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Smart devices have gradually become an integral part of our lifestyle. The IoT enabled smart products can perform various tasks by simply following our voice commands. A smart ecosystem at home or office can help us save a lot of time and is indeed a step towards the future. One of the most talked about smart product these days are AI enabled smart speakers. Apple, Google, Samsung, and Amazon are some well-known brands that sell AI backed smart audio devices. Latest to the list is LG, which unveiled its AI enabled smart speaker in April 2018. The company has unveiled the AI speaker in India at a hefty price of Rs. 27,990.
LG XBOOM WK7 smart speaker is backed by Google Assistant and will compete for head-on with Amazon Alexa powered smart speakers and the Google Home. LG has also teamed up with the pioneers in audio technology 'Meridian' to power up the new speaker. With the launch of LG XBOOM ThinQ WK7, the company wants to attract the music enthusiasts in the country who wants to stay up to date with the latest technology and look for high-resolution audio devices. We were present at the launch of the LG XBOOM AI ThinQ WK7 smart speakers and this is our initial impressions of the device.
Design: Neatly designed and looks premium
The LG WK7 sports a traditional cylindrical shaped design which most of us are familiar with. The standalone speaker measures 135 x 210.7 x 135 mm and features grille wrapping at the outer surface, which adds to the positive aspect of the design. The one thing that puts off in the design is the bulkiness. The speaker is taller and bigger when compared with the Google Home and the Amazon Echo speakers which could be a deal breaker for some. But the bigger form factor has some advantages, something we will discuss later in our first impressions.
The speaker grille houses the only physical key which is placed at the rear panel at the top edge. As for other function keys, the WK7 has touch-sensitive controls at the top which includes an "F" key and controls for volume and playback. There is also a colored Google Assistant logo at the top which will allow you to perform tasks without the need of saying ‘Hey Google' out loud. The "F" key allows you to toggle between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. The port for charging and the reset key is placed at the bottom of the speaker. Overall, LG has done a decent job in terms of designing the speaker.
Features: Built-in Google Assistant and punchy bass
As we have mentioned earlier, LG has collaborated with British audio firm Meridian to take care of the high-resolution audio quality. The speaker comes with "Clear Vocal" audio feature which will allow the users to listen to clear vocals in any given audio output. The speakers produce fairly loud output without the audio getting distorted even at highest levels which is impressive.
The XBOOM WK7 is AI-backed and is the first speaker from LG to come under Google's Android Things platform. Now, all you need to do is give the command "Hey Google" to get any particular information, or to perform other tasks such as play music, directly from the smart speaker. We tried this feature at the event and it was working smoothly without going haywire.
The LG XBOOM WK7 is also Chromecast enabled and can be integrated into a Google-based multi-room audio system which can be later controlled by giving voice commands. The Chromecast feature is compatible with various music apps including Google Play Music and Saavn. To activate this feature all you need to do is open any Cast-enabled app and press the Cast button to begin the cast.
Audio Performance: Loud and clear output with punchy bass
While the bulky form factor is a bit letdown, but it allows LG to fit in a massive 30W input unit. Resultant, the LG XBOOM WK7 offers a premium sound quality with some deep bass. The audio output is of high-resolution and it doesn't get distorted at high volume levels. The speakers can playback audio up to 24-bit/96KHz and offer higher sampling rates as well as bit depth. This ensures that the audio produced is of loud and clear.
During the briefing, we noticed that the bass produced by the speaker is also powerful and you can actually feel the thump produced by it in audio output. In terms of audio, I can assure you that this AI backed speaker will not disappoint you.
Hence, if you were not happy with Google Home and Amazon Echo audio output, but still fancy an AI-enabled speaker, LG XBOOM WK7 can be the ideal product.
Besides the XBOOM WK7, LG has also introduced PK series of speakers. The PK series of speakers comprises PK3, PK5 and PK7 speakers. Just like the XBOOM WK7, these speakers are also manufactured in partnership with Meridian. These speakers come with dual passive radiators which allow them to produce high-quality audio and has ‘Enhanced Bass' mode to produce punchy bass.
Moreover, you also get Voice Command feature with the PK series of speakers. All you need to do is press the button and activate the voice assistant to play a track or give you smart responses.
The speakers also synchronize the built-in LED light with the rhythm of the music which allows them to create a pulsing light show for any track you play. The PK series of speakers come with built-in batteries which as per LG last for up to 20 hours with one single charge.
The LG XBOOM WK7 is priced at Rs 27,990 As for the pricing of the PK series is concerned the PK3 comes with a price tag of Rs 10,990, the PK5 has a price tag of Rs 14,990 and the PK7 will be available for Rs 22,990.
LG XBOOM WK7 is packed with some nifty set of features; however, the pricing could be a deal breaker for some. You can easily get AI enabled Google Home and Amazon Alexa powered speakers under the price tag of Rs 10,000. However, if you are looking for a combination of good audio and smart functionality, LG's AI backed speaker is a good buy. The speaker produces loud and clear audio output with crisp and punchy bass. We will give it a thorough testing in our comprehensive review of the speaker.