Have you been umming and aahing about whether to get yourself an Amazon Echo or a Google Home? Then we're either about to make your decision a whole lot easier... or a whole lot more difficult.
Panasonic has just launched its own WiFi speaker with a a voice-controlled personal assistant inside. But unlike its rivals, the GA10 sounds so good, it could easily replace your home hifi system. Plus, we think it's the most stylish home assistant we've seen to date.
So how does the GA10 work? Well, the speaker uses the same Google Assistant that powers the Google Home, so it can answer questions and talk to any Google Assistant-compatible smart devices around your home.
Want to know what the weather is going to be like tomorrow or forgotten the name of King Henry VIII's fifth wife? There's no need to grab your phone and start tapping away. Just summon the speaker with an 'OK, Google' or 'Hey, Google' and ask away, hands-free. Umbrella packed. Homework done.
Google Assistant hasn't got as many friends among smart gadgets as the Amazon Echo... yet. But you can still use it to turn up the heat on a Nest, Hive or Honeywell thermostat, or dim a Hue or Osram lightbulb. And the list of supported devices is growing all the time.
The GA10 also hooks up directly to music streaming apps like Spotify, Google Play Music, Deezer and Tune-in radio. So when you're cooking, vacuuming or entertaining, you can just shout out requests or a particular song, album or genre of music and the speaker will act as your at-home DJ.
And while we're on the subject of entertaining, if you have more than one Panasonic GA10, you can link them all together. Ask for a song to be played in Party Mode and you'll hear it all through the house. Whoop whoop!
We've been able to listen to a couple of demos of the GA10 and in our expert opinion, it sounds bigger, brighter and better than any smart speaker we've ever heard. On its own, it offers room-filling sound, or you can pair two GA10s together for a pure stereo experience.
And this superior sound quality is a key selling point. New research from Panasonic reveals that 69% of smart speaker owners identify listening to music and radio as the primary motive for buying one. It also shows families that stream tunes for three hours a day or more feel more productive.
Neuroscientist Christine Buske PhD agrees that music can have a major impact on well-being. 'Specifically, music causes a variety of responses in the brain, amongst which is an increase in dopamine release. This process even lowers blood pressure,' she says.
'Everyone can benefit from incorporating more music into their day to day lives. It can have positive effects on creativity, productivity, memory and stress levels; a simple way to unwind or potentially motivate yourself.’
So rather than turn on the TV at the end of a hard day, you might be better off listening to the Panasonic GA10 smart speaker. And the fact you can speak your requests rather than have to faff about with a phone certainly takes the stress out of using it.
Available in black/silver or white, the GA10 hits shops this winter. We'll keep you updated on prices and exactly when and where you'll be able to buy it.
Get the Ideal Home Newsletter
Sign up to our newsletter for style and decor inspiration, house makeovers, project advice and more.
Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.
How often should I water a Christmas tree? What the experts advise to do over the festive period
Don’t let your Christmas tree go thirsty
By Lauren Bradbury
Can tea really protect your plants from frost? Experts reveal the truth behind this unusual hack
Make an extra cuppa for your plants next time you’re putting the kettle on to protect them from the winter frost
By Sara Hesikova
Taylor Swift's white cluttercore kitchen is set to redefine design trends in 2024 – experts love its 'lived-in warmth'
We'll be dancing around this kitchen in the refrigerator light
By Jullia Joson