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Acer Halo takes on HomePod mini with weirdest smart speaker ever

(Image credit: Acer)

Acer Halo — not to be confused with Amazon Halo — is an all-new, $109 Google Assistant smart speaker with an LED display beneath its fabric and a glowing RGB base. 

While Acer's name choice is obvious, the inspiration for the Halo speaker's 3.7-inch tall design is harder to identify. It looks like a Google Nest Audio merged with last year's Amazon Echo, and added the clever display of the Echo Dot with Clock. The transparent bottom reminds us of Cleer Audio's levitating Mirage smart display, too.

No matter Acer's muse, the Halo looks pretty awesome. It seems recently the best smart speaker manufacturers are hoping their devices sound great and double as home decor, Acer now included. Though it's the company's first true connected home product, it's entering with the support of Google Assistant.

(Image credit: Acer)

Google has lended its voice assistant to third-party brands before, but we're not sure that we've ever seen such an animated approach. The Acer Halo's display shows the time, temperature and notifications, while the RGB base lighting can be customized and synced to music.

As for audio, Acer hasn't revealed what kind of hardware powers the Halo speaker. For the price we're expecting something comparable to the new Amazon Echo or HomePod mini, although the company says Halo "provides rich, high quality audio," through its 360-degree grille.

Meanwhile, two far-field omnidirectional mics are on standby for "Hey Google," wake word. There's also a physical switch for muting the microphone when you want a little privacy.

We still have plenty of questions about Acer Halo, primarily about how it sounds and performs. Non-Google brand speakers usually lose out on some of the best Google Home commands and communication features, but the LEDs and RGBs might be distracting enough to make us forget that.

The Acer Halo costs $109 and is coming in Q1 of 2021.