Best Smart Speakers in 2023
To begin with, the Best smart speakers are closely connected to larger ecosystems. You can use Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, or Google Assistant with just about any speaker you test. These digital assistants are what enable you to ask your speaker questions like the weather, access your calendar, and manage your music.
Each is typically associated with a distinct smart home platform, which determines the range of compatible devices. If you own an Apple TV 4K, you can forget about using an Amazon Echo Dot to operate it.
If you have all that figured out and are familiar with the platform, we can say with confidence that not every smart speaker on the market is worth your time, attention, or money. When we bring in the best smart speakers for testing, we frequently discover that their microphone setups are incapable of handling even mild ambient noise and hence fail to recognize user voice instructions in anything other than total quiet. Also, many of them don’t have top-notch sound quality because their designers prioritized intelligence over sound quality.
Our goal in compiling this buying guide is to save you time and money by letting you know exactly which goods we found to be the best in their respective categories after extensive testing. To ensure that each smart speaker on this list is worthy of your time and money, our reviewers have put them through extensive testing in both dedicated listening rooms and real-world homes.
Here are the best smart speakers in 2023:
1. Sonos Arc
Only a small number of soundbars currently on the market are compatible with voice assistants, but the Sonos Arc stands out above the rest. You may use it with either Google Home or Amazon Echo. It is compatible with the Sonos multi-room audio platform, allowing you to combine it with other Sonos speakers in your home theater or anywhere.
That said, the most impressive aspect of the Arc is how great it sounds on its own. Its multiple angled drivers and Dolby Atmos compatibility allow it to generate an extensive sound field with definitely contributes audio even without rear satellites, and its bass output means you probably won’t miss a subwoofer (which is good, because it works only with the Sonos Sub subwoofer, which costs almost as much as the Arc).
Everyone with a home theater who wants robust surround sound in a compact size will like this. As compared to the quality of the sound, the voice assistants (you can choose between Alexa and Google Assistant at any moment from the Sonos app) are merely a bonus. The assistants’ usefulness stands on its own, but having them here eliminates the need to place yet another tiny speaker in an inconspicuous corner.
2. Google nest mini(2nd gen)
The second generation of the Google Nest Mini is a smart speaker that can be controlled entirely by speech. The Nest Mini is tiny, measuring just 3.85 inches in diameter and 1.65 inches in height. It comes in several different tones, including some of my favorites—Chalk, Charcoal, Coral, and Sky.
The Nest Mini includes a Google Assistant that can be activated by voice commands and used to do things like play music, create reminders, answer queries, and manage other smart home devices. There is a noticeable upgrade in sound quality from the device’s predecessor, thanks to a larger speaker and more bass.
Controlling other smart home devices, such as lighting, thermostats, and security cameras is a major selling point for the Nest Mini. You can also use it to program routines, which execute a series of operations with a single instruction.
Using the Google Home app on your phone or tablet, the Nest Mini is simple to set up and manage. Touch controls on top of the gadget let you manage playback, pause, and volume without having to raise your voice.
To sum up, the Google Nest Mini (2nd gen) is a potent and flexible smart speaker that can improve the efficiency of your home. It’s an excellent alternative for individuals on a tight budget who want to get their smart home setup up and running.
3. Apple Homepod (2nd gen)
Another excellent smart speaker that’s easier on the wallet is Apple’s second-generation HomePod. This fashionable gadget, released in 2023, looks very similar to the now-defunct Apple HomePod (1st version), thus it should fit in with your current decor very well. The built-in Siri allows you to control the speaker by simply speaking into it.
Siri can still understand what you’re saying even if you’re a little ways off or if there’s a lot of background noise. On top of that, if you want some quiet time, you can simply tell Siri to stop listening.
This speaker’s exceptional bass performance sets it apart from competitors at this price point. Whether you’re listening to EDM or hip-hop, the extended low-bass reproduction will let you feel every beat.
In addition, the bass is present at lower volumes because of the bass-EQ microphone’s engineered flat response in the lower frequencies. Stereo coupling with additional suitable speakers is possible, as is home-wide audio distribution.
4. Amazon Echo Studio
The Amazon Echo Studio is worth a look. This stylish gadget contains a Zigbee hub in addition to its many smart speaker features. That allows you to use Alexa to manage other smart home devices, such as lights and thermostats, that are compatible with the speaker. In addition, Alexa provides an excellent performance as a voice assistant, which guarantees that the speaker will understand what you’re saying and act accordingly.
The balanced frequency response of the speaker allows for the accurate reproduction of vocals and instruments in a wide variety of musical genres. The Amazon Alexa app has bass and treble controls, so you may customize the sound to your liking. Nevertheless, bass-heavy songs don’t rumble quite as much as they do on the Apple HomePod (2nd version).
But, if electronic dance music (EDM) and hip-hop aren’t your things, you probably won’t detect much of a change. It provides superior performance for the money, making it a great value.
5. Amazon Echo Dot gen 4
If you’re looking for a smart gadget but don’t want to spend too much money, the Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4 is a fantastic choice. With built-in Alexa capabilities, this cheaper option provides the same powerful voice assistant performance as the more expensive Amazon Echo Gen 4.
The device has excellent voice recognition capabilities, so you can use it hands-free to do things like check the weather, add items to your shopping list, and more. It shares the same round shape and color options as its bigger relative. There will be more room for other things because it is a little smaller.
Not only is it smaller and less powerful than the Echo, but it also lacks capabilities like Zigbee hub connectivity for controlling other smart devices. The sound quality is acceptable, and it faithfully reproduces your music, making it more than adequate for a bedroom or a living area of ordinary size.
The Alexa mobile app allows you to alter the device’s bass and treble settings. The party doesn’t have to stay in one room if you pair it with other suitable speakers. For the price, this is a fantastic choice of speaker.
Which smart speaker, Alexa or Google, is better?
Which environment you prefer and end up using the most is entirely up to you. Both are compatible with the most widely used streaming providers, and each has advantages and disadvantages. Although Alexa is compatible with a wider variety of smart devices, this advantage is starting to fade. If you can’t make up your mind, get a smart speaker like the Sonos One that offers many inputs.
Do hands-free devices like smart speakers aid the visually impaired?
Smart speakers are wonderful for the visually impaired since they offer a lot of capability without the need for buttons. They shine when combined with other voice-activated smart home gadgets. These speakers put the “assistant” in voice assistance since they can do so much more than just play music or read the news when connected to a smart device.
Is there a way to plug an AUX device into a smart speaker?
The Marshall Stanmore II Voice is one example of a smart speaker that accepts 3.5mm audio input. Check to see if the speaker has an AUX input if you plan to use an external audio source.
Does anyone know if smart speakers support FM radio?
Not typically; an FM tuner is not included with most smart speakers. The best way to listen to the radio with these speakers is to stream a station from the internet. Like myTuner Radio, some services take FM broadcasts and convert them into online streams that can be listened to on smartphones.
Does a smart speaker typically have a rechargeable battery?
That happens infrequently. Bluetooth speakers with fewer features and a focus on portability are more likely to use batteries. We advise that you look for a smart speaker with either an internal or external battery if you plan on taking it with you (like the Bose Portable Home Speaker).
It’s common for smart speakers to act as the central processing unit (CPU) for an entire smart home’s automation system. In addition to playing music or reading the news, smart speakers may take voice commands and relay them to other electronic devices in the home. Choose the ideal smart speaker for your setting, as device functionality differs greatly.
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