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Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
ExpertiseTy has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast.Credentials
Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Amazon's Alexa has surpassed Google Assistant as the more stable and superior voice assistant -- in fact, it's near the top of the list. That makes sense, considering its integration and compatibility with most smart devices on the market today. So if you're shopping around for a quality soundbar that's easy to use and fully integrated with Alexa, the landscape of options is plentiful.
Amazon's virtual assistant is available on models including the Sonos Beam, the Polk React and the superb follow-up Arc soundbar, as well as products from Yamaha and other well-known brands. When sifting through these options, it's important to consider the sound quality of every speaker, as well as the sensitivity of its microphones (which affects Alexa's ability to can hear you). After putting a group of Alexa soundbar models to the test, we'll compiled a list of the best soundbars with Alexa.
Yamaha's YAS-209 is the speaker to get if you want to replace an Amazon Echo and a soundbar with a single device with excellent sound quality. This smart speaker sounds great with movies, thanks to the implementation of DTS Virtual:X, and music is good, too -- thanks partly to the deep audio and bass of the wireless subwoofer. The onboard mics can also hear your voice command requests when the music is cranked all the way up, meaning you don't have to sacrifice Alexa voice control when you're rocking out. It's the Amazon Alexa TV soundbar all the others should aspire to be.
Currently less than half the price of the Sonos Beam, the $200 Polk React offers almost everything you could want in a smart speaker system, including the ability to upgrade. Sound quality is excellent, setup is a breeze, and using Alexa on the device is better than almost any other soundbar I can recall. Alexa understands you the first time you speak, no matter how loud the soundbar gets. The only downside is that it costs an extra $200 to add the sub.
The Sonos Beam soundbar works with the Amazon Alexa app and is compatible with Google Assistant voice services, making it one of the most flexible soundbars on the market. You can use the Sonos app to choose which smart assistant voice control you want in every room. The other selling points of this device include the excellent, robust Sonos multiroom system and super-enveloping, immersive sound experience while playing movies. You might want to add the (expensive) sub to get the most audio performance out of it, though. All in all, it's a solid smart soundbar that offers great sound quality and voice control.
At $899 the Sonos Arc may be the company's most expensive product, but it offers a lot of features and performance for the money. In addition to Amazon Alexa functions (and Google Assistant) the Arc also includes Dolby Atmos and the excellent Sonos multiroom app. This premium Sonos soundbar sounds great, and it's able to hear your voice command requests when the music is cranked.