The popular virtual assistants are receiving the home by storm, with many now considering smart speakers to be the future of home automation, not only regulating your smart home devices (like your Hue bulbs or your smart locks), but running everything from your fridge to your garage door, too-sometimes without much help from you.
If you think that you can live comfortably without these features, then you’re right. But once you’ve had them, there’s no going past.
If you want to help to find your next personal assistant, take a look at our discuss below and find the smart speaker that suits your setup, your budget and the aesthetics of your home. while each has pros/cons, all of them are great in their own path.
The Best Speakers 2019
Superb sound, so-smart speaker
- Great sound
- Siri accuracy is high
- Nice, minimal design
- Siri scope is limited
- Apple Music needed
- No Bluetooth streaming
The highly- expected Apple HomePod finally entered the smart speaker battle for your half in early 2018.
The obvious advantage of an Apple Home Pod over an Echo or Google Home device is that it’ll play nice with your different Apple products. So if you’re a die-hard Apple fan the HomePod may be a no-barrier.
But it’s valued asking, the same question you should every time to ask yourself when you want to splurge on a new Apple product: how much of amount should you pay for owning a device that suits only seamlessly into the Apple ecosystem?
The HomePod is excellent, in the former category, as it boasts incredible sound and a very natural set-up. But in the latter, Siri is only middling in its implementation, and the fact that you’re not able to break away from the Apple ecosystem for many key functions also rankles.
Apple is said to be working on the Apple HomePod 2, or a cheaper, more dense HomePod Mini, but with no notice of either at September’s iPhone launch event, it looks like we won’t discover until 2019.
The best sounding smart speaker on the market yet.
- Rich sound
- Plays music while Alexa is muted
- Best of Alexa and Sonos
- Premium price
- Google Assistant MIA for now
Sonos’ rise Alexa Speaker is a cleanly-designed, feature-rich and great-sounding speaker that brings together the best of both ecosystems. You’ve got the Sonos on the one hand and on other you’ve ever-improving Alexa with its own multi-room smarts. There’s also a new feature in the combined that promises to change the game: AirPlay 2. With it, the Sonos One can talk to Siri and form a multi-room pairing with the Apple HomePod, making it the most multipurpose speaker on the list.
If there’s anything holding the Sonos One back from majesty. It’s the reality that Google Assistant is still MIA – something Sonos has been particularly quiet about.
Once Google Assistant support hits later in 2018, the Sonos One promises to become the market leader in smart home speakers.
Great for Chromecast owners
- Big song library
- Customizable base
- Expanding the hardware ecosystem
- Requires precise phrasing
- Google Cast support needs work
- Missing Google’s own services
For starters, you might never admire just how much music is on YouTube without buying a Google Home. We don’t say the Google Home is capable of playing any song you can think. But after dredging the deepness of the ’90s we still couldn’t find a tune Google Home, couldn’t track down and start playing.
While Google Home excels as a DJ, it’s also amazingly intelligent smart home hub. It already hooks into some of the largest platforms now available by including Philips, Nest, and Samsung’s Smart Things, and given a few months, that number will increase even more.
But we’re torn when it arrives in recommending the Google Home. In some ways, it’s disappointing and doesn’t alive up to be the coveted center of the smart home Google has marketed it as.
That’s because it’s only not there yet. It’s a little too inflexible in its language comprehension, its list of smart home devices is growing but still a bit underwhelming, and, probably the biggest disappointment of all, it doesn’t have much of Google’s core services built into it.
It has the potential to develop to compete with Amazon’s Echo in the future, but for now, the Google Home is simply a smart newness with access to YouTube Music, built-in Google Cast and the ability to protect you a trip to the light switch.
It’s also worth notice a more recent update: Now make calls to landlines in the UK! on Google Home. This was a feature unveiled at past year’s Google IO, and has now finally made its way into the home. Google Assistant has also been updated to included bilingual ability, Continued Conversation, and Multiple Actions.
Amazon Echo (2nd Gen)
Amazon’s speaker got even smarter
- Lower price
- Great new look
- New Alexa features
- More of the same
- No more rotating dial
- Alexa app could be better
If you’re after a smart speaker that’s affordable and sounds so good to play your favorite tracks, the recent version of the Amazon Echo is your safest bet. In fact, it’s our recent top pick for the best smart speaker on the market right now.
The newest, 2nd-generation Echo sounds much better than Amazon’s Echo Dot, but it’s affordable than the Echo Plus and Apple’s HomePod.
We don’t think you should be using it to replace your Hi-Fi, but at the same time, it’s a really best place to start if you want to try out what the smart home life is like.
Amazon has also made better the Echo’s style since the first version was released in 2015. The new fabric finishes will suits most living rooms better than the brushed aluminum of the original.
The only bad-side is the Echo doesn’t have the neat volume dial of Amazon’s Echo Plus. It’s also value mentioning that Alexa often doesn’t seem quite as intelligent as Google Assistant. At the price, though, it’s a great option that should fit most people’s needs.
Amazon is also reportedly working on eight new Alexa powered devices as of September 2018 with a microwave and high-end audio system.
Amazon Echo Plus (2nd gen)
Your home with new smart hub functions
- Better audio drivers
- Temperature sensor added
- Attractive fabric design
- Still won’t catch the ear of audiophiles
- Struggles with Fire TV commands
The Amazon Echo Plus is the best choice among its tower speakers. You should think about buying one if you want decent sound quality. It doesn’t display the Echo Show or Echo Spot.
With the 2nd generation model recently launched, the Echo Plus has thrown out the two-tier look in favor of subdued fabric design, more like the original Echo.
Like different smart home systems, Amazon Alexa is a work in progress. However, it’s easy to suggest the Amazon Echo Plus. It’s a convenient one-stop solution for both audio, smart assistant functions and the Internet of Things controls, with Alexa still going strong as the most features voice assistant.
But the strength of the Echo range, especially at the cheaper price tiers, still makes these top-of-the-line models a harder sell: the Echo Dot has similar smarts for a fraction of the price, for example, it just doesn’t sound as much. Likewise, the built-in smart hub is a large addition. However, isn’t yet feature-complete, meaning committed smart home users may not want to make the jump just yet.
In short, if you’re looking to go into the world of the connected home, the Echo Plus is a great option to start. Time being at a minimum, suit your needs just as well.