This is the review of the comparison between two smart speakers from the same brand and from the same series. The comparison here is between the JBL Link Portable and the JBL Link 20. To know which one is good for you to buy, go to the detailed review.
|JBL Link Portable||JBL Link 20|
|BUY NOW||BUY NOW|
|Solid audio performance.|
Packed with features.
Combines portable use with Google Assistant for convenient smart home management.
|Powered by Google Assistant.|
Good battery life.
Good sound quality.
|We miss dynamics and control, it gets pretty tame.|
No JBL Connect support.
No aux input.
|Can’t make calls.|
Mediocre sound quality.
No 3.5mm input.
|HEADER||JBL LINK PORTABLE||JBL LINK 20|
|Model||Link Portable||Link 20|
|AUDIO SYSTEM||JBL LINK PORTABLE||JBL LINK 20|
|Type||smart speaker||smart speaker|
|Designed For||for portable use||for portable use|
|Audio Formats||AAC-LC, FLAC, LPCM, MP3, OPUS, Vorbis, WAV||AAC-LC, FLAC, HE-AAC, LPCM, MP3, OPUS, Vorbis, WAV|
|Maximum Sampling Rate Supported||96 kHz||96 kHz|
|SPEAKER SYSYTEM||JBL LINK PORTABLE||JBL LINK 20|
|Nominal Output Power||20 Watt||20 Watt|
|Frequency Response||65 – 20000 Hz||65 – 20000 Hz|
|Signal-To-Noise Ratio||80 db||80 db|
|Sound Effects||360° sound|
|Controls||mute microphone, play/pause, power on/off, voice control, volume|
|BATTERY||JBL LINK PORTABLE||JBL LINK 20|
|Run Time (Up To)||8 hour(s)||10 hour(s)|
|Recharge Time||2.5 hour(s)||4.5 hour(s)|
|POWER DEVICE||JBL LINK PORTABLE||JBL LINK 20|
|Power Source||USB, battery||Battery|
|Options||USB charging||USB charging|
|NETWORK AND INTERNET MULTIMEDIA||JBL LINK PORTABLE||JBL LINK 20|
|Connectivity Interfaces||Bluetooth 4.2, IEEE 802.11b/g/n/ac||Bluetooth 4.2, IEEE 802.11b/g/n/ac|
|Internet Streaming Services||Chromecast||Chromecast, Google Play Music, Pandora, Spotify|
|SPEAKER SYSTEM DETAILS||JBL LINK PORTABLE||JBL LINK 20|
|Speaker Channel Qty||2|
|Speaker Channel Type||mono||Stereo|
|DRIVER DETAILS||JBL LINK PORTABLE||JBL LINK 20|
|Driver Type||full-range driver, passive radiator||full-range driver|
|Driver Diameter||50 mm||50 mm|
|INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT)||JBL LINK PORTABLE||JBL LINK 20|
|Internet of Things (IoT) Compatible||Yes|
|Intelligent Assistant Compatible||Google Assistant||Google Assistant|
|DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT||JBL LINK PORTABLE||JBL LINK 20|
|Diameter||3.5 in||3.7 in|
|Height||6.7 in||8.3 in|
|Weight||25.92 oz||33.51 oz|
|FEATURES||JBL LINK PORTABLE||JBL LINK 20|
|Features||JBL 360-Degree Pro Sound.|
AirPlay 2 and Chromecast built-in.
Play and control your music with your voice.
8 hours of playtime.
Simple setup with the Google Home App.
Substance and style.
|JBL Link 20 has the Google Assistant built-in. It is your own personal Google. Always ready to help. |
Hands-free voice control.
With the free Google Home app on iOS & Android, you can easily setup and manage your JBL Link 20.
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.
10 hours of playtime.
JBL Link Portable
I personally think the JBL is at the top of the game when it comes to Bluetooth speakers, and this one from the JBL is a step further. The JBL Link Portable came out in December 2019, and it has a lot of extra features that like usually Bluetooth speakers don’t have. This speaker is retailing for around a hundred and eighty dollars by JBL on their website.
JBL Link 20
This is one of those speakers, that most people prefer to use. Currently, people have the craze for smart speakers and this is another one of those iterations but this one is from JBL. This is the JBL Link 20 a Bluetooth and Wi-fi speaker with the Google Assistant built-in. This speaker is retailing for around two hundred and ninety dollars on their website.
JBL Link Portable
The whole speaker is covered on this very nice kind of textile material and we have a light here in the front and this is just a wi-fi indicator that just tells whether it’s connected to wi-fi or not. We also have some kind of hidden LEDs on the top that are typical for a Google assistant. We also have a few buttons here at the top, So we have a middle button there, an assistant button that when clicked shortly it will play or pause music, if you press it for longer than two seconds it will actually activate the Google assistant but that’s not really necessary you can just use your voice. Then we also have a plus and minus button for the volume and that’s the only thing it does, long pressing will just slowly increase the volume like there’s no next button in this case but then again you can use your voice for that. Then you also have two microphones at the top of the speaker. On the side, we get the battery indicator there which is kind of in the format of a bar, and just by clicking any button it will show up the amount of battery you have and this bar will slowly reduce as you use the battery. Below that bar, you have the USB Type-C charging port.
Above the battery indicating bar, we have a power button that you just press shortly and turn on or off. Then we have the mute button here that when clicking it will say the mic is muted and it will show there on the top LED display showing that it is muted. You can also hold the mute button for 10 seconds and that will completely effectively reset your speaker, so that you can connect it to a new home or if there are some issues with it it will do that. Then there’s also a Bluetooth button that you can just click shortly for one tap on it and that will start the Bluetooth pairing process and you can see that by the blue lights which are just slowly moving from one side to another. Otherwise, they’re in the back you don’t really have lights except for the battery and the power indicator and that means that sometimes when you click these buttons you don’t really know what is happening unless you turn it around. At the bottom, we have some kind of a connector, which allows the base to work as a charging base.
JBL Link 20
As far as the physical features or the design of this speaker, it’s quite the same as the JBL Link 10 and Link Portable. As far as the button controls, on the top of the speaker, we have got the play and pause button, then we have the Google Assistant button, and then the Bluetooth on the top of it and also, we have the volume up and down button on the top of the speaker. Around the back of the speaker is where we have got the power button and the microphone mute button. Also, on the back at the bottom, there is a flap cover when you open it, you will see the micro USB port there. Also, on the top of the power button, there are few LEDs that show the battery percentage left on your speaker. As far as the microphones, they are on the top of the speaker, so that the speaker can hear you properly.
JBL Link Portable
The battery life on this speaker is about eight hours, so it should be planned especially, considering you can just leave it on the dock so it’s pretty much always charged. This speaker uses a USB Type-C which is really nice to have. The good thing about the charging base is you can just put it in any direction, it can be in four different ways, and this will kind of charge the device very nicely. It’s not magnetized but it does sit there quite well. The base is very simple, it’s pretty much just a USB port in here and a hole for the cable to come out and then just these two pins that pass the power through to the device itself. If you prefer, you can also just connect directly to the USB Type-C port and that will also charge the device.
There is a lot of functionality here like just as you would expect from a Google assistant. The only thing I’ve noticed that doesn’t really work is the Google Duo for calling, which works flawlessly on any of the Google devices but it does not work here. As far as the good about the speaker, so definitely the build quality is super good, and the feature set is really nice. It’s super cool to have a dock so that means that you can really use it as a home assistant all the time at home but you can also leave it there and take it easy with you like in the battery will always be charged. The battery life is pretty decent at eight hours considering it uses Wi-Fi and all this is really nice. Also, as far as the portability, this is really easy to just put in a rucksack bring it with you maybe even bring the dock in the cable as well so if you have somewhere to put it that’s pretty nice. You can also group this through speakers just like through Google itself, so you can actually play music all around your house this one included just through the group play of Google.
As far as the bad things about this speaker, one thing is that the startup is pretty slow like if you click the power button, it takes 35 seconds before the speaker is fully ready to be used. However this speaker will always be on his base and it will be on and ready, so it’s very rare that you have to wait to use the speaker. Another bad thing is that you cannot use the speaker for Bluetooth calls on the phone, if you try like when you connect it via Bluetooth it will just disappear when you actually try to go into a call or so on, and then there is the audio you do not get any options to use them. Also, it does not work with Google Duo. Then another thing is that every time you move homes as you go to a different place with a different Wi-Fi you’ll have to reconfigure the speaker and that can take like around two minutes every time to do it and if you’re not in the same Wi-Fi all the devices, it might create some issues.
