Google Home was Google’s first foray into the smart speaker. Now it sits smack bang in the middle of their range of smart speakers and is a common appliance in many Australian households these days.
One of the issues with the Google Home is that it cannot be used where there isn’t any power points. It is tethered to it’s power supply but Ninety7 have circumvented this restriction with their LOFT Portable Battery Base for Google Home (such a mouthful and from here on to be known as the LOFT Battery).
What is it?
The LOFT Battery is what it says it is. There are no hidden surprises here. It is a battery pack within a base designed to fit a Google Home.
The base of the Google Home just lifts off the bottom of the speaker leaving a very bare-looking speaker visible and the top of the device. The Google Home then just slots directly into the LOFT Battery once you have aligned up the correct connections within the battery to those in the Google Home speaker.
Inside the box of the LOFT Battery you will get the base and a VERY small instruction leaflet and that’s it. There is no charger but you do not need one. The battery is charged using the Google Home charger — yes that’s right, the same charger that you previously had plugged into the original OEM Google Home base can now be plugged into the LOFT Battery (with Google Home speaker inserted into it) to charge said battery.
What is good about it?
The LOFT Battery has found a mark because it can make a device that so many people already have, a Google Home, portable. Sure it still isn’t waterproof but who wants to picnic etc in the rain anyway? Once the battery is charged the Google Home can be taken anywhere and used either as a Bluetooth speaker or as a Smart Speaker with Chromecast.
The battery within the LOFT Battery is slated by Ninety7 to last up to 8 hours of use. With music playback and smarts on (Wi-Fi connected) it lasted for over 8 hours. You would expect this should be enough for most activities away from a powerpoint.
The LOFT Battery was also super easy to use. I just pulled the base off the Google Home, had a quick look at where the connectors were and it slotted straight in. It was not finicky at all to get it to connect. Once the speaker slotted in the power cable from the Google Home was easy to attach (probably easier than the OEM Google Home base).
The LOFT Battery sits at the base of the Google Home, and has a mesh upper so does not affect the sound coming out nor the instructions going in. I was able to give it all the usual instructions without any issues at all — it could hear me as well as ever.
What isn’t so good about it?
If you are going to use the LOFT Battery-assisted Google Home as a smart speaker you will need to remember that that Google Home will still require an Internet connection. If you only have one phone I suggest you switch the Google Home to your phone’s hotspot before you left home as I had issues trying to get it to connect to my phone’s hotspot until I got out a second phone which then used the hotspot from the other phone to connect to the Google Home and set it up.
The lights on the bottom of the LOFT Battery did not seem to be all that accurate either. There were times when I thought it had been used for quite a while but the battery still said 75%. It then died a couple of hours later. It would be nice if somehow they could have it tell the battery percentage accurately.
I had a couple of issues turning it on and off at times resulting in me accidentally leaving it on when I shouldn’t have — dead battery when I then went to use it.
As I said before it does not make the Google Home waterproof so you need to be selective where you take it.
Who should buy one?
The LOFT Portable Battery Base for Google Home is not for everyone. If you do not already have a Google Home then this product is not for you. By the time you buy a Google Home and then this you are out more than the cost of a waterproof, portable smart speaker such as the JBL Link 10.
For those who already have a Google Home and want to be able to take it out as a smart speaker (or even a Bluetooth speaker) then this is something you should consider. The battery pack will allow you to use your Google Home wherever you want (as long as it is not in water). The speaker can be used at picnics, playing at the park, or shooting some hoops for up to 8 hours at a time and as such accomplishes what Ninety7 set out to achieve. It makes a Google Home portable without being offensive on the eye nor affecting any of the Google Home functionality.
If you are looking for a relatively cheap way to obtain a portable smart speaker and already own a Google Home then I can recommend the LOFT Portable Battery Base for Google Home for you. The LOFT Portable Battery Base for Google Home is available in Black (Carbon), White (Snow) and Copper colours and is available at David Jones with a RRP of $79.95.