Overview of smart speakers JBL Link Music: with “Alice” or without it
New JBL know even far from the musical tastes of the people — due to both design, and quality sound. Most are probably aware of portable speakers from this manufacturer that can be found almost in every Park or outside on the athletic field, as well as fans of Cycling around the city and beyond. But we got not mobile, and the stationary column. If not for the power cable, then with her small size, she almost does not differ from the mobile counterparts. However, it is not without reason: in the model JBL Link Music portable JBL sister Link Portable, operating from internal battery and protected from moisture. So choose the user a few, however, have the JBL so ever.
The main feature that distinguishes novelties from all the previous models is the built-in voice assistant. For Russia – is of course “Alice” from Yandex, so the local version of the speakers received and the corresponding reference at the end of the name. But for the Western market available version with integrated Google Assistant.
Column comes in a small cardboard box. Inside, everything is laid on the highest level: two compartments, a foam insert under the color of the packaging, extra boxes and plenty of different things that simplify the process first acquaintance. Just ideal for those who love to unbox a new device.
The package simpler than its packaging. Together with column we found only a detachable power cord and a few bukletov for setting up the device and work with it. Note that in a gift with purchase column the user gets three months of free subscription to the service “Yandex.Music” with which “Alice” receives the music at the user’s request.
|JBL Link Music|
|Dynamics||1 × 64 mm|
|Frequency range, Hz||60-20 000|
|The ratio of “Signal to noise”, dB||80|
|Food||100-240 VAC, 50-60 Hz|
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5 GHz)
|Audio formats||HE-AAC, LC-AAC, MP3, Vorbis, WAV (LPCM), FLAC, Opus|
|Dimensions, mm||Ø112 × 134|
|Average retail price*, RUB||8 590|
* Average price in “Yandex.Market” at the time of this writing.
Inside the JBL Link Music placed a single speaker with a diameter of 64 mm. unfortunately, the manufacturer does not disclose details of what speaker is in the base of the column, and disassemble the device without damaging his skin, almost impossible. We don’t have to spoil a good thing, and was limited to studying a single image of the internal design innovations is available on the official website of “Alice”. Apparently, the speaker is placed across the housing and is directed down the emitter to create the surround sound.
Despite its conductive nature, the JBL Link Music to the sound sources connected exclusively over wireless communication channels. To do this, the speakers have built-in modules Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.2. First you need to communicate with the Internet through a home router or smartphone. This channel of communication is required voice assistant. In this case “Alice”. It “Alice” receives the musical composition from the server, controls devices of the smart home, telling stories, reports weather forecasts and just talking, based on living on the server “Yandex” ever-improving artificial intelligence. The Bluetooth module is a second “soulless” side of the JBL Link Music. It is used for normal transmission of sound from your smartphone or laptop onto the column. In this mode the device works as a simple wireless speaker. It is a pity, however, that the manufacturer does not offer an alternative, wired connection. Since the JBL Link Music is a fixed and not a portable device, the usual 3.5 mm mini-Jack would be useful for connecting, for example, to a desktop computer.
Appearance and ergonomics
Column so compact that it will easily fit even on the smallest table. It is significantly less familiar to us than “Yandex.Station”, as well as much less angular than she is. At first glance it seems that the column is made in the form of a cylinder, but the top view shows clearly a square section, but with strongly rounded corners.
The device is quite heavy, so jump on the table it shouldn’t. Instead of legs the manufacturer has decided the entire bottom surface to close the semi-soft plastic, which should dampen small vibrations and to resist the slide. Well, on the top flat side is barely noticeable hole two built-in microphones, and three mechanical buttons with a short course intended for manual control of volume level and call “Alice”. The main mode of control column, of course, voice.
The outside column is wrapped in a net fabric with a small cell. It is very pleasant to the touch, and the workmanship is only the most positive emotions. The front side is highlighted with the brand logo in a rectangular insert. At the top, under the mesh, has three led indicator that informs the user about any actions of “Alice” or her willingness to listen to your instructions. Well, back near the connector for the power cable, located two buttons to activate the search mode for Bluetooth devices and disable the microphone. Placing the last at the rear side is hardly convenient solution, but since the device is compact, not too difficult to rotate the column if needed to temporarily disable the microphone.
