Google Assistant support. Powerful audio performance.
180-degree sound field makes placement less flexible.
- Bottom Line
Panasonic's monolithic SC-GA10 tabletop smart speaker features Google Assistant for all of your voice control needs.
Panasonic isn't the only company to bring a speaker with AI voice assistance to IFA this year—both Lenovo and Sony showcased their own Alexa- and Google Assistant-powered devices at the show—but it stood out by placing a real emphasis on sound quality. I got a chance to demo Panasonic's SC-GA10 speaker (the GA presumable stands for Google Assistant, which is built in) and was impressed by both its stylish form factor and robust audio performance.
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Design and Voice Control
The SC-GA10 isn't an Apple HomePod clone like the Sony LF-S50G. Instead, it's a stylish rectangular pillar with polished aluminum on the bottom third, black or white mesh speaker grille above, and a plastic panel with physical buttons for Bluetooth, volume, power, track navigation, and muting the microphone on the top. Wedged between the control panel and the grille is a subtle LED, for an attractive, modern design I'd be happy to have in my living room or bedroom.
For connectivity, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and a wired Ethernet connection are all present. As a voice-powered smart speaker, the SC-GA10 does everything the Google Home can. You can ask it questions, or to report the latest traffic, news, and weather updates. You can also connect it to popular smart home devices from Nest, Philips, and others. Of course, it can also play music.
The speaker has dual mics, so it was able to pick up most of my queries and commands without much difficulty, even though I was in a noisy environment.
Where the SC-GA10 sets itself apart from the competition is in terms of sheet audio firepower. It has a 40-watt driver, an 80mm woofer, and a pair of 20mm soft dome tweeters with diffusers pointed out at 45-degree angles to deliver high-quality 180-degree audio. Although it's a wide field of sound, it isn't the same 360-degree experience as the Sony LF-S50G, so you'll need to think a bit more carefully about where you place it.
Still, when a Pansonic representative kicked the volume up to maximum, I was blown away by the power and quality of the audio. The music was full and robust, and completely filled the room (well, the glass-enclosed listening area) I was in. The SC-GA10 can also pair with a second speaker for an even more powerful stereo experience.
It's hard to truly assess audio quality without having some other speakers for comparison nearby, but my first listen to Panasonic's SC-GA10 was quite promising. That said, I'll be reserving judgment until we get a review unit. According to Panasonic, details on availability and pricing will be available this fall, so check back soon for more info.
By Ajay Kumar Mobile Analyst
Ajay Kumar is PCMag's Analyst obsessed with all things mobile. Ajay reviews phones, tablets, accessories, and just about any other gadget that can be carried around with you. In his spare time he games on the rig he built himself, collects Nintendo amiibos, and tries his hand at publishing a novel. Follow Ajay on Twitter @Ajay_H_Kumar. More »
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