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Tech & ScienceThe best smart speakers for 2019

12:20  25 august  2019
12:20  25 august  2019 Source:   cnet.com

Google launches review after leak of audio conversations

Google launches review after leak of audio conversations Google said it was conducting an internal review after it discovered confidential audio had been leaked by a contractor of private conversations with its digital assistant. 

What Can Smart Speakers Do? Speakers that talk to us have been around for decades. Speakers that we can talk to, on the other hand, are still pretty new. Thanks to voice assistants, you can get a smart speaker that won't just play music, but will do whatever you tell it to.

The best smart speakers with a screen 2019 . 1. Google Home Hub. That being said, this is not a speaker for audiophiles - it works well enough to play music in the background while you do chores or read, but it doesn't pack big enough of a sonic punch to serve as your main speaker for listening to

The best smart speakers for 2019 © Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Amazon helped popularize smart home devices and smart speakers with the original Echo and the now-famous virtual assistant known as Alexa, but today you have a variety options from several different companies. As far as hardware, the differences largely come down to size, price and audio quality. If you don't need much oomph from your music, you can save money and get the same smarts in a smaller body.

Our favorites, the Amazon Echo Dot and the Google Home Mini, are both awesome smart devices. Pretty much all of your options, including the two above, let you turn on the lights, play music, ask a question, set a reminder and more with simple voice commands. If that sounds appealing to you, it might be time to give in to the growing hype of this burgeoning category and buy a smart speaker.

Google launches review after leak of audio conversations

Google launches review after leak of audio conversations Google said it was conducting an internal review after it discovered confidential audio had been leaked by a contractor of private conversations with its digital assistant. 

The best smart speaker for the bathroom: JBL Link 20. Bill Roberson/Digital Trends. Why you should buy this: You want a smart speaker in your bathroom that Here are the best shows on Netflix right now (August 2019 ). Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best

Our best smart speaker 2019 guide will make choosing the perfect device a whole lot easier – we've extensively tested just about every product on the market and will talk you through all the options you've got. Without further delay, here are our picks for the best smart speakers you can buy in 2019

Amazon , Google and Apple all make competent smart speakers, and the competition between these tech giants has made this category better and better.

The best smart speakers for 2019 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.
Tips on picking out the perfect smart speaker

If you have an affinity for one of those brands in particular, your job of picking a speaker is easy. The $350 Apple HomePod is your only option if you want a Siri-enabled smart speaker, but the good news is it has great sound quality.

If you're platform-agnostic, the range of choices might seem intimidating at first. But picking the best smart speaker can be easy if you know what you're looking for. We're here to help you do just that.

Note that the products discussed here are independently chosen by our editors. CNET may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

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With smart speakers from Amazon, Google and Apple as well as third-party products from the likes of Sonos, we can help you choose from all the exciting Figure out what platform or features you'd like, and you should be able to quickly narrow down your options and find the best smart speaker for you

The best smart speakers with a screen 2019 . 1. Google Home Hub. That being said, this is not a speaker for audiophiles - it works well enough to play music in the background while you do chores or read, but it doesn't pack big enough of a sonic punch to serve as your main speaker for listening to

Best overall: Amazon Echo Dot (third generation), $50

The best smart speakers for 2019 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

Alexa's still the best. Amazon's voice assistant still has more capabilities than Google's Google Assistant and Apple's Siri. If you don't want to deal with the nitty-gritty of the category and just want to try out a smart speaker, get this one.

The third-gen Amazon Echo Dot looks and sounds better than previous versions and still only costs $50. It offers all of the same smarts as more expensive Echo devices. You sacrifice some audio quality for the size and price, but it plugs into your own speakers, so you can easily make up for that difference.

$50.00 AT AMAZON

Best sound quality for the price: Sonos One, $199

The best smart speakers for 2019 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

The about-$200 Sonos One allows you to pair two units to play stereo sound or multiroom audio, but even a single speaker sounds awesome playing a wide variety of music genres and it costs significantly less than other smart speakers with premium sound quality like the Google Home Max and the Apple HomePod.

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The best speakers : GoldenEar Technology Triton Five. The best speakers for home theater: SVS Prime Tower Surround. Our only gripe is that the Concert is an Alexa-only smart speaker for now, which means that if you’re already committed to Google’s smart home ecosystem, it’s not as

The best smart speakers with a screen 2019 . 1. Google Home Hub. That being said, this is not a speaker for audiophiles - it works well enough to play music in the background while you do chores or read, but it doesn't pack big enough of a sonic punch to serve as your main speaker for listening to

Better yet, the Sonos One has both Alexa and Google Assistant built in -- simply pick which one you'd like to use during setup. Plus, Sonos has Apple's AirPlay 2 so you can control it with any Siri-enabled device, including your iPhone.

Add it up and the Sonos One is a great-sounding, reasonably priced smart speaker that can fit into households centered around Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri. That's a tough pitch to beat.

$199.00 AT AMAZON

Best for personalized assistance: Google Home Mini, $49

The best smart speakers for 2019 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

Amazon used to be the unquestioned ruler of the smart speaker world, but Google has done an admirable job of catching up. At this point, picking between the lowest-price models from the two companies -- the Amazon Echo Dot or the Google Home Mini -- comes down to splitting hairs. The Dot is still our favorite overall, but by a small margin.

Google Assistant now has almost as many capabilities as Alexa, making the $50 Google Home Mini a solid alternative to the Amazon Echo Dot. Plus, Google Assistant is a little smarter than Alexa. It responds more flexibly to commands if you can't remember the exact name of your smart home devices, and Google's grouped commands, called routines, work with more types of devices than Amazon's similar routines. Google Assistant can recognize multiple voices, so it'll give you and your spouse different answers if you each ask about your calendars, though Alexa can now do this too.

Philips TVs and speakers to support DTS Play-Fi multi-room audio

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The best smart speakers with a screen 2019 . 1. Google Home Hub. That being said, this is not a speaker for audiophiles - it works well enough to play music in the background while you do chores or read, but it doesn't pack big enough of a sonic punch to serve as your main speaker for listening to

The Best Smart Speakers listed in this video At the present time, we view Amazon and Google as tied regarding smart speaker environments. Amazon has all the more outsider aptitudes and a more extensive scope of smart home items accessible, however Google is incorporated with all Android

Overall, Google still has the edge in assistant intelligence, and the Google Home Mini is a great, low-cost way to take advantage of those smarts. Note that according to a report, a new version of the Google Home Mini called the Nest Mini could be on the way.

$49.00 AT BEST BUY

Best for smart home controls: Amazon Echo Plus (second generation), $150

The best smart speakers for 2019 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

Deciding which assistant you want at the center of your smart home is a tough call. Both Alexa and Google Assistant work with lots of devices. Both help you organize and control them easily. While Google Assistant is a little smarter, Alexa works with more smart home devices and makes setup easier.

Ultimately, we'll give the smart-home edge to Amazon thanks to Alexa and the $150 Echo Plus. Alexa can send alerts if your smart speaker hears glass breaking or a smoke detector blaring. The Echo Plus combines the usual Alexa smarts with a speaker that sounds good and has a smart-home hub built in so you can sync your small sensors with it instead of needing to buy more gear.

$150.00 AT AMAZON

Best sound overall: Apple HomePod, $299

The best smart speakers for 2019 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

Siri's first smart speaker adapts its sound to the room you're in and sounds fantastic playing all genres of music. Its sound quality outclasses the Sonos One and even squeaks by the similarly priced Google Home Max. Thanks to Siri, you can also use an Apple HomePod to control your smart home and ask for help as you would with the other smart speakers.

How Amazon’s new Echos compare to other smart speakers

  How Amazon’s new Echos compare to other smart speakers Amazon vs. Apple vs. Google vs. SonosIf you want the best Echo speaker for music, the $199.99 Echo Studio is the one Amazon wants you to buy. It’s got five drivers — a 1-inch tweeter, three 2-inch midrange speakers, and a 5.25-inch woofer — which should be able to show off Amazon Music HD, Amazon’s new music streaming tier that offers lossless streaming. It also supports “3D audio” for the few tracks that support it, utilizing formats like Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio. New to the Echo lineup (but not Amazon’s competitors) is the Echo Studio’s ability to automatically tune its output for the room it’s in.

