You’d be forgiven if you don’t remember JBL’s Link Bar, a soundbar that was announced 14 months ago at Google I/O 2018. If you do remember it, then good news, it’s finally got a UK release date – and there’s just a week to go before it officially begins shipping.
For those who need a refresh, the JBL Link Bar is a jack-of-all-trades device, that is both soundbar and smart speaker, but also an Android TV set-top box. This makes its proposition rather interesting, as users are able to upgrade their smart TV experience without having to buy additional hardware. True, the soundbar isn’t going to offer the sound quality of a Sonos Playbar or Sennheiser’s Ambeo, but it could be the ideal offering for the likes of a bedroom, kitchen or other nook with a TV.
While the JBL Link Bar isn’t going to compete with more expensive soundbars, it can more than hold its own against smart speakers. With the JBL Link Bar, users will be able to communicate directly with the Google Assistant to control their smart home, set reminders or ask simple questions. Compared to a Google Home or Amazon Echo, the JBL Link Bar should offer superior sound quality, so for customers looking to install more smart speakers in their home – it could be the ideal all-in-one.
After waiting 14 months for the JBL Link Bar to arrive, there have been countless other devices that have integrated the Google Assistant into a soundbar. No other device has dared to add an Android TV set-top box to that mix, however. That means it remains a unique proposition, especially when considering that it costs £349.99 in the UK, much less than many competing products.
Those wishing to pick up the JBL Link Bar will be able to pre-order it now from the company’s website. It officially begins shipping July 18.