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JBL Authentics 200 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Nov 27, 2023 at 01:27 pm
JBL Authentics 200 Picture
7.0
Music
6.3
Videos/Movies
6.7
Podcasts
8.7
Voice Assistant
7.1
Outdoors

The JBL Authentics 200 is a wired-only home speaker with a stylish retro design. Like others in the Authentics lineup, it's inspired by classic JBL speakers, with the addition of modern-day smart features like built-in voice assistant support. Given its smaller size, it's easier to fit into your living room than other models like the JBL Authentics 500. Unlike its more premium cousin, it lacks Dolby Atmos Music support, but it still offers a lot of other features, including a graphic EQ and Self-Tuning room correction.

Our Verdict

7.0 Music

The JBL Authentics 200 is decent for music. Like other speakers in the Authentics lineup, it comes with a Self-Tuning feature to optimize its output automatically based on your room's unique acoustics. With it on, it reproduces voices and lead instruments in the mid-range with clarity and accuracy. However, it lacks some emphasis in the bass and treble ranges. You can always customize it with its graphic EQ, but it still lacks deep and rumbling low-bass.

Pros
  • Room correction tool.
  • Graphic EQ.
Cons
  • Lacks a touch of low-bass.
  • Some compression at max volume.
6.3 Videos/Movies

The JBL Authentics 200 isn't meant for watching movies, but it's fine for streaming videos from a paired smartphone. Latency is lowest over an Apple AirPlay connection, and you may notice some lip-synching delays when streaming over Bluetooth. Dialogue is clear and easy to understand, but this speaker lacks the cinematic bass of larger and more premium models.

Pros
  • Room correction tool.
  • Graphic EQ.
Cons
  • Lacks a touch of low-bass.
  • Higher latency via Bluetooth.
6.7 Podcasts

The JBL Authentics 200 is alright for podcasts. Dialogue is clearly and accurately reproduced right out of the box, though it can sound dull. You can always switch up its sound with its graphic EQ, though. This speaker gets loud enough to fill larger rooms with sound, and its multi-room feature is handy if you own multiple units. It's not the most portable, so you can't bring it outside when listening to longer episodes.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • Some compression at max volume.
  • Wired-only design.
8.7 Voice Assistant

The JBL Authentics 200 has built-in support for Alexa and Google Assistant, which you can use simultaneously to make the most of your voice control. Both assistants understand your commands clearly from far away, though Alexa does a little better in noisier environments. You can always mute the microphone when you want some privacy, too.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
  • Microphone mute button.
Cons
  • Some compression at max volume.
7.1 Outdoors

This wired-only speaker isn't intended for outdoor use.

  • 7.0 Music
  • 6.3 Videos/Movies
  • 6.7 Podcasts
  • 8.7 Voice Assistant
  • 7.1 Outdoors
  1. Updated Nov 27, 2023: Review published.
  2. Updated Nov 22, 2023: Early access published.
  3. Updated Nov 15, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  4. Updated Oct 31, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  5. Updated Oct 23, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The JBL Authentics 200 is available in Black, and you can see the label for our tested model here.

If you come across another version of this speaker, let us know in the forums so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The JBL Authentics 200 is a smaller option in the manufacturer's Authentics lineup. It retains the same retro design as its more premium cousins, like the JBL Authentics 500. However, given its smaller size, it doesn't get as loud and lacks some low-bass. Plus, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos Music like the 500. Still, it's a good option if you have less space in your living room.

See also our recommendations for the best home speakers, the best JBL speakers, and the best Bluetooth speakers for bass.

Sonos Era 100

The Sonos Era 100 is a better speaker than the JBL Authentics 200. They're both wired-only home speakers with built-in voice assistant support. However, the Sonos has a more balanced sound out-of-the-box, which some users may prefer. It also reproduces more bass and has a 360-degree design for a better soundstage performance. That said, it doesn't get quite as loud as the JBL, and some may prefer the JBL's retro design.

JBL Authentics 500

The JBL Authentics 500 is a larger and more premium cousin of the JBL Authentics 200. While the 200 is a good option if you're low on space and has many of the same features as the 500, it can't get as loud or reproduce as much low-bass. Plus, it lacks support for Dolby Atmos Music.

Bose Home Speaker 500

The JBL Authentics 200 and the Bose Home Speaker 500 are both premium home speakers with built-in voice assistant support. The JBL has a retro design that some users may prefer, and it also gets louder with less compression at max volume. The Bose has a better soundstage performance thanks to its 360-degree design, bringing a touch more bass.

Klipsch The One II

The JBL Authentics 200 is a more feature-packed speaker than the Klipsch The One II. They're both wired-only home speakers with retro designs. However, the JBL has built-in voice assistant support, unlike the Klipsch. It also offers sound customization features and a room correction tool.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The JBL Authentics 200 is a smaller version of the JBL Authentics 500. Both have the same retro design inspired by classic JBL speakers like the L100. The speaker's all-black design features gold accents and a waffle-like Quadrex grille in front.

