Smart speakers have basically taken over our homes in 2019, and there is no sign of that slowing down with the arrival of new form factors and even smart displays. If you’ve yet to join in on the fun or are looking for some additional options for your home, here are the best Google Assistant speakers and smart displays.
The Best Google Assistant Speakers
Google Home Series
For a number of reasons, the best way to go for a Google Assistant speaker is Google’s own series of Home speakers. Not only are you getting the product directly from the company that makes the software, but these Google Assistant speakers include an option that’s a good fit for every user.
Google Home: The classic Google Home is what started it all. This quirky-looking device debuted back in 2016 and features 360-degree audio, LEDs and a touch panel at the top, and a customizable bottom half for swapping out colors or even adding a battery for use on the go. It also costs just $99 which is affordable for most users without making any compromises. It’s available from the Google Store, Best Buy, Walmart, and B&H Photo.
Google Home Mini: If you’re looking for a secondary device or even just a small investment, the Google Home Mini can’t be beat. It costs just $49 at full price, and is often discounted to $29 or even less. The compact, fabric design looks great and comes in several colors. There’s also a thriving ecosystem of third-party accessories available for the product too. When it’s discounted, the Home Mini is a no-brainer. It’s available from the Google Store, Best Buy, Walmart, and B&H Photo.
Google Home Mini in Aqua
Google Home Max: Then, there’s the Google Home Max. At $299 this one is certainly less of an impulse buy. Designed as a sort of competitor to the Apple HomePod, the Home Max is one of the best Assistant speakers thanks to its stellar sound quality. This speaker is huge, loud, and packs some killer bass too. You can even pair two of them together to create a stereo setup.
New for June – Sonos One/Beam
It took ages, but Sonos finally delivered support for Google Assistant on the Sonos One and Sonos Beam in May. With that update, some of the best consumer speakers can use the Assistant to access their favorite music services, run smart home commands, and more. One thing to note, though, is that both products lack the Chromecast integration that every other speaker on this list includes.
The Sonos One is, by design, just a speaker. Its size is taller and wider than your average smartphone, but it packs a ton of sound quality and functionality into that footprint. Sonos One can be paired with other units throughout your home and, using Sonos’ own software, users can create a group of speakers to be used throughout the home. Of course, other Assistant speakers can do this with Google’s own software. Sonos also gets a lot of credit for its audio quality which is, put simply, incredibly good for the $199 price tag. You can pick up the Sonos One from Amazon, B&H Photo, and other retailers.
Then, there’s the Sonos Beam. This “small” soundbar is meant to be connected to your TV, but it now also acts as an Assistant speaker. Like with any other speaker, you can throw out the “Hey Google” command and the Beam is ready to hear out your commands. It even works when you’re watching a show or movie on the connected TV. Sonos Beam is a bit pricier at $399, but it’s a great way to combine some of the speakers in your home. It’s available for purchase from Amazon, B&H Photo, and other retailers.
The original Google Home is great for most users looking for a small speaker which also has decent sound quality, but Polk Audio has their own option that focuses on delivering even better sound quality in the same footprint. The Polk Assist is a lot like the Google Home on the outside, offering a 360-degree speaker and tilted-top design.
Where this speaker shines, though, is audio quality. As we mentioned in our full review of the product, the Polk Assist has stellar audio quality with strong bass and clearer overall sound versus the Google Home. It’s double the cost at $199, but well worth it for those who want a great sounding speaker in a small package. You can pick up a Polk Assist from B&H Photo and Polk’s own store.
Google Assistant fits into all parts of a home, but some speakers won’t work in certain locations. I’ve found a lot of users who want to use a Google Home Mini in the bathroom because of its low price, but the fabric material doesn’t fit in well with that wet environment.
That’s where I think the Zolo Mojo is a perfect substitute. For $49 (often less), this speaker is fully plastic, has a smaller footprint than the Home Mini, and sounds better too. One complaint noted in our full review is the proprietary power port, but aside from that, it’s a great little speaker. It’s available exclusively from Walmart.
JBL Link Series
JBL is well known for its audio products, and its Assistant-enabled Link series is another solid addition. The JBL Link 10, 20, 300, and 500 all hit different use cases in and outside of your home, all at different price points as well.
The JBL Link 10 and Link 20 are both battery-powered products that can be used indoors and outdoors. Both are also IPX7 rated against water. The Link 10 promises 5 hours of playback while the Link 20 doubles that to 10 hours. Pricing lands between $149 and $199 at full cost, but these are often on sale for as much as 50% off. The Link 10 is available from JBL’s site and B&H Photo, and the Link 20 is also available from JBL’s site and B&H Photo, among other retailers.
The entire JBL Link series is available in Black & White
Meanwhile, the JBL Link 300 and 500 are indoor speakers that pack a serious punch. While they lack the spatial awareness and tuning of the Google Home Max, they compete closely on volume and sound quality. As noted in our review of the Link 300, it’s the “poor man’s” Google Home Max. Pricing for these two pretty huge speakers starts at $249 and goes up to $399, but as with the little brothers, they’re often on sale up to 50% off. The Link 300 can be found on JBL’s site and B&H Photo, while the Link 500 is at Amazon, JBL’s site, and B&H Photo.
Harman Kardon Citation
The Harman Kardon Citation series is a premium audio option with Google Assistant built-in. The Citation One is the entry point of the series at $199 (Amazon, B&H Photo, Harman Kardon), and our colleagues at 9to5Toys said it has “pretty incredible” sound quality for its small size. The rest of the series only builds on that with bigger sizes, more powerful audio hardware, and surround sound too. That includes the pricey “Citation Tower” which runs $2,500 for a pair. The entire lineup is available for purchase at the Harman Kardon store.
New for June – Bose Home Speakers & Soundbars
Thanks to a recent update, Bose has enabled Google Assistant on a handful of its speakers and soundbars. For speakers alone, the Bose Home Speaker 500 and new Bose Home Speaker 300 (available June 20th) provide Assistant in a traditional speaker. The 500 adds a small display, but not a smart display, to the product for showing album art. The Home Speaker 500 is already available on the market and retails for $400 (Walmart, Amazon, B&H Photo) with its “wall-to-wall” sound. The Home Speaker 300, on the other hand, is smaller and drops the display to bring the price down to $260 (pre-order at Bose).
Bose Home Speaker 500 (left) and 300 (right)
Aside from general speakers, Bose has also delivered Assistant on some of its soundbars. The Bose Soundbar 500 and Soundbar 700 which come in at $550 and $800 respectively. These soundbars feature eight-microphone arrays for picking up your voice even over a movie, and all of Bose’s Assistant-compatible products support Chromecast, unlike Sonos.
Bose Soundbar 500 (left) and 700 (right)
For outdoor listening, you need a big, loud speaker that’s also going to be safe around water. That’s where Sony’s SRS-XB501G steps in. Despite its name, this speaker is easily one of the best Google Assistant speakers you can use for a pool party or any other outdoor gathering.
The speaker has a pair of angled 1-3/4-inch satellite speakers with a 4.92-inch subwoofer to make up a 2.1 setup. There are also built-in LEDs, a strobe light, and IP65 water and dust resistance. The speaker is also battery-powered, with up to 16 hours of playback from a single charge. Music can be streamed using the Google Assistant integration or using Bluetooth. The SRS-XB501G is available for $299 from B&H Photo and Best Buy.
Klipsch The Three (With Google Assistant)
Available from $499, Klipsch’s The Three speaker delivers Google Assistant in a unique, classic design. Walnut wood encases the speaker with fabric and an actual knob for adjusting the volume. Beneath the surface, there’s dual 2.25-inch full-range drivers and a 5.25-inch long-throw woofer, plus two 5.25-inch dual-opposed passive radiators for killer audio quality.
Despite that classic look outside, though, The Three offers WiFi connectivity to connect to Google Assistant as well as Bluetooth to directly stream from your smartphone. There’s also multi-room audio support and you’ll get almost all of the same features as any other Google Assistant speaker. The Three with Google Assistant is available from B&H Photo and Klipsch’s website.
The Best Google Assistant Smart Displays
Google Nest Hub
The king of the Google Assistant smart display market is without a doubt the excellent Google Nest Hub. The adorable smart display is one of the best available thanks to its compact size, unobtrusive design, and affordable price point.
Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, this product does lack a camera that you’ll find on some other models, but supports all of the same great software features such as casting video, displaying recipes, and so much more. It also often gets updates with new features before anything else. The Nest Hub also supports an Ambient EQ feature for adjusting the display’s brightness and color temperature to better suit the room.
Lenovo Smart Display
The first Google Assistant smart display to hit the market came from Lenovo, and the company’s pair is still among the best you can buy. The Lenovo Smart Display comes in 10-inch and 8-inch versions which put a speaker off to the left-hand side of the display. Those speakers are better sounding than the Nest Hub, and the displays are also better suited to streaming videos too.
Lenovo also included a camera on its Smart Displays, meaning you can make and accept calls on Google Duo. For privacy’s sake, there’s a physical switch that can cover over the camera sensor entirely. The Lenovo Smart Display starts at $249 for the larger 10-inch model (Lenovo, B&H Photo, Walmart) and $199 for the smaller 8-inch option (Lenovo, B&H Photo, Walmart). Both are often on sale too.
JBL Link View
For mixing together sound quality with a Google Assistant smart display, one of the best options is the JBL Link View. Pulling on the company’s excellent sound quality, the Link View offers up two 10W speakers with 51mm drivers for stereo sound, as well as improved bass compared to other smart displays.
Rounding things out, there’s an 8-inch touchscreen for videos and other tasks, and a camera for Duo calls. That camera has a physical switch for privacy, and IPX4 water resistance too, making it a solid option for the kitchen. Pricing lands at $249 from JBL and B&H Photo, as well as Amazon.
New for June – Lenovo Smart Clock
The Lenovo Smart Clock is a bit different from the rest of the smart displays on this list, and that’s because it barely is one. Coming in with a measly 4-inch display, the product is designed essentially only for use in your bedroom. As mentioned in our review, it suits that purpose perfectly. However, it does lack a lot compared to other smart displays. It can’t show videos, doesn’t support a slideshow of pictures as your clockface, and has other downsides. We’ve got a full comparison between the Lenovo Smart Clock and Google Nest Hub too.
For the $80 price tag, Lenovo’s Smart Clock is a great product for your bedroom if you ask me. It may not work the same as other smart displays, but it’ll be better than any other product in this article on your bedside table. The Smart Clock is available from Lenovo, Walmart, and B&H Photo.
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