Need some extra help around the house? Today’s domestic helper is going digital with chic voice assistant speakers – courtesy of the smart home revolution! Finding the right one may be tricky at first, so here’s some hints to get you started.
What is a built-in assistant?
Smart voice speakers contain a built-in virtual assistant on standby at your beck and call, as long as there’s available power and an internet connection. To start a digital conversation you’ll use a “wake word” like “ok Google” or “Alexa” and your queries and commands will be sent to the cloud, all hands free. It’s a companion that becomes more intelligent and helpful every day, always learning about who you are and your preferences.
Which products use Alexa and Google?
“Alexa” was the first assistant to hit the market and is used in Amazon products such as the Echo, Show, Echo Plus, Dot, Tap and Spot. It is also found in third party devices such as Sonos One. “Google Assistant” is available in products made by Google including Home, Home Mini and Max.
What look should I go for?
While all shaped a little differently, Google Home, Amazon Echo and Sonos One are elegantly styled and will sit neatly on a shelf, table or nightstand. They each have buttons and LED lights on top that indicate when the device is working. There are a few colour and fabric choices to personalise the device to your preferred aesthetic, especially Google Home, which has a swappable base. Ultimately any of the neutral colours will blend in with your décor – what matters most is the tech inside!
Which speaker sounds best?
Sonos One can be used wirelessly and is described as a speaker for music lovers. It has the edge for playing songs, because of its superior audio quality with crisp highs and mighty lows. It has a higher price tag. Google Home and Amazon Echo are less expensive, are built for replying to spoken queries and still do a good job at playing background music. Audiophiles may prefer to connect these devices to other speakers using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi for an even better listening experience. On a tight budget? Smaller devices like Google Home Mini are less powerful but well suited for answering general knowledge questions.
What services can it connect to?
Amazon Echo works with a wide range of Alexa-compatible smart home devices and can be used for Amazon Music, Spotify, movies, audiobooks, shopping lists and apps integrated with your Amazon Prime account. Sonos One, which also houses Alexa, shines best as a music player supporting 55 music sources including Spotify, Google Play Music, Amazon Music and Apple Music (however, the playback functionality is limited using services other than Amazon Music and Spotify). Google Home pairs well with Google Play Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Nest appliances (such as security cameras and smoke detectors), Chromecast, Google apps and even has a translating service. Both Google Assistant and Alexa can offer lighting control and personal help with checking the weather, calendars and traffic but the powerful Google Search is difficult to beat when it comes to asking everyday questions.
We offer a range of smart home solutions whether you’re a home owner wanting to make a valuable long term investment or a renter needing the flexibility of a portable tech ecosystem. Contact us for a professional installation and the setup of your voice speaker. We’ll show you how to access the full potential of your smart technology – no dramas, no guesswork!