Sunday, November 24, 2019

JBL Link Bar Voice-Activated Sound Bar Review

If you are looking for great sound, you don’t have to look any further than JBL. They have a ton of great sounding products. But they also are great innovators! One of those great sounding innovative products is their JBL Link Bar. It’s a soundbar for your TV, so you get much better sound for your TV. But it’s so much more than just a sound bar.

Features and specs:

Transducer:  2 x 20mm (0.8”) tweeter, 4 x (44x80)mm (1.7"x3.2”) racetrack driver

Total Maximum Power:  100W

Frequency response:  75Hz–20kHz

Signal-to-noise ratio:  >85dBA

Power Supply:  100-240V~50/60Hz

Bluetooth version:  4.2

Bluetooth transmitter frequency range:  2402–2480MHz

Wireless network:  802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz)

Multi 4k video HDMI input:  Yes

Chromecast built-in:  Yes

Dimensions (W x H x D):  1020 x 60 x 93mm

Gross Weight:  4.4kg

Net Weight:  2.5kg


LINK BAR is intended to be used for streaming music. A consumer can stream Bluetooth audio to the speaker. A consumer can connect their speaker to the local Wi-Fi Network and stream music with Google Chromecast. In addition, the speaker will work with Google Home. This product is designed to be instantly on and ready to play music at a moment's notice, therefore, the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection must remain active at all times to ensure proper operation.

LINK BAR is in compliance with the European Union energy legislation. LINK BAR complies with European Commission Regulation (EC) No 1275/2008 (HiNA and (EU) No 801/2013 as a networked equipment with high network availability equipment and equipment with HiNA functionality):  Yes

Power consumption:

Off Mode:  N/A

Standby:  N/A

Network Standby:  N/A

Time to standby:  N/A

Active Standby*:  5.5W

*Active Standby:

LINK BAR is connected to a wireless network but does not provide active audio functions. when LINK BAR is plugged into a wall socket, regardless whether it is muted or not, words "Hey Google" or "Ok Google" it is automatically on active standby mode. It will respond to you if you say the trigger.

The JBL Link Bar came in a great looking color printed box, with images and specs of the product. Opening the box revealed a well protected product held in place by custom foam. Materials used in the construction was mostly plastic with some cloth and metal. Quality of materials used, as well as the fit and finish was very good. It’s a very well made product and it shows. Also included was the remote, power cord, HDMI cable, mounting kit, and owner’s manual

Setting up the JBL Link Bar was very easy. It was just a matter of plugging in the provided HDMI to the back of my TV, and then plugging it into the wall outlet. Once turned on, it basically set up itself. Its tutorial walks you through connecting it to your home wi-fi network, as well as setting up the apps that you want to use. I honestly think my elderly father could have done it, which is saying something. Using the Bluetooth feature was just as easy. It was just a matter of pressing the Bluetooth button on the remote, selecting the JBL Link Bar in the list of devices on the Bluetooth screen of my LG V40 Thinq Smartphone, and then pressing the ok button on the remote to accept the pair.

I also really like the design of the JBL Link Bar. The cloth covers the entire front to give an elegant look. The top features a few needed buttons in case the remote gets misplace. There are mounts on the back so you can mount it on the wall under the TV if you so wish. And on the back are the connectors. You get connectors for 3.5mm audio, an optical, and 3 HDMI inputs, and 1 HDMI output for the TV. So if you don’t need surround sound, no receiver is needed. With the JBL Link Bar you have HDMI inputs for a cable box, Blu-Ray player and even a gaming system. According to the specs in the manual, there are 2 round tweeters and 4 oval drivers. So each side has a tweeter and two drivers. On the end at each side is a port to help with bass response. Now that it’s set up, let’s hear how it sounds!

Since it is the holiday season, I turned to my favorite group for Christmas music, Manheim Steamroller: God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman. Cymbals were crisp and clean, horns were smooth and not too brassy. Drums had nice impact, depth, and authority. Strings were smooth with very nice harmonies. It also had very good stereo separation, imaging, and width and depth of soundstage for a soundbar. Pat a Pan: The shaker, tambourine and temple block were nice and crisp. The flute was nice and smooth with a great amount of air and tonguing technique. The violin was smooth with very good harmonics. The drums had good dynamics, impact and depth. There were a lot of instruments, and the JBL Link Bar provided the needed resolution for them all to shine. Fum, Fum, Fum: the drums had nice impact, fullness of depth and pitch definition, triangles were crisp and clean, violin had nice resolution of the bow on the strings, piccolo had very nice smooth texture with good air. Oboe had very good texture of the reed. Kickdrum played with nice impact, depth, and authority. The high hat was also crisp and clean with nice details.

It may seem like I’m loving the JBL Link Bar, I actually had a hard time with the testing. It did so well, I got to thinking, ok, where’s it’s Achilles heal? But it actually did everything very well! Thanks to its loaded features, it does so much. It can be a key part of a smart home, helping to control things like lights and the thermostat. The voice activated part of it, for Google Assistant, also worked well with providing the help we needed.  My kids have loved it for accessing their Spotify play lists, YouTube Videos, and Disney Plus video content. They also tend to listen to it pretty loud, and the JBL Link Bar did not disappoint in the least.

If you like streaming services, the JBL Link Bar has you covered. If you have or are wanting to set-up a connected home, it will have you covered as well. And then there’s also the much better sound when you compare it to the sound from your flat screen TV. For it being a sound bar, I was extremely impressed with the stereo separation, imaging, and size of soundstage. It did everything very well. With an MSRP of $399, it’s worth every penny. Based on its design, features, quality and performance, the JBL Link Bar has earned our Editor’s Choice Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at