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For buyers of smart speakers, price is king

A poll finds that price matters more than brand name, sound quality or even voice-recognition skills.

Michelle Meyers
Michelle Meyers wrote and edited CNET News stories from 2005 to 2020 and is now a contributor to CNET.
Michelle Meyers

Apple's HomePod promises better sound than its rivals ... and the biggest price tag.

James Martin/CNET

Are you excited about the better sound quality promised by Apple's new high-end HomePod smart speaker?

If so, a new poll suggests you're in the minority of US consumers.

Morning Consult polled 2,200 adults between June 8 and 12 about what features matter most when buying a voice-controlled smart assistant. Thirty percent of respondents said price mattered most, more than double the 14 percent who said the accuracy of the device's voice recognition was the top priority.

That's not to say features like audio quality and compatibility don't matter. It's just that price trumped the rest.

That could make it hard for the HomePod, which is scheduled to go on sale in December for $350. Amazon, in the smart speaker business since late 2014, sells its Echo for $179.99. Google's Home speaker, introduced last year, sells for $129.

You can get the full breakdown of poll results here (PDF).

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