Samsung's first foray into smart speakers is Galaxy Home.

But there's a problem. We've been waiting eons for it to launch – 18 months and counting. Since its reveal at the Galaxy Note 9 event, we've since got up close and personal with it – check out our Samsung Galaxy Home initial review.

What is Galaxy Home?

This Bixby-powered device is meant to compete with Google Home Max, Amazon Echo Studio, and the Apple HomePod. It houses Samsung's own virtual assistant, which could be a reason why it hasn't yet launched; Bixby hasn't been ready for prime time and it is possible Samsung will opt for Google Assistant instead.

Since the unveiling of the Galaxy Home – said to have the product code SM-V510 – it surfaced that Samsung also has a smaller Galaxy Home Mini to offer too with the product code SM-V310.

The Galaxy Home Mini is a competitor to Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot but will have an IR blaster for controlling other devices, too. We know that Home Mini has been part of a beta test since last autumn.

It looks like both the Galaxy Home and Galaxy Home Mini will be with us in early 2020.

Design

There's no escaping the fact that Galaxy Home looks like some kind of moon lander with its legs. It has a texturised fabric cover in black and three silver spikes coming out the bottom.

It's on the heavier side, so it shouldn't tip over too easily. You'll notice it has rubberised buttons, indicator lights in the form of a subtle grey ring at the top (not unlike Echo), and the AKG logo glows.

Yep, it's powered by Harman's AKG audio. While on stage, Samsung said it will "make music sound amazing". But it's not a speaker you can lug around with you while on the go, as it’s tethered by a power cable.

The Home Mini will also incorporate AKG audio.

Features

Hardware

Galaxy Home is designed to deliver surround sound-level audio. It features six built-in speakers and a subwoofer. It also has eight far-field microphones for detecting voice input.

Smart Home

Galaxy Home will double as a Samsung SmartThings hub for smart home control (we don't think the Home Mini will be able to do this). That will see it rival other smart speaker devices that have found a niche in controlling the wide range of smart home devices out there.

The Amazon Echo and Google Home both offer control over a wide range of different platforms (including SmartThings), meaning voice control for lights, heating, cameras and a whole lot more.

Bixby

The flat top of Galaxy Home has control buttons on it for skipping tracks and changing the volume. And there's no aux input. But, like most smart speakers, you can start listening to music on your phone and easily send it over to the Galaxy Home.

You can also control music with Bixby. Samsung spent a lot of time talking about Bixby, which isn't as well received as, say, Google Assistant, but Samsung still wants to make it a thing.

You’ll be able to say "Hi, Bixby" to access Samsung’s assistant and ask it many of the same things you can already do on Samsung's phones.

Whether it remains only about Bixby remains to be seen – with rumours that Samsung is going to offer Google Assistant as well as it has on its televisions.

Music

Amazon Echo has Amazon Music. Apple has Apple Music. And Google has YouTube Music. But Samsung is going to ride on Spotify. It has a long-term partnership with the company and has added Spotify to not only Galaxy Home but also many of its other products.

We suspect that Samsung will support a wide range of music services – even if Spotify is the default – otherwise it won't be competitive against its rivals.

Price

Again, this isn't yet known. For comparison, the Apple HomePod costs $349 in the US, while Google Home Max costs $399. Amazon, meanwhile, charges just $150 for its souped-up Amazon Echo Plus.

If we had to guess, Samsung will launch this speaker in the $350 range.

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