Sony LF-S50G review: Hands on with the smart Bluetooth speaker

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Sony LF-S50G review: Hands on with the smart Bluetooth speaker

Having heard the impressive Panasonic SC-GA10 at IFA 2017 , I was intrigued to see what Sony had to bring to the table. The LF-S50G is a small Bluetooth speaker with Google Assistant built in. But has Sony done enough to convince the German crowd?

Sony LF-S50G review: UK price and release date

Unlike many products I came across at IFA 2017, the Sony speaker has a confirmed price of £200, and is due to come out in November 2017.

This is an incredibly competitive price, and one I’d like to see its rivals come in at. Its competitors include the Google Home speaker, which is currently selling for £99 , and the Amazon Echo that runs Alexa and is currently selling for £150 .

Sony LF-S50G review: Build quality and design

The small speaker reminds of Apple’s HomePod – it has a cylinder shape that was showcased in an off-white mesh colour and a metal base.

Its distinct LED display sets it apart from other speakers. The small display shows the volume and current time, and it can also be used to view your alarm. If, however, you’d prefer not to be distracted, the entire display can be disabled.

The speaker is IPX3-certified, which means it wil survive a small splash, but don’t expect it to survive in the garden under the rain.

I’m not a big fan of gesture controls, but if that floats your boat, then you’ll love the Sony LF-S50G. Rotating your finger at the top of the speaker will adjust the volume, and shifting your palm over it will change track.

If you’re looking for physical buttons, you’ll have to look at the back of the speaker to find a dedicated Bluetooth pairing button and a mic-qmute that prevents Google Assistant listening in. There are two microphones that are used to work with Google Assistant.

Sony LF-S50G review: Connectivity

The speaker connects through a Bluetooth 4.2 connection and, due to its Google integration, has 802.11abgn Wi-Fi built-in. This means you can connect the speaker to your home network and use its multi-room functionalities to seamlessly play music with other LF-S50G speakers on your network.

NFC and Chromecast are also built into the Sony speaker.

Sony LF-S50G review: Sound quality

I didn’t really get to hear the Sony speaker in its full glory, due to it being showcased in an open booth at IFA 2017. However, from my short demo, I found the speaker to have good 360-degree sound. This is thanks to its downward-firing woofer that produces a punchy bass, while the upward-firing tweeter handles the treble.

Its sound isn’t as impressive as the Panasonic SC-GA10, but it is a step ahead of the Google Home and Amazon Echo devices. The lows have a solid presence and the trebles extend relatively well, albeit being rolled off at the top end. I’ll be sure to update this review when I get the speaker in for review.

Sony LF-S50G review: Early verdict

Upon first impressions, the Sony LF-S50G offers a good alternative to the Home and Echo devices. With Google Assistant built in, the Sony offers superior sound at a more premium price. The addition of a display is nice to see, and can be handy for those who like to see visuals. I still have to put the speaker through its paces, but from what I saw at IFA 2017, Sony has managed to produce a fantastic speaker. Look out for my detailed review later in the year.