Blog by Aled,
In a world of digital assistance, a plethora of brands and services are now available. One of the biggest players in the market is the world renowned Google. They naturally have their own branded selection of assistant speakers, but that is not to say there aren’t some compelling alternatives on the market. One of these is the Sony LF-S50G, a small, compact speaker aiming to offer the benefits of Google Assistant whilst offering superior sound quality.
With the unit standing just shy of 17cm tall with a width of 11cm, the speaker’s compact design takes up hardly any space. The unit’s simplistic design is fairly devoid of visible buttons, just a digital clock face on the front. Instead, the unit is designed to be operated by the user’s voice commands. Alternatively, basic functions can be triggered by a variety of gestures above the unit. Circling your finger clockwise just above the unit raises the volume, counter-clockwise and the speaker’s volume is reduced with the clock face on the front changing to reflect the volume level. Waving across to the right skips to the next track while waving to the left goes back a song. Wave back to front and the google assistant kicks in, wave the other way for play and pause. Tucked at the bottom of the unit, the mains cable neatly plugs in with a button on either side. One for Bluetooth pairing and one to disable the unit’s built-in microphone. On the base, Sony have also included a hold button that disables all of the controls until it is pressed again alongside a handy dimmer button for adjusting the brightness on the front display. This is great if you are hoping to use it by your bed without flooding the room with light. This has three settings: bright, low and off completely.
Sony have produced a lot of fantastic audio options over the course of its existence, so I was keen to see what it would offer. The unit is quite compact, but this doesn’t seem to impair the sound quality offering a more powerful, but not overwhelming, bass compared to similar size speakers. However, where it mainly excels is the 360° speaker design. This allows the sound to remain at consistent levels wherever you are in the room. The Sony speaker has Bluetooth, Near Field Communication (NFC) as well as tapping into online music services such as Spotify, Deezer and Google Play music. For the primary use of the device as a Bluetooth speaker it is fine but, to truly get the most out of it, it’s certainly worth setting up Google Assistant as well.
To complete the setup, users will need to download the Google Home app, which is available for both Android and IOS devices. Upon launching the app, it should automatically locate the speaker and take the user through the setup process of connecting it to their Wi-Fi and pairing it with their Google account. From here, the voice setup is ready to go. I started off with the basics, such as asking what the weather forecast was and general sport scores. From there I started looking into additional skills. One of the benefits of the speaker tapping into Google’s network of apps and services is that devices are able to communicate via a Google account. To test this, I logged onto my Google calendar and typed in an appointment reminder for the following day. As soon as I had finished this task, I asked the speaker what was on my schedule and it immediately told me the appointment that I had just scheduled through a desktop computer. The app allows the user to vastly expand the speaker’s abilities and can produce tailored results to queries unique to an individual using voice recognition. Delving back into the app, I decided to explore the skills put in place by other companies. This is where the other half of the smart speaker comes largely into play. A growing amount of services supported by smart speakers are now making their way into our homes. I was able to access the Sony android TVs Chromecast by asking the speaker to play BBC Radio 1 onscreen. Sure enough the BBC Radio app began playing. Moving on to something more specific, I asked the speaker to play movie trailers from YouTube on the Sony TV. The TV switched across to YouTube and started playing movie trailers without any need to pick up the remote and type out long-winded searches.
The unit is splash resistant (IPX3 rating) making it quite suitable as a kitchen assistant, particularly for those interested in using it for conversions etc. Another handy feature is the ability to take the overlaying cloth cover off the speaker making cleaning easier and more effective. Just twist anti-clockwise to unclick it and lift straight off of the base of the speaker allowing you to rinse the cloth and let it air-dry before returning it to the unit.
Overall, it offered a dramatic improvement in using services on another device and became a very responsive tool. Delving further into the realms of home automation, the assistant can also be used to control a variety of compatible smart devices, ranging from TVs, smart plugs, thermostats, CCTV cameras, smart lighting and other Hive products. Creating the ultimate smart home for an affordable price tag. These, alongside its pre-existing mass of features, promise efficiency and functionality making it a handy assistant for any home.
Why not see this amazing speaker in action with a demo in-store? Or, if you cannot wait to own it yourself, why not buy online or use our stellar click and collect service and pick up your new device from one hour of ordering from your nearest store.