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Tested smart speakers (2020)

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These are the best models

Jan Kluczniok-Profile picture
Reading time: 6 minutes

Smart speakers-dreams come true. Crazy, the speaker found wise answers to these questions. This is our favorite.

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1. Sonos one

8.6 10 points

2. Google Home Max

8.5 out of 10

3. Apple HomePod

8.3 10 points

4. Marshall Stanmore II sound

8.1 points [out of 10 points]

5. JBL Link 20

8.0 [out of 10 points]

6. Bose Home Speaker 500

7.7 [out of 10]

7. Amazon Echo Point with Clock

7.4 points [out of 10 points]

8. Amazon Echo Show 5

7.0 out of 10

9. Amazon Echo Dot [third generation]

7.0 out of 10

10. Sony LF-S50G

7.0 out of 10

11. Google homepage

7.0 out of 10

12. Google Nest Mini

6.9 [out of 10 points]

13. Amazon Echo Spot

6.9 [out of 10 points]

14. Lenovo Smart Clock

6.7 out of 10

Discount

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Dimensions

11.9 x 16.1 x 11.9 cm

34 x 19 x 15.4 cm

17.2 x 14.2 cm

18.5 x 35 x 19.5 cm

9.3 x 9.3 x 21 cm

20.4 x 17 x 11 cm

4.3 x 9.9 x 9.9 cm

14.8 x 8.6 x 7.3 cm

4.3 x 9.9 x 9.9 cm

11, 16.2, 11 cm

14.3 x 9.6 cm

9.8 x 4.2 cm

10.4 x 9.7 x 9.1 cm

11.4 x 7.9 x 7.5 cm

Machine weight

1.85 kg

5.3 kg

2.5 kg

4.65 kg

942 g

2.15 kg

300g

410g

300g

750g

477 g

181g

420 g

328g

color

black White

Chalk, carbon

black White

Black, white, brown

Black

black White

sandstone

Black

Black, gray, purple, sandstone

black White

White, slate

Carbon chalk

Black

grey

voice assistant

Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa Google Assistant Siri Amazon Alexa Google Assistant Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant Amazon Alexa Amazon Alexa Amazon Alexa Google Assistant Google Assistant Google Assistant Amazon Alexa Google Assistant

