There are also some third-party options available, including the Sonos One and the Eufy Genie from Anker.The Google Home has the advantage of Google’s search and voice-control expertise (and the ability to tie in to multiple Google accounts, so you can check your calendar for the day, set and manage reminders in Keep, and report traffic conditions on your commute using Maps data).
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We spent over a year living with the voice-controlled speakers Amazon Echo and Google Home, listening to music, asking foolish questions, getting news reports, and begging them to turn the lights off.
Both models are pretty good at playing music when you ask them to, but the Echo’s two-year head start means it can do more things, especially for controlling smart-home gear.
For even better sound, get an Echo Dot and connect it to a good speaker.
If listening to music and podcasts is your priority, your first concern should be whether the speaker you’re about to buy works with the streaming services you’re already paying for.
While these competing companies would have little to gain from cooperating with one another, third-party companies such as Sonos have announced plans to create fully cross-platform smart speakers—but for now, those are still a work in progress.
In the meantime, you’ll need to prioritize what’s most important for your life and get the speaker that best fits those requirements.
But the best smart speaker for your home can vary depending on your priorities, the stuff you already have, and the services you already subscribe to.
If you care at all about smart-home controls, or if you’re a frequent user of Amazon Prime, Amazon’s Alexa platform is the best option for your home.
I’ve been reporting on and testing electronics for more than 15 years and have held top editorial positions in numerous trade and consumer magazines and websites.