Internet of things will be the next big tech revolution that is going to touch our lives in a big way. In fact, we have already moved towards smart homes ecosystem with various smart products trickling down thick and fast. Naturally, behemoths like Google, Amazon as well as Apple don’t want to miss out and are lining up and throwing their IoT devices in the mix.
In past few months, Amazon and Google have been rather aggressive with their voice-assisted smart speakers that are meant to serve as connected hubs for all interaction between users and their smart appliances.
Alexa based Amazon Echo speaker line-up has had an advantage with their early start but search engine giant recently marched in India with its Google Assistant powered Home and Home Mini. We will be sharing with you our experience and review of Google Home smart speaker. Is it really worth spending Rs 9,999? Let’s find out:
Google Home Review: Design
Google Home is designed to blend in your room decor, and in that regards, it certainly does well. The Google Home is shaped like a vase which has been sliced off midway at an angle. This slant actually comes in quite handy as it helps you see from a distance the glowing Google-color LEDs that confirm your “Ok Google” prompt has been heard.
The top half is pretty bland with a sleek looking mic on/off rounded button featuring at the centre. The bottom half of Google Home comes with a swappable grey color fabric cap which certainly adds contrast to overall theme.
The very top surface of the Google Home is touch-responsive and features two far-field microphones. The touch sensitivity of the top panel works as it should. By just gliding your fingers on the top surface, you can pause/play or change the volume levels. The Google Home power adapter with flat tangle free chord needs to be plugged in at all times as there is no battery inside.
Overall, I personally am drawn towards this design philosophy of Google Home and find it simple and appealing.
Google Home Review: Performance – What It Can & Can’t Do
Google has figured out basics really well. Setting it up doesn’t really take much effort and works like a charm. All you need to do is download Google Home app on your phone and you will find the set-up card right on top. Just follow the instructions and you will be good to go in a few minutes.
Now that we are talking about its performance let’s start with what it does well. For the starters, it manages to register and listen to your voice almost every time. Even if it isn’t you saying ‘Ok Google’ or ‘Hey Google’. It even woke up unintentionally while I was explaining it to my visiting friends
Even when there are more than a couple of people, Home was able to recognize my voice, pick up commands and respond to them. I even tried hailing it from the far end of the room and it responded without hesitation. Home can understand 6 different Voices and execute personalized instructions accordingly.
We also used it a lot to throw content on our Chromecast connected TV. All you need to do is say “Play XYZ on my TV from <App name>. We also used home to set inconsequential reminders. For instance, It was convenient to ask Home to remind me to switch off the gas in 5 minutes while cooking.
You can ask home to tell you a joke, latest news, traffic updates, alarms, to control IFTTT connected devices, and to fetch information from the internet.
Also, you can simply cast audio from apps and services directly on the Home or use it as a regular Bluetooth speaker.
Having said that, Google still needs to work out a few things. First, when more than two Google Assistant driven devices are in the vicinity it ends up triggering on the secondary device rather than on the speaker which at times become frustrating. Secondly, it can be annoying to say hot words like “Ok Google” before every follow-up question. Many a time it couldn’t fetch the songs that we asked for (and that can get really annoying).
We’d also want more measure of controlling or instructing it via our phone. After all, it isn’t always palatable to shout out Ok Google across the hall.
Google also needs to put in some more work to add new services and add support for local Indic languages. At present, if you ask your Google Home for news updates you will find that there are barely any Indian news providers on the list. Similarly, unlike its competitors, it can’t really book a can here in India or order food or scrutinize train timetable. The calling option is also not available here in India.
Amazon also has a more widespread ecosystem of services. The Amazon Prime subscription offers priority access on its shopping platform, Prime Videos, and Prime Music for just 999 INR. This makes it more tempting for users to invest in Amazon’s ecosystem.
Home Review: Sound Quality
Google Home sound quality is outright impressive and can fill an average size room easily. Google has packed a 2-inch driver and two 2-inch passive radiators which produce clean sounds without any distortion at high volumes.
Using Google Home app, you can make some adjustments in bass and treble based on your preference. If you don’t find it loud enough, you can use Google’s multiple sync feature to connect more than two or more Google Homes speakers or use Chromecast Audio to cast to a more powerful set of speakers.
Google Home Review: Should You Buy It?
The Google Home is best suited for those who are already well invested in smart home infrastructure. If you don’t really have the infrastructure or plans to shell out money for a smarter home, in that case, you won’t be able to do justice to its capabilities.
The superior audio quality is its big advantage and you can consider buying it as a smart Bluetooth speaker, but the lack of an inbuilt battery means you won’t be able to carry it outside your home.
The Google Home holds immense possibilities as it benefits from vast reserves of data that we share with Google on a day-to-day basis. With the integration of a wide array of Google services and all data at its disposal, It is indeed smarter than all other assistants out there, but Google still needs to back up the smarts with a proper ecosystem of services. With penetration for Internet and IoT devices becomes cheaper Google Home could be a wise investment for the future.
- Excellent design
- Excellent Audio quality
- Easy setup
- Google Assistant is really smart
- Lacks Indic language support
- Limited services support