It’s now more affordable than ever to add a smart speaker to your home, which not only acts as a high-end speaker system, but more importantly, works as a virtual assistant for users, helping to make everyday tasks like answering phone, sending texts, playing music, browsing for information, and ordering food a hands-free, voice-activated experience.
Using Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, smart speakers have a seemingly endless list of attributes, from playing music to helping users easily search for information or connect with friends and family through text messages. Running late and want to check the weather? Ask your smart speaker. Need to set a timer for the oven but your hands are covered in food? Tell your smart speaker to set it. Did you finally get comfortable in bed, only to realize you forgot to turn off the lights? Your smart speaker can do that as well. Most smart speakers work with other smart home technologies, including products by Philips Hue, TP-Link, Sony, ecobee, WeMo, SmartThings, Insteon, Lutron, Nest, Wink, Honeywell, creating a home that is perfectly customized to your shifting needs.
Not only do smart speakers pack huge convenience factors for users, but they’re also ideal for people with mobility issues. Whether you have problems with walking or with using your arms, or if there are areas of your home, like the corner with the thermostat, that you have difficulty reaching, smart speakers can be a literal lifesaver. For the elderly or anyone who has an accident at home, smart speakers’ voice-automated commands mean that you can call for help, whether that means sending a text to a friend or loved one or getting in touch with 911 during an emergency. If you have sight issues or just want to listen to audiobooks or get a rundown of the day’s biggest news stories, smart speakers have access to apps like Audible and NPR.
If you’re looking for a new speaker for your home or you’re ready to add the convenience of a virtual assistant, we have three smart speaker options that will make anyone’s life feel and sound better.
1. Echo Dot (3rd Gen)
This Echo Dot from Amazon maintains the compact size and shape of previous Echos, with a few significant improvements. This option includes an LED clock display right on the surface of the speaker, making it a great addition to a nightstand. Of course, the Echo uses Alexa, which is loaded with tens of thousands of skills. You can control smart devices like lights, hear news headlines, and of course, play music.
Pros: Features a built-in clock display, making it a good option for a nightstand. Connects to plenty of services for streaming and smart home connectivity.
Cons: The Echo with the clock is currently only available in one color.
2. Sonos One (Gen 2)
Built with a rich and powerful sound, the Sonos One is a smart speaker for those who want convivence and a high-quality speaker. The wireless WiFi-enabled speaker is able to work on its own or be paired with other Sonos speakers to create an immersive listening experience. The Sonos One has Alexa built-in, making it easy to set up and use.
Pros: Compact design with top of the line sound. Can be paired with other Sonos speakers for an immersive audio experience.
Cons: Somewhat expensive.
3. Bose Home Speaker 300, with Amazon Alexa built-in
When it comes to smart speakers, audio quality is often something of an afterthought. But with everything Bose does, sound quality is paramount. That’s why this speaker is a great option. It features robust Bose sound with Amazon Alexa built-in. The speaker has a sleek design, and the 360-degree speaker allows for more immersive audio coverage. In addition to Alexa, you can use this speaker with Google Assistant.
Pros: Sleek design, powerful speaker. Compatible with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. 360-degree speaker for wider sound coverage.
Cons: Initial setup can be challenging.