Improve Your Quality of Life With the Best Smart Speakers
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Buying Guide: Smart Speakers
We’ve recently witnessed technology integrate seamlessly into our lives — just a few years ago, being able to control everything in your house using only voice commands might have seemed unbelievable. In today’s world, though, you can manage almost all household appliances with a single device — a smart speaker.Gone are the days when a speaker solely referred to a gadget that’s used to listen to your favorite tunes, and that’s because modern smart speakers can do so much more than just play music. Acting as virtual assistants, these smart gadgets can do everything from streaming music over Wi-Fi to setting up appointments and arming your home security system. Because the market is saturated with seemingly endless high-tech options, finding the right product can be challenging. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you choose from the top-rated smart speakers in 2023 to make your life just a little easier.
Amazon Echo Dot Smart Speaker
Bose Smart Speaker
Sonos Smart Speaker
Marshall Smart Speaker
Poly Smart Speaker
Things to Look forKeeping these factors in mind can help you choose a great smart speaker and avoid wasting your money:
Sound qualityAlthough smart speakers are used for various purposes, they’re primarily for playing audio, so having good sound quality is a must. You should read product specifications and reviews to get an idea of a smart speaker’s sound quality before buying.
Size and portabilityThe usefulness of a smart speaker is somewhat dependent on its portability and size. While they don’t affect the speaker’s performance, these things can be a deciding factor when it comes to aesthetics and saving space. A compact smart speaker is easier to transport from one place to another, giving you more freedom of use.
Bluetooth and Wi-FiSome smart speakers come with Bluetooth connectivity, others come with Wi-Fi, and some even come with both. The kind of connection all boils down to your requirements or which one you prefer, but we recommend getting a smart speaker with both options for increased convenience.
Streaming service compatibilityStreaming services like Netflix and Spotify offer compatibility with most smart speakers, but some may not be compatible with a particular service. Check the services a specific smart speaker supports to avoid getting one that isn’t compatible with your favorite services.
Compatibility with smart assistantsA smart speaker needs to be compatible with smart assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home. If you’re already using a voice assistant, you should choose a speaker that’s compatible with it.
Types of Smart SpeakersDepending on how you’ll want to use it, you can choose from the following smart speaker types:
Home smart speakersThis type of smart speaker is designed for indoor use and requires Wi-Fi connectivity and electric power input to function. You can use them for everything you can expect from a typical smart speaker, though the audio quality of cheaper ones may be subpar. If you want to listen to music on your smart speaker, you may want to invest in a more expensive one.
Portable smart speakersPortable smart speakers are convenient and allow you to freely move them around. They don’t need to be plugged into an electric source, and they have rechargeable batteries that run smoothly for a while on a single charge. Portable smart speakers are usually water-resistant or have waterproof enclosures, making them a great choice for outdoor use.
The Benefits of Using Smart SpeakersUsing a smart speaker can offer numerous benefits, such as:
EntertainmentWhen it comes to entertainment, you can stream music on your smart speakers using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity. You can also control your smart TV, play games, stream videos, and use Chromecast devices.
News and informationSmart speakers can also help you check the news, weather forecasts, and traffic reports. Using these speakers, you can even look things up online and find out the date and time.
Schedule appointmentsSmart speakers can also help you manage your schedule by making appointments and setting reminders and alarms for different events. Maintaining to-do lists is also easy with smart speakers.
Smart home controlIf you have a smart home, having a smart speaker is essential to control everything in it. A smart speaker can help you turn the lights on, off, or dim them, adjust the thermostat, close the garage door, or control the smart sprinkler. It can also help arm your home security system and serve as an in-home intercom.
The Amazon Echo Dot Smart Speaker is a 3rd generation speaker that features the company’s Alexa assistant. Its compact design makes it perfect for small spaces, letting you easily place it on your office desk, kitchen counter, or nightstand to use. It also has better sound quality than its predecessors, and you can pair it with another one of these smart speakers to enjoy some impressive stereo sound.This smart speaker is perfect for controlling your smart home with your voice, and it allows you to set timers, check the news, and even connect with friends. You can listen to music from popular streaming sites like Spotify and Apple Music, and you can turn its microphone off whenever you feel like it. A pretty affordable price tag and plenty of smart features help this smart speaker bag the top spot on our list.
