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Smart Speakers: The Ultimate 2018 Guide

We run down the latest offerings, from Apple’s HomePod to the Sonos One. Which one is right for you?

Apple Homepod

Read our in-depth guide to the finest smart speakers currently on the market, including the Apple HomePod.

Apple

The hottest category in tech right now is smart speakers: wireless speakers that have a brain (either Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa) and respond to voice control. Now that Apple’s long-awaited HomePod is finally here, we rounded up the latest and greatest smart speakers and tested them to find out which is the best for you – whether you’re an audiophile or just someone who wants to have a fulfilling conversation with your living-room sound-system. 

amazon echo spot

Amazon

Amazon Echo Spot, $130

This teensy orb has a feature the others can’t match: a screen. Use Amazon Prime to dial up concert films like Grateful Dead: Truckin’ Up to Buffalo while you make dinner. The 1.4-inch speaker isn’t mind-blowing, but it can be easily connected to others.

Best For: Your kitchen or bedside table.

amazon echo dot

Amazon

Amazon Echo Dot, $50

What if you already have a stereo you love but want to get in on the smart-speaker action? This hockey-puck–size gizmo will imbue your current sound system with a state-of-the-art brain, so you can tell it what you want to listen to and more.

Go Solo: It also works as a stand-alone unit, but don’t expect much more than smartphone sound quality.

google home max

Google

Google Home Max, $399

The smartest smart speaker: Google’s simple, elegant device has killer voice-recognition tech – it will even tailor music to whomever is in the room. 

Killer Sound: The largest of the bunch, giving it low-frequency oomph.

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