Speaker manufacturer Polk is embracing Google Assistant and voice control with its new Polk Assist smart speaker.
This segment of the market is growing fast, thanks to the popularity of Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. Polk has taken an agnostic approach with its latest smart products, incorporating Alexa into the Command Bar and Google Assistant into the Polk Assist.
This new speaker has far-field microphones built into the top of the cabinet, allowing for a hands-free voice-first user interface thanks to Google Assistant. There are also Google, play/pause and volume buttons on the top of the cabinet, along with indicator LEDs to show when Google Assistant is doing something.
You can play music via voice commands from internet music streaming services, and since it has Google Chomecast built in you can create a voice controlled multiroom music system using other Chromecast enabled speakers such as the Polk Magnifi Mini and Magnifi Max.
You can of course make full use of Google Assistant itself, asking questions, arranging meetings, setting timers or alarms, and ordering goods online. You can also control your entire smart home using voice commands, and the Polk Assist supports Nest and Philips Hue products.
There is built-in Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz) and Bluetooth (4.1), and the speaker itself is composed of a 1 inch tweeter and a 3.5 inch woofer. These are driven by a built-in amplifier that can deliver 40W continuously and a peak of 80W, which Polk claim can deliver room-filling sound that is superior to Google’s own Home speaker.
The Polk Assist is intended for the family room or bedroom, but Polk also recognise that one of the most popular places to use a smart speaker is the kitchen, so they have made the speaker grille from a stain-resistant fabric. However, should it become dirty, the grille can be removed and washed or, in the worst case scenario, it can be replaced entirely.
The Polk Assist smart speaker with Google Assistant will be in stores in July at a cost of £179, and will be available in a choice of Midnight Black or Cool Grey.