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JBL Link View review: The smart speaker for stereo fans

JBL Link View review: The smart speaker for stereo fans

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That is the best-sounding Google Assistant-powered smart speaker.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho JBL Link View

JBL’s Link View is the best-sounding, display-equipped, Google Assistant-powered smart speaker at present. However who is aware of how lengthy it should maintain that title?

Execs
  • A real stereo speaker
  • Nice bass response for its measurement
  • Higher constancy than something in Amazon’s present arsenal
Cons
  • At present can’t be used together with different Chromecast audio system
  • Makes video calls solely to Google Duo customers
  • $50 costlier than Lenovo’s Eight-inch Smart Show

Kết quả hình ảnh cho JBL Link View

Google stunned everybody at CES final January when it introduced partnerships with numerous corporations, together with pc builder Lenovo and home-audio stalwart JBL, to construct Google Assistant-powered smart audio system with touchscreens. Lenovo, an organization with no actual expertise constructing residence audio gear, got here to market first with the Lenovo Smart Show (we reviewed the 10-inch mannequin and favored it—a lot). The JBL Link View is even higher—at the very least from an audio perspective.

jbl link view primary

The JBL Link View competes extra instantly with the Eight-inch Lenovo Smart Show, which Lenovo was sort sufficient to mortgage for a look-see. It ought to come as no shock that the most important distinction between the 2 audio system is that JBL supplies true stereo drivers and a 5-inch, rear-mounted passive radiator that pumps the bass even when the speaker isn’t positioned towards a wall (the higher to bounce sound again towards you). Lenovo makes use of a single monophonic driver, and whereas its designers did put two front-mounted passive radiators within the Smart Show, that speaker doesn’t ship fairly the identical low-end impression.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho JBL Link View

The Link View seems to be greater than the Eight-inch Lenovo Smart Show, however it has a smaller footprint because of the latter speaker’s uneven form. The Link View’s 5MP digital camera’s privateness shutter is on prime of the enclosure and straightforward to entry, however the button for muting its microphone is considerably inconveniently situated on the again. You’ll have to look excessive of the speaker to seek out it till you’ve used it sufficient to find it by contact.

jbl link view buttonsThe shutter cowl and the membrane volume-control buttons are straightforward to find from the entrance, however you’ll have to peek excessive a couple of occasions earlier than you’re snug discovering the mic-mute change by contact. 

There are visible indications on the entrance of the show for each settings (an orange dot painted on the digital camera shutter, and a slashed-out microphone icon on the show for the mic). Most individuals will use voice instructions to regulate the speaker’s quantity—and I by no means had any drawback getting Google Assistant’s consideration, even whereas listening to music with the quantity pegged—however giant membrane buttons for quantity up and down are situated behind the privateness shutter.

I’ll dive deeper into the JBL Link View’s audio efficiency later. I feel most individuals buying for a smart speaker with a show will care extra about video than audio, so I’ll deal with difficulty that first.

Video efficiency

The JBL Link View’s Eight-inch touchscreen provides video decision of 1280 x 800 pixels (pixel density of 189ppi). That’s barely bigger and barely higher-resolution than the 7-inch, 1024×600 (170ppi) display on the first-generation Echo Present, however JBL doesn’t have a direct competitor for the 10-inch Lenovo Smart Show that sells for the identical worth as this Eight-inch mannequin ($249.99).

jbl link view grillThe JBL Link View’s show is bracketed by true stereo audio system. 

Recipes are some of the well-liked makes use of for a display-equipped smart speaker, however the best way this works with the Link View is considerably awkward: You have to say the “Hey Google” or “OK Google” wake phrase for each step of the method (it’s also possible to contact a subsequent step button on the show, however that will probably be awkward should you’ve been utilizing your palms to chop or combine components). For the Pasta Primavera recipe I attempted, that meant saying “Hey Google, next step” 17 occasions. Amazon’s Echo Present doesn’t require the wake phrase on this approach. When you’ve began the steps within the recipe, you simply say, “next step.”

The affiliation with Google provides JBL (and each different Google companion) an enormous benefit over Amazon’s display-equipped smart audio system in that it will possibly stream video from YouTube. YouTube isn’t the one supply of video on the web, however it’s just about everybody’s default selection for free leisure. Hulu lately introduced its intention to be the primary streaming TV service to be out there on the Echo Present, however I can’t think about it intendd to be unique to the Echo platform for lengthy. Personally, I can’t think about sitting round watching scripted leisure on a display that small, however I is perhaps an outlier.

