Polk Assist hands-on evaluate: first take a look at the brand new Google Assistant speaker

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Polk Assist: An opening take a look at Polk’s reply to the Google Home

The Polk Assist sensible speaker represents the corporate’s newest try to interrupt into the rising marketplace for voice assistants with synthetic intelligence (AI), hands-free management and multiroom capabilities. 

Polk has already made its first foray into this enviornment within the form of the Polk Command Bar, a soundbar with built-in Amazon Alexa, however the firm has taken an agnostic strategy to sensible assistants.

To that finish it has additionally developed the Assist, a two-way speaker with built-in Google Assistant. Polk hopes to leverage off their audio expertise, and construct a speaker that gives the identical advantages however superior sound high quality when in comparison with Google’s personal Google Home sensible speaker.

Polk Assist – Price

The Polk Assist has a advised value of £179.

Polk Assist – Release date

The Polk Assist will probably be obtainable in July 2018.

Polk Assist – Design

The Polk Assist is a small bookshelf speaker that’s particularly designed to be used in kitchens, bedrooms and household rooms. The Assist is available in a alternative of Midnight Black or Cool Grey, and has a wrap-around grille. One of the most well-liked locations for a sensible speaker is the kitchen, so the grille is constructed from a stain-resistant cloth. Should it turn into soiled, the grille could be eliminated and washed, and even changed completely.

Polk Assist

Polk considers sound high quality to be an essential side of this speaker, however regardless of appearances, it isn’t omni-directional. Instead, it makes use of a two-way design. There’s a 1-inch (25mm) tweeter and a three.5-inch (89mm) woofer, that are pushed by a built-in amplifier that may ship 40W constantly and a peak of 80W. Polk claims the Assist can ship room-filling sound that’s higher than Google’s personal Home sensible speaker.

Polk Assist

The high of the speaker is angled to make sure that the built-in far-field microphones can decide up your vocal directions when on a desk or kitchen floor.

Although the Assist is primarily designed for hands-free operation, there are 4 controls on the highest: the Google button, play/pause and quantity up and down. There are additionally indicator LEDs on the highest panel to point out when Google Assistant is doing one thing. Setup is easy due to the free Google Home app, which is on the market for iOS and Android.

Polk Assist – Specs

Inputs

  • Wi-Fi 2.4GHz and 5GHz
  • Bluetooth four.1

Drivers

  • 1 x 1-inch (25mm) tweeter
  • 1 x three.5-inch (89mm) woofer

Dimensions

  • 120mm x 191mm x 120mm (WHD)

Weight

What’s within the field

  • 1 x Polk Assist speaker
  • 1 x energy adapter with 10-inch (3m) wire
  • 1 x quick-start information

Power provide

Peak energy

Frequency response

Warranty

Polk Assist – First impressions

The foremost promoting level of the Polk Assist is the inclusion of Google Assistant, which suggests you need to use voice instructions to play music from web streaming providers akin to Google Play Music, Spotify and TuneIn. You may use the AI assistant to reply questions, prepare conferences, set timers or alarms, and order items on-line.

Since the Assist helps Nest and Philips Hue merchandise, you too can management your complete sensible house utilizing voice instructions. The sensible speaker can kind a part of an built-in management system, providing vocal suggestions mixed with a voice consumer interface.

The Polk Assist has Google Chromecast in-built, so you may even create a complete voice-controlled multiroom music system, at the side of different Chromecast-enabled audio system such because the Polk Magnifi soundbar.

These are all nice options, however the success of the Polk Assist will largely rely on its sound high quality. Polk feels its audio experience supplies it with a chance to ship a superior degree of sound high quality when in comparison with competing sensible audio system such because the Google Home and Amazon Echo.

So it was barely disappointing that in my time with the Assist that it didn’t get an opportunity to shine. This was primarily because of the circumstances of the hands-on, with the speaker excessive up on a small shelf. As a outcome, the far-field microphones have been on the incorrect top to successfully hear my voice instructions. This was clearly as a result of my restricted stature, as a result of a taller journalist had extra luck.

The Assist is designed to be positioned at a decrease top, on a desk or kitchen floor, and at that degree the instructions will probably be aimed straight on the high of the speaker, guaranteeing the microphones can decide up your voice. However, the excellent news is that when it may hear the instructions, the speaker and particularly Google Assistant labored very properly.

Polk Assist

Another downside with the demo was that the small shelf on which the Assist was sitting provided restricted help, and there was no stable wall behind the speaker. The ensuing lack of any boundary achieve restricted the bass response of this small speaker, and consequently there was little low-end presence.

Once once more, I believe that when positioned correctly on a stable floor with stable partitions behind the Assist, it could be able to a greater efficiency.

As it was, the Assist delivered a sound that retained a level of readability and element, however lacked depth by way of the bass efficiency. There was an inexpensive sense of mid-range and the upper frequencies appeared properly represented, however total the sound was quite underwhelming. It was additionally struggling to sound room-filling in what was a pretty big area – however as I’ve already talked about, this speaker was designed for smaller rooms.

On the plus facet, the Assist felt stable and really properly made in my palms, and the end was glorious. There was a formidable consideration to element, and Polk has actually delivered some very good audio system up to now.

This leads me to imagine that the Polk Assist will sound very completely different when setup accurately and used within the situations for which it was truly designed. We’ll discover out, as soon as we truly get in a pattern for evaluate.

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