Friday, 19 July 2019 00:09

REVIEW: Make your Google Home speaker portable with a beaut JOT or LOFT battery base from Ninety7

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Smart speakers are fantastic devices, where you speak to get news, radio, answers, check appointments, hear music, check the weather, news, traffic, control smart home appliances and much more, and a battery makes that portability potent.

In the US, Ninety7 has a range of batteries that attach to the most popular smart speakers from Google and Amazon, with the company recently entering the Australian market with its range for Google Home and Google Home Mini.

As we saw in my previous article on the topic, Ninety7 launched the JOT Portable Battery Base for the Google Home Mini at A$59.95, and the LOFT Portable Battery Base for the original Google Home smart speaker for $69.95. 

In Australia, the speakers are available from JB HiFi, Kogan, Dick Smith, David Jones, Officeworks and Amazon, and as you can see from this Google shopping link, it's possible to get them at great prices!

You'll also find Ninety7 smart speaker battery bases for Amazon's models at that Google shopping link, showing the power of Internet purchasing is as strong as ever.

Now, you may be wondering how useful a battery base for your smart speaker is.

Well, what it does is to make your smart speaker portable - it no longer needs to be connected to a power source on a permanent basis.

That means you can easily take your Google smart speaker from room to room in the house, or take it to the verandah, patio, deck and backyard, as your home's Wi-Fi most likely extends to these areas.

If it doesn't, you might need a better Wi-Fi router, or a mesh router to boost the range of your Wi-Fi coverage, but in 2019, you have probably upgraded your router at least more than once since you first got one, and have better Wi-Fi coverage than ever.

If you want to go beyond those areas, and take your smart speaker on the road, to a picnic at a park, or anywhere else, you can use a portable Wi-Fi hotspot to give your smart speaker the Wi-Fi it needs to connect to the Internet, to play favourite playlists

Even if you don't have a portable hotspot, you can activate the Bluetooth on your Google Home device and pair it with your phone or tablet to stream music from, which will sound much better than the speakers your phones or tablets offer.

Both the LOFT battery base for the Google Home and the JOT battery base for the Google Home Mini offer eight hours of battery life, and while I've seen reports online suggesting the battery life varies from four to eight hours, as I type, I've been continuously streaming various types of content for just over 11 hours, and it's still going!

UPDATE: The JOT battery base has now been powering a continuously streaming Google Home Mini for 12 hours, and it's still going. I'm going to stop streaming now to see if there's still any battery life left when I wake up in the morning, although I expect the battery will have become drained by then.  

Yes, I've been streaming radio for hours, I've asked Google to play various songs via Google Play Music, I've been asking the Google Assistant questions, checking the weather and chance of rain in two different cities, set reminders, I've activated the Bluetooth mode and paired my phone to stream music on my phone, and the audio from two hours of Sky News Australia news programming with the video appearing on my phone, and back to streaming radio again as it is doing right now.

Yes, the base shows that there's only one of the four dots denoting battery life left, and yes, this is a brand new device with a fresh battery that hasn't seen months or years of use which will eventually see the battery's maximum life decline, but that's still seriously impressive.

Charging time appears to take between two and three hours, and given that most of the time you'll have your speaker plugged in to the power supply your Google Home smart speaker came with, you'll be able to unplug it from power as desired and have hours of battery life when you need it.

Using a smart speaker to stream radio and audio and ask questions of means you're not using your phone or tablet to do that, and as noted previously, you are getting much better - and much louder - audio quality.

You'll be saving your phone or tablet's battery life, too, when you use a smart speaker, and if you have equipped your home with smart appliances compatible with Google Assistant, voice activated smart home control is within your command, too.

Naturally, this is the case whether you're using a battery base or not, but with the freedom to take your smart speaker with you, you can leave your phone in your pocket and speak to the Google Assistant wherever you are, and even avoid buying multiple Google Home speakers if you don't want to.

With the low cost of Ninety7's JOT and LOFT battery bases in stores and online, making your Google Home and Google Home Mini speakers battery-powered and portable is easy and fun, and it's a very easy purchase to recommend.

If you don't already have a Bluetooth portable speaker, then these bases turn your Google speakers into one, too, and the ability to control the volume with your voice is something that regular Bluetooth speakers don't offer is handy as well.

So, if you have a compatible smart speaker and wish it was portable, you can easily do it without breaking the bank. OK Google!

Here's my unboxing video of both the JOT and LOFT smart speakers, followed by Ninety7's official videos for both bases:

Unboxing Ninety7's JOT and LOFT battery bases for Google Home and Mini

Ninety7 JOT Portable Battery Base for Google Home Mini

Ninety7 LOFT Portable Battery Base for Google Home

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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