These speakers are great for hands-free everyday use as well as controlling devices in the home
Smart speakers are more popular than ever, conveniently allowing you to play music and check the weather or news, all with your voice. The increasing use of smart speakers is in part tied to the growing popularity of the smart home, with several devices and products now having smart capability.
So if you’ve been interested in smart technology but haven’t taken the plunge just yet, here are some of the best speakers available that would make a great first purchase.
Amazon themselves says that the Echo Studio is their “best sounding smart speaker”, so it seems like a good place to start with a smart speaker recommendation list. It’s certainly sizeable but not too much of a behemoth that it’ll take up most of a table or desk.
Designed with the same encompassing mesh of the Echo Dot, it’s capable of delivering high-quality sound, prompted by voice control. The Echo Studio has five speakers for deeper bass, dynamic midrange, and highs. With the speaker adjusting itself for the best sound in any given room—you can also link it to Echo devices in other rooms.
Sonos has several speakers of all types, so it’s impressive when one stands out from the crowd—enter the Sonos One. It’s a powerful mains-powered speaker, built to produce booming, encompassing sound. It has both Alexa and Google voice assistants, as well as an accompanying Sonos app for mobile control.
You can also connect to other Sonos speakers wirelessly, to create a custom sound system. Though just the Sonos One on its own is probably enough high-quality sound for one room.
Apple has iterated on the success of the Homepod Mini, releasing the HomePod 2nd generation. This time around the speaker is notable larger and boasts even better high-fidelity sound.
Made with the same full-mesh design to produce 360-degree and three-dimensional audio that enhances music. Even though Apple is new to the home speaker market, the HomePod (like all of Apple’s premium devices), is made to a noticeably high standard and is a fantastic option.
If you’re going for a smart speaker, there’s logic in going for one of the companies that owns their own voice assistant—such as Google in this instance. The Nest Audio is a well-made and impressive performing speaker and at a larger size, it’s capable of louder sound than its predecessor the Nest Mini.
You’ll know it’s on and working by the four LED lights being lit up on the front of the device, though you can turn off voice recognition with the flick of a switch on the back. So unassuming it might blend into your room décor, it’s a speaker that ticks all the smart speaker boxes and efficiently carries out what it’s required to do.
It's available in chalk grey and black.
Aesthetically quite like the Sonos One, the 2023 Sonos Era 100 stands out from the crowd with superb acoustics, a fast processor and Bluetooth connectivity. With a fast set-up, you’ll be able to listen to your favourite songs on your platform of choice or through Sonos radio.
And for the sound buffs, you can optimise the sound coming from the speaker with sound tuning in the app. You can also control the speaker with on-device buttons, via the Sonos app or with your voice, allowing you to listen at your convenience.
Simple and to the point, the Bose Home 500 speaker is a hefty and robust unit, made for room-filling, wall-to-wall sound, with deep bass and strong acoustics. It features a noise-rejecting microphone, aiming to focus on your voice—with Alexa and Google Assistant built into the speaker.
You can control the speaker with your voice, with the controls on the top of it or via the Bose music app and can connect y wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay, Spotify or Bluetooth.
Apple’s first bonafied speaker, the HomePod Mini remains minimalistic in design, keeping with the company’s aesthetic style. However, despite its appearance, the Homepod Mini can deliver impressive 360-degree sound that can fill up a reasonably-sized room.
Ideally made for Apple users, you can answer calls on an iPhone and play music on different devices. With speedy voice pick-up that can recognise up to six members of a family, you’ll be able to use it with relative ease.
Note: Apple’s voice assistant Siri works with Apple Music which requires an Apple Music subscription.
The Echo Dot is one of the more popular smart speakers on the market and it’s probably what people are talking about when they say they “have an Alexa”. The Dot has the Alexa voice assistant built-in, which can allow you to do several things, from playing music to setting reminders, to asking questions and finding answers to just about any question you have.
The appeal of the Echo Dot is in its size and simplicity, delivering good quality audio, along with everything else a smart speaker can do.
The Google Nest Mini is a handy smart speaker that gets the job done, with the 2nd generation having a deeper base and better voice recognition—giving you tailored answers and recommendations.
It also uses the same fabric mesh design from the 1st generation Nest Mini, made from 100 per cent recycled plastic. You can stream music, set reminders, check the weather and control your TV (with a Chromecast/Chromecast enabled TV).
It's available in silver grey and black.
The SoundForm Elite is a Hi-Fi speaker, made to provide high audio quality and deep bass for an enhanced listening experience. It can be controlled with on-device buttons or by voice, with Alexa for ease of use.
The speaker also comes with wireless fast charging, optimised for iPhone, Samsung and Google, for you to charge your phone while you listen to music or your favourite podcast.
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