The JBL Authentics 200 is a versatile speaker that offers seamless integration with both Alexa and Google Assistant. In this review, we will explore its ease of use, setup process, and compatibility with various streaming services. We will also discuss the unique features and limitations of having two voice assistants in a single device.
Setting up the Authentics 200
Setting up the Authentics 200 is a breeze, thanks to its user-friendly app. Within seconds of connecting to Wi-Fi, the speaker is ready to use. Although the initial update process is claimed to take up to 15 minutes, it usually completes in just a few minutes. The app also makes it remarkably simple to add both Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing users to switch between the two seamlessly.
Versatile Streaming Options
The Authentics 200 supports a wide range of streaming options, making it a versatile choice for music lovers. Users can stream music over Google Chromecast, Amazon Multi-Room, Apple AirPlay, Spotify Connect, and Bluetooth. This speaker doesn’t play favorites when it comes to streaming services, offering a multitude of options within the app. However, it’s worth noting that Spotify and Apple Music are not supported directly.
In addition to wireless streaming, the Authentics 200 provides multiple physical input options. Users can connect their devices using the 3.5-mm analog input or the USB input. For added reliability, an Ethernet port is available as a backup for Wi-Fi connectivity.
The Promise of Two Assistants
The Authentics 200 introduces a unique feature by integrating both Alexa and Google Assistant into a single device. The promise here is that users can start a process or command with one assistant and seamlessly switch to the other to complete it. However, in practice, this feature doesn’t always work flawlessly, especially when it comes to hands-free audio playback.
Both Alexa and Google Assistant have their own preferences and limitations. For example, Google Assistant prefers Chromecast for music playback, while Alexa works perfectly with Spotify Connect. This discrepancy can lead to some confusion and inconvenience when trying to switch between assistants for specific tasks.
Hands-Free Audio Playback
One of the most convenient use cases for voice assistants is hands-free audio playback. However, due to the limitations of closed smart home ecosystems, it can be challenging to achieve a seamless experience with both Alexa and Google Assistant on the Authentics 200.
If you primarily use Spotify Connect for music streaming, you may find that Google Assistant prefers Chromecast instead. This can create issues when trying to pause or control playback using voice commands. Alexa, on the other hand, works seamlessly with Spotify Connect, making it a better option for hands-free audio playback.
Both voice assistants can control the volume across various services, but executing commands from one assistant and stopping them with the other can be unreliable. It’s generally more efficient to stick to one assistant throughout a given task rather than switching back and forth.
Smart Home Integration
The Authentics 200 shines when it comes to integrating with different smart home devices. If you have a mix of Google and Amazon smart home devices, this speaker’s dual-threat voice assistant system can be a significant advantage.
For example, if you own a Nest thermostat, you can easily switch over to Google Assistant to check the internal temperature or adjust the heat. This seamless integration allows for a more comprehensive and streamlined smart home experience.
The JBL Authentics 200 offers a user-friendly experience and seamless setup process. With support for various streaming options and physical inputs, it caters to a wide range of preferences. However, the integration of two voice assistants comes with some limitations, particularly in terms of hands-free audio playback. Choosing the right assistant for specific tasks is essential to ensure a smooth and convenient user experience. If you have a diversified smart home setup, the Authentics 200’s compatibility with both Alexa and Google Assistant can be a significant advantage.