YOU might consider it lazy, but there is something oddly rewarding about setting the mood in the bedroom using only voice commands.
“OK Google, turn my light on.”
“OK Google, make my light dimmer.”
“OK Google, play No Diggity on Spotify.”
Strangely enough, when Google Home was first released, I was impressed by the voice-activated smart assistant and surprised at how much I had actually used its features.
By using the set commands, I have been able to get the smart speaker to provide facts and information for a number of very specific Google requests.
Plus, this doesn’t even take into account the countless times I have used the product as a calculator, dictionary, nutritionist, weather forecaster and translator.
While I highly recommended the $199 Google Home or $79 Google Home mini, I felt the design and sound quality of the speaker could be improved on.
And it appears Google shared the same sentiment, with the tech giant allowing other companies to use the smart assistant with their own hardware.
Enterer Sony’s LF-S50G Smart Speaker, which takes Google’s software and combines it with superior audio quality, a premium design, clock face and touch-free gesture controls.
As far as smart speakers go, Sony’s LF-S50G is far from revolutionary in design, but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t bring the heat.
The device’s cylindrical shell has a mesh fabric surrounding its exterior and a chrome ring down the bottom offers a certain level of class.
Down on the chrome ring is also where you will find the control buttons for muting and the Bluetooth pairing button.
Something Sony has that the traditional Google Home doesn’t is a digital clock on the front of the speaker.
If you are using the product as a clock radio in your bedroom, you will need to turn down the brightness to get to sleep – unless you are someone who could catch some zzzz’s while looking directly into the sun.
Ironically, the light of the built-in clock has to be dimmed manually with Google’s smart assistant unable to perform the task despite being able to dim and change the colour of all the smart lights in my entire house.
The dimming feature is located on the bottom of the speaker, as is the control for disabling the gesture controls – swipe your hand over the top of the speaker to skip tracks use a finger-twirling motion over the top to adjust volume.
While these swipe controls make for some additional flair, they aren’t always the most responsive and not really needed given Google Assistant can perform volume changes and playback commands.
For those using the assistant for cooking, Sony has made the cover of the speaker removable so you can clean it if your masterpiece gets out of hand.
The speaker itself also has an IPX3 splash-proof rating – protected against spraying water – and comes with a NFC chip which is handy for syncing Bluetooth devices.
One of the main reasons you would choose a third-party voice-activated speaker would be for sound quality and given Sony’s long and dominant history with audio, it’s no surprise the LF-S50G delivers.
Using dual-facing drivers and a two-stage diffuser, Sony is able to deliver 360-degree sound that far outshines what you might expect when first looking at the speaker.
This doesn’t mean it’s a high-end answer to all of your audio needs, with the device needed to be set at medium volume to ensure the clarity, bass and highs are all kept in check.
When played at maximum volume, the audio quality doesn’t show any signs of distortion, but the treble starts to dominate.
The product also has to remain plugged in, so you can’t take it down to the beach.
In saying that, you likely are buying the device to act as music hub for a house party, so I would be confident it will be more than sufficient to meet all of your needs.
If you already have a Google Home and have buyer’s regret, don’t worry because you can use your pre-existing product with the new Sony – or if you don’t already own one, maybe buy the Sony and Google Home mini.
One of the joys of the Google Home system is the ability to broadcast messages across devices in the home.
This means when I am in the bedroom, I can get Google to broadcast my voice to the kitchen to ask my special someone to make me a sandwich – or vice versa, because we don’t want to enforce negative gender stereotypes.
Using two devices with smart assistant will also allow you to use multi-room playback – whatever you’re listening to will be broadcast across all of the speakers in your home.
All in all, the Sony LF-S50G is one of the best voice-activated smart assistants on the market, which would be the perfect stand-alone product or an even better addition to a Google Home network.
Do you use a Google Home? Continue the conversation in the comments below or with Matthew Dunn on Facebook and Twitter.