5.0
Design
Portability
Volume
470 inยณ (7,698 cmยณ)
Weight
7.1 lbs (3.2 kg)
Power Source
AC Only
One-Hand Carry
Yes

This wired-only speaker is meant to stay at home. It needs to stay plugged into a power outlet to use it. Still, if you want to move it to another room, it's pretty easy to carry since it isn't very heavy.

6.7
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Great
Water Resistance
No
Dust Resistance
No
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
No

The JBL Authentics 200 has a premium feel. The speaker's top and sides are covered in faux leather, while the front grille is made of solid plastic covered by a tight-knit mesh. There are rubberized feet on the bottom to elevate the speaker and give the passive bass radiator space. The plastic on the back of the speaker isn't the most premium, but you aren't likely to see it much. The knobs feel good, too. The Bass dial on our unit felt loose, but this may be unique to our unit.

8.0
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Great
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Physical)
Call Answer/End
No
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
Yes (Physical)
Microphone On/Off
Yes (Physical)
Additional Controls
Yes

On top of the speaker are a couple of controls to help you adjust its settings. The dials fit well with the overall retro design of the speaker, and they're also backlit for easier use in the dark. Plus, they show you the bass/treble/volume levels as you adjust them, which is a nice touch. The volume dial also doubles as a play/pause button, which you can press multiple times to skip to the next or the previous track. You'll also find a Bluetooth pairing button and a Moment button designed for quick access to a playlist set in the JBL One app. To mute the microphone, there's a switch at the back of the speaker.

Design
In The Box

  • Power cable (6.5 ft / 1.98 m)
  • Quick start guide
  • JBL Authentics 200 speaker

Sound
6.7
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
0.06
Std. Err.
4.17 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
51.1 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
15.1 kHz

This speaker comes with a Self-Tuning feature that automatically optimizes its output based on the unique acoustics of your living room. It activates each time you plug in the speaker and takes about three minutes to complete. You'll have to keep the microphone on for it to work.

With it on, this speaker's sound is fairly even, especially in the mid-range, where most voices and lead instruments reproduce. However, it lacks some emphasis in the treble and bass ranges. You can customize it a bit with its bass and treble knobs, as well as the graphic EQ in the JBL One app. That said, it doesn't bring quite as much low-bass as the JBL Authentics 500.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
6.9
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
5.70 dB
Stereo
Yes

The JBL Authentics 200 has a front-facing design, so it's meant to sit on a shelf or countertop rather than in the middle of your room. You don't get consistent audio from all angles like with a 360-degree speaker. It can playback stereo sound, though it doesn't support Dolby Atmos Music like the JBL Authentics 500.

7.8
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
95.4 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
2.04 dB

This speaker doesn't get quite as loud as the JBL Authentics 500. It's still more than suitable for filling larger rooms with sound, though there's some compression when you push it to max volume.

Active Features
not tested
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving
N/A
Charging Port
No Battery
Battery Powered
No

This wired-only speaker doesn't have a battery. It does go into standby after ten minutes of inactivity, though.

10
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
Built-in (Wi-Fi Only)
Google Assistant
Built-in (Wi-Fi Only)
Speakerphone
No
Siri
No
Voice Assistant
Yes
Voice Activation
Yes
Microphone Mute
Yes
Far-Field Performance
Excellent
Ambient Noise Performance
Excellent

As with the JBL Authentics 500, this speaker supports both Alexa and Google Assistant simultaneously. As a result, you can use the features of each at the same time. Both assistants are easily able to understand you from far away. Alexa does better in noisier environments. You can always mute the microphone for more private moments, too.

8.0
Active Features
App
App Name
JBL One
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
Graphic
Stereo Pair Mode
No
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
Yes

The JBL One app lets you control the speaker's settings from your mobile device. You'll find a three-band graphic EQ in the app to switch up the speaker's sound. Plus, you can link a favorite playlist to the Moment button on the speaker for easy playback. You get in-app music control, too, and you can link up compatible Authentics speakers to spread audio throughout your home. There's a video of the full app here.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
Yes
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
Yes

There are several different wired connections, including an AUX and Ethernet port. The USB port can charge other devices and allows for audio playback, too, but only from a USB storage drive and not from a device like a computer. This is true for the US version of the speaker, but in other regions, the USB port is service-only.

7.3
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Yes
Bluetooth Version
5.3
Bluetooth iOS Latency
287 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
277 ms
Bluetooth Range
334.6 ft (102.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

You can easily stream audio from your mobile devices to the speaker via Bluetooth. It pairs with up to two devices at a time, with an impressive range to help you stay connected even from far away. That said, latency is on the higher end, so you'll likely notice some lip-synching issues if you stream videos over this connection.

7.7
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
2.4GHz & 5GHz
Wi-Fi
Yes
Apple AirPlay
Yes
AirPlay Latency
158 ms
Google Chromecast
Yes
Chromecast Latency
N/A

This Wi-Fi-compatible speaker supports both Apple AirPlay and Google Chromecast connections, which is handy if you own compatible devices. However, as with the JBL Authentics 500, Chromecast only works with audio content like music and specific Chromecast-enabled applications like Spotify. Thus, we couldn't cast YouTube videos to the speaker to perform our latency test over this connection.