Insignia stands above the LOFT

Best answer: You could buy a LOFT battery base for Google Home for $40, but you can buy a brand-new Google Assistant-powered speaker with a bigger speaker and portable battery for $5 more. Have two smart speakers for almost the same price of upgrading the one you already have!

Filling a niche with LOFT for Google Home

The second I saw the Google Home unveiled in 2016, I wanted one. I wanted to control my music hands-free in the shower with it. I wanted to use it in the backyard while I watched the sun set and sipped an ice-cold beverage, and technically I can. Just unplug and replug the Google Home from room to room and wait a minute for it to boot back up.

LOFT

But that gets old fast, and accessory maker Ninety7 answered our prayed for a portable Google Home with the released the LOFT Portable Battery Base. Available in three colors, LOFT unshackles your Google Home from an outlet for up to 8 hours of portable playback and even uses your Google Home's original power cord to recharge its 4,200 mAh battery. It's simple, it's elegant, and when it launched, a $50 base for a $130 speaker seemed reasonable since it was the only way to bring Google Home beyond the 3 foot radius of its power cord.

It's not the only way anymore, though.

Go big and go Home with the Insignia Voice

Insignia and TicHome Mini

There are dozens of Google Assistant-powered smart speakers out there these days, including a half-dozen that have internal batteries for portable playback. The majority of these portable Google Assistant speakers have price ranges that rival or exceed the Google Home — like the $100 TicHome Mini pictured above — but Best Buy's in-house brand Insignia offers an affordable Google Assistant-powered speaker called the Insignia Voice. It's got a bigger speaker than Google Home, a big battery for up to 5 hours of portable playback, and a frosted LED clock display on the front that makes it perfect for nightstands and or home office desks.

Insignia Voice Size

And it's only $45, meaning for $5 more than the LOFT, you can buy a second Google Assistant speaker for your home.

The Insignia Voice is tall, dark, and steady, sitting on four rubberized feet. There's a deep carrying handle hidden underneath the back of the top touch-sensitive panel, and while it looks like a brick, this speaker is surprisingly light, making it easy for me to carry from the bedroom to the bathroom to the living room during my morning routine.

Powered by Google Assistant, you can use just about every command on this big boy as you would on Google's own Home-branded speakers. The Insignia Voice may not be as compact as the Google Home, but it's got a bigger sound at less than half the price, and with Google's alarms and customizable Scheduled routines, the Insignia Voice is the best alarm clock I've owned in years.

Our pick

Insignia Voice Smart Portable Bluetooth Speaker

For just $5 more than the LOFT Battery Base, grab yourself a brand-new Google Assistant-powered speaker. The insignia Voice packs a larger speaker than the Google home, a frosted LED display, and 5 hours of portable playback with its internal battery. This is the speaker I currently use for my daily alarm, bringing it from the bedroom to the bathroom without interrupting my morning music.

A LOFT-y idea

LOFT Portable Battery Base for Google Home

If you absolutely have to use a Google Home portably — new commands are typically tested on Google Home before being rolled out to all speakers — then the LOFT is your only real option. Available in 3 finishes, this 4,200 battery base fits on your Home just as easily and smoothly as Google's fabric or metal bases, and can give you up to 8 hours of portable playback and Assistant commands.

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