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Smart Speaker Battle: LG ThinQ With Google Assistant or Echo Plus?

We compare two high-end smart speakers that support Google Assistant and Alexa respectively.

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Gadgets
4 min read
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LG is probably the last name you’ll associate with a smart speaker but it does have one in the ThinQ series. It is priced at more than Rs 25,000 and supports Google Assistant for voice commands.

We’re pitting it against the Amazon Echo Plus, which costs Rs 14,999 to see if paying more to get LG’s speaker delivers performance as well. Also, the head-to-head comparison with how Alexa and Google Assistant end up responding to even the basic queries from users.

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Size Matters

First thing you’ll notice with both these speakers is the difference in size. Echo Plus looks like a midget in front of the ThinQ WK7, but they do carry an identical, cylindrical design form that makes it look attractive in any corner of your house.

ThinQ WK7 is the meatier of the two, and that is mostly because it is using bigger sound drivers for louder audio output, even though it doesn’t come with a rechargeable battery. There are four LED lights that flash when you trigger the Okay Google wake word.

The mesh design makes it heavier, yes, but there’s very little to question about the design and construction of LG’s smart speaker.

We compare two high-end smart speakers that support Google Assistant and Alexa respectively.
LG ThinQ W7 has been constructed with a rugged design. 
(Photo: The Quint)

The Echo Plus is smaller and even lighter than the ThinQ WK7 and with a price difference of almost Rs 10,000, we’re happy with the way it looks. The soft leather is reminiscent to that of the Apple HomePod albeit in a smaller frame. The physical buttons are at the top of the speaker and it has an LED lining around the edges at the top as well.

We compare two high-end smart speakers that support Google Assistant and Alexa respectively.
Echo Plus gets soft touch leather finishing on the sides.
(Photo: The Quint)

The power button is placed at the bottom, while LG decided to smartly put it underneath the speaker but making sure the adapter’s cable doesn’t hang out while placing it on a floor or table.

Features Aplenty

Thanks to established assistants like Alexa and Google’s Assistant, both these products come feature rich. LG’s ThinQ W7 can be set up via Google Home app and with the help of actions, you can do all sorts of stuff, in addition to checking for weather or playing music via linked streaming platforms. Pair it with a nearby Wi-Fi network, sync it to a Google account and you’re good to go.

We compare two high-end smart speakers that support Google Assistant and Alexa respectively.
Physical buttons at the top of both the speakers.
(Photo: The Quint)

With the Echo Plus, the hub-enabled technology makes sure Skills on the Alexa store can let you use voice commands to turn on/off lights. Sign in with your Amazon ID, and you can even order stuff from the company's online store via mobile app and book cabs from Uber or even Ola.

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It’s All About the Sound

At the end of the day, the most important thing people want to know is, how do these two speakers sound and is their audio quality comparable to regular, non-smart speakers.

TL;DR, LG’s ThinQ W7 packs more drivers and the difference in audio output becomes apparent the moment you ask it to play your favourite tracks. The bass factor could also be a big influence for people, especially those who have a taste for music with extra thump.

We compare two high-end smart speakers that support Google Assistant and Alexa respectively.
LG has partnered with Meridian to boost its audio quality.
(Photo: The Quint)

Mind you, the WK7 does create a sound stage with impressive scale, decent height and width, but the delivery can often leave you wanting for more.

The Echo Plus is more of an all-rounder, but with its smaller size the audio performance does take a hit. Having said that, compared to the ThinQ W7, the sound delivery carries a certain balance which might be to the liking of many music buffs.

The quality of both of these are good for what they offer as a whole but it’s better not to talk about them in the same breathe as the regular speakers.

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More Money or Better Value?

This is LG’s first attempt in the smart speaker business and for its price, we believe, there’s room for improvement. The overall design could become sleeker, and the sound output, in partnership with Meridian can only get better from here. Google Assistant is a tried-and-tested option and there’s little to complain about it.

Echo Plus, is a third generation device and the changes from its first version are basic but do enhance the product. For Rs 14,999 it also supports a built-in hub, which lets you control lights and other smart home products which you need to invest on separately.

All in all, it would be easy to recommend the Echo Plus over LG ThinQ W7 right now, mostly because you get better value for the money spent, even if the sound quality isn’t the best.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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