The Best Smart Speakers In 2019: With Virtual Assistant

The Best Smart Speakers In 2019: With Virtual Assistant

August 30, 2019 0 By Ini Brain

In this article, we are talking about the best smart speakers in the market; We have reviews on all of them, but right now we will talk about which smart speaker with a voice assistant, we think is best for you to get.

The category of smart speakers is growing fast, and there are lots of competition out there, so we want to make it easier for you to get them, so we put together our top best on this list. There are lots of them out there, but we think these are superior to others. So let’s jump right into it.

The first thing you should know before buying any smart home device or smart speakers is; choose a device compatible with a larger amount of smart home ecosystem.

There are many smart speakers out there with a unique design, but the overall functionality is still the same. With smart speakers, your options are limitless, so if you are going for design there is a speaker out there for you.

If you want the best sounding ones, there is one out there for you, if you want the one with a larger number of features there is one in the market for you. If you want one with a larger number of smart home ecosystems, there is one for you.

What are smart speakers?

Smart speakers are wireless speaker package with an inbuilt cloud voice assistant, they use different wireless protocol such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, infrared and other protocols to extend its functionality beyond playing music, they can control your smart home devices such as light, sensor, TV’s, security cameras and many more, answers queries and commands, tell you the latest news, traffic reports, play radio and many more, you can control these wireless speakers with your voice, you don’t have to lift a finger to perform any task with it.

You need to set them up; Each smart speaker has its own unique user-friendly interface application or smart program, and unique features that set it apart from its competitor. While smart speakers give you an audio response. There are also some smart displays for visual responses.

Google hub

What is a smart display?

A smart display is a smart speaker with a screen. They are touch screen enabled. They give you a visual response to every query or command, for an instant: if you say what is the recipes for baking a cake, the smart display gives you the visual content of the recipes.

For example; How to bake a cake would give you visual content (recipes and steps of action to take) and also a voice responds. You can also make video calls with them. Watch video feeds from your security cameras.

What is a voice assistant?

Voice assistant or virtual assistant is a cloud-based software agent that can interpret and respond to human speech. They carry out actions based on the command or query given to them.

They are mostly integrated into smartphones, tablets, computers, voice recognition applications and devices, smart TV, smart speakers, and their integration gets on increasing.

The leading voice assistant is Alexa by Amazon, the Google assistant by Google, Siri by Apple, Cortana by Microsoft, recently released Portal by Facebook, and coming out soon Bixby By Samsung. The Bixby is already integrated into Samsung’s latest phones; The smart speaker is to be released later this year. There are a lot more out there in the market and many more to come soon, as this would be part of the feature.

Smart speakers are way beyond playing and streaming music now, with the cloud base voice assistant in them, they can easily control wireless-enabled devices, like your Phillip Hue light, order products. Provide information like news, weather forecast, traffic report, set a reminder, answer questions and many other things.

smart speaker fact
Voicebot 2018 report

The key to the operation of smart speakers is the voice recognition technology that they use. Using voice recognition, it is possible for the smart speaker to understand what is being said and act upon it.

Advantage of smart speakers

The first advantage is that it makes your home chore easier, you can sit on the couch or lay in bed and control almost everything in your home, without lifting a finger.

A smart speaker can be a home companion and a great way to spend some family time together; There are lots of games you can play with them.

There also lets you play music from your phone or streaming services with a Wi-Fi connection. The number of things we can do with them is becoming limitless. And there are prone to get better.

Sonos one smart speaker

Sonos one

If you are a music lover or you just lover great sounding speakers, the Sonos One has the potential to be your new best music friend. Out of the box to set up is very easy. Just download the app and follow the simple steps. The compact design fits just about any space in your home.

The sound is outstanding. Keep that perception thing in mind. It fills your room with a deep and rich sound. Connects effortlessly to Amazon music, Sirius XM, Spotify, though it doesn’t connect to lots of streaming services yet; It is improving as time goes by.

Control it with your voice using the built-in smart assistant Alexa, or the Sonos app, Apple Airplay 2, and recently added the Google Assistant, Far-field microphone array, used for smart voice capture and noise cancellation.

So the speaker can hear you from afar distant like how the regular echo speaker and Google home speaker does. But then again, the voice and wake word recognition is lower compared to a regular Echo or Google Home. You can also pair two Sonos Ones in the same room for stereo split-up and fuller sound.

Control your entire smart home device with this speaker, anything that is Alexa’s enable will work with this smart speaker. Ask Alexa random questions, like the weather, traffic and more, you can set timers, create reminders, and yes, you can shop on amazon with it.