Display stand



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la

Album cover and company's LCD information screen

LED time display

5.5 inches



No la

LED time display



No la



No la

2.5 inches

4 inches

Zigbee hub



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la

camera



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



Yes



No la



No la



No la



No la



Yes



No la

Sensor



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la

Auxiliary



No la



Yes



No la



Yes



No la



Yes



Yes



Yes



Yes



No la



No la



No la



Yes



No la

Automatic correction



Yes



Yes



Yes



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la

Physical button



No la



Yes



No la



Yes



Yes



Yes



Yes



Yes



Yes



No la



Yes



Yes



Yes



Yes

application



Yes



Yes



Yes



Yes



Yes



Yes



Yes



Yes



Yes



Yes



Yes



Yes



Yes

Wireless charging base or power bank



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



No la



Yes

Front

  • Compact design

  • Moisture-proof

  • Compatible with existing multi-room systems

  • Voice control can be expanded with other assistants

  • very loud

  • Timeless, simple design

  • Clear, clear bass

  • Instrument analysis is clear and tidy

  • Very good speech recognition

  • Voice assistant through Google Assistant

  • Sound effects

  • No calibration required

  • Simple to set up

  • With AirPlay 2 function

  • Multi-room capability

  • Good microphone

  • Powerful, clear voice

  • Very good workmanship

  • Charming appearance

  • Good speech recognition

  • Top 2 equalizer

  • Record player connection

  • Processing

  • Battery

  • Water resistance

  • Good room sound

  • voice control

  • Built-in display

  • LED displays time and other information

  • Support snooze gestures

  • Compatible with all Alexa skills

  • Camera can be mechanically locked

  • Sound improvement

  • More elegant design

  • Jack output

  • Includes Chromecast interface

  • With WLAN and Bluetooth

  • Splash proof

  • Processing

  • Answer daily questions precisely

  • Quick and easy setup

  • Better sound than Home Mini

  • Optional wall mountable

  • Optimized button operation with middle sensor and side LED

  • Processing

  • Alexa voice control

  • Compact format

  • Simple to set up

  • Relatively low price

  • Mobile phone can be charged

negative number

  • No connection options for external audio devices

  • Can't play music via Bluetooth

  • Sometimes almost too loud

  • The volume cannot be limited

  • Stereo is almost unobtrusive

  • The real potential can only be used in the network …

  • … then the price doubles

  • No bluetooth

  • No line input

  • Apple Music Heavy

  • Siri is limited

  • no battery

  • No standby mode

  • Higher power consumption

  • No [DAB] radio

  • There is room for improvement

  • No Ethernet or line connection

  • Unresponsive

  • Software crashes during installation

  • Bose account required

  • Due to lack of USB port, it is difficult to use with mobile power

  • no battery

  • When connected via the jack, the internal speaker will turn off

  • Timer cannot be stopped by gesture

  • USB port is not used to charge the phone

  • No Netflix

  • Business philosophy is not always decisive

  • Due to lack of USB port, it is difficult to use with mobile power

  • When connected via the jack, the internal speaker will turn off

  • no battery

  • Medium sound quality

  • Weak gesture control

  • Voice recognition is not reliable

  • No hands-free function

  • Only a few compatible smart home devices

  • Moderate processing

  • Hollow plug socket, not USB-C

  • Slightly inferior to Echo Dot 3

  • The advantages of ML chips are not yet available in German

  • Display edge width

  • no battery

  • The monitor is hardly used

  • Many Google Assistant features in Germany are not yet available

  • Operation is not always easy

With smart speakers, you can make sounds for your living room anytime, anywhere. There is no need to hold the handset or pair it with the speaker annoyingly. Just one of countless practical application examples! Since smart speakers can do more things-such as reminding you of upcoming appointments, telling jokes or controlling your smart home-all these operations can be done through voice commands. Sometimes they even replaced the clock radio or TV in the bedroom.

Some of these devices can even provide music on the go via Bluetooth without internet, and some of the speakers can even be expanded into powerful multi-room systems. The boundary between devices is fluid. Are you unsure whether you are looking for smart speakers or multi-function room systems or Bluetooth speakers for your phone? Below we show you how to distinguish these categories. We provide separate comparisons for each category.

Bluetooth Speaker

The Bluetooth box is portable and can be operated without a socket. Usually requires a player [such as a mobile phone] to play music.

The function of these speakers

  • Carry
  • Can use battery
  • Splash protection
  • Affordable entry

Speaker suitable

  • Outdoor use
  • Small space

It's your business and you are on this page! We showed you the best model for 2020 and revealed important models.

Smart speaker

Smart speakers do not require a mobile phone as a player, but can directly access music streaming services through a WLAN connection.

The function of these speakers

  • Direct connection to music services
  • voice control
  • Fixed operation
  • Can be used in multiple rooms

Speaker suitable

  • Music system for smaller rooms
  • Control smart home

Smart speakers are characterized by their direct connection to music streaming services and integrated voice assistants.

Multi-room speakers

The multi-room system can play music accurately [without delay] in multiple rooms simultaneously.

The function of these speakers

  • Fixed operation
  • Can also include sound bar
  • Various players may
  • Flexible expansion

Speaker suitable

  • Multiple audio zones
  • home theatre

The multi-room system represents the high-end market in the field of speakers and provides the best sound experience.

Smart speakers can be divided into three categories: on the one hand, retrofit kits that make analog speakers smart, on the other hand, smart homes have independent smart sound systems and control centers. Since most of these displays have screens, some people are already talking about smart displays. Below we list the favorites of each category!

Test Champion: Sonos One

If you are looking for smart speakers that are mainly used as music players, then Sonos One cannot be avoided. Sonos speakers are not only at the forefront of sound technology. It also stands out in the testing field through other features. Therefore, you can use Alexa or Google Assistant to operate Sonos One, and you can easily make future changes. Therefore, you will not automatically put yourself into the purchased system, and thanks to the two assistants, you can also choose to access almost all music streaming services through the speaker.

There are music speakers every day. Alexa's response is still minimal.

Sonos One is convinced by the test with its design, good sound quality and the possibility to operate the speakers with Alexa or Google Assistant. We just miss the possibility of putting music on the speakers via Bluetooth. A connection for connecting to other analog speakers is also required.

  • Compact design
  • Moisture-proof
  • Compatible with existing multi-room systems
  • Voice control can be expanded with other assistants
  • No connection options for external audio devices
  • Can't play music via Bluetooth

In addition, Sonos One can also be integrated into the manufacturer's multi-room audio system. Therefore, you can choose to upgrade to the top speakers.

The best solution to make the old stereo system smart: Amazon Echo Dot 3

Do you already have speakers that sound good, and now want to add voice control and access music streaming services? Then, with or without a watch, Amazon ’s Echo Dot is the right choice. With the auxiliary output, it can be easily connected to various speakers. Google Nest Mini does not provide such ports.

Thanks to the integrated LED clock and touch-sensitive surface, the new Echo Dot is suitable as a smart alternative to a clock radio or an old kitchen radio. Thanks to the display used to run the timer, you can also discard the old egg timer in the kitchen. The next generation model should definitely buy batteries so that smart speakers can be used more flexibly.

