Looking for a New Smart Speaker? We’ve Got You Covered
Smart speakers are dominating the smart home market thanks to the interconnected world we live in right now. Every year, more and more people around the world are starting to use some sort of smart speaker in their home.
Smart speakers are taking over because they are the future of home automation. Some of them can even lock your door and turn on lights through your smartphone. Depending on what smart speaker you purchase, you may even be able to make Skype calls, or place orders directly on Amazon. Their potential is limitless, although privacy may be an issue going forward.
There are many varieties of smart speakers available, such as JBL, Sonos, Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Bose. Our list will help you find the best smart speaker that fits your needs. We’ve outlined the pros and cons for each smart speaker, as well as cost, and where they are available to purchase.
Amazon Echo Dot (2018)
Amazon is on a mission to become the leader of smart home products. With Amazon Echo Dot you can bring Alexa anywhere you want. It is a smart speaker designed and developed to be used in any room of your home. According to Amazon, the Echo Dot is their bestselling smart speaker of all-time.
A product that gets redesigned all the time might worry you, but the Echo Dot’s previous models are still better compared to its entry-level competitors. The Echo Dot keeps getting better and better each time. It has all the basic functionalities that you would expect from smart speakers: making calls, controlling your smart home with commands, and streams music. The downside of the Echo Dot is that it still doesn’t have a 3.5mm auxiliary cord.
- Small, fabric design
- Great price
- Improved Alexa
- No auxiliary cable included
The Amazon Echo Dot is currently available online from Amazon.
Google Home Mini
Android users are no strangers when it comes to Google assistants. It’s perfect for setting up reminders, tasks, making calls, playing music, follows specialized voice commands to open apps, and can check the weather for you. Imagine doing those tasks on your smart speaker, but this time you can pair it with other smart home gadgets.
The design of the Google Home Mini is like the Amazon Echo Dot. It is portable and has a simplistic design. Don’t let the size fool you, though, because the speakers are loud. However, it doesn’t have great sound quality when compared to bigger smart speakers.
The Google Home Mini is best paired with your Android device.
- Great price for a smart speaker
- Simple design and durable
- Mediocre sound quality
- No auxiliary cable
The Google Home Mini is currently available online from Google.
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Facebook recently launched their Portal and Portal+, which added more options to the smart speaker competition. However, with Portal and Portal+, it looks like they want to innovate the industry. Portal has a 10-inch touchscreen atop a speaker grille with a camera on the top bezel. Meanwhile, the Portal+ has a large 15.6-inch touchscreen that can rotate between landscape and portrait. The Portal+ is also 18-inches tall and has a camera on top of its tower.
The design is very dystopian. It looks like it came straight out of an episode of Black Mirror. The buttons are found at the top of each device (there are no buttons on display), which makes it uncomfortable to use at first. Both the Portal and Portal+ have built-in Alexa speakers, a smart camera, and AR support.
- Smart camera
- Alexa voice assistant
- Great display
- Privacy issues
- Video has ads
- Takes up too much space
- Calls are limited to Facebook Messenger
Price: $199 (Portal) and $349.99 (Portal+)
Bose Home Speaker 500
Bose is known for manufacturing great audio accessories, from speakers to headphones, home theater systems, and more. With new, improved technology, Bose still shows its competitors that they are still the boss of the audio industry. The Bose Home Speaker can be controlled with voice commands by using Alexa app and devices.
Compared to other smart speakers, this one has a 1.75-inch-wide x 2.25-inch-high display to show album covers and track information. There’s no doubt that the sound quality is excellent; it’s a Bose speaker, after all. The new Bose music app allows you to connect the device on other music streaming apps like Spotify, Amazon Music, and Pandora. The best feature of this speaker is its wide range of audio codecs, and its ability to play music using the speaker’s auxiliary input.
- Great voice recognition software
- Broad range of audio codec support
- Great sound quality
- Has onboard display
- Occasional bugs
- Controls aren’t backlit
The Bose Home Speaker 500 is currently available online from Amazon.
Have you ever wondered if there is a product that offers both the best sound quality and a voice assistant? Then look no further, because the item you’re looking for is here, because the Sonos One provides everything you want in a smart speaker. It has fantastic sound quality, and three voice assistants. You can choose from Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant (which is reportedly set to launch in 2019).
The design makes it easy to use. It has a touch sensitive-surface that allows you to select and skip songs, and you can use the app and voice control to use the device. There’s no question that the sound quality is excellent, and you can connect multiple speakers to enhance the experience.
With future updates, the Sonos One is expected to add more voice assistants such as Google and incorporate other music streaming software as well.
- Great sound quality
- Airplay 2 support
- Music plays while Alexa is muted
- Best Alexa speaker
- Doesn’t have Google Assistant yet
The Sonos One is currently available online from Amazon.