JBL Link 300 review: A multi-room smart speaker with Google…


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Filling your house with speakers can be an expensive endeavor. Not only are many smart speakers pricey, but they don’t always work together very well, and they don’t all have access to the same digital assistants.

If you’re a fan of the Google Assistant and you use lots of Google services, then the JBL Link smart speaker series is definitely worth considering. The speakers aren’t overly expensive, have the Google Assistant built in, and sound pretty good. The JBL Link 300, in particular, offers nice big sound and the smarts of Google without breaking the bank.

But at $250, the JBL Link 300 still isn’t cheap — unless it’s on sale, which it happens to be right now for $124.99 at Best Buy. Is it the speaker for you? We put the JBL Link 300 to the test to find out.

A simple, all-black design

If you’ve seen any other JBL Link speakers, then the Link 300 will look familiar to you. It features the same all-black design so it’ll look right at home in any space without drawing too much attention to itself.

On the front of the device, you’ll see a simple JBL logo and nothing else. Around the back, you’ll find a 3.5-inch woofer for pumping out the lower frequencies. The playback controls — including a play/pause button, volume up and down buttons, a microphone mute button, and a Bluetooth button — are all on the top of the speaker. There’s also a Google Assistant button the top that activates the Google Assistant, so you don’t have to say, “Hey Google” or “OK Google” to summon your smart assistant.

The size of the speaker isn’t bad, either. It’s a little larger in size than some of the other smart speakers like the Echo or the original Google Home, but it’s also a little shorter. While it will take up a good amount of space on a shelf, we don’t think it’ll be hard to find a spot for it — and it’s still not as big as speakers like the Google Home Max.

Ultimately, we think the JBL Link 300 is a pretty good-looking speaker. The all-black design ensures that the speaker won’t draw too much attention to itself, and while it doesn’t look quite as modern as the Sonos One speaker, it still looks great.

Specs

  • 9.29 x 5.27 x 6.06 inches
  • 3.74 pounds
  • Google Assistant, Bluetooth 4.2, and Wi-Fi support
  • Chromecast built in
  • 24-bit/96kHz sound

Best Buy

Set-up process

As with any Google Assistant-enabled speaker, setting up the JBL Link 300 is very easy — especially if you already have the Google Home app and have used Google Assistant-enabled speakers before.

If not, start by downloading the Google Home app and signing in with your account. After that, if you plug in the speaker, it should automatically show up in the app. Then, simply follow the on-screen instructions to connect the speaker to your home Wi-Fi network and enable the Google Assistant — and you should be good to go.

After that, you’ll be able to ask the Google Assistant to control your smart home devices, ask it questions, cast content to the speaker from apps on your phone, and so on.

Special features

Ultimately, the most important thing about any speaker has to be its sound, and the JBL Link 300 sounds pretty darn good — especially for a speaker in this price range. The speaker is a little larger than most of the other speakers in the Link lineup, so it has a boosted low end compared to smaller speakers. It can also get quite a bit louder than its smaller counterparts, though not quite as loud as the largest speaker in the series, the JBL Link 500.

Since it is part of a multi-room speaker lineup, you can connect the Link to other Link-series speakers or Chromecast-enabled speakers around your home. So if you wanted to have your speakers play the same music in every room of your house, you could sync them up to do that.

There are other features on offer here, too. Notable is the fact that the JBL Link 300 has Google Assistant built right in to it, so you can use it like any other Google Assistant-enabled device. That means you can use the speaker to control smart home devices, tell it to play music, ask it questions, and more. Google Assistant is generally considered to be one of the best digital assistants out there, and for good reason. It’s super smart, and it’s only getting smarter.

The Assistant works with thousands of popular smart home devices, and it has access to Google’s smart search engine, so you’re more likely to get the right answer to your question than you would with other smart voice assistants.

JBL

Downsides

As mentioned, the JBL Link 300 speaker sounds pretty great, but it’s not necessarily audiophile-level in terms of its sound quality. The low frequencies sound great, and while the high frequencies are certainly present enough for most, we would have liked to hear a little more clarity and detail. That said, we don’t think the majority of buyers will have any complaints with the sound quality, though audiophiles may prefer to look elsewhere.

Price may also be an issue for some, though we think the speaker offers excellent value for money. If you don’t want to spend $250 on a speaker, then we recommend looking at other speakers in the JBL Link line, which may be a little cheaper. However, the speaker is currently on sale for $124.99, so if you can catch that deal, it’s an even better buy.

The bottom line

The JBL Link series of speakers is a great way to get smart, multi-room audio on a budget, and the JBL Link 300 is no exception to that rule. The speaker looks good and boasts plenty of bass, and while it may not live up to audiophile standards, we think the vast majority of people will find it to be a great-sounding speaker. Add in the fact that the Link 300 has the Google Assistant and Chromecast compatibility, and you have a fully featured and great-value package.

Pros: Great bass response, nice design, Google Assistant, Chromecast compatible, decent audio, reasonable price

Cons: Could use a little more high-end detail

Buy the JBL Link 300 from Best Buy for $124.99 (originally $249.99) [Price may vary when it’s not on sale]

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