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Gone are the days when Bluetooth speakers are solely used for listening to music. The technology in speakers has evolved tremendously over the years, and more and more people opt to invest in a speaker with smart features. Many modern speakers come with a voice assistant. For those who like buying stuff from Amazon, you might be best off with a speaker that has Alexa built-in. Those who regularly use Google services like Gmail, Google Calendar, etc., will find a Google Home device the most beneficial. On the other hand, Apple users know how convenient it is to use Apple smartphones, tablets, or computers with products or accessories from the company, so the Apple HomePod mini would be the perfect option for them. Smart features shouldn’t be the only thing you look for in a speaker; you should also check to make sure its sound quality is satisfactory. Another thing to consider is whether its size, portability, and battery life fit your lifestyle. Let’s look at the best smart speakers you can get your hands on in 2022.
The Sonos One is one of the best smart speakers your money can buy because its sound quality and numerous features guarantee convenience. This speaker comes with Alexa and Google Assistant, so you have endless possibilities. Since it comes with AirPlay 2, you can also use the speaker to access Siri, and you can even pair it with the Apple HomePod and HomePod Mini. You don’t have to worry about the speaker not hearing you clearly from across the room because it comes with six internal microphones. The speaker has an LED indicator to let you know when Alexa is listening to your voice. The Sonos One packs a punch, and it delivers room-filling sound with rich bass and impressive detail. It comes with Trueplay tuning that automatically adjusts its sound settings to give you the best audio experience regardless of the environment you’re in. The speaker isn’t too big, so it can fit on your desk, bookshelf, or kitchen counter. Users can achieve stereo sound if you pair the speaker with another Sonos One speaker or create a makeshift home theater setup when you pair it with the Sonos Beam or Arc. The Sonos One doesn’t allow you to connect to devices using Bluetooth, but Apple users can play audio from their iPhones, iPads, or Macs using Apple AirPlay 2.
There’s no denying that Amazon’s Alexa is among the most famous voice assistants globally, so you can’t go wrong with their Echo smart speaker. It promises premium sound accompanied by valuable smart features. Users can stream music on the speaker through streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, etc. You won’t be disappointed with its sound quality because you get rich and detailed Dolby audio. It has a 3.0-inch woofer and dual front-firing 0.8-inch tweeters. The speaker will even automatically adapt to whatever environment you put it in. The Echo features a built-in Zigbee smart home hub that allows you to use your voice to control any compatible locks, sensors, lights, and more. Alexa is an intelligent companion at home because she can answer random questions and set alarms, reminders, timers, etc. The speaker also comes with the Alexa Guard feature that will give you mobile alerts if the device senses glass breaking or the smoke alarm. If you have several Echo devices in different rooms in your home, you can turn the speakers into an intercom and communicate with your loved ones. Users can make hands-free calls to other Echo devices or anyone with the Alexa app. You can also pair several Echo devices to play the same audio throughout the house. Those who love playing music from their mobile devices will love how the Echo works as a Bluetooth speaker as well. You don’t have to worry about your privacy being breached because the Echo has multiple layers of privacy controls, one of which is a mic off button.
If your voice assistant of choice is Google Assistant, the Google Nest Audio smart speaker should be your top choice. This speaker has a minimalist and stylish design, and you can get it in colors like chalk, sky, charcoal, sand, and sage. You can expect it to deliver powerful bass and crisp vocals because of its built-in tuning software, tweeter, and subwoofer. Compared to the older Google Home device, the Nest Audio is 75% louder and has 50% stronger bass. The speaker will automatically analyze and adapt to your environment or the audio you’re listening to in order to get the best sound experience possible. The streaming services the speaker has access to are Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Youtube Music, and SiriusXM. You can unlock more features when you have several Nest speakers around your home because you can play the same track throughout the house, chat, make calls, and broadcast messages. Many have said that Google Assistant is somehow more intelligent than Amazon’s Alexa because it has more flexibility when responding to your voice commands. You can also create routines, which are grouped commands, and Google boasts better compatibility with more smart devices than Alexa. The Nest Audio has many privacy features. You can turn off your mic with a slide of a button, and you can ask Google to delete your voice command history. The speaker also comes with a Guest Mode, so you’re friends or family can use the speaker’s smart features without affecting or accessing your private information. Unfortunately, the speaker isn’t perfect; we wish that it had more detail in its mids and treble, and it also doesn’t have a built-in Zigbee smart home hub like Amazon’s Echo.
