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Looking for a smart speaker? Here’s what you need to know

20th February 2018

Smart speakers are fast becoming a common household object, with more and more people jumping on board with new technology.

The obvious uses for them are speakers, virtual assistants and the ability to control your other smart home accessories, such as lighting, but the great thing about popular smart speakers is that they all differ slightly, so choosing the most suitable one for you actually becomes a little easier. We’ve rounded up the top benefits, for each of the main contenders, so you don’t have to;

Apple’s Homepod

The newest addition to the smart speaker market is Apple’s Homepod, which arrived in the UK earlier this month.

Who is it for?

The music lover. The Homepod has much more audio technology built into it, giving it remarkably better sound quality than most of the other speakers, as well as having the Musicologist feature which can give you extensive knowledge of songs, instruments, artists, albums etc. when you are playing songs through Apple Music.

Other benefits?

Much like the other smart speakers, Apple’s Homepod uses the virtual assistant, Siri, to answer basic trivial questions and follow commands, as well as controlling other smart home accessories such as your lighting.

Downsides?

The major downside for most people is that it is only compatible with Apple’s technology i.e. Apple Music, which isn’t great for people who have a Spotify subscription! Another downside is that the VA, Siri, doesn’t flow as well as the competitors and still sounds the most ‘robotic’.

Price?

It does come at a hefty cost of £319 which is way above the rivals.

 

Amazon Echo

Probably the most well-known smart speaker on the market at the minute, Amazon are definitely ahead of the game here with multiple versions of the speaker like their recent addition, Echo Plus.

Who is it for?

The super-organised (or not). If you’re looking for the best virtual assistant, Alexa is the one for you. The assistant has many commands saved so playing music, finding out the latest news or even ordering something on Amazon can be done with ease. The VA also constantly learns and figures out your speech patterns and vocabulary to better suit you and your family.

Downsides?

The audio quality is not great on the Amazon Echo, so if you’re looking to play music this is probably not the best one for you. There is also an issue with Alexa, who can struggle with complex commands.

Price?

Significantly cheaper than the Apple Homepod, the Amazon Echo comes in at £89.99. Prime members can benefit from their fast delivery too.

 

Google Home

The Google Home mixes decent audio with a clever virtual assistant and an affordable price tag.

Who is it for?

For the Android user. The Google Home is perfect for a family of Android users, the Google Assistant has extensive knowledge and conversational abilities and is context-aware, which gives it a slight edge on the other assistants.

Downsides?

The device apparently finds it difficult to pick up voices from a distance and doesn’t have as many ‘skills’ as the Amazon Echo.

Price?

The cost of the Google Home comes at a middling £129.

 

If you’re looking to smarten up your home all of these devices are perfect, but read a little into them before you make the plunge.

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