Then another thing is that this being a Google assistant like I’ve tried choosing the volume up and down, by saying hey Google volume 2 and when I do this it does change the music for the music that is playing but it does not change the volume of the system itself on the device. So that means that you can only regulate the volume of the assistant by pressing the buttons which is a little bit inconvenient. Another thing is just the lack of buttons for next and previous like it would be nice you have to use your voice for that, so that means that if you’re out and about you cannot actually change the track without using your phone.
JBL Link 20
This speaker features a built-in Google Assistant, the google assistance can be super convenient when you are trying to do voice commands and different tasks around your home. On top of that, it also has a far-field mic, so you don’t need to be up close to it, speaking to it, holding the button while you talk but you can cross the room and just say your command by using “hey Google” and it will be able to spot and hear you no matter where you are. What makes this speaker different from the Amazon and Google speakers is that this one is wire-free. So this one has built-in 10 hours of battery life, so you can take this wherever you go and still get the benefits of Bluetooth, and if you are around Wi-fi you can still use your voice commands wherever you are.
This speaker also features IPX7 water resistance which means this speaker can be submerged in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes, so that means this speaker is really able to handle anything like that. This is just over 8 inches tall and weighs around 2 pounds, so it’s a nice hefty weight for its size, and it’s substantial. For all these features, it cost around two hundred dollars which as per my taste it is on the expensive side but over the time it went down on its price you can find this for around a hundred dollars or even eighty dollars. The great thing about this speaker is that, if you buy two of them then you can link them together and play stereo audio. This speaker uses a micro USB for charging, I expected to get USB-C but it okay as you can find a few of its cables around your home.
I love the convenience of the Google Assistant but there are few issues that come along with the Google Assistance. First of all, at high volumes, you need to yell so that the Google Assistant can hear your voice which can be unflattering that you are just screaming in your room and anyone in your home can hear you. As it is water resistant I prefer to take it with me during my shower, but there is some problem with the Google Assistant there. So when I take it to the shower in the water sound it can’t hear my command properly and I have to click the button and take it near my mouth so that it can hear e quickly.
JBL Link Portable
As far as the sound quality of the speaker, it sounds really good, it has nice bass, nice mids, and highs. If you really into speakers, it’s not going to be as good as a Sonos speaker or some other kind of like proper speakers for the home but it would be very similar to just the Google Home but definitely way better than the Home Mini or a Home Mini Hub.
JBL Link 20
As far as the sound quality of this speaker, I actually think it sounds really good. I have heard many speakers from Ultimate Ears, JBL Flip 4, Amazon, Google, and all but this one hold its own place where it sounds really great. It does not have the clarity of the Bose speakers, the bass of the JBL Xtreme 2 but this gonna have a very polished sound where you can hear the vocals properly and the instruments will be separated.
WHICH TO BUY?
In my opinion, both of these speakers are good to buy but it just depends on you whether you can afford that price range or not. If you can afford the Link 20 then you can go for it because it performs better than the Link Portable in terms of both voice assistance and also, in terms of sound. If you can’t afford that price range, then you can go for the JBL Link Portable also because it is also a good speaker for its price range.
Expert Reviews of JBL Link Portable:
By PC Mag
The JBL Link Portable speaker offers Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity along with AirPlay 2, Chromecast, and hands-free Google Assistant support in a waterproof design with solid audio performance for its size.
By What Hi-Fi?
For a great, affordable, durable home smart speaker, you’ll be hard-pushed to find a product that can match JBL’s Link Portable
The JBL Link Portable is a lovely, compact speaker that’s a perfect size for delivering decent sound (from what we have heard so far), whilst…
By LB Tech Reviews
JBL Link Portable is both a portable speaker and a smart speaker. It is easy to use and the sound is perfectly OK. But you pay extra for…
Expert Reviews of JBL Link 20:
By Tom’s Guide
The JBL Link 20 combines a great-sounding Bluetooth speaker with the smart functions of Google Assistant. Or most of them, anyway.
By Sound Guys
If you’re looking to get your first smart speaker or want to add one to your existing setup, the JBL Link 20 is an affordable option that offers…
By What Hi-Fi?
Small, smart, and a solid sound – the Link 20 ticks a lot of the right boxes
By The Streaming Blog
The JBL Link 20 is a wireless speaker that works both as a smart home unit and a portable Bluetooth-operated music player. It’s durable, waterproof, has sensitive mics, and…