he LG WK7 ThinQ is a smart speaker from the South Korean brand with the Dutch-speaking Google Assistant on board. The device has more power than the Google Home speakers that are now available in the Netherlands.
Now that the Google Assistant has spoken Dutch since October 2018 , we will also encounter more and more smart speakers in the Netherlands. Speakers that do not come from Google. The LG WK7 ThinQ is one of those speakers. The device has been on sale since November. At the time, it cost 199 euros. Now the price has already dropped to about 150 euros.
With a price tag of 199 euros, the LG WK7 was slightly more expensive than the regular Google Home . That is not entirely without reason, since the WK7 has a better speaker on board than the Home. Although that price difference can therefore be explained and possibly also justified, it is no longer necessary – the speakers now cost about the same and can also do the same things. The big difference between the Google Home and the WK7 ThinQ is the sound quality. We will discuss this in more detail later in this article.
What is the LG WK7?
The LG WK7 ThinQ is a smart speaker. With dimensions of 135 by 210.7 by 135 millimeters, the device has a relatively large size, but that is not entirely without reason. There is 30 watts of power on board, as well as a built-in subwoofer. The Google Home is said to have a power of 10 watts, making this a significant difference. Not only should the still robotic voice of the Google Assistant sound better, the music you play on it should also be a lot finer and detailed.
The small colossus offers support for wifi and bluetooth. This makes it possible to play music via the WiFi network or simply from a mobile phone or other Bluetooth device. Moreover, there is support for Google Cast and you can therefore include the WK7 in your wireless speaker network with the same technology on board. It is also important to know that the speaker supports different file formats. You can play music in the formats flac, wav, mp3, alac and ogg.
Content and design
The box of the LG WK7 contains the speaker and a power cable, that’s all. You don’t really have to take anything into account during installation, except for the length of the cable. Although LG describes the color as Dark Titan Silver, we prefer to say dark gray or even black. Because of this color, there is a good chance that the device can blend in with the rest of the house. Sometimes the white color can help with this better, but black has a classic value that should not be underestimated. In our opinion, a great choice for a speaker.
There are some buttons on top of the speaker. In the middle is the function button, with which you can switch between Bluetooth and WiFi, for example. Around it are the play / pause and volume up and volume down buttons. In addition to those two buttons are the two microphones with which your voice can be picked up for when you want to address the Google Assistant. If you prefer to do that manually, there is also a button for the voice assistant. All buttons on top are touch sensitive by the way.
Of course it is super handy to always have the voice assistant at your disposal when you ask for it, but sometimes there are situations where you don’t want Google to hear if someone yells “Hey Google” or “Ok Google”. That is why there is a physical button on the back of the speaker that switches the microphones off, making voice control no longer possible. This can be useful, for example, if you notice that the speaker is constantly being activated when you are watching a movie or series – or whatever reason you can think of.
We also find four LED lamps on the front. These go on when you speak to the voice assistant, so that you can see that people are listening. You can also use them to control the volume and you can see when the assistant is thinking about something. And contrary to what the design suggests: this is not a speaker with 360 degree sound. The speaker itself is only on one side. You can not only see this when the light shines well on the grid, but you can also hear it when you turn the WK7 around.
Installing the speaker is done in no time. You take the speaker and the plug out of the box and you can connect everything immediately. Then you go to the Google Home application and you can prepare the speaker for your network. Within the app you have to go through a simple process that is completely self-explanatory, so that you can quickly stream music to the LG WK7 and give voice commands. A child can do the laundry. In that respect, installing the speaker does not work any differently than with other smart speakers.
Apps and usage
The LG WK7 ThinQ works with two applications: the Google Home and the LG Wi-Fi Speaker applications. However, the app that you will use the most is the Google Home app, although unfortunately you cannot do without the LG application. With that app you can manage settings that are not possible in any other way. You can set here whether you want the options Enhanced bass and Clear vocal or not. You can also indicate within this app whether you want to use the Bluetooth restriction, so that not everyone just makes contact with the speaker.
