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JBL is the first to bring Google Assistant to a big-brand portable speaker in Australia

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Voice assistant-enabled devices aren’t new – there were plenty on display at all the major tech shows around the world during 2017. But Australia has been slow to receive them, with Google Home being the first smart speaker to officially make its way Down Under, followed by Home Mini not that long ago.

Sony then introduced its own Assistant-enabled speaker, the LF-S50G. But they all suffer the same limitation of relying on a wall socket for power – meaning you can’t take them with you to the backyard or to the beach.

JBL is changing the game by introducing the LINK series of voice-activated speakers to Australia. The JBL Link 10 and Link 20 are IPX7 certified, making them waterproof, and all you need to do to get help with your little tasks is to use the voice command “OK, Google”.

Linking the gap

With the Link series speakers, JBL, a Harman company, marries portability and durability with its signature sound.

Battery life does seem a tad meagre compared to other JBL Bluetooth speakers, however – the smaller Link 10 promises up to 5 hours of playback, while the Link 20 could keep going for up to 10 hours.

Like the JBL Playlist, the Link series of speakers also come with multi-room smarts – you can link two or more speakers to fill your whole home (or a large room) with your favourite tunes, as long as they’re all within range of your home’s Wi-Fi network.

Being Bluetooth-enabled, like all of JBL’s portable speakers, you can play music from any mobile device, and built-in Wi-Fi gives you control over your smart home systems, like lighting and thermostats. Of course, you also get to ask Assistant anything else you want, just like you would with Google Home.

First of its kind

JBL is the first big brand to launch a portable voice-activated speaker in Australia. There are lesser-known names on shelves as well, like the Mobvoi TicHome Mini available at Jaycar, but there’s no denying that JBL’s renowned bass-thumping sound will set the Link speakers apart. 

The Link 10 and Link 20 speakers are now available at JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman stores across Australia, retailing at $229 and $299 respectively.

Sharmishta Sarkar

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (yes, she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing cameras and lenses, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She also contributes to Digital Camera World and T3, and helps produce two of Future's photography print magazines in Australia.