How To Choose The Best Smart Speaker For You
“Alexa, turn on the kitchen light.” «OK, Google, play“ The Witcher ”on Netflix». “Hey, Siri, what the temperature is.” These are some examples of voice instructions that allow so-called digital assistants. Software that begins to modulate domestic electronic devices in that quest change how human beings relate to machines. And that has had the first approach from smart speakers.
At the moment of truth, however, consumers often ignore their possibilities, what type of product best suits their needs, and what advantages they can have. It is a business that grows exponentially. 19% of home devices in Europe are smart speakers, according to the IDC consultancy. In general, the choice of one of these devices is to reduce to three types of assistants, Siri (which is from Apple), Alexa (developed by Amazon) and Assistant (which belongs to Google). Depending on the habits and needs of each consumer should opt for one or the other, and that is where the ramifications extend.
Because, for now, the Alexa-based voice ecosystem is broader. It is integrated into innumerable electronic devices of many brands, so it is not necessary to have a product from the Echo range, Amazon’s smart speakers, to use it. It is already possible to find it in equipment such as soundbars, televisions, refrigerators or lamps. Its operation is simple and operates through the so-called «skills», micro-applications with which users permit new interactions such as listening to the newsletter of a media such as ABC or playing ambient sounds.
Amazon, With A Great Diversity
But, of course, to choose an Amazon speaker with Alexa you almost have to do a master’s degree. The offer of speakers only multiplies, it is clear that the giant of electronic commerce is striving to reach all audiences with his personal assistant, and the options are almost endless. So let’s review our favorites from high to low. For example, the American multinational has in its catalog the Echo Dot and its variant with a clock. These are the best that can be purchased in relation to price-quality. It costs about 34.99 euros, but it is an effective team. The sound is more than enough despite its size, and it is the smart speaker that best understands the language, even with ambient noise.
The next option is the Echo Show. It has thus passed from the cheapest option to the most expensive. It costs about 229.99 euros this speaker with a 10-inch HD screen but presents the best sound in the range. A great solution for those who are not comfortable talking to a speaker, since the screen gives an image response to the conversation and it is much easier to handle. Asking for music, the trick of the day, the news or the weather was never easier. There is much left for Mother’s Day, but it is the perfect gift to introduce them to the world of virtual assistants, video calls and almost unlimited content.
You also have to forget about non-Amazon content, nothing from Netflix or YouTube, just from Amazon Prime . Echo Show is Amazon’s strongest speaker, easy to use and with great sound and audio quality, its perfect place, the kitchen, where you usually can’t use your hands and it helps you set a timer or find a recipe. The Echo speaker -a dry- is located between the Echo Dot and the Echo Plus. Significantly improves the sound quality to achieve 360º spatial sound. If you don’t want to spend twice as much with the Plus model but you want a better sound quality than the dot, this is your speaker.
Instead, the internet giant has other models with a screen; The Echo Show 5 has 5 inches, same functions in general as its “brothers” and for a very small price, almost the size of mobile. It’s practical, but it’s not enough to consume video content due to its 5.5 inches, but the screen helps interact with Alexa. The speaker of the sound sybarites is the Echo Plus. Sounds really good and the design is very discreet. It is probably among the smart speakers with the best sound we have tried. If you are looking for sound, the Echo Plus is your choice.
The Echo Flex, the substitute for Echo Input, the last to join Amazon’s long list of speakers, is the cheapest but also the one with the lowest functionality. It is plugged directly into the electrical outlet, and its main function is to handle home automation without further complications, with a really low sound quality. The interesting thing is found in its accessories, such as the night light or the infrared sensor that are attached to the Echo Flex to complement it. In general, all devices in this family have microphones with high sensitivity that even whispering work correctly.
Google, In The Shortlist
Another interesting option is Google, which has several devices. One of them is the Home. With cylindrical shape, this speaker has a fairly acceptable sound for a medium room but without too much power. It is 142 millimeters tall. It is small and easy to locate anywhere. It presents a fairly accurate recognition system, although sometimes it does not understand everything perfectly. It costs about 99 euros and with simple voice commands used in a natural way you have millions of operations on hand because it uses the search engine.
An option to complete is the Home Mini, which is a small trigger that has a more transversal view; It can be placed in the bedroom to make requests such as turning on the light, setting an alarm or notifying another person through another speaker located in an adjoining room. They are good options, but the American firm also has another very advanced model with a 7-inch screen, the Nest Hub, with which you can watch from television to consume even audiovisual content.
The device allows you to add all kinds of appliances and gadgets for the home in an orderly manner, be it the thermostat, the surveillance camera, the lighting systems or the smart plugs. By its nature, this device seems to be very oriented to two spaces of the home, the kitchen or the bedroom. That is where, a priori, more utility can be. You can act as a digital portrait or alarm clock. Everything is also managed from the Home application. The device, available for 129 euros.
Apple, Good Sound
The other great alternative is Apple with its HomePod (329 euros), although it has some limitations as an assistant. It is, along with the Sonos Move (399 euros), which has the best sound quality. Both work very well the severe and medium frequencies, also offering great power. In the case of the Sonos model, it is more open because it integrates Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, which allows you to play music, check the news, set alarms, or ask questions.
This device stands out especially for its closest approach to being a quality music player. And in this field, it is marked somewhat. Its sound, impeccable and powerful, also manages to adjust to the different geometric conditions of the room. It does so automatically, which can be heard in a similar way regardless of where it is located. The audio transmission, however, presents some doubts about it. It works very well with its technology, AirPlay, so that Android devices will find a more limited device. The company’s effort to close the circle of its ecosystem is also appreciated.
If you are not an Apple Music subscriber, your streaming music service, or you have an extensive library of songs, and you will notice many limitations. Otherwise, if this platform is used regularly, it is a joy, because you can pass songs, search by genre or title by merely saying it by voice. As a digital assistant, the device is somewhat limited. It has integrated Siri, the “brain” that moves voice requests, into a speaker, which will have two software working at the same time (on the HomePod and the iPhone) although he recognizes the voice very well, even without raising his voice from the other side of the room.