If you’re on the hunt for speakers that feature Google Assistant, it’s tempting to first turn to Google’s line of Home devices. Google is in the Google Assistant and Google Home names, so why not just turn to the company behind the software to buy your hardware?
As tempting as that may be, however, you might want to look at some third-party options. They all feature Google Assistant, but they go about the speaker design and sound in very different ways — some are smaller and portable, others are larger and booming.
The bottom line is that there’s plenty of variety if you opt for a third-party Google Assistant speaker. Here are some of the better ones we found.
LG ThinQ WK7
With a goofy name and utilitarian build, LG’s first Google Assistant speaker stands out and blends in at the same time. That said, the ThinQ WK7 offers plenty for the money — volume, play/pause buttons, and function buttons up top, a microphone button around back that lets you mute the mic, 24-bit upsampling, and a touch-sensitive Google Assistant button.
Thanks to Chromecast support, the ThinQ WK7 also supports multi-room audio playback.
Audio generally sounds great, thanks to the punchy bass, prominent vocals, and ability to get out without much distortion. Unfortunately, this does come at the cost of flattened mid-range sound and undefined treble, which leads to loss of detail and definition with some songs.
Overall, it’s hard to argue against the ThinQ WK7 when it costs a penny shy of $200. Better yet, you can regularly find it on sale across online retailers.
Anker Soundcore Model Zero Plus
Anker’s first foray into the world of Google Assistant speakers is a stunner. You won’t find another speaker with the Model Zero Plus’ unique design that allows it to be stationary and portable.
It’s not all about looks, however — the Model Zero Plus features two 63mm woofers, two 19mm tweeters, two passive radiators, and Dolby Audio support. The result is automatically-equalized sound that promises to be loud, clear, and balanced, whether you’re listening to music or podcasts. There’s also a separate Soundcore app that lets you customize the equalizer to your liking.
All of this won’t come cheap — the Model Zero Plus goes for $249.99. There’s a cheaper Model Zero that sells for $50 less, but that model doesn’t feature Google Assistant. If you want something that stands out and sounds great, the Model Zero Plus is it.
Sony is known for awkward product names, and the LF-S50G continues that trend. Don’t let the name steer you away, the HomePod-esque speaker includes more than meets the eye.
Even with an exterior synthetic fabric mesh, the LF-S50G features a seven-segment time display that shines through just fine. The top features a gesture-friendly area that lets you control music playback with a wave of your hand. The bottom features two buttons that control the clock illumination and lock the device from accepting input from other buttons or gestures.
The LF-S50G also features a dedicated 53mm subwoofer for added bass, a 48mm driver, and minimal distortion at high volumes.
Keep in mind that this is only an 18W speaker — don’t expect a perfect balance between bass and treble or the best sound at higher and lower volumes. Also, the gestures don’t always work as advertised and the $199.99 price tag might be a bit too much for what you get.
That said, not many Google Assistant speakers occupy that price space. Until we see more $200 Google Assistant speakers, the LF-S50G remains one of the better options in that tier.
If you’re looking for more oomph from your Sony-branded Google Assistant speaker, take a strong look at the SRS-XB501G.
Part of Sony’s line of Extra Bass speakers, the XB501G features two 45mm drivers and one subwoofer. The speaker also features LED lights up front that can either fade in and out while gradually changing colors or randomly strobe, a USB-C port around back, an IP65 rating for dust and water resistance, 16 hours of battery life, and a rear-mounted handle.
You can even mount the XB501G on the included tripod mount, a nice inclusion that will especially work well during social gatherings.
As for the sound, don’t expect audiophile levels of clarity and definition. There’s also a surprising lack of bass, though you can use the Sony Music Center to adjust the sound. The app is the only way to switch between all the sound modes, which is annoying but manageable.
You can also forget about keeping to a low budget — the XB501G starts at $299.99. However, you can nab it for $50 less every now and then.
JBL Link 20
One of only a handful of small and portable Google Assistant devices, the JBL Link 20 doesn’t stand out in the design department. However, it more than makes up for the bland design with a solid feature set and great sound.
The Link 20 features volume, play/pause, mic mute, Bluetooth, power, and Google Assistant buttons on the top and back. It also features an IPX7 rating for water submersion, Wi-Fi connectivity, two microphones at the top, and LED indicators for the battery and when Google Assistant is active.
More importantly, the Link 20 promises well-balanced treble, bass, lows, and mids. The highs are also good and with little distortion, but the speaker might not hear your voice commands very well at high volumes.
The Link 20 normally sells for $199.99. However, you can consistently find it for $149.99 or even $99.99 at retailers like Best Buy.