CNET Smart Home
Tips on picking out the perfect smart speakerWe're here to help you decide between the Amazon Echo, the Google Home, the Apple HomePod and the rest.
[MUSIC] Smart speakers are of pretty new category of product. They were popularized by the Amazon Echo back in 2014. They are basically speakers that you set on your car or your table and then you can just talk to them and give a command. And so that having to access apps on your phone in your pocket, anybody within the shouting range change can give a command to the smart speaker with their voice and they're pretty easy to use and do a whole bunch of stuff. So picking the right smart speaker for you is pretty tricky but if you don't wanna deal All the nitty gritty and the ins and outs of the category, and you just want one to go out and get to give it a try, go get the Amazon Echo Dot. It's $50, it gives you all of the smarts of the regular Amazon Echo. And With the Amazon Echo Dot, you can do all of those fun, smart, speakery things. Plus, the Amazon Echo Dot plugs into your home speakers. So for the price and for the lower size, you lose some sound quality But you make up for that by plugging it into your own speakers and still having all of those smarts for the lower price. So as far as which one's the smartest, I'd go with the Google Home Mini. It responds to context in questions, so you can ask follow-up questions. Like if you ask, what movies is George Clooney in? And then say, how old is he Google's gonna understand that pronoun. He means George Clooney and answer the question. Plus, Google Home Mini recognizes different voices. So if you ask a question it'll give a different response from when I ask Question, cuz it'll know the difference between you and me. So if you really want your smart speaker to sound great, I'd go with the Sonos One. The Sonos One costs $200. It has Alexa built in, so you get all of Amazon's smarts. Google Assistant is gonna come to Sonos One as an update later. Asus, Apple, Airplay too, so you get the best of all of the worlds of the major smart speakers in this thing with great sound quality and then you can pair two of them for stereo sound. I haven't brought up the home pod much yet And it's because it's not right now quite as smart as the Amazon Echo Speakers, the Google Home Speakers it still sounds great. And if you just really want sound corner especially if you already have iPhone and you already use Apple music. Buying an Apple Home Pad makes sense. It's just that your limited to only using Apple music and Apple related services. So, Amazon Alexa and Google assistant work with a bunch of smart home stuff. So it's not as widely applicable, but if you're already an Apple fan and you want a smart speaker that sounds great, it's a pretty good option. So with all that in mind. Picking the best smart speaker for you comes down to two questions. You can either decide by the platform or by what you're looking for. If you already know you are a fan of Amazon, or Google, or Apple those first party smart speakers are fine. If you're already invested in Apple's ecosystem, go ahead and get the HomePod. If you want to play with Alexa, go ahead and get an Amazon Echo. That said, if you are more interested in sound quality or smart home controls or pure smarts, than you wanna be looking for a smart speaker more tailored to those specific needs. And fortunately, because this category has really blown up, there is a smart speaker out there that will be perfectly suited to exactly what you're looking for. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO]