Every smart speaker has its advantages. With Amazon Echo, you get access to tens of thousands of “skills,” the mini-apps that start a game of Jeopardy or help you mix a cocktail. With Google Home, you have the full power of Google search at your beck and call. And when Apple’s HomePod comes out later this year, it’ll be by far the best-sounding voice-enabled speaker of the bunch.
Sony doesn’t have a voice assistant, but knows its way around a speaker. At the IFA trade show in Berlin, Sony announced a speaker that cribs the best from an Echo, Home, and HomePod, all rolled into one terribly-named device. The new LF-S50G speaker, which looks like the HomePod, supposedly sounds just as good, and comes with Google Assistant built-in. It ships in October, for $199, in black and white.
The LF-S50G (really rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) is a cylinder wrapped in mesh, above a metal base. It pumps sound in all directions, with a two-way speaker system similar to the HomePod. Sony says it has plenty of power to fill “the average room” with sound. Whatever that means, it’ll surely sound better than the comparatively puny Echo or Home. It pairs to your music device via Bluetooth or NFC, or you can just connect it to Wi-Fi and shout: “OK Google, play Despacito” to get the jams bumping. If your mouth and hands are both full, you can wave over the top of the speaker to start, skip, or turn up the music. It even has a clock!
Since it’s a Google Assistant-supported speaker, the LF-S50G can do anything the Google Home can. It’ll work for timers, Google searches, your calendar, controlling your smart home, and more. It’s odd, really, that there aren’t more speakers like this already. Millions of people own Echos and Homes, and “it’s like that, only better” seems like a pretty good selling point. That’s apparently what Sonos and Apple are banking on, and Sony may have just beaten them to the punch.