Hands-On With JBL's Link View Smart Speaker - CES 2018

There have been lots of smart speakers showing up at CES 2018 this week, and one of the more interesting things to arrive has been the JBL Link View, which is not only a smart speaker powered by Google Assistant, but it's also got a display, which makes this a nice contender for the Amazon Echo Show as it essentially offers the same types of functions but uses a different digital assistant to get things done. Rumors had been floating around since about the last half of 2017 that Google would launch a smart speaker in the Google Home lineup that came with a display, and while that may still happen it seems JBL will be the first to market with such a device.

Quite honestly that may not be such a bad thing either as JBL is pretty well-known for its audio quality when it comes to most speakers, headphones, and other audio equipment that it produces. So, having a Google Assistant speaker with a display that features JBL audio quality probably means that users can expect some pretty great sound from this thing which will come in pretty handy when using it to listen to music or watch videos. JBL is even touting that the speaker has "legendary JBL sound quality." Another thing to point out is that since this is running on Google's platform it will have YouTube availability, something which you will no longer get with the Echo Show, at least not right now.

The JBL Link View comes with a pretty modest design yet it still looks fairly stylish, and this is a testament to JBL's ability to design a good looking speaker of which it has done many times before now. The front is a display with a high gloss finish so that might pose a bit of a problem should the speaker end up sitting somewhere that more glare from direct or indirect lights is more prominent, but the higher gloss shine to the glass on the display also makes it look a lot nicer when there isn't any glare.

The JBL Link View comes equipped with an 8-inch HD display, meaning it has a 720p resolution and is not Full HD, and this might bother some users who prefer higher resolution for the screens on their interactive devices, but then again it's not likely that you're going to be interacting with the display as often as you would a smartphone or a laptop, so the resolution should be more than fine for most consumers. Beyond the 8-inch HD display the Link View also features up to 24-bit audio streaming and it has Chromecast built-in. So while you might not use it to stream videos from your smartphone, you would likely use it to stream music from your phone to it as it will work like a Chromecast-enabled speaker. If you plan using this for video calls then the 5-megapixel camera above the display should do nicely. This is not a battery-operated speaker so it will have to be plugged in all  of the time, but that's not so bad given it was designed to be a stationary device in the first place.

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About the Author
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Justin Diaz

Head Editor
Lover of food, craft beer, movies, travel, and all things tech. Video games have always been a passion of his due to their ability to tell incredible stories, and home automation tech is the next big interest, in large part because of the Philips Hue integration with Razer Chroma. Current Device: Google Pixel.
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