You can also make video calls on the JBL Link View, however provided that the individual you’re calling has Google Duo. In the event that they don’t, you’ll be restricted to voice calls. Google Assistant’s Broadcast function works type of like an in-home intercom system, besides that you could’t name one Google smart speaker from one other. As an alternative, every little thing you say after “Hey Google. Broadcast” might be performed on each different Google smart speaker. There’s at present no video component to Broadcast. The Drop In function the Amazon Echo line provides is a lot better on this regard as a result of it permits for speaker-to-speaker communication, and you are able to do it with each audio and video (on video-equipped Echos).

jbl link view radiatorThat 5-inch passive radiator behind the enclosure makes all of the distinction relating to reproducing low frequencies.

Smart house help

Google has made massive strides to catch as much as Amazon on the smart residence entrance. However thus far, none of its smart audio system has an built-in smart residence hub. Amazon’s Echo Plus (no show) and its new second-generation Echo Present have built-in ZigBee radios, however that limits you to utilizing ZigBee smart residence units, leaving out one of many different massive gamers on this market: Z-Wave. Each corporations supply robust help for each DIY and custom-installed smart residence techniques

However video is what’s most interesting about display-equipped smart audio system, so I’ll give attention to streaming video from safety cameras. I discovered a combined bag on that rating. As you’d anticipate, Nest safety cameras and the Nest Hey video doorbell work, though I don’t have any of these cameras to check it with. I used to be capable of consider it with the Netatmo Presencesecurity digital camera/floodlight, and it labored nice. However you’ll be able to’t stream video from (the now Amazon-owned) Ring safety cameras or doorbells. Google says Arlo safety cameras are suitable, however I used to be unable to get the function to work with the Arlo Go, which is the one Arlo digital camera I’ve available.

And in case you have been questioning, display-equipped smart audio system don’t function like smartphones or tablets. They’ve touchscreens, however you’ll be able to’t set up the identical forms of apps on them.

jbl link view plugDying to wall warts! It’s nice to see a traditional plug on a smart speaker as an alternative of an AC adapter on the finish of the twine.

Audio efficiency

Right here’s an necessary caveat for anybody considering of becoming a member of a number of JBL Link View audio system right into a multi-room audio system: You possibly can’t—at the least not right now (regardless of what JBL’s press launch says). You’ll be able to’t mix the JBL Link View with different JBL Link audio system, both. That’s as a result of the JBL Link View is a Chromecast video system, and Google at present doesn’t permit Chromecast video units to be grouped. You possibly can’t group Chromecast video units with Chromecast audio units, both. That’s a bummer, and Google reportedly intends to do one thing about it, nevertheless it’s not a limitation you’ll face with Amazon Echos—fashions with and with out shows. JBL says an over-the-air firmware replace will treatment this example early subsequent yr.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho JBL Link View

Aside from audio efficiency, there isn’t so much that separates the JBL Link View from the Lenovo Smart Show. Should you’re shopping for a display-equipped smart speaker principally for music, JBL’s product is the clear winner. The distinction in bass response alone is palpable—and never simply with rock music. The speaker delivered the opening kick drum and bass on Speaking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” (the remastered 2005 model) with a soul-satisfying thud, however I additionally discovered JBL’s speaker extra gratifying for listening to acoustic tracks, similar to “Dilemma,” by The Trendy Jazz Quartet, and Sarah Vaughn’s cowl of “Black Coffee.” Neither speaker delivers what I’d contemplate an audiophile efficiency, however the JBL is rather more thrilling than the Lenovo.

A Class D amplifier within the JBL Link View feeds 10 watts per channel RMS to a pair of two.Zero-inch paper cone full-range drivers. An onboard DSP helps form the sound to get probably the most out of the amp, the drivers, and the ABS plastic enclosure. The speaker helps Google Chromecast audio streaming at as much as 24-bit decision, with sampling charges as much as 96kHz, and it will possibly decode all of the audio codecs that normal helps, together with AAC, FLAC, MP3, and WAV. You’ll be able to stream music from most of the main providers, together with Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, and naturally YouTube Music and Google Play Music (however not Amazon Music).

jbl linkview detail 2JBL fans will just like the sound of the JBL Link View.

Higher than the Lenovo Smart Show?

Should you’ve already made your platform determination—Google Assistant versus Amazon Alexa—and also you need a smart speaker with a show, your present decisions are the JBL Link View or the Lenovo Smart Show. If audio high quality is your subsequent precedence, JBL has the higher product. You’ll get stereo, however you’ll pay extra for much less show (Lenovo’s Eight-inch mannequin prices $199.99 at Greatest Purchase). Aside from that, Lenovo’s prettier industrial design, and that speaker’s means to function in portrait mode for video calls, the 2 merchandise are just about similar.

Not with the ability to use any of those audio system in a multi-room configuration with different Chromecast audio system gained’t matter to some, however it is going to be a show-stopper for others. I’d say that the identical goes for the lack for this class of smart speaker to function a smart residence hub, however I feel most people who find themselves critical concerning the smart house are shopping for one thing else and integrating a discrete smart speaker into their system.

(techhive.com, https://bit.ly/2DxF9RM)

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