- Compatible with popular music streaming platforms
- Can serve as an in-house intercom
- Offers full control over voice recordings
- Most advanced features require a premium subscription
The Bose Smart Speaker is a premium, sleek-looking speaker that comes with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant built-in. Its noise-rejection microphone makes it super responsive to your voice commands, and it offers three different controls to let you use it any way you want to — voice command, a plethora of one-touch presets, or the Bose Music app.With multiple connectivity options like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple AirPlay 2, you can conveniently enjoy listening to your favorite music with this smart speaker’s stereo sound. Using the manufacturer’s SimpleSync technology, you can even connect multiple speakers to enjoy synchronized music for a concert-like experience. This smart speaker also features a small LCD screen that will tell you what’s playing, something that sets it apart from other options on the market.
- Quick and easy setup
- Offers richer, fuller, and louder sound
- Sleek, durable design
- Does not play Audible audiobooks
The Sonos Smart Speaker is a compact set of speakers that’s great for both indoor and outdoor use. With multiple connectivity options, you can stream your favorite music anytime, anywhere, and you can easily control the device with voice commands, its app, or Apple AirPlay 2.If you’re a fan of high-quality audio, then this smart speaker can prove itself worthy with its automatic Trueplay tuning, deep bass, and expansive soundscape. Since Amazon Alexa is built into this speaker, you can control all of its actions with a simple voice command, from playing songs to looking things up. This smart speaker also boasts an IP56 rating, meaning that it can withstand rain, snow, UV rays, dust, and other extreme weather conditions.
- Ultra-durable — drop-resistant and weatherproof
- Battery-powered for increased portability
- Connects via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and USB
- Connectivity can be difficult
The Marshall Smart Speaker is a versatile speaker that can fill any room, large or small, with excellent sound quality. This speaker comes integrated with Alexa, letting you use voice commands to play music or carry out various tasks. It offers multiple connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AUX, and RCA, and you can turn Alexa off with a simple tap of its mute button.Thanks to this smart speaker’s noise cancellation microphone, Alexa can easily hear you over the sound of your music, no matter how loud it is. Using the physical controls or the speaker’s app, you can customize your music according to your preferences, and you can even play music wirelessly across different rooms with compatible Alexa devices.
- Easy to connect to Wi-Fi networks
- Multiple control options
- Comes with built-in Amazon Alexa
- Does not support the Apple Music app
The Poly Smart Speaker is a high-end device that’s officially certified for use with Microsoft Teams. You can press a button to access Teams, and a standard version without this compatibility is also available. With its multiple echo and noise-canceling microphones, this smart speaker is suitable for meetings and professional conferences.This smart speaker offers easy connectivity with various devices. You can use Bluetooth to connect it to your smartphone, and it also comes with a dongle to connect to computers and laptops for high-quality audio. This battery-powered smart speaker can last up to 20 hours before it needs to be recharged, and its IP64 rating means that’s highly resistant to water and dust.
- Connects to computers, laptops, and smartphones
- Offers high-quality sound
- Easy to set up
- Certified Microsoft Teams device
- Red mute light can be inconsistent
People Also Asked
Do smart speakers have good sound quality?
It depends on the type of speaker you have. If you choose a high-quality smart speaker, it will usually sound better than a cheap alternative.
What is the difference between a smart speaker and a Bluetooth speaker?
A smart speaker has built-in virtual assistants, like Amazon Alexa, that help you do much more than play audio, while a Bluetooth speaker can only play music after you connect it to your phone or computer. Smart speakers usually have Bluetooth connectivity, but not all Bluetooth speakers are smart devices.
Are smart speakers safe to use?
Any smart device with a microphone that’s always on can raise some ethical concerns, but if you opt for a reputable smart speaker, you shouldn’t be too concerned about your privacy.