Panasonic SC-GA10 Smart Speaker Review

What is Panasonic SC-GA10?

At this time, there are many AI equipped speakers on the market, but many of them sound like garbage. Enter the Panasonic SC-GA10, a hi-fi speaker with the added benefit of being armed with the Google Assistant.

The SC-GA10 is an alternative that sounds easily to Google Home. The only problem is that Panasonic is not the only one that drives the idea of ​​the "sound first": Sonos One, Apple Homepod and Sony LF-S50G also prioritize audio performance.

Fortunately, Panasonic has some small tricks to help the SC -GA10 stands out.

Panasonic SC-GA10 – Design

A look at the Panasonic SC-GA10 and it is clear that we are dealing with a more elegant product than Google Home. Instead of being covered in plastic, the speaker is finished in aluminum and a fine mesh fabric.

The unit itself is a little square, which some might consider boring, but the key is that the aesthetics of the GA10 does not immediately shout & # 39; speaker & # 39 ;. Neither does it look like an air freshener. If you love geometric decorations, this speaker will do it very well.

It is available in a combination of black and silver, or white and silver. Unlike the Sony LF-S50G, the external housing is not removable for cleaning. If you intend to place the speaker in a kitchen and are a fan of tomato sauce, I suggest you choose the black one.

On the top of the unit there is a touch-sensitive control panel. Panasonic has avoided the overly simple control scheme of Google Home. Instead, you get a full set of buttons that would not be out of place in a micro hi-fi system.

  Panasonic SC-GA10

The buttons include power, volume, silence, play / pause, network (for Google Cast), Bluetooth, aux and Music Control (for use with the dedicated application). Some may find it a bit overwhelming in contrast to the overly simplified approach of most intelligent speakers, but I love it. Too many products require you to trust your smartphone as the only interface; The GA10 provides a little more flexibility.

Around the back there are only two connections: the main socket and a 3.5 mm auxiliary input. Note that the power unit is not integrated; There is a separate power block. This is not ideal, especially if you want an orderly kitchen. On the positive side, the 3.5mm input is not something offered by the Google Home standard, nor by Sony.

Inside, there are two soft dome tweeters, each with a silk diffuser that opens at 45 degrees to the left and right. This means that you should get a wide sound field. The bass is handled with an 8 cm woofer with twin voice coils, as well as a long reflex port. It is a much more solid configuration than that offered by Google Home.

Related: Review of Sonos One

  Panasonic SC-GA10

Panasonic SC-GA10 – Features

The SC-GA10 is armed with the Google Assistant, the AI ​​assistant included in Google Home and the latest smartphones with Android. This means that you can perform almost any task that the Google Assistant can do on those other devices.

You can perform basic web searches for weather, a recount of news headlines, bad jokes and random curiosities. You can also configure alarms and timers, or compile to-do lists. If you have smart home devices, such as Philips Hue, you can use your voice to control these devices as well. Read our latest Google Assistant Guide to get the latest on what you can do.

On the music front, the Google Assistant plays very well with any Chromecast product on the same network, so you can use the SC-GA10 as part of a multi-room audio system.

  Panasonic SC-GA10

Supported streaming services include Spotify, Google Music, and TuneIn Radio. It is even possible to stream music stored on locally networked devices, such as smartphones and NAS drives, use Bluetooth or go to the old school with a 3.5mm input, all of which can be controlled with the Panasonic Music Control application.

While I appreciate the numerous buttons on the device itself, the application is still the best way to control the speaker. To start, it allows you to stream music stored on your phone or on a network hard drive. There is also a basic EQ setting, a bass enhancement lever, an attenuator for the LED indicators and an option to pair two GA10 speakers for a stereo setup.

  Panasonic SC-GA10

Panasonic SC-GA10 – Performance

It is clear that Panasonic's audio approach has paid off. This is a sound system mainly; a second assistant.

To begin with, the sound is wide. At first glance of the shape of the SC-GA10, one might think that it would offer a high and narrow sound, but it is just the opposite. This is undoubtedly thanks to those diffusers, which make the speaker sound wider than it is.

Of course, the form factor means there's nothing in the way of stereo separation, so do not expect directionality from Bowie's Space Oddity for example. You will need two speakers (paired) for that.

It's an easy listening, too. The highs are never hard and the middle range is smooth. The bass, although not as tense as I like it, is a convincing argument for the Albigene of Infected Mushroom .

This is still true even when the volume is increased. There was no evidence of acute hardening by deformation, low distorted, rattle cabinet; Nothing to suggest that the SC-GA10 can not handle a good party. I certainly could not say that about Google Home.

  Panasonic SC-GA10

I noticed that, by default, the speaker seems a bit advanced in the middle range in a variety of genres: you'll want to go into the app's configuration part and modify the equalizer to your taste I was not convinced that the D. Bass mode would do much, but it's worth going through the equalization presets. I preferred the manual mode with the highs lowered and the raised ones one or two notches from the center.

Against the competition? I definitely prefer this to the Sony LF-S50G; The Panasonic SC-GA10 has a more solid and forceful sound. However, the Sonos One (currently only supported by Alexa but with the assistance of Google Assistant) seems much more dynamic and powerful, and that can be achieved by £ 189. Then there is Apple Homepod, if you can forgive the big price and uncomfortable usability, sounds the best of the bunch.

That said, the SC-GA10 takes a good stab at differentiating between highs and lows, instead of crushing them together.

  Panasonic SC-GA10

Why buy the Panasonic SC-GA10?

Panasonic has achieved what it set out to do: make a smart speaker that takes sound seriously. The SC-GA10 gets bonus points for offering input selection, with Bluetooth, 3.5mm and network transmission along with Google Cast. For those who want an artificial intelligence assistant, but are not willing to sacrifice too much sound quality or the functionality of an appropriate sound system, it is worth investigating the SC-GA10.

It's definitely one of the best smart speakers there, although it's not the cheapest. The Sonos One costs less and offers a more muscular musical sound, and it remains my smart speaker of choice.

Verdict

Move over, Google Home. Panasonic does it all, much better.