Why do you need a smart speaker and which one to choose

Assistant Google, Yandex.Alice Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Samsung Bixby, LG ThinQ-virtual assistants that “live” in our devices. They can call, check the weather, to dictate the recipe of the cake and turn on your favorite music. Smart speakers are the best way to use them. There are already a lot of them on sale, the question remains: which one to choose?

The smart speaker is the one that responds to our commands and thanks to the virtual assistant can help us. Helping means playing your favorite song, turning on the radio, checking the weather, offering information from Wikipedia, providing a cake recipe, and controlling other devices at home, such as turning off the lights or turning on the coffee machine. To fully utilize the capabilities of our smart speaker, we need to have other devices that work with it and use services that are compatible with them. Thanks to this, such a column actually becomes our home assistant and means that we do not need to reach for the phone or laptop.

The capabilities of the speaker and assistant depend on what other “smart” equipment you have at home. If we have, for example, a coffee machine with Wi-Fi, such as the Bosch HomeConnect, we can ask the speaker to run it or prepare a suitable drink. It’s the same with the home controls, we can control, for example, Philips HUE lamps or Fibaro appliances. Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon Prime Music streaming services integrate with the speakers. The choice of tasks that can be performed by a smart speaker is great, but it makes sense when our lives are really at least a little digital.

Unfortunately, what looks good in the description doesn’t always work so well in practice. For one simple reason – so far only Google and Yandex Assistant.Alice understands Russian. With the rest, you have to speak English, which is an obstacle. However, even when we speak English, it is unnatural and problematic, for example, with the names of Russian places, surnames, etc. In addition, some services do not work in our country, we will not order Uber in this way, we will not make a shopping list on Amazon. This is a significant limitation, but it is worth looking into the future and today choose your favorite, which will eventually become a useful assistant.

Which column should I choose?

We can choose both devices directly from the manufacturers and devices that support this system, such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

In Google, we can choose Google Home or Google Home Mini in coral, gray or black. A much more useful device might be the Google Home Hub, which is a smart display that not only answers our questions, but also presents the answers on the display.

The second-generation Amazon Echo Dot base speaker is relatively cheap, the larger Amazon Echo speaker is more expensive, we can also choose Amazon Echo Plus, which is also the center of the smart home. The latest smart device in Amazon’s portfolio is the Echo Show 5.

The Apple HomePod with Siri on board is a much more powerful speaker. At the moment, it is not in the official Russian distribution, but this does not prevent online stores from offering it.

Other speakers that support Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri

Google Assistant-enabled speakers are available from the JBL brand. Built-in Amazon Alexa can be found in recent Sonos devices such as Beam and One. Unfortunately, many speakers compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are not available in our country due to the lack of full support for both assistants in Russian. Probably, as soon as these functions appear, the corresponding devices will appear.