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JBL Authentics 300 smart speaker review: two assistants at once


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A photo of JBL’s Authentics 300 smart speaker.




JBL’s Authentics line of smart speakers is the first to support Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa working simultaneously on the same audio device. Yes, it somehow took until just recently for that to happen. But if you’ve got a split smart home — or prefer using Assistant for general questions and Alexa for controlling gadgets — these speakers can do that. It’s a unique selling point that no other company can (yet) match, though it’s also fairly niche.




Weighing nearly 11 pounds, the Authentics 300 is a hefty sucker. It’s far from small at 13.5 inches wide. This thing is a far cry from JBL’s mainstream Bluetooth speakers. But there’s at least a built-in carrying handle that makes the 300 easier to move around the house. Inside the housing are a pair of 25-millimeter tweeters and a single 5.25-inch woofer. If you glance at the speaker’s underside, you can’t miss the downward-firing passive radiator that’s intended to maximize the speaker’s bass response. There’s no Dolby Atmos or spatial audio support to be found here; you’ve got to shell out for the flagship Authentics 500 if you want that.




Up top are the controls: power; a Bluetooth button for pairing; and a heart button that you can assign to trigger a particular playlist from any music service that’s integrated with JBL’s mobile app. Unfortunately, Apple Music and Spotify aren’t among those, but you can still stream those services to the 300 directly over AirPlay or by casting on Android. I recommend doing this whenever possible because, over Bluetooth, the Authentics 300 is limited to the base SBC codec, a disappointment at this price tier.






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