Over the past couple of weeks, we have reviewed ten of the available Google Assistant speakers.
It does show that there are distinct Google Assistant categories of speakers.
Basic 1.0 mono, 24-bit/96kHz – Google Home and Google Home Mini (review here)
Mid 1.0 mono – Sony LF-S50G (original review here and updated review here)
Upper 1.0 mono – LG WK7 ThinQ (review here) and JBL Link 300 (review here)
Water resistant/portable 1.0 mono – JBL Link 10/20 (review here)
Stereo 2.0 – Google Home Max (review here) and Panasonic SC-GA10 (original review here and updated review here)
We have learned after a lot testing that OK Google speaker reviews suck!
Let me elaborate. All do everything that Google Assistant can. Some have 3.5mm AUX-in and Bluetooth as well. JBL offers two water-resistant models. Google Max and soon Panasonic offer stereo pairing. All are portable to the extent that they are smaller, lightweight speakers. Most are not designed to appeal to audiophiles.
OK Google, what are the current retail and street prices?
These may be from eBay or Amazon merchants. It is always preferable to shop local!
Google Home Mini ($79/59)
Google Home ($199/130)
Sony LF-S50G ($249/<200)
LG WK7 ThinQ ($299/235)
JBL Link 10 ($229.95/149)
JBL Link 20 ($299.95/229.95)
JBL Link 300 ($349.95/299)
Panasonic SC-GA10 ($379/265)
Google Max ($579/579)
Now you see my problem. Do you rate speakers on value or music quality – or both?
And the results are in.
Best speaker to add OK Google: Google Home Mini (for $59 if you can get it)
If you just want to add OK Google to your bedroom and ask it to set alarms, tell you the weather and play news headlines this is it. It may also be an easy way to add OK Google to a Chromecast capable TV or sound system.
Best speaker under/around $200: Sony LF-S50G
If you only have $200, then Sony is the clear winner over Google Home. Sound quality is superior, and it has Bluetooth.
Best water resistant speaker: JBL 20
If waterproof is the criteria, it is better to spend more to get a better sound over the JBL 10.
Best stereo pair: Google Home Max
This is a harder call as Max is a big beast of a speaker compared to Panasonic’s GA-10. But for pure volume and a distortion-free sound vista, it is the outright winner.
But don’t write off the elegant Panasonic when its firmware update brings stereo pairing. On looks alone and for smaller spaces it is a clear runner-up.
Best overall listening experience: LG WK7 ThinQ
LG got its Meridian tuned sound signature so right. Add to that music upscale and Hi-Res audio. After listening to all speakers, we kept coming back to it – such great sound.
Editor’s pick and overall winner: LG WK7 ThinQ especially if you can get it for $235!