Hands on: JBL's iPhone-connected Link View smart display

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in iPhone
The JBL Link View, shipping mid-September, will be just the second Google Smart Display on the market, enhancing Google Assistant with images, animations, and video.

JBL Link View


In many respects the Link View is similar to its predecessor, the Lenovo Smart Display. Both behave largely like a Google Home, answering general knowledge questions, controlling smarthome accessories, and of course playing music from an assortment of streaming services like Spotify and TuneIn. Once again there's no Apple Music, unless you count streaming via Bluetooth.

To this mix JBL and Lenovo's products add things like visual feedback for commands, video-enhanced news briefings, extra detail for requests like directions and weather, and step-by-step guidance through recipes. Text buttons will occasionally pop up, which can be tapped for more information or used as a reference for follow-up voice commands, since context is one of Assistant's strengths.

JBL Link View


In some cases you'll see static information displayed, such as Google Calendar appointments and reminders, and scrollable cards suggesting things you might act on like favorite or time-appropriate Spotify playlists.

One of the biggest things however is support for YouTube (and live YouTube TV). You can ask to play a specific video, or browse through clips by using a broad request like "search YouTube for videos by Bob Ross." This is good for more than just entertainment -- it can help you figure out how to get things done, and in select cases asking a general question will trigger a video response.

What makes the Link View distinct? Sound, as you might expect from JBL. Whereas Lenovo's product has a single 10-watt speaker, the Link View has two. On top of that JBL delivers much, much more powerful bass.

We'll have more to say in a full review, but in early testing, the Link View was powerful enough to start rattling loose objects even on medium volume settings. It's clear that JBL expects the speaker to be the centerpiece of a room's audio, rather than just a desktop companion.

The product's 8-inch touchscreen is sharp and vivid, though it should be noted that it's also very glossy -- you'll want to face it away from any windows or bright lights if you want to keep it readable.

JBL Link View


For now the last thing we'll mention is that photos can be deceiving, because the speaker is actually quite large at over a foot long. It can be cumbersome to place for that reason, taking up far more room than something like a HomePod or Echo Show.

Keep following AppleInsider for our review, coming soon.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    Cesar Battistini MazieroCesar Battistini Maziero Posts: 180unconfirmed, member
    I can't see a use for that kind of device!

    I already have a display! On my iPhone and even on an iPad!

    Whats the point!



    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 5
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    Google?
  • Reply 3 of 5
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,526member
    YouTube support is a big deal in this product category. I can definitely see one of these being useful in the kitchen or any space that doesn’t already have a permanent screen in place.

    I will not be in the least bit surprised to see Apple release a similar product, aka HomePod Video, with support for movies and HomeKit for accessing security and surveillance cameras. Of course the HomePod Video would support Group FaceTime when it finally releases. 

    Of course Apple’s HomePod Video won’t be super ugly like the device shown in this article. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 5
    I can't see a use for that kind of device!

    I already have a display! On my iPhone and even on an iPad!

    Whats the point!



    And don't forgot displays on macbook, desktop, AppleWatch, TV, and so on... :) But, having personal exerience, I've found some points of having such a device. I have an Amazon Echo Show in my kitchen and find it super useful appliance, even if I live in a country where it is not fully supported. It replaced my old bluetooth Jambox connected to an iPhone. It plays podcasts - yes, even AppleInsider podcast, it plays Prime Video, it shows my iCloud calendar, it has multiple timers (you know, while cooking or developing films, there's a need for more timers :) ). It even shows recipies, if asked. It plays news in my language, tells me about traffic in my town and shows a weather forecast. All of this is done really conveniently, without need of touch, without need to carry around any other device, because it sits permanently on a dishwashing machine. It does not, however, play Apple Music other way than via bluetooth, but that's exactly the same level of incovenience a standard bluetooth speaker has. It seems there emerges new class of "kitchen/living room computer" - not a desktop, not a tablet, something in between. I hope Apple will catch on soon and make something similar. I would buy such Apple device right away.
    gatorguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 5
    AL07AL07 Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    I can't see a use for that kind of device!

    I already have a display! On my iPhone and even on an iPad!

    Whats the point!



    I guess it doesn't hurt to have more displays? ;) I've found uses for an additional display that's targeted to function as a permanent home assistant though - bought a Lenovo Smart Display and it's been sitting on my kitchen counter ready for everyday uses. My favorite functions are its ability to set multiple timers and the recipe feature. The recipe feature allows me to pick a recipe from endless options (off Google of course) and it'll read each step out to me. I can even pause the recipe (using a voice command) and ask for more information like "how do I know if my chocolate's tempered" and it'll probably pull up another article or even a YouTube video. My kid uses the display to watch videos or ask random questions as well when they're sitting at the kitchen counter having a quick snack. Pretty good entertainment I suppose!

    Like what @mrkoplas said, I'd be interested to see what Apple can come up with as well! 
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