The overall looks of the JBL Link Music solid well. This column will fit seamlessly into any modern interior and will decorate him with their presence. It looks like a real premium device. That’s just confuse modest size. Can such a baby to provide the user with quality sound, we now know…
Connection, capabilities, and experience
When you first enable a network of “Alice” will loudly announce its new owner that it will need to be installed on the smartphone mobile application “Yandex”. Alerts are so loud that I can’t believe this sound comes from such small speakers. In principle, to listen to music with the JBL Link Music it is possible not to connect “Alice”, leaving her to remain in a “sleep” state. In this case, the column is not required to connect via the application “Yandex” with the home Wi-Fi network, and only need to manually change the mode to Bluetooth search and connect to any audio source with an appropriate connection technology. In most cases, it will be a smartphone or a laptop.
But JBL Link Music interesting in the first place built-in voice assistant, “Alice”, and therefore does not take full advantage of this column would be completely wrong. Search and connect devices in a mobile application “Yandex” is fast and without any difficulties. As with “Yandex.Station”, column JBL Music Link in the connection process, asking the user to hold the phone closer to transmit a special coded sounds similar to the talking robot R2D2 from the well-known Saga. Well then JBL Link Music turns from a simple column in entertainment center and control your smart home, if there are any other compatible device – sockets, lamps, air conditioners, televisions and other household appliances.
With the possibilities of “Alice” we have met when testing various devices of “Yandex”. In addition to voice control smart appliances “Alice” is able to have a little chat about life, to talk about the weather and traffic jams on the road to find the answer to a question on the Internet, learn the voice of its owner and in accordance with his preferences, for example, to change the lighting in the apartment or play music of a certain style. The latter, as before, “Alice” searches only in the application “Yandex.Music” in the presence of a feature subscription. Movies in this case “Alice” is also found, but the broadcast will not, as the video output of the JBL Link Music no.
But the sound of the JBL Link Music we are very pleasantly surprised and even a little shocked. Similar volume and a bright clean sound from a baby we did not expect: a room of 20 square meters are easily filled in surround sound. The maximum volume level put does not want – at least for such premises it is redundant. Sound from speakers is very bright, voluminous. However, he literally extends 360° around the column due to the horizontal placement of dynamics inside the case.
On the middle level of volume the sound feature deep, rich bass, which is much less pronounced at low values of volume and as high as possible. Mid and high frequencies are pleasant to the ear even on the lowest volume that will come in handy if you use soft music as a sleep aid at night. Well, for a noisy party it is better to have the JBL Link Music closer to the center of the room. The main thing that the power cable does not interfere with the guests.
If we talk about the most preferred music styles for the JBL Link Music, as in the case of any other monocolonal, this device is most fully reveals itself when playing rock, jazz, electronic and popular music. Sounds good, and instrumental music. Also the JBL Link Music perfect for scoring the movie while viewing from the laptop. Anyway, for laptop with built-in Bluetooth module, this column may be a good domestic helper. It is a pity that from room to room it just will not take — we have to turn off the power supply.
Work two built-in microphones, nothing different. Despite the fact that only two of them, “Alice” is well recognizes even a whisper. However, in the evening, in complete silence. But to summon it when playing full power music, alas, is not easy. For this, you literally need to shout loudly, “Alice! Turn it down!”
Smart column JBL Link Music will be a great addition in the line of devices with a voice assistant “Alice,” which before was larger “Yandex.Station” and a tiny “Yandex.Station Mini”. And I am particularly pleased that the devices have joined the new product from JBL. Fans of “Alice” is such a pleasant surprise exactly like it should. Moreover, the advantages of the JBL Link Music a lot:
- the design and quality of workmanship at the highest level;
- sound around 360°;
- a very high level of maximum volume;
- pure surround sound;
- manual control;
- the ability to work in a non-voice assistant.
The shortcomings are not so significant. We are talking about the lack of a 3.5 mm mini-Jack connector for a wired connection to the audio source and not too convenient placement of the microphone mute button. Otherwise, this is one of the best columns from “Alice” on the market. However, without a battery. For those who wish to work offline, there is a JBL Portable Link, but we have not tested about sound quality can not say anything. As for our tonight’s guests, then we can surely recommend to buy if you were going to purchase a smart column with a voice assistant.