Connect to Amazon Alexa
If you don’t like music, Amazon Echo Dot with clock (4th generation) And Google’s Bird’s Nest Mini (7/10, wired recommendation) Will provide you with most of the benefits of having smart speakers, you can use them to improve your existing speakers in a cheap way.
The sounds between the models are very similar, and their footprints are almost the same, so you can easily argue that one is better than the other based on the ecosystem alone. For this reason, we used to prefer the Nest Mini, but now Amazon has added a simple clock to the front of the Echo Dot, and we prefer the Alexa-driven option.
The small display on the Echo Dot With Clock comes in handy. It can tell you when the timer in the kitchen expires or when your alarm is set to morning. Of course, it also tells the time. This makes it a better bedroom and kitchen companion. You can also ask about the weather, let it answer your random questions, and play white noise before going to bed to help you fall asleep. It also provides an easy way for smart assistants to enter places in your home where you don’t usually listen to music.
Another option: this Nest Mini ($49) If you prefer Google Assistant, it is also an excellent mini speaker.
Connect to Google Assistant or Alexa
The small Sonos Roam (9/10, wired recommendation) Has become our favorite portable speaker. I (Parker) took it on road trips, outdoor weddings, and bicycle baskets. The easy-to-use Sonos ecosystem can be used with Google Assistant and Alexa. When you are out of Wi-Fi range, the speaker has Bluetooth functionality. It even includes wireless charging, which makes it the perfect speaker to place at home between outdoor trips.
It can listen for 10 hours on a full charge at medium volume and is durable; the IP67 rating means it can survive 30 minutes in 3 feet of water. It is not easy for me to speak, our review department is still very strong. If you want to have fun, buy one of them and hide it in a stainless steel take-away mug. Have a drink along the way.
Another option: this Sonos Move ($399) It’s also a great mini speaker. It sounds bolder, but it’s more bulky (and expensive).
There are a large number of smart speakers. Here are some other things we like: