It had been touted as a much higher-end smart speaker than Google Home. Announced at the last Berlin IFA at a price of 299 dollars, the Sony model finally arrives in stores at 200 dollars (Not in India), the product is positioned right in front of the walls of Google; with much better arguments than the latter. This is why we choose the device of the Japanese rather than the American.
First, let’s take a break from the exactly identical point between the two models: the Google Assistant. The software part is exactly the same. Unlike the Android OS, manufacturers can not customize the services installed on their device. The Sony LF-S50G is therefore content to perform exactly the same tasks: answer a question of general culture, turn off the lights of the home, launch a Netflix series on TV or music from Spotify directly on the speaker. And updates made by Google on its wizard are deployed in exactly the same way on all smart speakers.
The sound quality is superior
This is clearly the first point on which the Sony model wins hands down. We had indeed been disappointed by Google Home. The three speakers of the latter do in fact deliver almost only midrange frequencies. If the sound quality of the Sony model is not the most incredible – there is a weakness in the high midrange bandwidth in our measurement of the bandwidth – it offers bass deeper than its competitor. To achieve this, Sony has chosen to place two speakers face to face in a horizontal position. The lower one is responsible for mid and high frequencies and the upper one – supported by a vent – bass.
Automatic volume control is very convenient
Another advantage of the Sony model is its ability to push the volume automatically. Imagine an evening with friends where the discussions intensify as it progresses. The volume of the music will follow so as not to be too covered by the voices and to become inaudible. The function can be deactivated if necessary.
It is resistant to splashing water
Its use in a bathroom or kitchen is quite suitable. The Sony LF-S50G meets the IPX3 standard. It is, therefore, able to withstand a rain of drops of water up to 60° from the vertical.
It can be controlled by simple gestures
Swirling your finger in one direction or the other above the speaker increases or decreases the volume. Performing a hand gesture from the bottom up makes the audio playback pause. Moving your hand to the left goes back to the previous song, right to the next song. Finally, leaving it three seconds above the device launches the Google Assistant without having to say “OK Google“. This system is practical because you can control the speaker directly, even with dirty hands, for example, when you are cooking. Let’s concede, however, that the system is not 100% efficient and that it is experiencing some regular misses.
NFC and Bluetooth makes connection easier
Like Google Home, Sony’s device can also be paired with a smartphone to serve as a Bluetooth speaker. It uses the codec apt-X, slightly deteriorating, but offering a pretty good audio reproduction. Equipped with an NFC chip, the pairing between the two devices is very easy and fast.
Sony fan? You already have a compatible device
Sony announced three years ago at CES in Las Vegas the widespread use of the Chromecast system on many devices in its range of sound bars, audio amplifiers, wireless speakers and TVs (they are now all equipped with Android TV). Be careful though, no Google Assistant speaker can yet stream Netflix directly to an Android TV. The fault with the service of VOD which makes possible this use via an HDMI key Chromecast, but not on the OS for televisions of Google.