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Home / Hot Stuff / JBL Authentics 500: retro looks, modern insides plus Dolby Atmos

JBL Authentics 500: retro looks, modern insides plus Dolby Atmos

Plus the portable Authentics 300 version offers an 8 hour battery life

JBL Authentics

There’s definitely a theme among wireless speaker manufacturers to revisit a supposedly glorious past in terms of design. JBL’s IFA 2023-announced Authentics lineup is no different, with the black speaker taking inspo from 1970s design (in particular the JBL L100’s Quadrex grille) but the hardware inside is anything but retro.

The flagship $700/£580 JBL Authentics 500 offers both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth tech but the 270W smart speaker’s key spec is that it boasts Dolby Atmos tech to make the most of the triple 1in tweeters and three 2.75in midrange woofers.

JBL Authentics 200

The $330/£300 stereo JBL Authentics 200 and $430/£380 portable JBL Authentics 300 complete the lineup. The 200 (above) boasts dual 1in tweeters and a 5in full-range woofer, while the 300 (below) has an 8 hour battery life (we don’t have details on the audio capabilities of that model at present).

Dual Assistant

One interesting feature is that the Authentics lineup offers simultaneous access to both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so once you’ve set both up in the JBL One app you’re able to say “Hey Google,” or “Alexa” depending on which you prefer. While most home users will have a preference, the feature could be useful for speakers in shared spaces where users may have different voice assistant preferences.

JBL Authentics 300

Naturally you can also take calls on the smart speaker and as you’d expect you’re able to play connected music through various means aside from the voice assistants. The Authentics range supports Apple AirPlay, Spotify Connect and Google Chromecast while it’ll also work with other speakers using those systems and with Alexa’s Multi-Room Music capability too. Like other wireless speakers such as Sonos, the JBL Authentics range can automatically tune to the room you’ve placed it in.

In the JBL One app there are also customisable EQ settings if you’d like to further personalise your sound.

All of the JBL Authentics models will be available from mid-September.

Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief


Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

Areas of expertise

Computing, mobile, audio, smart home