So, a couple of months back I had a chance to use one of the first google smart displays that was released under the Lenovo umbrella. They were at the forefront of it all but since than there has been a slew of others. There is the Home Hub coming straight from the house of Google and JBL has its own take with the Link View. Funny thing but from pictures most considered JBL’s version the black sheep of the bundle off its aesthetics but once I seen it up close and in person my viewpoint easily changed. Is the Link View realistically the best of the bunch?

Style

The Link View has a slight two-tone color look to it with the bezels being a deep black while the speakers and surrounding area being more of a charcoal. Now depending on your kitchen where I frequently like to use these displays it can blend in or stand out. In my case I have black countertops, so it merges with the landscape easily. The device itself is about 13ins wide thanks in part to the dual speakers, 6ins tall and a little over 3ins deep mostly in part to the passive radiator in the back that helps delivers the huge audio thumps being thrusted out of the display. It is wider than Lenovo’s and large than Google’s but for good reason.

There are volume controls on top with a mic switch and a privacy switch for the included 5mp camera if you decide to use it. Besides that, there is a port of the power plug and a microUSB port for service if needed. I would have preferred a standard USB port but understandable. Speakers have that typical fabric you are used to seeing on audio which is fine but depending on your usage can be harder to wipe and clean than on the other smart displays.

Setup

If you have become accustomed to setting up Google assistant devices in the house, then this will be a breeze for you. You power on the JBL Link View and just walk through the menu of instructions ranging from Wi-Fi connection or what you want the display to portray when you aren’t using it. Of course, to achieve some of this you will need the trusty Google Home app, but I find these setups some of the most painless to deal with.

Usage

I tend to have a smart device in the kitchen as I may spend more time in the kitchen then you think. So, I usually had an audio speaker in here and then Lenovo’s Smart Display. Seeing as I don’t need two displays, I have put the Link View in its place. For the past month and change its been setup and I never looked back.

Sound

Asking Google to play that first song alone and the result I received was mind blowing. Automatically you will notice the sound profile is unlike that of any of the google smart displays available thus far. The richness, the stereo quality and that presence of bass are uncanny. I been using JBL speakers for years but its realistically using one of their great speakers with a screen on it. I found the mics to be exceptional whether playing music or visual programming. It was able to pick up my voice even across the room.

Verdict

Now after using this for quite some time the real question is should you pick one up and is it better than the others from Google and Lenovo? From a design standpoint I like it as it looks like a traditional speaker with a display, but some be turned off as they want something that is slimmer and is just focused more on-screen visuals. Also, its black which works for me, but the others come in brighter colorways. If you want a Google smart display with the best sound profile though the JBL Link View will satisfy your ears and it comes in at $249.99. It does make it the priciest of the trio with the Google Smart Display at $149.99 and Lenovo’s 8in. at $149.99 and 10in. at $199.99.