The market for smart speakers is growing at a steady clip, and also evolving—some of the latest versions have a built-in screen, like LG's Smart Display. We had a chance to review that particular model this past summer and were impressed with its excellent audio quality and Google Assistant integration. Now several months later, LG just launched a newer model with a Black Friday discount.
LG's new XBOOM AI ThinQ (model WK9) smart display wields a pair of speakers on each side of the integrated 8-inch HD touchscreen. It's overflowing with features, such as a built-in camera for making video calls, built-in Chromecast support, and of course Google Assistant integration so you can instruct the device to look up recipes, fetch the weather forecast, and so forth. It also features Bluetooth support.
One thing that can get lost in all this is sound quality, though LG ensures that's not the case here. The company touts Meridian Audio technology for a "premium audio experience." We haven't spent any hands-on time with the WK9, but can say that LG's previous effort was a success in the audio space, at least to our ears.
On paper, this is an impressive device that ticks all the right check boxes for a smart display or smart speaker. It's even better for folks who have purchased other LG smart appliances. "Manage and control various smart home devices—refrigerators, washers and dryers, air conditioner, and more- that work with Google Assistant," LG says.
The downside is price—it's the most expensive smart speaker with Google Assistant, with a $299.99 MSRP. However, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday looming, LG has decided to launch it at $199.99. B&H Photo actually has it slightly cheaper, at $196.99, with free expedited shipping. This is a promotional price, and it's not clear how long it will be in effect.