The other options can be found in the Google Home app or via the Google Assistant. There you can, for example, add the speaker to a group for Google Cast speakers, making it possible to use a multiroom setup. That goes without a struggle. The options are all neatly presented in the app and if you want to change or adjust something, chances are that you will find those options here. And if you don’t have the LG Wi-Fi Speaker app yet, you will also find a shortcut for it here.
You can use the LG WK7 in two ways: with your voice (“Hey Google” or “Ok Google”) or through the Google Assistant button on the speaker itself (useful for when the music is very loud, for example). The device often understands you well and responds quickly. Operating lights is getting better and better, especially with Philips Hue , and operating the thermostat is also effortless. And if you install a music streaming service and sound system, or soundbar, with WiFi, you can also quickly listen to your music.
What becomes clear at a certain point is that the voice assistant mainly responds to keywords. You can of course ask nicely to say it again with a complete sentence, but “Ok Google, again, Weesp” is also sufficient. In addition, you do well – even if you may not like it – to enter your full address within the Google Home app. This way you can be sure that advice for public transport, for example, is well suited to your situation. Otherwise you will notice that the voice assistant has to guess where you are approximately.
So the simpler things go well. The Google Assistant has no trouble with device control or things like the weather, adding or listing calendar items, the news or simple facts in the field of, for example, history. But if you ask about specific things that do not really belong to general knowledge (“How well is Red Dead Redemption 2 rated?” Or “How do I get rid of fruit flies?”) You quickly get the response “I don’t know how to can help.” to hear. And we have heard that reaction quite often.
Compared to the English-speaking variant of the Google Assistant, Google still has a long way to go. Not only in terms of tidbits or facts, it would also be great if the assistant could, for example, switch on your television with a command such as: “Ok Google, turn on the television”. Now you will be told that an “error has occurred” and the assistant will advise you to try again “when you are ready”. These are just a few examples of things from which we note that there is still something to be desired.
In addition, it often happens that the Google Assistant believes that it is being used when you are watching a movie or series. Then you can of course press the button on the back, but you have to press it again when you have stopped watching or if you think the coast is clear again. That beats the idea of an assistant that you control with your voice. If you give the command to mute the microphone, you will get a response like: “I don’t know how I can help with this yet”.
The sound quality of the speaker is much better than on the Google Home speakers (especially when you compare it with the Google Home Mini ). If you do not install the aforementioned LG Wi-Fi Speaker app, the options Enhanced bass and Clear vocal are enabled by default. The difference between having these options on and off is quite noticeable. If the options are on, the sound will sound much fuller and richer, but fortunately not excessive. If they are off, you will notice that the music sounds less powerful.
Of course, a smart speaker cannot be compared with a soundbar or separate speakers, but that does not mean that the quality is disappointing. In fact, the sound quality is so good that we put the speaker on our desk for a while. We usually turn on a large bluetooth speaker or soundbar for the music, but that has not always been necessary. The WK7 may not be able to fill an entire room with music, but there is a decent bass layer and the higher tones also come out nicely.
Conclusion of LG WK7 ThinQ
A smart speaker is just as smart as its voice assistant. Of course there are also hardware aspects that count for a balanced judgment. We are very pleased with the build quality and design of the LG WK7 ThinQ and we think that the sound that comes out is much better than we have heard on the Google Home so far. The installation process is simple and having the speaker included in a multiroom speaker setup is also without a struggle. The only thing that really throws a spanner in the works is the Google Assistant.
Let’s assume that it is nice to use the voice assistant in Dutch and that we can use Dutch voice commands to operate the devices in the house. But unfortunately there is not much more than that. Yes, you can also request it again, make lists and hear the latest news, but answering more specific questions quickly becomes difficult. It is not the hardware, it is purely the voice assistant that does not convince. Unfortunately, Google still has a long way to go in that regard.
Negatives of LG WK7 ThinQ
- Sometimes thinks he hears commands
- Google Assistant can’t do much yet
- Need two apps
Pros of LG WK7 ThinQ
- Good sound
- Sleek design
- Easy installation