well and feels very solid in hand. I couldn’t wait to test it out.

The JBL Link 300 is not a wireless product. So you will want to first figure out where you want it in your home. Setting it up was very easy. All you have to do it download the Google Home app on your smartphone. The app will then walk you through the setting up your JBL Link 300, and it was amazingly easy! And once setup, using Google Home was also very easy. I was quite surprised at how sensitive the JBL Link 300 was. I could be in the other room, and the JBL Link 300 would hear me and respond.

What I really liked about the JBL Link 300 was its Google Home being in a larger speaker size. Not only does it do Google Home, but it is a great speaker. Due to its larger size, it has improved bass response. So now you can have Google Home and a nice home speaker in one device.  The specs show the JBL Link 300 as having only 2 drivers:  a 20mm tweeter, and an 89mm woofer.  When I first unwrapped the JBL Link 300, I saw the rear firing woofer on the back.  That was exciting. The cloth wrap hid the front firing speakers.   Sometimes a speaker this size can have stereo speakers on the front, like a separate tweeter and midrange on each side.  Or due to it's size it can have just a single tweeter and a single midrange.  But JBL must have some faries doing some magic behind that black meshed cloth.  To have just the one woofer on the back and a single tweeter on the front, JBL pulled out an amazing aural magic trick from under their sleeve. 

When it came to the JBL Link 300’s speaker functionality, the Link 300 delivered in spades. It can be used as a stand alone speaker for Google Home, used to play music through the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth or Chromecast.  Chromecast will also let you link multiple speakers together to play your music to multiple rooms. When it came to music performance, the JBL Link 300 continued it’s stellar performance.  My only disappointment was the JBL App.  In order to be able to link multiple speakers together in a whole home system, you use the JBL App so your music plays out of all of the linked speakers.  But there is currently a glitch in the app, and I could not link the JBL Link 20 and the JBL Link 300 to play music together.  JBL is working on it, and will post an update once it is fixed.  The Bluetooth functionality worked well, was easy to pair, and worked well at over 45 feet away and thru walls without a loss of signal.

What did not disappoint was the sound.  Initial listening session had me impressed with the sound.  I loved the bass response.  After realizing the JBL Link 300 has only 1 tweeter and 1 woofer, I was in awe, and did some critical listening.  Afterwards I was even more in awe.  As I mentioned before, JBL really pulled a trick from under their sleeve with this one.  The JBL Link 300 actually threw a deeper than expected soundstage, and actually provided imaging.  I wasn't expecting to hear much if any soundstage or imaging in a small speaker like this.  I threw several different songs from different genre, and was very surprised.  Based on my experience from JBL's high quality products, I have come to expect quality sound.  But this was better than expected.  The highs were crisp and clean, mids were not overly warm, and the bass was tight, had impact, and provided depth deeper than expected for it's small size.  Flutes were crisp and had good air.  Vocals were natural sounding with nice texture and harmonics.  Percussion was dynamic with good resolution.    

If you like good sound, and want to have Google Home functionality, the JBL Link 300 should be on your short list.  It provides great functionality, features, and stellar sound for it's size.  With an MSRP of $249, they are a bargain and worth every penny.  Based on it's design, features, quality, and performance, the JBL Link 300 has earned our Editor's Choice Award.  For more info and complete specs, check out their website at