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Unique features of smart speakers

Routine commands for multiple tasks

This feature is in both Amazon echo and Google home. It is designed to carry out multiple tasks using a single voice command. For example, when it is bedtime, you can create a routine that switches off all electronic gadgets, the lights, and reads the weather. To trigger a Google routine, you need to input the command, the time, and the conditions within which the tasks will be implemented. It is also possible to activate routines on speaker group.

Commands/links smart home devices

When you have a compatible smart home system, all your smart gadgets are interconnected. This way, a smart speaker acts as a central control point. With a smart speaker connected to other devices, you can ask who is ringing your doorbell, control your lights, and adjust the thermostats with a single command.

For example, you can ask whether the dining room lights are switched off while you are in the bedroom.

Talk to people in other rooms

When you have smart speakers in various rooms, you can use the drop in feature or the broadcast feature in Amazon echo and Google respectively to call other devices. It works more or less like a phone call only that you can call other rooms from the house. This means that you can send a message to a single speaker. When you want to announce that dinner is ready or call your spouse from the study room, this feature comes in handy. This feature can also allow you to send a message from your phone to all speakers even when you are away from home.

Check your calendar on a smart display

You’ve often heard your smart speaker rattle off everything on your to do list, well that’s annoying. A smart display allows you to see order of events and all your reminders at a glance. The Google home hub does this automatically; you do not even have to ask. For Amazon echo and other accounts, however, you will need to set it up manually.

Control your TV without a remote

The Google home speaker offers you the option to cast what you’re watching to the TV, thus allowing you to control the cable boxes and the blue ray players.

Features of popular smart speakers

Amazon echo

This is a hands-free smart speaker that you can control with your voice. It connects to Alexa voice service, thus allowing you to ask questions, play music, send and receive messages, and make calls, among other services. Amazon echo is available in various versions with the latest being the Amazon echo fourth generation.

The fourth generation Amazon echo

It is sphere-shaped and designed to look like the home pod mini smart speaker. It measures 5.2 by 5.7 inches. The light ring located at the bottom of the speaker lights blue when you say, “Alexa wake up.” The panel at the top has a volume up button, volume down, mic mute, and Alexa. The base has a power adapter port and an audio output of up to 3.5 mm.

All-new Echo (4th Gen) | With premium sound, smart home hub, and Alexa | Charcoal

The fourth generation echo supports Dolby audio via a 3-inch woofer and two 0.8-inch front firing tweeters. Unlike the third generation echo, which has one-size drivers, the fourth generation has two-size drivers and a built in smart home hub. The home hub supports Bluetooth low energy and Amazons’ sidewalk, thus accommodating a wider range of low bandwidth devices.

Pros

  • Provides access to Amazon Alexa voice assistant
  • It has a neural edge chip designed for machine learning to give it a more responsive speech and voice recognition. This makes it easier to speak naturally and casually.
  • Although smaller compared to Google Nest Audio, it has a well rounded bass that is not too loud nor too low

Cons

  • Google Alexa may be awkward to talk to, especially when using unfamiliar terms


Google Nest Mini

This is an updated version of the existing Google home mini; it offers a similar experience but has a handful of new improvements and features. The design is similar to its predecessors so you will have the same feel updating from Google home to Google nest. It is available in four colors: teal, charcoal, sky, and chalk.

Google Nest Mini Gen2

The outer cover has a muting switch with a DC power jack in place of the predecessors’ USB port. This means that the cables cannot be used interchangeably. The fabric is eco friendly and made from recycled audio transparent materials. The speaker is equipped with a wall mount and can be attached anywhere like a clock.

Features

  • Three microphones for voice recognition and far field detection
  • Equipped with ultra sound sensing which uses nearby object to notify the speaker if someone is near.
  • Two led lights equipped with a sensor that illuminates when you hover your hand above the Google nest mini speaker
  • Has a machine learning chip which decodes common commands and acts on them. This means that if you play a particular song every day at 12,the speaker will learn this action and carry it out without you having to repeat the command
  • The ambient computing feature reduces the need to keep repeating routine commands
  • The Google nest mini ambient computing reduces background noise when you’re listening to podcasts or news items

Apple home pod

Unlike Google Nest Mini and Amazon Echo that work with Google assistant and Alexa respectively, Apple Home pod uses Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri. Compared to its competitors, it is neither versatile nor affordable since it is only compatible with Apple devices. Although it has the basic features of a smart speaker, future versions could be more promising. This is because the multi room feature was updated months after the release of the Apple home pod.

Apple HomePod

Like many other smart speakers, the Apple Home pod can listen to an internet radio station and interact with smart home devices.

Pros

  • Instant and effortless setup
  • High-quality audio
  • The Home Pod can work as a hub for Home kit
  • Siri is accurate and seamless ­­- you do not have to shout even when the music is loud

Cons

  • It is restricted to Apple products
  • It is more inclined to Apple music
  • It can damage wood furniture
  • It does not support multiple accounts