Sony’s $249 voice-activated smart speaker is ‘Google Home’ but with better quality hardware.

You might have heard or seen ‘Google Home’ in action by now. There is something cool about setting the mood in the dining room and turning lights on and off using only voice commands.

“OK Google, turn lounge room light on.”

“OK Google, dim lounge room light”

“OK Google, play Rolling in the Deep on YouTube.”

It doesn’t end there, ask ‘Google Home’ to bark like a dog or look up a recipe. In fact, connecting ‘Google Home’ into a service called IFFT opens you up to a world of anything is possible.

‘Google Home’ sells for $199 and the Google Home mini sells for $79.

Google has made the first version including the hardware, there is a bit of lack lustre when it comes to the quality of the speaker. We’ve noticed that a bit of bass in some songs can really sound distorted.

We’re lucky that Google has decided to license the software to other manufacturers. Sony’s version known as the LF-S50G Smart Speaker, takes Google’s software and combines it with superior audio quality, a premium design, clock face and touch-free gesture controls.

Sony’s Smart Speaker has a mesh fabric surrounding its exterior, it’s removable and washable. It also features a digital clock on the front speaker. Buttons for muting and pairing Bluetooth are located on the Chrome ring.

The LCD clock is rather bright and will need to be dimmed if you do want to get any sleep. Unfortunately, you cannot dim the LCD by voice which is a little disappointing considering I can control my Lounge, Bedroom, and Laundry lights. The dimming control is located on the bottom of the speaker.

The speaker itself also has an IPX3 splash-proof rating — protected against spraying water — and comes with a NFC chip which is handy for syncing Bluetooth devices.

One of the main reasons you would choose a speaker by Sony is for the sound quality. Sony’s Smart Speaker delivers the Bass, Treble and Clarity.

Using dual-facing drivers and a two-stage diffuser, Sony is able to deliver 360-degree sound that far outshines what you might expect when first looking at the speaker.

It’s by no means a high-end solution for all your audio needs. We found that at maximum volume it did not distort, but the treble was a little too much.

All in all, the Sony LF-S50G is one of the best voice-activated smart assistants on the market, and I do wish I did actually wait for Sony’s version.