Several companies announced smart speakers at consumer electronics show IFA in Berlin, some opting for Google Assistant, others for Amazon's Alexa but Onkyo went for both, launching two speakers at the show.
The Onkyo P3 is the Amazon Alexa smart speaker, while the Onkyo G3 is the Google Assistant alternative. Offering different designs and different brains, here are first impressions of the two smart speakers.
Onkyo P3 and G3 smart speakers preview: Design
- P3 is oval-shaped with a softer design
- G3 is cube-shaped with a plastic finish
- Neither as premium as Panasonic or Sony options
The Onkyo P3 is an oval-shaped speaker offering a simple and sophisticated design. The speaker grille is continuous the whole way round for a consistent finish, while the control pad is positioned at the top of the device with an oval ring around it that lights up when an action takes place, such as volume up or down.
The Onkyo logo can be found above the various control buttons and there are the numbers one to four, along with a play and pause button, volume buttons and a mute button. There is also a centralised button in the middle of the bottom of the control pad.
The Onkyo G3 meanwhile is a cube-shaped device that is available in black and white color options. It features a more modern design than the P3, with a plastic and uncovered finish rather than a softer appearance like the P3. The front of the G3 features the speaker grille, while the sides and the top have a smooth, clean finish.
At the top of the speaker grille on the front there are six lights which light up when an action happens, like the oval ring on the P3, and the control pad is also positioned on the top of the speaker in the G3's case too. Both the P3 and G3 have their power port on the rear at the bottom out of the way.
The P3 is the nicer of the two speakers, offering a more premium look though it was possible to see the bumps from the grille beneath the fabric covering, making it look a little cheaper than the likes of the Panasonic GA10 or the Sony smart speaker.
Onkyo P3 and G3 smart speakers preview: Features
- P3 has Amazon Alexa and DTS Play-Fi
- G3 has Google Assistant and Chromecast
The Onkyo P3 is the Amazon Alexa-powered speaker, meaning it will answer questions and offer information following the "Alexa" command, along with perform its standard function of music playback.
Amazon's Alexa has thousands of skills available to download, from the likes of Philips Hue to Just Eat, enabling the assistant to perform various tasks when asked by the user, such as control smart home devices, order a pizza and read audiobooks.
In addition to Alexa built-in, the P3 smart speaker also offers support for DTS Play-Fi technology via the Onyko Music Control companion app. The app is available for iOS and Android deices and the technology allows users to play music from connected service like TIDAL, Deezer and TuneIn.
Users are also able to group compatible Play-Fi products together within the app, allowing for multi-room audio with music playing simultaneously across speakers within the group.
The Onkyo G3 is the Google Assistant-powered speaker and much like the P3, it will answer questions, offer news and weather reports, set reminders and enable online shopping all after the command "OK Google", as well as play music as you would expect. It will also allow you to control various smart home devices, such as smart thermostats.
Any music can be requested to playback on the G3 speaker, but you'll also be able to stream music from services like Google Play Music and TuneIn to Chromecast built-in speakers, AV systems and hi-fi components in a room for voice-activated multi-room audio.
Onkyo P3 and G3 smart speakers preview: Sound quality and hardware
- P3 has dual full-range drivers, dual passive bass radiators
- G3 has custom woofer
- Both have DSP switching amplification
The Onkyo P3 features dual full-range drivers, dual passive bass radiators and DSP switching amplification. There is an auxiliary input on board for phone and tablet connection, as well as a line output for adding voice control to a current stereo system.
The Onkyo G3 meanwhile has been designed to offer high-fidelity sound from its small footprint.
Onkyo says the G3 features a wooden acousitic suspension enclosure to eliminate standing waves and vibration, while a custom woofer with a big motor is held in place by a metal surround for 1.5 times the cone excursion of conventional drivers. This is claimed to offer wide-spectrum reproduction.
Additionally, the G3 also has DSP switching amplification and dynamic noise cancellation DTS technology.
We weren't able to assess the sound quality of either the P3 or the G3 smart speaker during our brief amount of time with them, though we will be sure to do so when we review them in full.
As we mentioned briefly at the beginning, the Onkyo P3 is the nicer of the two speakers in terms of looks, offering a slightly more premium finish than the plasticky G3. That said, design comes down to personal preference and no doubt there will be plenty of people who will prefer the G3's boxy look.
Which device will sound better remains to be seen for now but you'll also need to decide which voice assistant you prefer. These two are both smart speakers, but they offer different designs and different hardware specs so it will be interesting to see how they both perform in the real world.
Availability has yet to be announced but both the Onkyo P3 and the G3 will go on sale for between €220 and €250.