Within the non-public help hands race, the 2 actual choices for Android customers are Google‘s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, and each corporations have discovered that victory would require ubiquity—now not as the general consequence, however because the approach. To that finish, every has opened its platform up for third-party , and Sony’s (un)imaginatively named LF-S50G takes benefit of Google‘s Assistant in the similar means the 1st celebration Google House does, seasoned with a couple of distinctive options like gesture controls and a clock.
At round $200, although, I do not believe Sony’s speaker is price the additional money for the general public over the $130 Google House, until you have got explicit necessities.
They are saying that there don’t seem to be any unhealthy merchandise, simply unhealthy costs, and $200 is so much to pay for an Assistant-powered speaker—particularly one among simply eight watts. The additional $70 right here most effective will get you a middling subwoofer, clock, and mediocre gesture controls. So whilst the LF-S50G does get so much louder than different audio system would possibly, it is as much as you if the opposite options make the $70 top class price it.
In look, Sony’s LF-S50G is a 6.three” tall cylinder with a slight rounding to the highest and backside edges.
It is available in two colours: white and black. I will’t discuss to the white style, as I did not get an opportunity to play with it, however the black one’s fabrics don’t seem to be the nicest. The bottom is a high-gloss steel plastic, and my unit had some unlucky mottling to the reflective end, which I did not in finding too sexy.
The edges of the cylinder also are the speaker grilles. The outside face is a moderately finely woven artificial cloth mesh. Underneath the material is a perforated semitransparent plastic shell. With a handy guide a rough twist it pops freed from the speaker, possibly for simple cleansing.
The 2 drivers face one every other, firing in opposition to a cone fastened between them. Ostensibly probably the most two audio system is a subwoofer (Sony calls it that), however with the dimensions distinction between the 2 being a whopping 5mm, I truthfully cannot inform which it’s visually. I suppose it is the best one, given the padded bass port hooked up to the chamber in the back of it.
Underneath the grille at the entrance is a clock, most definitely the only maximum visually unique function of the LF-S50G. It is a seven-segment time show with blue-white leds. The numerals are round a centimeter tall, with the two-digit hour set above the two-digit minute.
The highest isn’t a part of the detachable grille and is plastic, with two holes for 2 microphones. The flat house could also be the detection space for the gesture inputs the LF-S50G accepts.
The again has a plastic NFC badge the place the antenna for Bluetooth setup is. Underneath that at the backside edge are two buttons for handbook Bluetooth setup and disabling the mic, in addition to energy enter. The ground of the speaker has two extra buttons, one among which toggles lights for the illuminated clock, the opposite locks the tool from accepting enter from different buttons or gestures.
The setup procedure for the speaker is not tough. Plug it in and set up the Google House app from the Play Retailer. On release, the app will have to let you know that it is discovered a tool that must be arrange.
Putting in the speaker is simple.
From that time ahead, Google holds your hand throughout the setup procedure, together with connecting it to Wi-Fi, coaching your voice style for popularity, and offering you some choices for personalisation like related products and services. As long as you observe the directions, you’ll’t actually reduce to rubble, and the whole thing will also be modified later if you make a decision to make any adjustments.
Controls within the House app.
As soon as you might be performed, you are prepared use the LF-S50G as a related Chromecast speaker, fireplace off messages, and ship instructions to good house units (amongst an extended record of Google Assistant options). If your house begins filling up with Assistant-powered good audio system, you’ll additionally set them up in teams for multi-room listening.
For more info on learn how to configure your new speaker within the extraordinarily designed Google House app, you’ll learn up at the other settings or test our entire information.
Google additionally has a handy guide a rough video that describes the setup procedure:
When you’ve used Google Assistant on a telephone, it is (most commonly) the similar factor. You are saying the “OK Google” or “Hiya Google” hotwords to cause it, and from there you are making your request. If it is one thing Assistant can do, it does it (or tries to). If now not, it tells you so.
There are some noteworthy variations between Assistant on its quite a lot of platforms. For one, striking calls is not conceivable on all units, together with 1/3 celebration just like the Sony LF-S50G, and messages don’t seem to be supported on any standalone Assistant-powered .
Identical to above, we have now extra detailed protection on learn how to best possible use the Assistant somewhere else, however suffice it to mention the enjoy right here is sort of just like what you would be expecting from first-party just like the Google House and House Mini.
The LF-S50G eschews buttons for a gesture primarily based keep an eye on machine. The speculation turns out moderately futuristic: with a wave of your hand you’ll keep an eye on the speaker, pausing or expanding quantity easily. There are different benefits too, like with the ability to pause playback to respond to the telephone whilst your fingers would possibly nonetheless be grimy from the kitchen. With a half-hearted flop of the wrist you’ll wave away tune like an intrusive fly.
