A stylish gadget: how to choose a smart speaker
In 2018, popularity of smart speakers is growing in the smart devices market. Analysts of Canalys forecast that the novelty will enter the list of the fastest sold gadgets by the end of the year.
How smart speakers work
Smart speakers are a new class of devices that were not even designed several years ago. They are a hybrid of sound columns and voice assistants people use in smartphones. Smart speakers for a smart home are also equipped with an audio assistant that can fulfil queries of owners. What for does one need such a device?
- Listening to music via Bluetooth or on the web;
- Voice management of a smart house;
- Internet surfing, voicing of news, and many other things.
Moreover, smart speakers often become a real control center for the smart house system using voice: the system recognizes speech, can analyze it, and fulfil requests.
Smart speakers: the best models review
Google, Amazon, and Apple products are the most popular in the market, but note that smart speakers have not been taught to recognize the Russian language yet.
This model is available in two variants – Mini and Max. Quality and price significantly differ, but functions are almost the same.
Google Home Mini is very compact and light, does not require much space, but has quite a low sound. The speaker is intended for communication and usage of Google Assistant rather than listening to your favorite tracks. It can be connected via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and is customized for Google cloud service.
If you love quality sound, giant Google Home Max will be a better match for you. It substantially outperforms rivals of the same price segment in terms of sound, and high response level of microphone. The speaker has a line input.
With its voice assistant Alexa, the company was the first to develop the market in late 2016. The speaker is multifunctional. It can read news, search for music, manage a smart house, and look for required information on the Internet. The disadvantage is a low sound power level. Besides, Amazon Echo is not officially sold in Russia.
Apple has been developing its speaker for quite a long time, focusing on the sound quality of music. The device will bring joy to fans of the brand, as it is customized for the traditional user system. For instance, the speaker works using Siri assistant, which can be launched only on iPhones or other Apple products. Overall, the device is for real lovers of Apple.
Xiaomi Mi AI Speaker
Gadgets of Chinese developers are equipped with their own, specially designed for them voice assistant. The price is low, but the device does not stand out for great functionality. The voice assistant is customized for the Chinese users. The speaker can be connected via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, excellently responds to smart house control commands. However, the speaker communicates in the Chinese language only.
Harman Kardon Invoke with Cortana by Microsoft
Being a voice assistant developer, Microsoft decided not to stand aside by releasing speakers in collaboration with the monster of the speaker hardware market – Harman Kardon. The main peculiarity of the device is the embedded Cortana assistant.
The speaker is not big, sound quality is above average thanks to three quality dynamics. It offers a standard connection with the smart house – via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
If you opt to choose a smart speaker hoping that the Russian language will be supported soon, pay attention to Google products. The company often releases updates, so chances are high that a corresponding interface will be added. Unfortunately, the model with the quality sound costs a lot. Harman Kardon Invoke would be a more universal and budget purchase, as the gadget does not require compatibility with some specific operating system and has good value for money.