Sony LF-S50G OK Google speaker (updated review)

The Sony LF-S50G is a step up from Google’s Home and Mini options. It offers the typical Sony easy listening sound. But how does it compare to the other Google Home offerings? You will need to read our ‘shoot-out’ to find out.

We reported in March on the Sony LF-S50G (GadgetGuy report here). It was our first review of an OK Google alternative, and it quite took us.

Our opinion has not changed so much even though we now better appreciate the gamut of OK Google speakers.

Sony LF-S50G Google Home Speaker (updated review)

Australian website here

It is

Sony LF-S50G

  • a 1.0 mono, 360° speaker
  • Claimed 20Hz-20,000kHz frequency response (in theory) and 24-bit/96kHz
  • Digital clock on the ‘front’
  • 2 x far-field mics
  • Wi-Fi N dual band
  • Bluetooth 4.2 SBC and NFC allows smartphone pairing
  • Chromecast (as all Google Home speakers have)
  • Google Home app – there is no separate Bluetooth iOS or Android app.
  • DC 15V power supply
  • 162 (high) x 100mm (round) x 750g
  • Covered in a removable acoustic, water resistant, cloth. Removeable cover

Its closest competitor is the Google Home, and there is no competition there, except on price.

It has a downward-firing 53mm subwoofer, a bass reflex duct and an upward-firing 48mm mid/treble speaker. These are separated by a diffuser to push the sound out at 360° (hence you can’t stereo pair them).

Sony LF-S50G

It is best on an open bench where the sound can spread around the room. We did try it in a bookshelf nook, but the sound signature became muddy.

How does it sound?

We used a tone generator and two sample tracks (Beach Boys and Blues Brothers). The results were all similar.

Bass starts to kick in at 100Hz but it is thin to 250Hz. Frequency response is good and flat to 10kHz, and then it becomes erratic.

Sony LF-S50G

This is a warm and sweet signature provided you don’t go over about 70% volume. At that point, it becomes harsh and tinny.

How does it stack up?

It is great as an easy-listening speaker provided you keep volume in check. As it is 1.0 mono, it is suited to radio and MP3 streaming.

I guess it depends on whether the Sony fits your décor as well.

Yes, I would buy it over the Google Home any day although to be fair that sound is fit for purpose.

Pros

  • Attractive
  • The clock is handy
  • Decent volume but distorts after 70%
  • Sony’s ‘warm and sweet’ sound signature for easy, fatigue-free listening
  • Thoughtful design allows the woven cover to be removed and washed

Cons

  • Gesture controls are erratic

Best use

  • Kitchen
  • Bedside clock
  • Personal listening – it is not quite a room-filling stereo system!

Ratings

  • Overall: 4.2 out of 5
  • Features: 4 out of 5 – Needs to act as a handsfree phone although can do this with Bluetooth connection
  • Value for money: 4 out of 5 – bag an online bargain to take this up a point
  • Performance: 4 out of 5 – in all tests it met specifications
  • Ease of Use: 4 out of 5 – but forget gesture control
  • Design: 5 out of 5 – Woven light grey/white – looks elegant

Price

RRP is $249 but if you shop around you will find it at just under $200.