If there is one segment of device that you would have bought for the first time this year is smart speakers. Amazon and Google are trying to enter your household with their digital assistants by offering smart speakers. The difference between a standard speaker and a smart speaker is that you can speak to the later. With smart speakers, you can listen to music but can do more things as well. For instance, you can book a cab or shop online or even order food. They can also be used to control other smart devices in your home. If you are still looking for a new smart speaker then these are the best right now in no particular order.
Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen)
The most versatile smart speaker in the market right now is the Amazon Echo Dot (3rd generation). It is priced at Rs 4,499 but available for Rs 3,499, making it one of the cheapest and intelligent smart speakers. Powered by Alexa, the Echo Dot can speak in both Hindi as well as English. It comes in four different colors and you can get a smart white bulb for just Rs 99 extra. The device works with compatible smart home devices from brands like Philips, Wipro, Syska, TP-Link. The Echo Dot is a tiny speaker and is a smart way to begin your smart speaker journey.
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Google Nest Mini
If you don’t want Alexa but instead need Google Assistant then Google Nest Mini is the place to start. The Nest Mini is priced at Rs 4,499 and is available for purchase in chalk or charcoal colors. The smart speaker offers better sound quality than its predecessor and also has a wall mount. The speaker offers better sound quality when mounted to the wall. It also supports a number of music streaming services and can be connected to other OTT platforms. You can also control smart home appliances by talking to Google Assistant.
Sony SRS-XB402M Smart Speaker
Amazon and Google lead the pack here but you can also get a smart speaker from Sony. The easiest way to describe it is that SRS-XB402M are much better sounding Alexa smart speaker. They come with Amazon Alexa to control smart devices, ask questions and get things done. When it comes to music playback, you get signature Sony sound, known for powerful bass. Priced at Rs 24,990, it has 53mm angled speaker units and uses hybrid material to reduce distortion. One of the coolest elements is lights that add a fun element to the smart speaker.
Google Nest Hub
While we have taken a look smart speakers primarily, there are models that come with a screen. The Google Nest Hub is one of our favorites in this segment. It is available for Rs 8,999 and the screen can act as a digital photo frame when not in use. There is also an ambient EQ to automatically match the lighting and colors in any room. It works with up to six users and offers personalized settings.
Lenovo Smart Clock
If you want a smart speaker with a small screen then look at Lenovo Smart Clock. As the name implies, it is meant to be used as a smart clock. There is a 4-inch touchscreen display that can be used to view your favorite photos, set alarms and control connected devices. It weighs under 350 grams and looks really nice.
Amazon Echo Show 5
What if you want Alexa in your smart speaker with a screen? There is a solution and it’s called Amazon Echo Show 5. While there is a 10-inch model, we recommend Amazon Echo Show 5 for most users. It has a compact 5.5-inch screen and it does connect to Alexa. The assistant can make Alexa things like reminding you about bill payments, kids’ classes and more. There is also a built-in camera to do drop-in calls or monitor a room. It is available for Rs 7,599 on Amazon India and comes in white or black color.
Bose Home Speaker 300
Sony’s competition in the smart speaker segment is the Bose Home Speaker 300. It launched at Rs 26,900 and is available at a discounted price of Rs 24,210 till January 5, 2020. They have a compact design and offers powerful bass as well. There is built-in Amazon Alexa, WiFi, Bluetooth and support for Apple AirPlay 2. They can be controlled with voice, touch or the app. The Bose Home Speaker 300 is for those who want great sound and convenience of Amazon Alexa.
Alexa has been expanding beyond Echo devices and their new home this year has been soundbars. Available on Yamaha YAS 109 and Yamaha YAS 209, these soundbars are smart and are available for Rs 21,230 and Rs 31,490 respectively. The YAS 109 features a built-in subwoofers while YAS 209 has a separate wireless subwoofer. They both come with WiFi connectivity to allow music playback via Spotify Connect, Amazon Music and other music services.
boAt Stone 200A
Amazon also launched Echo Input portable smart speaker this year as a device built for the Indian market. However, we recommend getting the boAt Stone 200A instead. It is one of the cheapest smart speakers with Alexa built-in and is available for Rs 1,999. The smart speaker comes with IPX6 waterproof and shockproof body. It packs a 2,000mAh battery and is rated to last for between 8 and 10 hours on a single charge. It can also be used to control smart home devices.
Amazon Echo Studio
Last but not the least is the Amazon Echo Studio. This is the best speaker ever made by Amazon and it supports high-fidelity audio. It is expensive at Rs 22,999 and is designed with those looking for great audio experience in mind. The Studio has five speakers for powerful bass and supports Dolby Atmos as well. It automatically senses the acoustics of your space and tunes playback to deliver optimal sound. The Echo Studio, of course, does usual Alexa things like control smart home devices, play music from streaming services and call others with Echo devices.