24 February 2024

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Best smart speaker

Best Smart Speaker Buying Guide: Features, Top Picks, and More

A best smart speaker is a necessity in today’s connected home, providing access to music and other audio content, data, tools, and utilities that are useful around the house. You will also be able to voice-control any smart appliances and IoT gadgets you own, such as air purifiers, robot vacuum cleaners, and smart bulbs. Naturally, the more a smart speaker can do, the better. However, because audio material is typically the primary use case for a best smart speaker, you’ll want to be sure you have a device that sounds well.

Because of the dependency on a decent voice assistant system, smart speakers are currently generally confined to only a few companies. However, with Google and Amazon offering up access to their own voice assistants to other businesses, many more alternatives across price groups are now accessible. Before we get to our suggestions, let’s first go through one of the basics of smart speakers, namely what makes a speaker “smart.”

What is smart speaker?

It isn’t required to define a speaker, but it is important to explain what a’smart’ speaker is and how it differs from the traditional wired or wireless speaker or speaker system. Aside from the ability to broadcast audio loud enough to be heard in a small space such as a living room, a smart speaker is always connected to the Internet (typically via a Wi-Fi connection) and relies on this to obtain audio content, weather information, and more.

It can also use this Internet connectivity to provide basic information, manage smart products in the home such as light bulbs, air purifiers, and cleaning robots, and even domestic tools and utilities such as alarms, timers, and reminders. Many smart speakers include Bluetooth connectivity and may be used as standard Bluetooth speakers.

Because most smart speakers lack a built-in battery, they must be charged by an external power outlet. Some best smart speakers include a built-in battery and can function remotely, however this isn’t very popular in the market.

Should you buy a best smart speaker?

Because most smart speakers can’t accomplish much without a decent Wi-Fi connection, consistent internet access is an essential necessity for a smart speaker. You’ll also need access to audio streaming services; while there are free choices, using a paid streaming service like Spotify or YouTube Music with a smart speaker produces the best results. Of course, you’ll need the proper accounts set up in order to get the most out of your smart speaker. In the absence of them, you’re generally better off with a traditional Bluetooth speaker.

If you have smart appliances or other IoT devices in your house, a smart speaker can let you control them by simply speaking to the default voice assistant. Even the ability to play certain music tracks, playlists, or genres using simply your voice is a really handy tool that will make your listening sessions much more smooth. Finally, compared to Bluetooth, streaming music and other audio material through Wi-Fi allows for more bandwidth, so you’ll receive greater sound quality while still enjoying the benefits of wireless streaming and communication.

Google Nest Audio is the best smart speaker

It’s rarely to come across a device with no major flaws, and the Google Nest Audio is one of best smart speaker. Although comparable to the Google Home smart speaker line, the Rs. 7,999 Google Nest Audio is a significant step up in terms of appearance, sound quality, and the capacity to pick up voice instructions from across the room. Today, you simply will not find a best smart speaker for less than Rs. 10,000.

The Google Nest Audio, which comes in two colours – Chalk (white) and Charcoal (black), sits upright on a tabletop and looks wonderful with its fabric-wrapped shell. There is only one physical switch at the rear to mute the microphone, and the top of the speaker includes a touch sensitive area to control playback, volume, and basic functions. All of this contributes to an efficient design that encourages you to use your voice to operate the speaker, and voice commands work really well on the Google Nest Audio.

Apart from the microphones’ ability to pick up noises from across a room, Google Assistant is continually developing and performs quite well with the Google Nest Audio. It’s simple to set up Google Assistant to operate smart appliances, and basic instructions and inquiries frequently register correctly on the first try. Apart from attaching a streaming service and requesting audio songs, playlists, artists, and genres, there’s also Bluetooth connectivity and Chromecast Audio compatibility, providing you lots of options for how to stream music on the device.

The Google Nest Audio is one of our favourite smart speaker selections because of its excellent sound quality. The sound is powerful, clear, and exact, similar to a wired speaker system of comparable price. Of course, the music quality is better while streaming through Wi-Fi, but it also sounds good via Bluetooth. All of this combines to make the Google Nest Audio our top selection among smart speakers.

Runner-up – for premium sound quality: Amazon Echo Studio

Although there are several Echo smart speaker devices available, none can compete with the Amazon Echo Studio. The Amazon Echo Studio, priced at Rs. 22,999, is one of the smartest, largest, and most costly best smart speakers available in India right now.

The Amazon Echo Studio provides strong, clear, and engaging sound, much better than everything else in the class, thanks to an amazing five-driver system that comprises three mid-range speakers, one tweeter, and one subwoofer. Combine this with the advantages of Amazon’s Alexa speech assistant, and you have best smart speaker that performs almost everything you want and sounds fantastic doing it. You can even wirelessly connect the Amazon Echo Studio to a Fire TV device, allowing you to use it as a sound system for your television, but we did see some sound latency with this set-up.

Perhaps the only true negative is the price; for the same money, you can get a quality soundbar or speaker system, and despite all of its outstanding attributes, the Echo Studio is only a single speaker. However, it is the final loudest and best-sounding single-box smart solution available right now, and merits a spot in our top selections for that reason.

Runner-up – for Apple fans: Apple HomePod mini

Apple isn’t as dominant in the smart speaker market as Google and Amazon, but the HomePod lineup recently received a significant update. The Apple HomePod mini, priced at Rs. 9,900, is smaller and less expensive than the HomePod, making it more accessible and simple to use. It’s also excellent for Apple fans, as using the smart speaker requires an iOS device and an Apple Music membership.

The smart speaker employs Apple’s Siri voice assistant, which, like other comparable assistants, can be accessed hands-free using the ‘Hey Siri’ command. To play certain tunes, you’ll need a paid subscription to Apple Music, as the smart speaker does not support alternatives streaming services like Spotify or YouTube Music. Apple has specifically announced that its Lossless Audio tier would be supported on the HomePod mini via a future software update.

Two HomePod small speakers can also be used as a stereo pair. We did have some connectivity troubles while using stereo pairing, and smart capabilities are at best minimal due to the restricted support for IoT appliances and gadgets. However, the HomePod mini’s sound quality is exceptional for its size and form aspect, and it functions extremely well within the Apple ecosystem, making it a wonderful choice if you already have Apple products at home.

Sony SRS-XB402M is the greatest totally wireless smart speaker

Most smart speakers have built-in batteries and must be connected into a power outlet to function. However, there are a few solutions that can be used as best smart speakers with full functionality while being fully wire-free. In our opinion, the finest of these possibilities is the Sony SRS-XB402M, which costs Rs. 19,990.

This is an best smart speaker for a variety of reasons, including direct Wi-Fi access to Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, the ability to use Spotify’s Connect function to stream via Wi-Fi, IP67 dust and water protection, and superb sound quality. Because of the built-in battery, you don’t have to keep the Sony SRS-XB402M plugged in all the time, making it a fantastic choice for outdoor use.

Apart from the Wi-Fi-based abilities, there is, of course, classic Bluetooth connectivity. However, the Sony SRS-XB402M’s high price and the fact that Alexa’s communication functions do not operate on non-Amazon devices hold this totally wireless smart speaker back a little.

Mi best Smart Speaker is the most affordable

Smart speakers exist in a variety of sizes and designs, but most of the options priced around Rs. 5,000 are small and only suitable for desktop or bedside use. The Mi Smart Speaker is an exception to this trend, producing strong, powerful sound that matches the Google Nest Audio while being fairly priced at Rs. 3,999. It’s a full-fledged smart speaker with access to Google Assistant and a reported sound output of 12W.

While the sound occasionally lacked finesse and the appearance was a bit dull in comparison to the better-looking fabric-wrapped choices from Google and Amazon, the Mi Smart Speaker is a good value for money with powerful, pleasurable sound and handy smart capabilities. If money is an issue, this is the one to choose.

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