Price (RRP): $59.95/69/95
When you enter the smarthome race, you usually do so with either a Google Assistant Home or Mini or go down the Alexa path with an Echo Dot or Echo 2nd generation speaker. Ninety7 adds portable power bases to untether your speaker.
I won’t go into the pros and cons of each ecosystem today – our task is to review the Ninety7 JOT for Google Mini and the Ninety7 LOFT for Google Home.
In essence, both are battery packs that make these speakers portable. They are seamless additions to the products, neither adding nor subtracting from their aesthetics.
You can read GadgetGuy’s review of both speakers here.
Now, Ninety7 is one of those companies that does not supply detailed specs, and that is fine – we can explore. It states that its products should provide eight hours of cordless use.
Ninety7 JOT for Google Mini ($59.95 from JB Hi-Fi)
We actually found some power specs on the base.
It has a 3.7V, 5000mAh, 18.5Wh battery. In layman’s terms, it charges from either Google’s charger (5V/1.8A/9W – same as the speaker draws) or any standard USB-A to micro-USB charger and cable. As it does not support USB-PD, there is no point using higher amperage chargers as it will not charge faster.
We left it playing on 50% volume (pleasant volume), and it went for 11.5 hours. We did not check the 60-100% volume range, but you can expect a corresponding drop in battery life. Recharge time is under three hours. It has an on/off button to save battery.
The JOT comes in carbon or silver in a fairly obvious painted plastic finish. I suspect carbon will be the most popular as it works with all three Google Mini colours – Chalk, Charcoal and Coral.
Assembly is simple – slip the Mini into the base taking care to align the micro-USB port, and it clicks into place. There are cut-outs to turn the microphone on/off and two release tabs to remove the front plate and the speaker.
We retested sound quality, and the base makes no difference to the mid, clear voice, sound signature in our original review.
GadgetGuy’s take: Ninety7 JOT allows you to take Google with you – well not really
It adds portability, but Google Assistant relies on Wi-Fi for its Google Home actions. And as a Bluetooth speaker to play music with any fidelity, the Google Mini sucks. There are some excellent battery powered BT only speakers like the Sony SRSXB01 or JBL GO 2 at $49 or you start to get some better sound from the Sony SRSBX21 or JBL Flip 4 at $99.
The JOT is more for portability – take Google Mini out to the patio and listen to a podcast (it is very good for that).
Ninety7 LOFT for Google Home ($69.95 from JB Hi-Fi)
The battery is a beefier 7.2V/4200mAh/31.92Whr. It uses the Google Home 16.5V/2A/33W charger with the proprietary pin connection. Now without getting techy and quoting Ohms law, the speaker expects 16.5V, so the battery outputs that at 1A. It slightly underpowers the speaker, and instead of 80dB maximum volume, it’s closer to 72dB. It would have a similar reduction in Wi-Fi range a well.
These are not a deal breaker, and it does not affect Google Home in any adverse way. And you can leave the LOFT plugged in – it is smart enough to stop charging when needed.
Our 50% volume test lasted just on 10 hours with a corresponding drop in battery life at higher volumes. Recharge time was under two hours.
The Google Home comes in a chalky white, and the LOFT base in carbon, snow or copper matches that perfectly. You remove the original slate fabric (over plastic) base (twist off) and slip in the speaker. The power base has an on-off switch.
Interestingly the perforated metal plate (over plastic) base does affect the sound signature. Where the original slate base (left) is almost acoustically transparent, LOFT has smaller and fewer holes that reduce bass that kicks in littl later around 200Hz.
The Google Home is a competent speaker with plenty of volume and bass starting from 100Hz. It’s a bit weak from 4kHz (upper-mids) and in the treble, but overall it’s fine for music streaming. The LOFT does muffle that sound a little, but it is still pleasant.
Now the combined cost (if you buy the Home speaker) is around $170. JBL has waterproof Google Assistant speakers – the Link 10/20/300 at $149.10/209.20/244.30 (GadgetGuy review here) – our pick is the Link 20 for very good sound and ten-hour battery life.
That is not to take away from the LOFT as an addition to Google Home – if you have the speaker already. It allows you to take it outside to the patio and providing you are within Wi-Fi range, access Google services.
GadgetGuy summary: Ninety7 has specific use cases
Both the JOT and LOFT are fit for purpose and do what they state – add around 8+ hours portable battery life to the Google Mini and Home.
The use case depends on you having the speakers and requiring portability within Wi-Fi range if you want to retain Google Assitant functionality.