With the advent of home automation, virtual assistants are becoming an integral part of our homes or offices. They serve to simplify the operations performed in everyday life, allowing us to control a large number of devices using voice commands. Among them, smart speakers stand out, that is, speakers that can play our favorite songs simply and immediately. We wanted to create this buying guide to show you the 5 best models to buy, covering all major price ranges.
Amazon Echo (4th generation)
Amazon Echo 4th generation can be described as a merger/evolution of the previous 3rd generation Echo and Echo Plus. Inside the spherical case are a 3-inch woofer and two tweeters capable of reproducing Dolby stereo sound with pure high frequencies, dynamic mid frequencies, and deep low frequencies. As in the older brother Echo Studio, there is also a system that can optimize the sound, and playback following the acoustics of the room in which the device is located.
On the hardware side, we find an audio jack that can be used as an input or output (allows you to turn the Echo into a more classic speaker for smartphones or PCs), a temperature sensor, and an AZ1 Neural Edge processor, which, when running at full power, will significantly increase the efficiency of the Alexa voice assistant. Last but not least, is the integration of the Zigbee hub with Bluetooth connectivity, a solution that will allow you to interact and control an extensive compatible smart ecosystem directly from the Alexa app, without any intermediate module or application.
Audio Google Nest
The direct alternative to Amazon Echo is called Nest Audio and is owned by Google. As you understand, it is compatible only with Google Assistant and allows you to fully control all home automation. The design has been significantly changed compared to the past, the shell is covered with recycled fabric available in various colors, and the appearance is elegant. A 75 mm woofer and a 19 mm tweeter are inserted inside it, as well as three long-range microphones for effective voice capture using Google Voice Match technology.
One of its most interesting features is the integration of Chromecast, which opens up the possibility of direct management of services such as YouTube Music, Spotify, and many others. Connect to WiFi networks, as well as via Bluetooth to smartphones. The sound is played only from the front, which can also be good, depending on where it is located. The sound quality is excellent for this type of device. Too bad is the lack of a USB-C port and support for the Zigbee standard, which would open up even more full-fledged intelligent scenarios.
Let’s take it to the next level with Sony SRS-RA3000, a wireless home speaker with high sound quality. It guarantees excellent 2-channel sound quality with omnidirectional sound thanks to the use of 360 Reality Audio technology and Immersive Audio Enhancement. It can be controlled via Bluetooth, WiFi, or Sony’s proprietary app, it is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, Spotify Connect, and also supports multiroom playback. It is impossible not to note the attractive design, compact size, and moisture-resistant housing.
Belkin SoundForm Elite
We can define Belkin SoundForm Elite as the right compromise. It is available both in the version with Google Assistant and in the version with Alexa and AirPlay 2. You can choose a white or black case. Regardless of the model, you will find yourself in front of a product of excellent quality, featuring a beautiful design and an audio system also equipped with dual 60W woofers, created in collaboration with Devialet. Among the main qualities that should be noted is a convenient wireless base with the Qi standard, convenient for charging a compatible smartphone, and Speaker Active Matching (SAM) technology that equalizes the sound based on the original characteristics of the song.
Sonor One 2nd generation
If you are looking for a premium smart speaker, this is the first choice in this guide. The 2nd generation Sonor One is compatible with all major virtual systems (AirPlay, Google Assistant, and Alexa) and has a sophisticated and elegant appearance that adapts to any home or business environment. According to the tradition of the brand, it has excellent sound quality, which can be improved thanks to a wide range of compatible models. In the upper part, there are microphones for voice recognition and physical keys. A feature that all competitors do not have is moisture-resistant housing, so you can also place the Sonos in the bathroom. Among the available connections, we find Bluetooth, WiFi, and a convenient Ethernet port.
Bose 500 Home speaker system
Bose Home Speaker 500 is a top model that we would like to recommend. The only one in this manual that offers stereo sound and a small display on the front panel, especially convenient for displaying, for example, information regarding the track being played. It is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and the rest of the major music streaming services. Also, in this case, we have high-quality sound, elegant design, and the ability to integrate into a sound ecosystem extended to several environments. If you are just looking for the best product and you have no budget problems, bet on Bose without a doubt.
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