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HOME / Audio / UE MEGABLAST vs JBL Link 20 Smart Speaker Comparison
UE MEGABLAST vs JBL Link 20 Smart Speaker Comparison
Which is the best portable smart speaker on the market?!
The JBL Link 20 and UE MEGABLAST are considered by most people as the two best portable smart speakers on the market. For the most part, you can use each speaker just as you would an Amazon Echo (UE MEGABLAST) or Google Home (JBL Link 20). However, unlike those devices, both the Link 20 and MEGABLAST are wireless (i.e. they don’t need to be plugged in) and waterproof (can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes). However, despite their similarities, they’re a few key differences between the speakers. That’s what we’ll be covering in this post.
JBL Link 20 Review – Audio Quality
Let me just preface this section by stating that both of these speakers offer great audio quality. I’m not trying to bash the UE MEGABLAST by any means. However, after listening to both speakers for a couple days, we just prefer the sound from the JBL Link 20. The Link 20 has really clear mids and impressive bass. I guess at the end of the day, we just thought the sound was a little more rich and full than the audio from the UE MEGABLAST.
Impressive Audio Quality With The JBL Link 20
Overall, we were impressed with the audio quality of the JBL Link 20 – it was hard to find any flaws. I guess if we had to nitpick at something it was that the Link 20 didn’t handle the super high volumes as well as the UE MEGABLAST. Also, it’s worth noting that the MEGABLAST offers 360 degree sound (almost 360 at least), while the JBL Link 20 only has speakers on the side (although it appears to be 360).
Now this is kind of a personal preference thing – the MEGABLAST uses Amazon Alexa and the Link 20 uses Google Assistant. So obviously, if you are big Google person (Google calendar, Chromecast, etc.) you’d probably lean toward the Link 20. Likewise, if you’re a big Amazon person (prime member that buy a lot on Amazon, uses Amazon music, etc.) you’d lean towards the MEGABLAST. If you want more information about Amazon Alexa vs Google Assistant check out our Amazon Echo 2 vs Google Home comparison or Google Home Mini vs Amazon Echo Dot comparison.
However, there’s two primary reasons why we give the edge to the Link 20 in terms of smart features. First, we found that the Alexa feature with the MEGABLAST was a little unreliable. A lot of times we found ourselves having to repeat our commands multiple times to get what we wanted. And then once it finally recognized the command, it just seemed liked it lagged a little compared to an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot [see on Amazon].
The second reason is that with the Link 20, you can use your voice to control more 3rd party music apps. As of the date of this post, with the MEGABLAST, you can only use Alexa to play music via WiFi from Amazon Music, iHeartRadio and TuneIn – otherwise you’d have to use Bluetooth to stream music from Pandora, Spotify, etc. With the Link 20, you can use Google Assistant to play music via Wi-Fi from Pandora, Spotify, Google Play Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and more. Obviously, the big two there are Pandora and Spotify – that’s a key difference (although apparently the MEGABLAST will be adding Pandora compatibility in the near future).
Steaming music via Wi-Fi compared to Bluetooth provides several advantages:
– Better audio quality (audio is not re-compressed)
– Calls do not interrupt what’s being played
– Wi-Fi range is generally better than Bluetooth range
– Doesn’t drain your phone battery as quickly
– Multiple devices can connect and control the speaker
Pretty simple here – the Link 20 retails for $200 [see on JBL.com], while the MEGABLAST goes for $300 [see on Amazon]. Not much else to say here – $100 difference is nothing to sneeze at.
Multi-Room Audio with Link 20 Smart Speaker
Unfortunately, you cannot pair the MEGABLAST with other speakers for multi-room audio as of now. You’re stuck just with the MEGABLAST speaker itself, which is kind of a bummer. With the Link 20, you can setup multi-room audio with other speakers that have Chromecast. So if you already have a Google Home, you’d be set – you can have music playing on your Google Home in the kitchen and then take your Link 20 playing music with you whether you are hanging out on the patio or in the garage working.
Here’s the official video for the JBL Link speakers.
So we’ve already covered audio quality, smart features, price and multi-room audio – you may asking what else is their there? Short answer – not much. Really, the MEGABLAST only has one major advantage.
The JBL Link 20 offers around 10 hours of playback on a full charge while the MEGABLAST offers around 16 hours. No question here – UE definitely has the advantage. Six hours is actually a pretty big difference.
Better Battery Life With The UE MEGABLAST
So if you’re looking to get a smart speaker not only to use at home but also take with you on day trips (hiking, traveling, etc.), the MEGABLAST might be the way to go.
This is a minor point but we like the fact that UE offers a charging dock for the MEGABLAST. It’s a lot more convenient and looks nicer than just simply plugging in the micro-USB cord. It’s kind of a like a little hub or home for the speaker when you’re just using it in your home. Only downside is that you have to purchase it separately and it costs $40 [see on Amazon].
Another minor point but like I said earlier, the MEGABLAST seems to handle those volumes a little better than the Link 20. So if you’re into blasting music and hosting parties, the MEGABLAST might be a better option.