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JBL adds new Authentics and PartyBox options to its speaker range

The JBL Authentics 500, 300, and 200 join JBL’s existing speaker roster along with the PartyBox Ultimate

JBL may not be at IFA this year but it’s been busy in Berlin nonetheless, launching a whole host of new products at a Club JBL event in the German capital.

Among those devices were three “Authentics” smart speakers offering simultaneous Alexa and Google Assistant support and the luxurious and fully featured JBL PartyBox Ultimate.

JBL Authentics series

All three speakers in the Authentics series were inspired by the JBL L100 speaker from the 1970s and look incredibly sleek, combining an aluminium frame, synthetic leather-wrapped enclosure, and a reimagined Quadrex grille.

But what truly sets them apart from other smart speakers is their simultaneous integration of the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice assistants. Plenty of speakers support both virtual helpers but this is the first time we’ve ever seen the two available at the same time on the same device.

The devices also support a variety of streaming options including Apple AirPlay 2, Alexa Multi-Room Music, Spotify Connect and Chromecast, plus they have an automatic self-tuning feature to fully optimise their sound in whatever space they are positioned.

The speakers themselves are different sizes and all feature slightly different driver arrangements. The centrepiece of the trio – the Authentics 500 – is a 3.1-channel smart speaker that operates over both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It’s the only entry in the series to support Dolby Atmos and doesn’t include an in-built battery. JBL says it offers “crystal-clear highs and deep, accurate bass” from a driver arrangement comprised of three 1in tweeters, three 2.75in midrange woofers and a 6.5in down-firing subwoofer.

JBL Authentics 500

For those seeking greater portability without compromising on sound quality, there’s the JBL Authentics 300, which houses an in-built battery capable of delivering on-the-go audio for up to eight hours.

JBL Authentics 300

The JBL Authentics 200 is the cheapest of the trio but doesn’t have an in-built battery so isn’t really intended to be taken with you on your travels. JBL says its pair of 1in tweeters, single full-range 5in woofer, and down-firing 6in passive radiator are more than capable of filling any space with well-balanced stereo sound, however.

JBL Authentics 200

Made from 100% recycled fabric, 85% recycled plastic, and 50% recycled aluminium, the devices also show some commitment to sustainability by JBL. All three models will be available to purchase from 15 September, with the Authentics 500 costing £580, the Authentics 300 priced at £380, and the Authentics 200 setting you back £300.

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JBL PartyBox Ultimate

Unveiled alongside the Authentics series, the PartyBox Ultimate is a speaker designed to kickstart social gatherings. It comes complete with JBL Original Pro Sound and Dolby Atmos immersive audio, and an LED lighting system that syncs with the beat.

The speaker houses two high-sensitivity mid-range drivers and two dual tweeters as well as a pair of 9in subwoofers, while lighting effects include a starry night effect, cool light trails, and dynamic strobes.

JBL PartyBox Ultimate

Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity are supported, meaning the speaker can be used both indoors and out, with an IPX4 rating certifying the PartyBox Ultimate splashproof and able to survive an unexpected shower.

As with the Authentics speakers, the PartyBox Ultimate supports JBL’s self-tuning functionality, while it also comes with an interactive JBL PartyPad, allowing users to customise various sound effects and tweak the EQ.

All this functionality results in a hefty price tag, with the JBL PartyBox Ultimate set to cost £1,300 when it goes on sale on Thursday, 31 August.

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