Review: JBL Link 10- Voice Activated Portable Speaker

Stephen Watson
March 25, 2019

The JBL Link 10 Smart Speaker – £75 via Harman Audio

With more smart speakers becoming the norm and having these in your home a number of companies are creating them like the recent Riva Concert we reviewed.  In this review, JBL stepped up and offered us the Link 10 which on first impressions made us feel this could be as good if not better.

So the Link 10 is the low end of smart speakers JBL have in there arsenal and at £75 via Harman Audio seems worth the money on the first impression as you get Google Assistant and the ability to use at home or on the go plus its also waterproof. The Link 10 is made from cloth housing made famous by JBL and it comes in a Cylindrical design. You can get the Link 10 in 2 colours – black or white and in this review we are covering the white version.  

We all know you can control this by your voice but you are also given some physical controls at the top of the device such as the volume, Bluetooth pairing and even google assistant button if you don’t want to use a voice command.  This is a nice touch but its a smart speaker the point of it is to use your voice.

On the front of the speaker, you get 4 LED Lights that appear when the speaker ready to handle any command and you also have at the bottom the LED wifi which shows the strength of wifi signal you have.

The back of the speaker has the power and mute for the speaker buttons and at the bottom of the speaker has access to the micro USB port for charging which is covered with a rubber cover for protection and also for the style look.  

As mentioned the Link 10 is waterproof and is IPX7 rated meaning you can fully submerge the speaker for up to 30min. If you’re using this outdoors you can link to your phone it just means using the google assistant is done with a press of the play button instead.

The performance of the Link 10 Smart Speaker is not to bad the voice recognition as part of the google assistant is acceptable. If you have music coming out of a different device you might struggle to get your voice commands heard. The Sound quality when you use this as a music player is very loud even tops the Riva Concert but there is some distortion at the upper end of the volume range compared to the Riva Concert but they are in two very different price ranges. You get a warm sound signature and a decent bass from the Link 10.

As for the negatives these, unfortunately, pull me away from buying this smart speaker the battery is shocking at only 4 hours which makes you think why use the smart speaker feature at all might as well just use this as a speaker. You could not use this to set an alarm for the morning as it would not wake you up due to the shocking battery life.  Another issue I have with this speaker is once you have charged it is the time it takes to turn it on and use it. You will have to wait for about 30 seconds for this speaker to fire into life. That might not sound long but compared to others in the market that turn on instantaneously the Link 10 is disappointing.

Overall this speaker for £75 is ok for the price range given the fact you can use it in multi-room and offers audio set up with the case enabled speakers in your house but with the fact you only get a 4-hour charge and a mid-range sound quality I would look at other smart speakers on the market. The only positive I can say is after testing both Alexa & Google Assistant smart assistant my performance is Google Assistant as it gives a better response. However, It’s just a shame the JBL Link 10 just does not cut the mustard at being my smart speaker of choice.  

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