Voice activation is no longer a thing of the future. Get these smart speakers doing the hard work around the house for you!
The future is now. Headphones with no wires, smartphones that come up with info from a single photograph and the power of voice activation. Need to check the traffic, turn on the dining light or create a shopping list? Enlist the help of these smart speakers. Keep up with the times: every household definitely needs one. Just don’t fall in love…
For the smart family
In the battle of smart speakers, design-wise, the Google Home and Google Home Mini wins, hands down. Created to fit seamlessly into your home both aesthetically (the Mini comes in three versatile colours: chalk, charcoal and coral while the Google Home stands pretty with a fabric base) and as a unit, the Google Home is a delightful addition to any household. Having recently launched in Singapore, the Google Home is fully voice-activated and you can make it run various tasks from reading the news, playing music from your Spotify account, create reminders, schedule events, set alarms and more. Set it to Singapore English and you’ll find Google Assistant added in some local colloquialisms: cue the cool party tricks.
Where to get it: Google online store, Starhub, Courts and Challenger.
For the music buff
If a full-bodied sound is something important to you, the Sonos One is a great-sounding device that incorporates the Alexa speaker with the audio expertise of Sonos. It’s a bit bulkier than its counterparts on this list, but with if music is your number one priority, then this fits perfectly in your pad.
Where to get it: Challenger, Harvey Norman and Nubox
If you’re into an organised household
Amazon’s main Echo device is every inch a dependable smart speaker. Alexa (named after the ancient library of Alexandria) is Amazon’s voice-control system which lets you speak to a smart speaker to trigger simple tasks like playing music, dimming the lights, searching the Web for answers, getting instant weather reports, ordering (and re-ordering) items from Amazon, and more. While it’s a good help around the household, sound quality-wise it might not be the best, so when it comes to choosing smart speakers for you, it really depends on what you need.
Where to get it: Amazon, of course.
For the Apple fan boy
While it excels in sound quality and can do some voice-activated tasks, the Apple Homepod lacks a lot of features you’ll find in smart speakers. For starters, the use of Siri is pretty limited, there is no Bluetooth streaming (come on!) and you need to be really embedded in the Apple ecosystem to want to invest in the Homepod.
Where to get it: Apple US Store
Xiaomi Mi AI
For budget smart speakers
Wanting to join the smart speakers game, Xiaomi has also produced an affordable speaker that anyone can get on. Just like Google Home and the Amazon Echo, the Mi AI will let you stream music, including live radio, and integrate with other services using plug-ins, thereby allowing you to do things like get notification alerts and reminders of upcoming events. Other than the basic tasks, the Mi AI is quite a limited tool and there isn’t much to explore, yet.
Where to get it: Qoo10
JBL Link 20
For the outdoorsy types
Already known to have good sound from a small portable speaker, JBL also has its own range of smart speakers. The JBL Link 20 has Google Assistant in-built so you can expect some banter going on. Because it’s so portable, you can also bring out anywhere. The only downside is though, Google Assistant will no function if it is not connected to the WiFI.
Where to get it: Lazada