Comparison of the best connected speaker 2021: which model to buy?

Google Home, Amazon Echo, HomePod … In 2021, connected speakers are more and more widespread and sought after. Between the various leaders of the sector, the war is already raging. But which is the best smart speaker in 2021? We take stock.

Our selection of the best connected speakers

Photo by google-nest-audio

These prices were updated on 04/14/2021 by All4affiliates. They are listed in ascending order and excluding delivery costs. Only the prices displayed at the merchants are valid.

Photo by bose-home-speaker-500

These prices were updated on 04/14/2021 by All4affiliates. They are listed in ascending order and excluding delivery costs. Only the prices displayed at the merchants are valid.

The best high-end smart speakers

Bose Home Speaker 500: sound quality above all else

bose home speaker 500

We begin our guide to buying the best connected speakers in 2021 with Bose. The manufacturer renowned for the audio quality of its products offers with the Speaker 500, a connected speaker of the most premium. Designed in anodized aluminum, this model offers a design that is both sober and elegant.

It is equipped with a color screen on its front which allows you to display the covers of the songs you listen to or of the podcasts you broadcast. It is controlled via physical buttons. In addition to its compatibility with Amazon voice assistants and Google Assistant, the Home Speaker 500 unfortunately does not support all music streaming services. Denier point, its price, rather salty around 350 euros. Bose audio quality is there, but it comes at a price.

The + The –
Sound quality
His price
Finishes and design
Limited compatibility with streaming servicesx
Color LCD display

Sonos One SL: the best connected speaker for multiroom

Sonos One SL speaker

The Sonos One SL is a rather high-end connected speaker. The latter can be controlled directly from the Sonos app, Apple AirPlay 2 and more. You can also use a pair of Sonos One SL as surround back speakers to create a home theater by pairing them with the Sonos Playbar, Playbase or Beam.

The Sonos One SL has dimensions of 161.45 X 119.7 x 119.7 mm for a weight of 1.85 kg. It has an Ethernet port, Wifi. No bluetooth. It is a model that we will favor indoors rather than in portable mode in view of its rather imposing dimensions and its weight of almost 2 kg.

The + The –
Multiroom system
No bluetooth
Homogeneous and natural restitution
Ni 3; 5 mm jack port
Ease of use
Closed system

Apple HomePod: useless… unless you have an iPhone?

Apple HomePod

The HomePod is the first connected speaker launched by Apple. The device targets the high-end market from the start, and focuses on audio quality, design and integration into the Apple ecosystem. Barely larger in form factor than the Google Home, the HomePod has a shape reminiscent of the Mac Pro CPU. It is wrapped in a mesh fabric created in one piece with no visible seams. It exists in almost black gray and slightly gray white, like the iPhone X.

The audio quality is the big selling point of HomePod. As such, the speaker has no other competitor than the Google Home Max in the United States. Which ultimately makes it cheaper than the latter. It delivers powerful, clear sound and deep bass no matter where you are in the room, thanks to a detection and beamforming system aimed at the listener. You can pair two with AirPlay 2 to get a stereo HiFi system.

Siri is not known to be the best assistant on the market. But Apple announced at its WWDC conference many improvements that should bring Siri to the level of its competitors as soon as iOS 12 arrives. It will nevertheless have to be tested to be convinced.

This connected speaker is for you if you want a high-end connected speaker, with excellent sound reproduction, that you have other devices from the Apple environment and that you want to have the best of what is done at the company of Cupertino. HomePod isn’t for you if you don’t have an iPhone, or Siri is annoying you.

The + The –
Compact design and solid finishes
Incompatible with Spotify, Deezer, Google Play Music, etc.
Simple setup
No physical key to deactivate the microphone
Omnidirectional sound emission

The best consumer smart speakers

Google Nest Audio: the replacement for Google Home

Google Nest audio

The Google Nest Audio speaker replaces the Google Home. It retains its curves, but adopts a shape a little more flattened than the old version. Enough to transport it more easily and quickly slip it into a bag. Weighing 1.2 kg and measuring 17.5 x 12.4 x 7.6 cm, the small smart speaker is available in 4 colors: pink, blue, black and gray. Note in passing that only the gray enclosure and the black enclosure will be marketed in France.

In addition, Google bet on the audio quality, which was, it must be admitted, a little limited on the first Google Home. Google announces a sound 75% more powerful than on the old speaker. “More than 500 hours of adjustments have been made to balance levels and deliver a clear, deep sound that is as faithful to the studio version as possible,” Google explains.

