Wireless devices and speakers with in-built AI-powered voice assistants are a rage nowadays. Imagine your reading the news, playing your favorite music, adding things to the shopping list, or controlling the compatible home appliances with only a voice command. Smart voice assistants for smartphones had been there for a while but Amazon popularised this idea for homes with Alexa, its virtual assistant. From just being normal speakers, the category has evolved into various smart devices. While some of the famous virtual assistants include Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Assistant, only smart devices powered by Google Assistant and Alexa are widely available in the nation. These are commonly known as smart speaker Google and smart speaker Alexa. Here, are some of the important tips to buy a smart speaker.
Interestingly, you can interact with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant in Hindi too. If you are planning to get one, here is a list of all the recent smart speakers and displays that have been introduced in the country.
1. Echo Dot 3rd Gen: Being the best-selling Alexa-powered device from Amazon, the Echo Dot not only answers all your questions but can be used for controlling Wi-Fi enabled smart devices also. This compact circular speaker with a fabric design looks great and comes with four microphones to choose the command from any corner of the room. Available at a cost of Rs. 3,999, the Echo Dot 3rd generation retails for Rs 2,499 during the Amazon sales.
2. Echo Input: Do you already have a speaker and do not want to spend money on a smart speaker? Echo Input will assist you to upgrade your current speaker into a smart one. This small circular device is powered by Amazon Alexa and will bring all important features to the existing speaker available on the Echo or Echo Dot. You can pair it with your current speaker through a 3.5 mm audio cable or over Bluetooth.
3. Echo Dot with a clock: A new addition to the Echo family, the Echo Dot with a clock comes with a bright LED display that shows outdoor temperature, time, alarms, and timer. The addition of display makes it easier to be placed next to your bed, on the table of your living room or kitchen counter. LED display adjusts automatically depending on the brightness of a room, so you can see the time easily or just ask to see outdoor temperature or to fix a morning alarm. Also, you can tap the top part of the speaker to snooze an alarm.
4. Google Mini: Catching up with the popularity of Amazon Echo and Alexa devices, Google also has launched a wide range of Google Assistant supported hardware. An entry-level Google Mini retailing for a discounted cost of Rs. 2,799 is a good-looking smart speaker with fabric on top of it. Google Assistant is powered by the search engine of the company, and the response is much superior when compared to the ones that are answered by competition. Similarly, like Echo Dot, even this one can be utilized for controlling compatible smart devices. Also, it works with Chromecast, that is, it can stream tunes as well as TV shows on speakers or TV right from the place where you are.
Tips to Buy a Smart Speaker
Select your Ecosystem- One of the important tips to buy a smart speaker is to choose it as per your ecosystem. Consider a smart speaker as a hub in a larger digital environment. With most of the models, you will need a mobile app on a tablet or smartphone to perform a basic setup. All models work in connection with cloud-based artificial intelligence, which controls all the things from streaming music to the ability of the speaker to interface with various other smart devices, ranging from refrigerators to lightbulbs.
So, before you choose a speaker, you must think about which online tribe you belong to Apple, Amazon, or Google?
Amazon’s Alexa has enjoyed something of a first-mover benefit. That signifies a wide variety of devices already work with Alexa-powered smart speaker, so you will find a robust variety of third-party tasks or skills in Alexa parlance- the speaker can perform. Alexa-powered devices are well-incorporated in the Amazon Prime Universe, with multiple features like the Amazon Music service and the robust shopping tools of online retailers.
However, Google has been coming on strong in recent months, adding device integration with organizations like JBL and more third-party actions, while piggybacking on the impressive search capabilities of the tech giant. The ability of Google Home to incorporate easily with Google devices like Chromecast streaming players is a benefit for several customers.
The newly introduced HomePod by Apple lacks the Sir experience that is available on other iOS products, as per experts. On the contrary, if you are genuinely embedded in the Apple universe, with a subscription to Apple Music, and a bag which is with MacBooks and iPhones, that difference might not matter to you.
Bluetooth- It is a handy workaround if you want to listen to music on a smart speaker that does not support your service that you are looking for. You can just tap in through your PC or smartphone.
Cross-platform support: Checking whether it comes with cross-platform support is one of the various tips to buy a smart speaker. Most of the manufacturers are slowly expanding their partnerships with third-party organizations that are involved in designing home devices. If you own or are planning to buy smart appliances and various entertainment products from certain companies, find out whether they can communicate with each other directly or not. This makes the entire set-up procedure simpler.
Look towards the future- In several ways, the smart speaker idea is still in progress. Manufacturers can and do constantly add different new features with firmware or software updates.
For example, Sonos had promised to update its Sonos One Smart speaker to support Apple AirPlay and Google Assistant by end of this year. Apple has added multiroom expertise and stereo pairing capacity to the HomePod using a recent software update.
Sonos, for example, has promised that it will update its Sonos One smart speaker to support Apple AirPlay and Google Assistant later this year. Apple has added stereo pairing and multiroom capability to the HomePod through a recent software update. And the people behind Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant are pushing smaller updates regularly.
Think something different- The cheapest smart speaker, Google Home Mini, and the Amazon Dot, have their restrictions, mainly in terms of the quality of the sound, and they suffer in our rankings due to that. But they provide a lot of performance for the money.
If you are not going to use them for listening to music, these budget devices, each costing $50, will allow you to join the smart-speaker movement with various digital assistants every bit as useful as those in many high-priced models.
One of the most important tips to buy a speaker:- If you decide that you want a better sound, you can pair these small devices with different non-smart wireless earphones-maybe, say, for instance, great-sounding models like the Edifier S1000DB or flexible multiroom models from the Sonos or Denon’s Heos line.