It is a nice thought. It is too unhealthy that the gesture controls are in fact lovely unhealthy. In truth, they had been the only maximum irritating factor concerning the speaker. Adjusting quantity up or down used to be extremely vague. It will both crank up or down at the arbitrary Zero-100 scale a ways too temporarily, or simply forget about enter. Dialing in any price to inside Five-10 of what you need is hard—as you can very most probably swing proper previous it a couple of occasions and it calls for numerous focus and persistence to get it to paintings appropriately—which defeats the aim individually. Different gestures for play/pause, subsequent/earlier observe, and Assistant cause had been more uncomplicated to make use of, however even then I might have some ignored inputs.
The gestures additionally appear superfluous. I imply, it has a microphone. So far as hands-free controls pass, that is a complete lot higher. If I am waving round with grimy fingers within the kitchen, I is probably not touching a button, however I am nonetheless going to drip or drop issues immediately down onto it—proper the place the mic holes are. My voice has the advantages of extra actual and sundry controls at a concurrently better vary.
The gestures controls don’t seem to be simply vague and hard to make use of, they are solely eclipsed by way of a greater choice approach of enter. I am left questioning, what is the level? Each and every command the gestures sign in has a vocal similar.
Like many good assistant audio system, it is ready to attach by way of Bluetooth, and environment it up for that’s simple. Simply press and cling the Bluetooth button at the again backside of the speaker to turn it over into pairing mode, at which level it turns into a discoverable tool to your telephone, pill, pc, and so forth. It additionally has NFC, so with a handy guide a rough faucet units too can attach with none of that bother.
I most commonly used it as a standalone tool/forged content material to it, however I used to be ready to make use of it as a Bluetooth speaker lovely simply, and it looked as if it would paintings and sound OK, although there used to be a distinction in high quality casting tune vs. Bluetooth. I guess it does not toughen the higher-quality wi-fi audio requirements like AptX.
I anticipated the LF-S50G to have some first rate bass given the devoted subwoofer it is intended to incorporate. Whilst it does ship more potent bass than the first-party Google House, it is restricted in vary, with particular frequencies through which reaction is more potent.
I could be nitpicking since it is simply an eight watt speaker, however around the board the speaker may just use a bit of extra tuning by way of Sony. In the course of its quantity vary (round 40-70 at the 1-100 scale it makes use of for quantity), it sounds its best possible. Beneath that the steadiness between treble/bass turns out a bit of off, and above that it is just about all mids and treble. I do not doubt that the loss of louder bass is because of the restricted energy and dimension of the woofer, however that further quantity vary is not actually helpful if it is all at the high-end.
If fatiguing mids is your jam, no less than Sony’s speaker does not endure a lot from distortion at excessive volumes. With the detachable grille and small drivers, I anticipated no less than a bit of of a rattle or some shrillness with it cranked up, however there wasn’t any. Rental dwellers can leisure simple understanding they are going to have the ability to disturb their neighbors with readability.
An unlucky factor to notice: at excessive volumes, Sony’s speaker has a bit of of bother choosing issues up on its mic, so in case you by chance flip issues as much as 11, you can have a bit of of a time looking to ‘OK Google‘ your self to a decrease quantity. Personally, that is completely forgivable—it will get moderately loud.
One different interest I found out is that the speaker sounds a bit higher with the grille got rid of, although it’s not very sexy with out it. Bass efficiency used to be additionally stepped forward rather by way of having it in opposition to a wall.
The sound high quality is completely appropriate (although possibly now not at this charge), and it is certainly higher than the inventory Google House or House Mini, however I had was hoping the inclusion of a devoted subwoofer would have ended in higher bass. I am not positive the way it stacks up in comparison to the similarly-priced JBL Hyperlink 20, although. Rita reviewed that speaker, and in line with the amount of her reward, it will have higher sound.
Except you might be actually into the theory of gesture controls, I might just about forget about the truth that this speaker has them. They do not paintings neatly sufficient to be some extent price taking into account. That leaves only some ultimate function benefits over different audio system: the clock, the sound high quality, and the IPX3 water resistance.
With audio system just like the JBL Hyperlink 20 having a awesome IPX7 score, twin 10W audio system, and a integrated 6000mAh battery, the Sony LF-S50G simply has… a clock. Smartly, that and a listing of recent disadvantages, since it is much less robust, lacks a battery, has deficient gesture controls, and so forth.
It is as much as you if that makes the $200 speaker price it. I may not lie, the clock is actually helpful, and I believe each speaker will have to have one. There may be actually no explanation why to not come with one, and Sony’s implementation in the back of the grille even seems to be roughly great in a kind of anachronistic means. Frankly, I might pay $20 for that function on its own.
However each use case is other, and for the general public I believe the less expensive first-party Google House is sufficient. On the $200 price-point, JBL’s Hyperlink 20 beats the LF-S50G on specifications. That leaves Sony’s speaker in a peculiar place the place it most definitely may not attraction to many of us.
You’ll purchase the Sony LF-S50G on the outlets beneath: