A little help around the house is something constantly sought, but rarely attained. Whether you’re renting with others, living with folks, or managing a family of three, it can sometimes seem like a near impossible task getting those around you to contribute even just a few minutes. Enter the Sony LF-S50G Smart Speaker, designed to streamline your home life while sounding great, too.
Sony LF-S50G Smart Speaker
Okay, the LF-S50G won’t drag your housemate from the couch or your kids from their tablets, but the in-built Google Assistant and 360 degrees sound will definitely improve your efficiency, and entertain you while you’re meandering around the home.
Sony’s longstanding reputation in tech has upheld its prestige throughout much of their product. Everyone remembers the Walkman, right? Their entry into the smart speaker realm lives up to their name.
The LF-S50G features a two-way facing speaker system, with an adequately sized subwoofer to spread a warm, subtle bass throughout an entire room. Like the sub, the tweeters have been angled strategically to deliver a consistent sound. You’d probably need more than one LF-S50G to entertain a house party, but that’s to be expected given the speaker’s petite stature. For the size, the sound produced exceeded our expectations.
If you’ve had any experience with voice control services, the vocal prompts will most likely come naturally to you here. If you haven’t, the term ‘Okay Google’ might ring some bells.
Upon an initial ‘Okay Google’, a new world is opened up to you. Ask for the weather, keep up to date with the news, sports scores or set an alarm. The direct integration between Google Assistant and Spotify made for a particularly nice touch. Navigating through artists and playlist alike was close to seamless providing the microphones picked up your vocal requests.
Thanks to Google Assistant, the LF-S50G can control an array of third-party products. We had LIFX LED lights, a WEMO WiFi power switch, and an LG Sound Bar hooked up and controlled completely through voice prompts during the testing period. No connection drop-outs, and rarely a confused vocal cue.
The Bluetooth NFC One-Touch feature also means it’s as simple as a single tap to connect most devices. Neat.
Scoring high in terms of connectivity, the LF-S50G did however, produce several frustrations when put to use in the later hours. Google Assistant’s volume couldn’t be adjusted; this wasn’t a huge problem, however, it would have been nice if the Assistant’s responses were softened way more, so not to disturb everyone else upon one person’s request to set an alarm. The LED lights thankfully could be dimmed at night, but couldn’t be seen during the day – hopefully the next version will have automatic dimming capabilities.
Bedtime frustrations aside, the simple display illuminated behind the LF-S50G’s mesh really sets it aside from other speakers. Avoiding anything complex, it shows the time and volume when it’s being adjusted. The wrap around mesh feels of quality, and the speaker is splash proof so it’s perfect for long sessions in the kitchen. The casing is also removable, so if it does cop some friendly fire from the chopping board or blender, it’s as simple as giving it a rinse under the tap.
The touch plate atop the speaker is controlled by gestures that seem foreign to the unwritten industry standards. Given their simplicity, however, they’re not too complicated to pick up. Swirl your fingers in a clockwise hovering above the top of the speaker to turn the volume up – and anti-clockwise to turn it down. It may take a few extra goes to get it right – at least until you get accustomed to the sensitivitiy of the gesture.
While the LF-S50G is a smart speaker capable of all sorts of connectivity, it does require a power source. The cable is tucked neatly away in the rear however, and it didn’t cause too much trouble in the kitchen or bedroom.
Sony have absolutely nailed all the smart speaker essentials in the tidy package that is the LF-S50G. The addition of Google Assistant means it’s not limited to interacting with just Sony products, and the sound quality is some of the best heard in a speaker of its size.
The Sony LF-S50G looks to be available before the end of 2017, and will sit at a reasonable $249AUD. A great alternative to the Google Home, its quality and intelligence should justify having one, or two, helping you around the home.