JBL Authentics 200 Review

JBL Authentics 200 Review: Better than the Authentics 300?

The JBL Authentics 200 is the smallest speaker in the JBL Authentics line of speakers, although it is roughly to the Authentics 300 in terms of power output and driver specs. Similar to the Authentics 300, the Authentics 200 delivers up to 90W RMS of output power and has a wide frequency response from 50 Hz to 20 kHz – it also features 25mm tweeters and a full-range 5 inch woofer that delivers roughly the same level of bass and highs as the Authentics 300 speaker.

The key differences between the JBL Authentics 200 and the Authentics 300 is that the Authentics 200 does not come with a top handle for carrying and does not come with a built-in battery. This means that the Authentics 200 is designed purely as a wireless home speaker rather than a portable speaker like the Authentics 300, which in our view is definitely a much better design choice as it does not have a protruding handle or a weighty battery to go with it. Design-wise, the Authentics 200 is essentially a more compact version of the Authentics 500 and comes with a Quadrex grille, custom leather-like enclosure and plastic top panel buttons that allow you to adjust the volume and bass features.

Now we have talked a lot about the Authentics speakers vs Marshall speakers in our reviews (see our review of the Authentics 500 vs the Marshall Woburn 3, or the Authentics 300 vs the Marshall Stanmore 3) and in our tests, we consistently found that the Marshall speakers delivers much brighter highs and crisper vocals – Marshall speakers are especially fun to listen to if you play a lot of live jazz performances (Tony Bennett or Dusty Springfield, for example) and can really make vocals come to live. While these JBL Authentics speakers really shine is in delivering a balanced sound performance with a little stronger bass punch – the bass from the Authentics speakers feels tighter and way more punchy than the Marshall speakers, and they really make EDM and rock music come to live.

If you are considering between the JBL Authentics 200 or the Authentics 300, my personal recommendation would be to go for the Authentics 200 as it looks less cluttered than the Authentics 300 and delivers virtually the same sound performance (although the Authentics 200 is 90W RMS compared with the Authentics 300’s 100W RMS, in practice this does not make much of a difference).

Read more: JBL Authentics 300 Review: Decent speaker with some flaws

JBL Authentics 200 vs 300 Full Specs Guide

FeatureJBL Authentics 300JBL Authentics 200
ConnectivityEthernet, USB-C, 3.5mm InputEthernet, USB-C, 3.5mm Input
Wireless FeaturesBluetooth (Built-in), Wi-Fi 802.11ax, 2.4/5 GHz, Stereo Speaker PairingBluetooth (Built-in), Wi-Fi 802.11ax, 2.4/5 GHz
Driver Details1″ Tweeter (Soft-Dome, Silk), 5.25″ Woofer (Pulp)1″ Tweeter (Soft-Dome, Silk), 5″ Woofer (Pulp)
Audio Specs100 Watts RMS, 45-20k Frequency Response, 24-bit/96 kHz High-res Audio Playback90 Watts RMS, 50-20k Frequency Response, 24-bit/96 kHz High-res Audio Playback
Streaming CompatibilityAirPlay, AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, etc.AirPlay, AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, etc.
ControlApp Control (iOS, Android), Amazon Alexa, Google AssistantApp Control (iOS, Android), Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Dimensions (W x H x D)13.375″ x 7.875″ x 7.125″10.5″ x 6.75″ x 6.625″

Sound Performance

The JBL Authentics 200 has a really similar sound profile to the JBL Authentics 300. This speaker is a powerhouse when it comes to acoustics and can deliver really loud volume performance together with deep and punchy bass performance. The highs are crystal clear and the midranges are present and articulate. The Authentics 200 definitely has a lot of dynamic range and it shows by delivering crystal clear audio no matter what music genre you throw at it – it handles EDM, rock, hip-hop and disco music really well with deep punchy bass.

In terms of sound performance, the JBL Authentics 200 is often compared with the Marshall Acton 3 Bluetooth speaker and we have to say, after comparing both speakers, we felt that the Authentics 200 delivered much nicer and fuller bass than the Acton 3 speaker. The Acton 3, just like the Stanmore 3, delivers crisper and brighter highs (which makes it particularly good for live jazz performances) which makes it a more entertaining speaker to listen to, but it lacks the kind of bass punch that you would want when listening to EDM and rock music. The Authentics 200 gets the bass right in this respect, and the bass feels really nice to listen to especially if you push up the volume on the speaker – we would say that the Authentics 200 delivers really balanced sound performance with crisp highs and deep bass (it has a rather V-shaped sound signature).

Having said that, I would personally go for the Marshall Acton 3 or the Stanmore 3 speakers when it comes to sound performance. Why? Because the Marshall Acton 3 or the Marshall Stanmore 3 delivers much brighter vocals which makes music listening a little more interesting – Tony Bennett’s “The Way You Look Tonight” sounded bright and crisp and very engaging, and vocals on the Marshall speakers sounded more lifelike rather than on the Authentics 200 which felt more mundane. Sure, the Authentics 200 delivers really balanced sound with good highs and bass, but it lacks character and personality that makes your music more interesting to listen to.

The top panel of the Authentics 200 comes with similar button features to the Marshall Stanmore 3, but are made of hard plastic

Design and Specs

The JBL Authentics 200 has a really nice and compact design – it’s not as large as the Authentics 500 speaker or designed for portability like the Authentics 300. It looks really nice and compact and has a retro-inspired design with a Quadrex grille at the front which allows the speaker to blend in nicely with modern home interior décor.

One advantage the Authentics 200 has over the Marshall line of speakers is that it supports the latest tech such as built-in Wi-Fi and allows you to stream music through AirPlay, Alexa Multi-Room music or with Spotify Connect which makes it very convenient to play your favorite music through the speaker. The Authentics 200 also comes with intuitive controls through the JBL One app which allow you to adjust the volume, bass and treble levels (or you can use Alexa or Google Assistant to control the speaker with your voice). The JBL One app also gives you more options to customize the EQ settings and use your favorite music streaming services which makes things very convenient.

While the Authentics 200 clearly wins in terms of tech, I did find the design of the Marshall Stanmore 3 or the Acton 3 speakers more appealing. The Authentics 200 has a top control panel with plastic buttons for you to adjust the volume and bass, the Marshall speakers come with a brass plated top control panel and brass knobs which feel very nice to touch and look just more aesthetic and vintage than the Authentics 200. While the JBL Authentics 200 has a retro-inspired design, the Marshall speakers just looks more classy and well-designed as a wireless home speaker.

The Verdict?

The JBL Authentics 200 is an all-round solid speaker that delivers superb sound performance and a really well-balanced sound signature. It’s definitely much more compact than the Authentics 300 and does not have the carry handle or built-in battery which makes it a true wireless home speaker (it also looks much better!). This speaker delivers a clean 90W RMS of output power with really nice highs and solid bass performance – the bass on this speaker feels really tight and punchy and makes EDM, rock and hip-hop music genres very enjoyable to listen to. While the Authentics 200 is not as powerful as the Authentics 500, it delivers really good sound performance and is more than enough for smaller living rooms and apartments.

If you are choosing between the JBL Authentics 200 and the Authentics 300, I would highly recommend getting the Authentics 200 instead due to its cleaner design and nearly identical sound performance.