Google Home Review

If you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit of a sucker for Google stuff, and I’m mad keen on Smart Home devices ever since I got started with the Philips Hue bulbs in my home (they are phenomenal, well worth a look). I bought Google a little over a month ago, and I was going to do a review of it when I got it, but thought, something like this needs to take time, see how well it integrates into my daily life. So here we go, my review is below.

 

Hardware – Looks

The way this device looks in the home is subtle, and that is what it needs to be. It needs to be understated so it works its way into your daily routine. It has a gorgeous round shape to it, nice angles, and colours that will fit into pretty much any decor. I have the standard grey bottom which comes with the speaker, but there are others available. The way it lights up on top when you have said the phrase “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” is neat as well, the same as what happens when you summon the Google Assistant too. That area of the speaker is also a touch panel too, allowing to turn the volume or down with a simple gesture. On the back you can turn the microphone off if you don’t wish to have Google listen to you.

Hardware – Sound

The speaker quality from something this size is great, good quality bass without distorting the sound. What I have found also is that the volume this thing can get up to will fill my mid-terraced 2 bed house without any issue. I tend to use the speaker for playing music and radio through it, and this has zero problems with it. Turning the volume up and down with can be either touching the speaker itself or by using a voice command.

Speaking of voice commands, I am able to do voice commands from another room which is fantastic. Granted it doesn’t work as well in that scenario when there is other sound playing, but when there is something coming from the speaker, being in the same room for voice commands is no issue. The way they have the microphones set up is nothing short of special. It will literally pick up anything I say in the same room when there is background noise happening.

Usability

Now onto how easy it is to use. When you first open the Google Home speaker and get it plugged in, the instruction manual tells you to download the Google Home app. If you already have it then go into it, if not, download it from the Google Play Store. You will need to add a device, and then follow the simple set up. It’s all laid out in front of you in terms of what you need to input. Also within the app, after you have set it up, you can view most of the common voice commands, you can set up rooms for all your smart home equipment.

Extras

What makes the speaker great is the integration with other devices and services. You can set up services like IFTTT to really make it powerful, recently Tesco has set up their IFTTT channel to work with Google Assistant. Also will work with some of the apps that are already on your phone, so if you use Google Play Music or Spotify with a premium sub, then those will work. It integrates brilliantly with my Philips Hue setup too, only thing I wish for is the ability to change light colour.

There are also many Easter Eggs for you to find, there is actually an app which has them listed, if you want some spoilers, click here. It has many on there, it is a free app but has adverts, which you can remove for a small fee.

Final thoughts

My final thoughts on this is that it is a great start from Google, yes they have had it out in the USA for some time, but for us in the UK, not so long. Services are being added all the time and it’s great that companies like Tesco are already on board with it. I am looking forward to getting more and more of a smart home and seeing where this tech takes us.