Have you decided to upgrade your home with a smart speaker? But with the sheer number of smart speakers in the market, deciding on one could be slightly overwhelming. It was 2015 when the Amazon introduced their Amazon Echo followed by Google Home (now known as Google Nest). Apple debuted its HomePod in 2018. Not only this, but speakers from many third-party companies are also now being offered with support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
While there are a lot of speakers to choose from, too many options could be slightly confusing for someone who is not tech-savvy. We have listed a few key features which will help you decide which smart speaker to choose over another.
1. Size, Sound Quality and Price – This is where the search starts. You will need to consider size, the audio quality and the price range you are looking for. In a general statement, smaller and cheaper speakers will tend to have lower-quality audio. As you go up the size ladder, the overall build and audio quality will also increase. By examining these first parameters, you can narrow down your options. Moreover, the size and price might not be a true judge of the audio quality and so you will have to look for specifications like several internal speakers including woofers, tweeters etc. It is advised to look up for professional reviews or in-store demonstration.
2. Compatibility – While the size, audio quality and price could give you a basic idea of what you want, you will also need to check the compatibility of the speaker to best suit your needs. The main question here is if the speaker you purchase will play with the products you already own? If you plan to hook up your smart speaker to a Hi-Fi system, TV or other smart devices, you will need to confirm on the cross-compatibility of the devices with the speaker. Bluetooth connectivity and a 3.5mm line-out jack will be a requirement. You should also determine with your smart speaker will get along with the other desired speakers in the planned setup, making sure that the smart speaker can command your gadgets for you.
3. Bonus Features – It is important to look at the bonus features that you will get with the one model of the speaker that you purchase. For example, multi-user support for proper recognition of the user allowing to schedule different tasks for each individual. Multi-room streaming ability is also a very great feature for a smart speaker to have. It makes switching audio from one room to another easy if you like your music to move with you. Some of the newest smart speakers are also coming with small screens like smartphones which effectively makes them a small entertainment device for all. Smart speakers with displays also give you updates about weather conditions, your upcoming schedule and also on-screen controls. Try to get more for the money you are spending.
4. Choosing the Assistant – Since audio quality or bonus features are not the only things you look for when you buy a smart speaker. The on-board AI assistant will be a major influence in your buying decision. Alexa, Siri, Google Assitant, all of them are extremely capable. However, you will have to consider your ecosystem and if the assistant will be compatible with your devices. Tech giants offer specs and features which work well with their ecosystem of devices. So, if you re using a lot of Apple products, an Apple HomePod will be the best suited for you. A smart speaker is not only about sound but also about the AI assistant which will be ready to listen to you.