Smart speakers are now an item that can be found in many households. Not only that, more and more manufacturers are making their speakers smart with the help of the best voice assistants currently available - Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa (with the exception of Apple, of course). So, if you're looking for a smart speaker, check out our list of the best on the market.
Sonos One is a speaker with a very elegant design. It's rich in features and offers a powerful and clear sound. Thanks to the collaboration with Amazon, the Sonos One also boasts Alexa integration, bringing both intelligence and elegance to your home.
Apart from that, we can also say that the Sonos One is doubly smart - it is able to take advantage of Siri, Apple's virtual assistant, pairing to the HomePod through the AirPlay 2 compatibility. However, there is no compatibility with Google Assistant, even if there are rumors that the two companies are working together to make the One the undisputed king of smart speakers (if it isn't already).
The price, however, makes this smart speaker not exactly accessible to everyone ($199). It is available in black or white.
The HomePod is definitely the best solution to take advantage of AirPlay 2 technology, especially if you already own other Apple devices. Its minimalist design is reminiscent of that of a Mac Pro. Even its specs are no joke: this speaker is equipped with an Apple A8 processor, six microphones and seven tweeters, each with a dedicated driver, making it able to offer a truly efficient directional sound.
If your budget doesn't exactly match that of the models proposed at the beginning of this list, let's immediately move on to something much cheaper: the Amazon Echo family. All of the e-commerce giant's intelligent speakers are equipped with Alexa, have a relatively low price and offer sound quality far beyond expectations.
The cheapest, Echo Dot ($49.99), has a compact design, but houses a 41 mm driver that ensures more than acceptable audio quality. At the intermediate level, we find the Amazon Echo and Echo Plus with their cylindrical shape and superior sound quality thanks to the 63 mm woofer (73 mm on the Plus) coupled to the 16 mm tweeter (20 mm on the Plus). The price for taking these two devices home is $99.99 and $164.98 respectively, although at the moment of writing they are both on sale.
The power of Google's assistant has been apparent for some time now, even in the form of smart speakers. The Google speaker family consists of three devices: Google Home Mini, Google Home and Google Home Max.
The Google Home Mini comes with a 40mm audio driver that can play fairly powerful 360 degree sound. The sound quality is not its strong point, but it is still sufficient for listening to music, if you're not an audiophile. The fabric used to cover the top of the speaker is pleasant to the touch, but also quite robust. You can buy Google Home Mini from the Google Store for $49.
The 'standard' Google Home, on the other hand, is larger but also offers better performance thanks to the presence of 3 integrated speakers, a 50 mm audio driver and two passive radiators. There also are two microphones, which are always ready to listen. Overall, Google Home has a very pleasant design, but it's definitely less discreet than its smaller brother. The base on the bottom of the speaker is removable and can be replaced with a different colored one to better match the device to the home environment in which it's placed.
Of course, the price is also higher: $129 to have the Google experience in your home.
Marshall Stanmore II and Acton II Voice
Marshall has entered the intelligent speaker market with two solutions: the Acton II Voice and the Stanmore II. Both sport the look of the company's famous amplifiers but offer modern tech with smart functions thanks integration with Amazon Alexa the more recent introduction of the version with Google Assistant available on the company's official website.
Equipped with two microphones to capture commands given by the user, they also offer a button that allows you to turn off listening. You can buy both speakers on Amazon at the price of $349.99 for the Stanmore II and $299.99 for the Action II, with both speakers available in black and white.
In October 2017, Mobvoi decided to enter the smart home market with its smart speaker, the TicHome Mini. This speaker has some particularly interesting features: first of all it has an integrated Google Assistant, just like Google Home (Mini in this case), an internal battery of 2,600 mAh able to guarantee 6 hours of use and, finally, it is resistant to splashes thanks to IPX6 certification.
The price, probably the only Achilles heel of this speaker, is about $40 higher than the Google Home Mini. The Chinese company, in fact, offers it on its official website for $99.99.
What other smart speakers would you recommend we to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.