There are dozens of smart speakers on the market, and picking the best one keeps getting tougher. You need to decide which voice assistant you prefer (there are now four worth using—Alexa, Google (If you want to use Amazon's Alexa assistant, the Echo Dot is the best mini speaker for you.)

Your smart speaker should fit into your home décor. Both Amazon and Google offer several smart speaker options in different colors, and the choices get even better when you include the growing The Best Password Managers for 2019 . Still using your kid's birthday as your universal password?

The HomePod is a bit more limited than the rest, however. You can only play music from Apple's music service with voice commands. Other smart speakers give you a few popular streaming options to pick from, like Spotify. As for the smart home, you're limited to devices that work with Apple's smart home platform, HomeKit. So the HomePod has a few limitations the rest don't have, but that shouldn't matter to you if you've already invested in Apple products and just want great sound quality.

$299.00 AT APPLE

Best portable smart speaker: JBL Link 20, $200

The best smart speakers for 2019 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

Given the wide array of smart speakers, it's surprising how few are portable. Fortunately, the JBL Link 20 checks all of the right boxes to qualify as a good smart speaker, and it's battery-powered. It has decent battery life and solid sound quality, and it has Google Assistant built in, like the Google Home Mini.

Even better, it's fully waterproof and can connect to your home's Wi-Fi network or you can stream with it through your phone's Bluetooth. $200 is a little pricey. It's often on sale for $150 and it's sold out at the moment, but JBL representatives reassured us it'll be back in stock soon.

In the meantime, the similar JBL Link 10 is a solid and cheaper, if slightly less impressive, alternative.

$200.00 AT BEST BUY

Other options

Those smart speakers are our favorites, but you still have lots of other options if you're looking for something specific. Read our breakdown of Alexa versus Google Assistant versus Siri if you'd like to decide by platform.

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The best smart speakers with a screen 2019 . 1. Google Home Hub. That being said, this is not a speaker for audiophiles - it works well enough to play music in the background while you do chores or read, but it doesn't pack big enough of a sonic punch to serve as your main speaker for listening to

Your smart speaker should fit into your home décor. Both Amazon and Google offer several smart speaker options in different colors, and the choices get even better when you include the growing number of The Best Outdoor Speakers for 2019 . How to Listen to Music on Your Amazon Echo.

Note that neither the original Amazon Echo nor the original Google Home made an appearance above because you can get the same capabilities for less with the smaller (Dot and Mini) versions. That said, if you want a smart speaker that splits the difference between affordability and premium sound, both are still solid options.

If you like the idea of always-listening help but want something more visual, check out our smart display best list. Smart displays essentially combine a smart speaker with a touchscreen so you can watch videos, scroll through pictures and control your smart home with a touch. Amazon and Google both have several options in this booming category of smart home tech.

There are also lots of third-party devices with Alexa built in, and a growing number of third-party speakers with Google Assistant. Check out the Amazon Tap or the UE Megablast if you want Alexa in a portable body. The TicHome Mini is another, more compact choice if you want a portable smart speaker with Google Assistant. You can also buy add-ons from a company called Ninety7 if you want to make your Google or Amazon smart speaker portable.

Finally, the Harman Kardon Invoke uses Microsoft's assistant Cortana. It's competent enough if you're a Windows fan but otherwise doesn't have enough going for it to stand out from the crowd. Samsung even has a much-delayed smart speaker, the Galaxy Home with Samsung's assistant Bixby.

Figure out what platform or features you'd like, and you should be able to quickly narrow down your options and find the best smart speaker for you and your family.

Google and Amazon approved home speaker apps that spied on users .
Privacy is a hot topic in the realm of smart speakers, from employees listening in on recordings and auditors accessing user locations. Now, another privacy issue regarding speakers has been raised, as security researchers reveal that apps accepted by the Amazon Alexa and Google Home platforms could be used to phish users and to eavesdrop on them. Researchers from the firm Security Research Labs created the apps, known as Skills for Alexa and Actions for Google Home, which exploited security vulnerabilities to hack devices, as reported by Ars Technica.

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