Google Home Mini, Google Home and Google Home Max are not the only smart speakers with Google Assistant. As Alexa has found its way into third party speakers, so has Google Assistant. We look at smart speakers with Google Assistant Built-in.
Apart from Google Home Max, Google Home Mini and Google Home is not strong enough to be the speaker to enjoy your favourite music at high volume. If you must have the Google ecosystem but struggle Google’s speakers small sound output, you need to read this.
Google’s Range of Smart Speakers
Before we begin to look at Google Home Alternatives let us take a quick look at Google’s own offerings:
The mid size smart speaker from Google is Google’s answer to the original Echo and now the new Echo. It has an inclined flat top that doubles as controls with a touch panel to control the volume, change tracks, play or pause and access Google Assistant when microphone is disabled. Use hands-free with wake words like ‘OK Google’ or ‘Hey Google’ to start your question or command. It plays well with major smart home device, streaming services as well as it’s own Google Cast products sending streams to Chromecast vocally. Google AI also supports multi-user with voice recognition for everyone in the family with Google accounts. You will soon be able to make calls, throw answers to a screen with visual response, connect your device to the speaker via Bluetooth and offer proactive assistance.
Google Home Mini
Here is a Echo Dot equivalent except, it has rounded edges and covered in fabric. Just like the Echo Dot, the Home Mini is your entry device to Google’s smart device and ultimately smart home ecosystem. At a low starting price, the affordable speaker lets you access all of Google Assistant’s intelligence, control smart home devices, support Google Cast products (start a TV show or your music play list) and Bluetooth streaming from devices. There is a slide switch to disable the microphone near the bottom of the speaker. There is however no audio output, not 3.5mm line out nor Bluetooth.
Google Home Max
The biggest, baddest, loudest and sharpest of the Google Home range of smart speakers, the Google Home Max is pitched against Apple’s HomePod. It has a simple design covered wholly in fabric but don’t let that deceive you because it packs plenty of power underneath. Think of this as pairing Google Assistant’s intelligence with the audio prowess of say the Sonos Play:3 or even the Play:5 for a room-filling music experience.
Top 5 Google Home Alternatives from the Competition – Smart Speaker with Google Assistant
Now for third party alternatives, smart speakers with Google Assistant built-in from Sony, JBL, Panasonic, Onkyo and Anker.
Sony LF-S50G Google Assistant Built-in Wireless Speaker
Sony LF-S50G is a smart speaker with 360° omni-directional design. Its speaker and subwoofer offer room filling sound with the clever use of a two stage diffuser and bass reflex duct. First impression, it looks very much like a baby HomePod with a handy digital LED display underneath the fabric cover. Use the speaker to control your smart home devices, access Google Assistant, stream your playlist, connect to multiple speakers, listen to you music via Bluetooth or stream directly via WiFi.
It’s worth noting that the speaker supports gesture control and the unit is splash resistant with its removable cover that can be rinsed should you get it dirty in the kitchen. Gesture control is touch free so to control the volume, pause, or play music without, all you need is to wave your hand over the top, if you are too lazy to issue voice commands. There is also auto volume control to adapts the volume level to the noise in the room for optimal listening.
JBL Link Series Voice Activated Portable Speaker (10, 20 and 300)
To stay relevant, portable Bluetooth Speaker make has added WiFi connectivity and Google Assistant goodness to their new JBL Link series. The Bluetooth portable speakers from JBL now has voice-activated services from Google and is available in three size. Like other JBL portables, it uses the same water bottle profile, except for the 300, which is more of a Google Home Max level speaker. Actually, the only portable versions are the 10 and 20 with its’ rechargeable batteries, with up to 5 and 10 hours of playtime respectively. The 300 is mains powered.
All JBL Links come with dual band WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music. You can even stream directly from Chromecast enabled apps on your mobile device. The portable JBL Link 10 and 20 are also IPX7 rated to withstand rain, splashes or even dunking in water. Each speaker is covered with durable fabric over rugged rubber housing to take on any thing you throw at it. If you have other Chromecast enabled speaker, you can group them together for multi-room playback with Google Home app. An even bigger JBL Link 500 will also be available soon.
Onkyo VC-GX30B Google Assistant Enabled Speaker
Onkyo’s first voice-controlled speaker with Google Assistant at the helm, enhanced by decades of Onkyo audio know-how, the GX30 pumps our high quality sound from its custom two way driver configuration. From a design and sound engineering viewpoints, the custom woofer with massive magnet and soft-dome tweeter offers rich deep bass, ample mid-range and crisp high end sound, wrapped in computer modelled non-resonant wood enclosure and robust baffle grille for premium high-fidelity sound.
Being Google Assistant enabled, it comes with all the benefits of being connected to Google’s AI over its dual band WiFi adapter (5GHz/2.4GHz). Use your voice to control media streaming to its speakers or to Chromecast-enabled device. Use that same sweet voice for home automation, find answers on Google Search, manage tasks and schedules and more. To set up the Onkyo speaker, simply download the Google Home app, available for iOS as well as Android.
Panasonic SC-GA10 Multi-Room Audio System
A departure from your standard water bottle profile, the GA10 has a slender but boxy rectangular shape with the chassis made from aluminium and wrapped in fabric with a minimal and stylish design. There is a touch panel on top of the speaker with plenty of easy to follow options.
Like Onkyo, Panasonic makes it their mission to design the device as a speaker first with focus on producing amazing audio quality, surpassing the Google Home with its 2-way, 3 speaker arrangement, 8cm Dual Voice Coil Woofer and two Soft Dome Tweeters. The low range is made stronger with a dedicated bass reflex port.
For connectivity, there is WiFi, Bluetooth and 3.5mm socket line-in. This is used for Google Assistant for hands-free controls, search queries, manage your calendar, add tasks, stream from music services (spotify, Google Play Music and Internet radio) as well as to control compatible smart home devices like Chromecast enabled TV, smart lights or smart thermostat.
Other features include pairing up to GA10 for stereo effect, play nice with other Chromecast enabled speakers for a multi-room system and stream directly via Bluetooth. Use the Panasonic Music Control App, available fro iOS and Android for home network music playback, EQ settings, Re-master and more.
Zolo Mojo Google Assistant Powered Speaker
From USB chargers to PowerBanks, Anker; the company behind Zolo is now into speakers and headphones, with its Zolo sub-brand. They already have a Zolo Halo, an Alexa powered speaker, Zolo Mojo is their a compact voice activated speaker with Google Assistant built-in. It will play music, get personalized help, control smart home devices and more using nothing but voice commands.
Inside, there is a high excursion driver with 5W of output power producing crystal-clear sound with minimal distortion, even at high volumes, with its professionally tuned overhung voice coil. A precision engineered bass port injects adds extra dose of power into low frequencies for a deeper, more resonant sound.
Mojo is a Chromecast enabled, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth streaming affordable speaker. The Google Assistant lets you play music, get personalised help, control smart home devices, access home automation and more all via voice commands. It does this with its onboard microphone designed to filter out noise so you get the right response from the smart AI. It goes one step further by recognising specific family members’ voices with VoiceMatch.
Some future Google Assistant voice activated smart speakers.
- LG ThinQ Speaker