Klipsch has been making speakers for decades and knows its stuff, particularly when it comes to audio quality. Now the American brand has combined its audio prowess with Google Assistant and retro design to deliver The Three with Google Assistant.
Almost every Google Assistant speaker these days is nothing more than plastic and fabric. What do you do if you want something made with more premium materials and a classic design? Enter THE THREE with Google Assistant from Klipsch.
There is nothing that really stands out about the shape of The Three — it’s just a boxy rectangle. However, the materials are what really make you take notice. It uses real wood veneer on the top and bottom and it feels much warmer and inviting in the home as compared to your typical plastic or metal smart speaker.
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The wood is offset by the metal inlay at the top that features all of the buttons and volume knob. I cannot overemphasize the tactile and premium feel in The Three’s metal buttons and volume knob. It feels like you are using a piece of stereo equipment meant to last decades instead of a cheap piece of plastic.
One omission from The Three’s design is a 3.5mm jack. With a smart speaker, that isn’t the end of the world. These are meant to play your music wirelessly with plenty of connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Chromecast support.
The Assistant Experience
Since all Google Assistant speakers come with the same cloud-based commands, you’d think they are all the same. This is not the case, as some differ slightly in features. For example, Google Home speakers feature an equalizer in the Google Home app that other Google Assistant speakers lack, including The Three.
Other ways in which these speakers can differ include accessibility sounds and the volume of the Assistant’s voice. The Three with Google Assistant lacks the option for accessibility sounds and it is one of my biggest complaints about the speaker.
This might not be important to everyone, but I enjoy hearing that audible ding after I utter “Hey Google” to know that it has been triggered and is awaiting my command.
I’m not always in a position to see the lights on top react after speaking the activation phrase. Without this audible feedback from the speaker, I’m left guessing as to whether it heard me or not. It becomes particularly frustrating when you give a command and nothing happens, causing you to repeat yourself.
Another way Google Assistant speakers differ is some have a set volume for the Assistant voice, while others allow it to get quieter as you lower the volume. I’m happy to report The Three from Klipsch gets quieter as you lower the volume. This is a big advantage over smart speakers with a set volume because the voice is always quite loud. It isn’t so much an issue during the day, but early in the morning or late at night it can disturb others and means you can’t use your smart speaker.
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Finally, we have the mic sensitivity. The Three with Google Assistant didn’t have the most sensitive microphone of all the speakers I’ve tested, but it worked most of the time. As with all smart speakers it had varying degrees of success but it worked 70-80 percent of the time. This is why having that audible feedback with the accessibility sounds is so important to me.
The Three with Google Assistant from Klipsch has a bass-forward sound signature. That doesn’t mean the bass is overwhelming, however. Even though it puts the bass at the forefront it doesn’t lose the mids or highs. Instead, what you end up with is a nice balance between low bass, rounded off highs, and present mids for a full rich sound with plenty of volume.
When I say plenty of volume, I mean it. The Three is capable of filling a large room and easily can be heard a couple of rooms away.
Klipsch combines vintage design, decades of experience in speakers, and the smarts of Google all into one package with The Three featuring Google Assistant. In a sea of smart speakers, this all helps it stand out in the best of ways. Unfortunately, all of this comes at a price.
While reviewing The Three I found the $500 price tag, the mic occasionally response issue, and lack of accessibility sounds to be quibbles. All of these are minor complaints; the main one I think truly affects buying decisions, is the price.
If you want something a little cheaper with similar sound quality, I’d recommend the JBL Link 300. The difference is you’ll sacrifice the classic design and louder volume of The Three.
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