Best known for: Quality sounds smart speaker

Voice assistant: Alexa inbuilt, Airdrop, Google Assistant

Verdict

The Sonos one is one of the best sounding smart speakers out in the market, but the feature of the voice assistant still needs some work. The speaker is also great in any home (large rooms, Multi-Room, a small room)

Cons

Pros

Quality price

Easy to Set Up 

No calling feature

You can pair two as stereo speakers.  

No Bluetooth

Greater Sound

Supports Google and Amazon voice assistant. Plus Airplay

Amazon Echo Plus

The Amazon Echo Plus is a two in one device, a smart speaker and a smart hub. This is a perfect way to automate your home, as it would save you money, you need not get a smart home hub/bridge and a speaker with this option, and you get a 2 in 1 package for a lower price.

With the built-in ZigBee hub in it, you can easily set up compatible ZigBee devices such as lights, plugs, and more compatible brands. It requires no additional Hubs or apps. Just ask “Alexa, discover my devices” and your Echo Plus speaker will automatically discover and set up compatible ZigBee devices.

Now, the only con it has with the Hub feature is that; it can’t connect to Z-Wave devices. So you have to get only the ZigBee devices to use the inbuilt Hub. 

Echo Plus still connects to Alexa’s assistant, the cloud-based voice service, to play music, make calls, set timers and alarms, ask questions, get information, check the weather, traffic reports, manage a to-do and shopping lists, and more.   

With seven microphone arrays, beam-forming technology, and noise cancellation, Echo Plus can hear you from any direction—even while playing music or in a noisy environment.

Best known for: controlling your smart home device

Voice assistant: Alexa

Verdict

The design of the Echo Plus might not be that stunning, but with an inbuilt Hub it is a great device for controlling your smart home, and it also sounds great. 

Pros

Cons

Sounds great

ZigBee controller doesn’t support the Z-wave device

Simple set up

The exterior is not changeable.

powerful voice assistant

Temperature sensor

Google home mini smart speaker

Google Home Mini

The Google home mini has been competing with the Amazon Echo Dot in terms of features, size, and design, and as a low- budget smart speaker. The design of the Home Mini is amazing; It looks like a small doughnut, with a soft cloth fabric.

This is a small speaker, but the sound is way more superior compared to many smart speakers with the same price, it is a Bluetooth speaker, so you can play music from your phone or streaming services

You can pair it to another speaker, but if you want to pair it with other speakers, you will need a Google chrome cast to connect to it, it’s no big deal, but you will need an additional accessory which would cost you extra money.

It has a Google Assistant built-in, which is accurate, and you can do lots of things that you can do with Amazon Alexa, such as ask random questions, control your smart home devices, Play music, shopping on Walmart, and many more. But mind you this is not a smart home hub.

Voice assistant: Google Assistant

Best known for: A low-budget smart speaker with a great sound quality

Verdict

If you are looking for a smart speaker with a decent sound and a price tag of $50 or less. Then the Google home mini is the right speaker for you.

Pros

Cons

Low-budget price

No 3.5mm audio jack

Beautiful design

Smart voice assistant

Harman invoke smart speaker

Harman Kardon Invoke

The first thing you should know is that this smart speaker comes with Microsoft’s voice assistant, called: Cortana. This is right now behind the Google Assistant and the Amazon Alexa assistant in terms of features and capabilities.

It has this metal cylinder looks; led at the top, and a rotating bezel at the top, which allows you to control the volume. But it looks great and sounds great. She is also good at answering a question correctly, ordering foods, making calls, and controlling your smart home devices. Cortana also has skills you can enable to enhance its functionality.

It covers the basics of being a smart speaker, and it also a Bluetooth speaker. The Cortana is also a great sounding speaker just like the Sonos One.

Sadly, the voice assistant works with fewer music streaming services. (iHeartRadio, Spotify, Groove Music, and TuneIn). But I am sure more would be integrated as time goes by.

Verdict

The Harman Kardon Invoke is a nice looking smart speaker with great sounds. Its voice assistant, Cortana still needs some upgrade to match its competitors, the Google Assistant, and Amazon’s assistant. So if you love the product of Microsoft and a great sounding speaking with a beautiful design. This is the speaker for you. 

Voice assistant: Cortana

Best known for: Good looking smart speaker with a great sound

Pros

Cons

Beautiful design and a premium finish

Cortana needs more work to meet up with Alexa and the Google assistant

Great Sound Quality

Limited music service integration

The Jb Link smart speaker

JB Link

The category of the portable smart speaker is growing fast, but our favorite is the JB Link. This is an outdoor speaker. Unlike most smart speakers like the Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod, and Google Home, this is a speaker you can move around without always plugging it in a particular place.

