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Review: JBL Authentics 500 streaming speaker. Sonos competitor and then again not.


Introduction

JBL is a brand that you probably mainly know for its portable products such as headphones, earphones and Bluetooth speakers. The American brand has a rich history and has been part of Harman, which specializes in audio, since 1969. That company was swallowed up by the gigantic Korean electronics group Samsung in 2017.

In addition to the aforementioned products, JBL has soundbars in its package and supplies professional products and equipment for cars. One of the brand’s newest products can be found in the Authentics series. In this article we highlight the top model of that series, the 500.

JBL has opted for a retro design that harks back to speakers from the past. That fits in well with today’s taste, with black and gold. Tastes differ, so there is a chance that you may find this disgusting. The 500 stands for more than 600 euros in our comparator.


Retro design is in fashion.

The large device has dimensions of 44.7x24x25.5cm and weighs almost eight kilos. That makes it a product that you won’t move too often. Unlike other models in this series, it does not use a battery and you must always have a socket nearby.

To put it completely flat: it is simply a huge Bluetooth speaker. It is not a multi-room device and you cannot simply connect it to similar devices in other rooms. In that area it does not compete with, for example, Sonos. If you use it in a room, it is an alternative to, for example, a Sonos Five . You can find it for about 100 euros less in the comparator. The advantage of the Sonos is that this device can also stream music itself. With the JBL it is always done via another device such as a smartphone, tablet or computer.

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