We have probably all heard of the term ‘Smart Home’ by now. But what does that actually mean? A smart home is one where you have devices that can control and manage things like your lighting, heating or even your kettle. The trend is rapidly growing even with home builders now incorporating smart devices as standard in homes. There is even movement in the US and that all new homes must come with a smart thermostat as they are more energy efficient. It is reported that over 1.5m homes in the UK now have smart thermostats with over 500,000 devices being installed last year alone.
Companies such as GE, Belkin and even Google are now cashing in on this market and are now offering entire eco-systems to help you do more by doing less.
In this article we will be exploring smart speakers, stay tuned for future articles.
If you want to control any aspect of your smart home by the power of your voice, there are three main choices:
- Google Assistant / Home
- Amazon Alexa
- Apple Siri
The choice you should make is most likely dependent on your choice of mobile phone. If you are an iPhone user, you will no doubt be married to the apple ‘eco-system’ and as such the Apple Homepod would be a sage decision to make. However, if you sit in the Android camp then Google Home would be a better decision. Although this is not a hard and fast rule, each has its merits being tied to the relevant operating system on your mobile device.
Sitting somewhere on the fence acting as Switzerland is the Amazon Alexa speakers. Amazon does not tie itself to either camp and works very well as a standalone system.
A further consideration you need to make when it comes to deciding which smart speaker to go with will depend on your existing or future purchases for your smart home. It is wise to do some research to find out if they are compatible with the other smart devices you wish to connect to such as lighting and heating.
Lastly, the decision will come down to the quality of the speaker you want. Both Amazon and Google come with a ‘mini’ variant which has all the features of it’s bigger brothers but in a more compact size. With this size comes a lesser quality of speaker.
Although not terrible, in testing these ‘mini’ speakers are better suited for smart home commands and not the choice speaker to play the music at your next dinner party. The larger variants have a much better sound stage and dynamic range in their audio replication. There are rumours stirring about Apple joining this race in the form of the “Homepod Mini” however in true Apple style, nothing has been confirmed or denied by the Californian giant.