Smart speakers use some pretty innovative technology, and it was inevitable for the tech giant, Apple, to come up with its own smart speaker. They offer the HomePod mini, which will cost you around $100 in 2022. It’s superior when it comes to audio quality, and despite the speaker’s small profile, you can expect it to give room-filling, 360-degree sound. Its detailed tones are made possible by its boundary-pushing computational audio. Having several HomePod minis around the house would be excellent because you can access the Intercom feature or have multiroom audio. Siri is the voice assistant of this speaker, and you can ask it to do a multitude of everyday tasks such as telling you the weather. The speaker would be beneficial for those living in a smart home because you can control different HomeKit accessories. Sadly, it loses to Google and Amazon when it comes to compatibility with smart home devices. It would also be best to have an Apple smartphone or tablet if you plan to use the HomePod mini because you will need the Home app to access many of its features and controls. Also, it can only play music from Apple Music straight from the speaker, but its AirPlay 2 feature allows you to play music from Spotify if you have an iPhone, iPad, iMac, Macbook, or Apple TV. The speaker has top-notch privacy, and it will only listen to you when you say, “Hey Siri.” Once your question is heard, Siri associates it not with your Apple ID but with a random identifier. The HomePod mini is available in black, white, yellow, blue, and orange.
The Amazon Echo Studio would be a fantastic choice for those who need a premium smart speaker for a home cinema. It featured five built-in directional speakers that give you spatial and expansive audio. You can expect crisp highs, a dynamic mid-range, and powerful bass. The best part is that the speaker has Dolby Atmos support, so you can expect a genuine cinematic experience. Since Amazon makes this speaker, Alexa will be attending to all your voice commands. You can play your favorite tunes, ask about the latest headlines, check the weather, etc. The Echo Studio can access your favorite songs from famous streaming services like Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, etc. It’s also capable of streaming tracks in spatial audio and Ultra HD when you have an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription. You don’t have to worry about playing around with the sound settings of the speaker because it will automatically adjust to the acoustics of the room it’s in. Like the Amazon Echo, the Echo Studio also has a built-in Zigbee smart home hub, so you can use Alexa to control the thermostat, lights, garage doors, etc. as long as they’re Zigbee-compatible. The speaker also supports Amazon’s Guard and Guard Plus features that let you receive alerts when the speaker senses something suspicious. For those who want an even more immersive cinematic experience at home, you could buy a second Echo Studio speaker or the Echo Sub for a more rich, surround-sound experience. Amazon cares about your privacy, so you have complete control over your voice recordings made with the speaker. You can also quickly turn off the speaker’s microphone by pressing a designated off button.
If you find most of the top smart speakers on the market too expensive, you can opt for a more budget-friendly option like the Google Nest Mini. This speaker that comes with Google Assistant built-in costs $49, and it’s available in the following colors: chalk, charcoal, coral, and sky. It features an environmentally-friendly design because its durable fabric top is made from recycled plastic bottles. Compared to its predecessors, the Nest Mini has 2x stronger bass and better voice recognition because of its three far-field microphones and Voice Match technology. The speaker delivers 360-degree sound with the help of its 40 mm driver. Users will also not experience any lag because of its powerful Quad-core 64-bit ARM CPU 1.4 GHz processor and high-performance ML hardware engine. The speaker can play tracks from Spotify, Youtube Music, Apple Music, etc., but you can also play songs directly from your mobile devices using Bluetooth. Just remember that the speaker won’t be exactly like a standard Bluetooth speaker because it will need to be connected to a power source all the time to work. Despite its small size, the Nest Mini is powerful enough to control different appliances around your home that are Google Assistant-compatible. You can also use the speaker to control your TV if it has Chromecast.
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