To adjust the volume, just tap the angles of the device. At the top of the speaker, a zone is used to start playback or to pause the device. Unlike the old edition and respect for privacy requires, we now have a small button accessible at first glance which allows to mute the microphone. The speaker can be paired to a second to play stereo sound.

The + The –
Impeccable design and finishes
No wired audio connection
Solid size / power / sonic performance ratio
Power supply via proprietary connector
High performance voice recognition

Echo 4: Amazon’s best connected speaker, full of talent

Amazon Echo 4 best smart speaker

The Amazon Echo 4 is equipped with Alexa, the voice assistant found on all products in the Echo range. With a simple voice command, you can stream songs from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer and more. Start playing music, audiobooks and podcasts throughout your home with Multiroom for your music.

You can also control all the devices in your connected home and use your voice to, for example, turn on the lights, adjust the thermostat and lock the doors. The new Echo 4 delivers crisp highs, dynamic mids, and deep bass for rich, detailed sound that automatically adapts to any room.

The + The –
Compact design and solid finishes
No display
Simple setup
Button design
New equipment (HP and temperature sensor)

The best mini smart speakers

Google Nest Mini: a compact version of Nest Audio

Google Nest Mini best smart speaker

Successor to the Google Home Mini, the Nest Mini is an improved version of the Google Small Form Factor speaker. Powered by Google Assistant, it takes care of answering all your daily complaints, while offering a balanced sound quality and sufficiently audible despite its small size.

Visually identical to the Google Home Mini launched in late 2017, the Nest Mini is essentially different from its predecessor thanks to its bass that is twice as powerful. The speaker seeks to correct the main flaw of the Home Mini: its deplorable audio quality at full volume.

The + The –
Efficient voice recognition
Disappearance of the micro-USB port
Correct performance / size ratio
No wired connection
Neat, compact construction
Very average sound precision in bass and treble

Apple HomePod mini: for Apple fans

Apple HomePod Mini

The HomePod Mini is a miniature version of the HomePod. The device is just 8.38 cm high compared to 17.27 cm for the classic HomePod. Like its big brother, the HomePod Mini is covered in a woven mesh cover with no apparent seam – in two colourways, either white or space gray.

The device is also rounder. In fact, the shape is almost perfectly spherical on this model. It is crowned with an interface with a few simple controls such as changing the volume and giving orders to Siri. A network of colored LEDs also causes the same animation on the top as the previous generation when you invoke the wizard.

The + The –
Soft and musical sound
No wired connection, no Bluetooth, no DLNA / UPnP
Top notch build quality
Lack of sound precision
Excellent speech recognition

🤔What is a voice assistant for?

Voice assistants have become more democratic since their appearance in France a few years ago. But what are they for. First, they allow you to answer many of your questions, whether oral or written. Through artificial intelligence, their functionalities have become more and more diversified over time. If it was possible at their launch to ask them only questions, they also now allow remote control of all connected devices in a house.

Their main goal is therefore to make life easier for its users. In addition to informing them about the weather forecast, they are able, for example, to launch an application such as Netflix on a television, directly by voice command. When before, it was necessary to go physically in the parameters of the latter. Saving time and ease of use have propelled them to where they are today.

👍Google, Siri or Alexa? What is the best voice assistant?

Each builder has their own voice assistant. Alexa at Amazon, Google Assistant on the side of the Mountain View firm or even Siri at Apple. Other manufacturers have developed, with varying degrees of success, voice assistants specific to some of their products. We think of Samsung with Bixby on its Galaxy smartphones or even of Microsoft with Cortana, the personal assistant of Windows 10. But what is the best voice assistant.

Let’s come back to those which are the most popular in France: Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant. Even if the possibilities they offer in general all look alike, some stand out in certain respects. For example, Google Assistant is the most powerful voice assistant on the market. Thanks to its higher level of understanding, the answers to queries that uol offers are most of the time the most relevant. Quite logical since it is the giant Google, which has held the monopoly of web browsers for years already, which is behind.

If you shop on Amazon a lot, Alexa is proving to be a great choice. In addition to offering the traditional search functions, it offers a series of services which are exclusive to it, in particular thanks to its “skills”. Finally, Siri, undoubtedly the most closed voice assistant since it is intended and compatible only with the Apple eco system. For the time being, it is a notch below what the other two offer. That said, it just keeps getting better over the years.

Read also: Best Bluetooth speakers 2021: which model to buy?

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