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Ninety7 Loft review: Loft is a solid add-on that makes your Google Home portable

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Align the Loft's plug barrel with the bottom of the Google Home.

Ry Crist/CNET

Installing a Loft takes a matter of seconds. You'll need to twist off the Home's magnetic, decorative base. You then push the Loft in place, aligning the plug barrel inside of the Loft with the plug on the Google Home. The Loft weighs just under a pound, so it'll make your Google Home heavier. It'll also make your Google Home taller, so bear that in mind if you have your smart speaker set up in a tight spot.

You can then plug in the Google Home with the Loft installed and the battery will charge. You can use the Google Home normally while the Loft is charging, and leave it plugged in if you don't need it to be portable for a while.

Battery testing

Unplug the Loft, and it'll last a good long while on its battery. Ninety7 claims the Loft can last for up to eight hours, and from our tests, it looks like the company was being conservative in its estimates. Playing music at 50 percent volume, the Loft lasted for just over 10 hours.

Four LEDs on the front light up sequentially while it charges to 25, 50, 75 and 100 percent. Then they go dark in reverse order as you use the battery, with the last LED blinking a warning before it dies. My only nitpick with the performance of the Loft stems from these LEDs. The battery lasted 10 hours, but they still showed full health after five hours and 75 percent after eight. The LEDs don't precisely track how much charge you actually have left, as they tick down quickly in the last couple of hours of life.

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You can also turn the Loft off by holding the button below the LEDs.

Ry Crist/CNET

Still, eight-to-10 hours of charge should be enough to use your Google Home in the garage or on the patio for a day's worth of work. Note that the Home still needs to be connected to Wi-Fi if you want to issue voice commands, though you can use it purely as a Bluetooth speaker if you want to take it to the park and play music.

The verdict

If you're primarily looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker, you can readily find one with more battery life and better sound quality than the combined $180 cost of the Home plus the Loft. Check out our favorite Bluetooth speakers here. If you just want to use a Google Home in a couple of rooms of your house, it makes more sense to buy a couple of $50 Google Home Minis ($25 at Dell), which offer the same smarts as the original.

I'd specifically recommend the $50 Ninety7 Loft if you already have a Google Home, and want to use it frequently in multiple rooms of your house. For most other circumstances, you probably have a better option. That said, the Ninety7 Loft doesn't have a lot of flashy extras, but it serves its one purpose well.

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