The more perfect reason you should get them is, not only can you use them to control your smart home device at home because they have the Google Assistant built-in. But you can use them as your portable Bluetooth speaker.

So the idea for this portable smart speaker is; I have a smart speaker at home which I control my smart home with, listen to music and more, but now I am going camping, I can take the same speaker with me to listen to music.

Best known for: portable smart speaker

Voice assistant: Google assistant

Verdict

So if you are looking for a smart speaker with a great battery life, good audio quality, features, nice design, durability. Then, the JB link 20 or the JB link 10 is your speaker.

Pros

Cons

Portable

Micro-usb charging

Great Sound

using the voice assistant still needs more work

Google Assistant integration

Short battery life

The amazon echo 2nd generation

Amazon Echo (2nd generation)

The Amazon Echo 1st generation is the first smart speaker with a voice assistant, now the 2nd generation Echo has good audio quality, a nice fabric design, a nice-looking ring led light for different actions with the voice assistant. 

With the Echo, you can play music from your phone, control your smart home, you can ask questions, shop on amazon and set a timer. It does everything you have expected from a smart speaker you can do with this speaker. And it has that calling feature. You can call anyone with the speaker. 

You can also enable skills on this device or any of the Amazon Echo devices to use more of its functionality. There is lot skill you can enable on you enable. There is a 3.5m audio jack at the back, so you can hook it up to a more superior sounding speaker if you want to.

Voice assistant: Alexa

Best known for: Super smart speaker under $100

Verdict

If you just want a smart speaker with decent audio quality and nice look, for $100 or under. The Echo is the right speaker for you.

Pros

Cons

Can hear you from a far distant

In depth, in mid-tones are missing.

Improved audio

Custom sleeves are expensive at $20.

Stereo pairing

3.5m Audio jack

Echo dot 3rd generation smart speaker

Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation

The amazon echo dot is in stiff competition with the Google Home Mini, Amazon has to up their game in looks and sound with the 3rd generation Echo dot.  Both smart speakers compete in features, design, and sound and as a low budget smart speaker.

If you are planning on getting over one voice assistant speaker in your home, you can do that with the Echo dot, with a low price tag of $49.99, you can get it cheaper especially on prime if you shop with Amazon.

You can control your smart home, shop on Amazon, make calls, play music, ask a question, just like every other speaker with a voice assistant. You get all the functionality of the regular echo in a smaller with a lesser price.

Voice assistant: Alexa

Best known for: low budget smart speaker

Verdict

If you want a low budget smart speaker from Amazon, with a decent sound, beautiful design. The Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation is the speaker you need.

Pros

Cons

Nice design

No longer USB-powered

Improved Audio

3.5mm jack 

Low-budget price

Google Home Smart speaker

Google Home

Google Home is Google’s first smart speaker. They have been other releases like the Google home max, Google home mini, and the Google home hub for smart display and many more.

Amazon has the largest number of smart speakers. Both Google is now in good competition with them. Many experts have concluded that Google’s assistant is smarter than Amazon Alexa. You can check that out with the link below.

Also read: Google Home vs. Amazon Echo

The Google Home can do all those great things smart speakers can do, control your light, TVs, listing to music and so on. You can also shop online and set routines with them just how the echo does.

It comes with a greater sound, good design that can fit in any room; you can pair them up as a stereo speaker.

Best known for: super sound, smart speaker under $100

Voice assistant: Google assistant

Verdict

The regular Google home is your choice, if you want a smart speaker, you can control your smart home with. With a price tag of $100, you can have this great sounding smart Google assistant in your home.

Pros

Cons

Sound is good

Smart home capability needs to expand

Design is awesome.

Lesser skills compared to Amazon Alexa

Can hear me from a distance.

Recognize different voices

Apple Home Pod smart speaker

Apple Home Pod

If you are one of those apple product fans like me, who likes to have every device with the apple logo, this is your smart speaker. Although, I prefer other smart speakers and smart home devices to Apple products.  The speaker in this device is amazing compared to the Sonos One and Google home max.

This is a Siri powered device that controls your smart home devices, plays music from iTunes, and Apple music. It limits streaming music services to this device for now. The smart home feature still needs some work for it to match the Google Home and the Amazon Alexa. You can also pair it up as a stereo speaker and make calls with the speaker.

Voice assistant: Siri

Best known for: Apple product lovers smart speaker

Verdict

The Apple HomePod still needs some work. I am sure it will get better as time goes by. But for now, it is lesser compared to Google and Amazon smart speakers.

Pros

Cons

Powerful sound

No multi-user support

Control of HomeKit devices

iOS user only

No radio

Lacks Bluetooth

Premium Price

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