  • LED displays time and other information
  • Support snooze gestures
  • Due to lack of USB port, it is difficult to use with mobile power
  • no battery
  • When connected via the jack, the internal speaker will turn off
  • Timer cannot be stopped by gesture

prompt: If you want to save money, you can also use echo input instead of points. This is a point without speakers.

Smart Home Control Center: Echo Show 5

The Amazon Echo Show 5 with a 5.5-inch screen is large enough to watch videos and other content [such as images from surveillance cameras], but at the same time it is compact enough not to attract people ’s attention on kitchen shelves or bedside tables. With the integrated camera, it can also be used for video calls. If you are not satisfied with the camera, just use the mechanical slider to turn it off.

  • Compatible with all Alexa skills
  • Camera can be mechanically locked
  • USB port is not used to charge the phone
  • No Netflix
  • Business philosophy is not always decisive

The only drawback: Compared to the larger Echo Show 2, Echo Show 5 does not have an integrated Zigbee hub. This hub is needed to control smart home devices. If you already use some smart home solutions at home, such as Philips Hue, you usually already have a Zigbee hub, and then you can use Echo Show 5. Philips Hue even needs to use its internal hub so that you can access all the functions of the system.

Combined solution: JBL Link 20

Smart speakers are usually only used for fixed use. JBL Link 20 is completely different, thanks to the battery, it can also be used as a Bluetooth speaker on the go, and then play ten hours of music. In addition, the speakers are waterproof. Therefore, for users who are looking for smart speakers that can also be used as Bluetooth speakers, JBL Link 20 is the ideal solution. The best option is Sonos Move.

  • Processing
  • Battery
  • Water resistance
  • There is room for improvement
  • No Ethernet or line connection

Apple users' choice: Apple HomePod

For Apple fans, there is only one smart speaker: HomePod. It is the only speaker in the testing field that supports Siri and HomeKit. We like the sound in the test, but in terms of smart home functions, Apple speakers can still be expanded.

  • Sound effects
  • No calibration required
  • Simple to set up
  • With AirPlay 2 function
  • Multi-room capability
  • Good microphone
  • No bluetooth
  • No line input
  • Apple Music Heavy
  • Siri is limited

Table of Contents

  1. Test domain overview
  2. This is what to look for when buying a smart speaker

    1. Is it Amazon Echo or Google Home?

  3. Data protection: Is the smart speaker listening to me?

With the integrated voice assistant, the speaker becomes smart. Smart speakers with Apple Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are currently available in Germany. Bixby and Cortana have not yet played a role in this country. Most devices do not allow the assistant to be changed later!

This is what to look for when buying a smart speaker

Therefore, before buying, you should be familiar with the software behind the device. Because although Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant provide similar functions, there are still subtle differences between voice assistants, and we will bring you closer in a separate comparison.

Voice assistant comparison: Siri, Alexa, Bixby and Co. are being tested

For comparison

The HomePod example also shows that you are not completely free to choose smart speakers. The speaker is really smart only when the voice assistant used by the speaker can also be used with your hardware. If you can only solve the problems of media players, smart lighting and smart heating control through Alexa, then using Google assistants [such as Google Home] to spend money on smart speakers makes little sense.

Rule of thumb

Apple users use family pods. Everyone else can buy speakers through Alexa or Google, depending on the services and devices already in use.

However, not only does your home hardware play a role, but also which streaming service you use. Therefore, you should check whether your favorite music streaming service is supported before purchasing. Not every speaker brings support for corresponding control through voice commands. There are also some restrictions. Although you can easily use Spotfiy through a free account on Google speakers, Spotify is only allowed on Echo devices with premium accounts.

Is it Amazon Echo or Google Home?

The table below outlines the compatibility of different music streaming services with smart speakers with Alexa or Google. With Siri, you can only handle Apple Music on homepod.

Availability of various music streaming services on smart speakers

The situation is similar for live TV providers and video streaming services. Not every service can be played on every smart speaker with a display. The following table summarizes the availability of common services on smart displays by Alexa and Google:

Availability of various streaming services on smart displays

prompt: For devices with Amazon Alexa, you can receive some TV programs in real-time streaming through the free Alexa skill "Stream Player".

Google platform has an advantage here! There are apps for YouTube and Zattoo. In addition, the smart display with Google Assistant has an integrated Chromecast. The media player allows you to put other content from your phone on the smart display, even if the service does not provide an application for smart display. In addition to the provider, this can be prevented. However, it should be noted that Google also determines the availability of services based on the display size. On smaller smart displays [less than 7 inches], Google currently refuses to play YouTube videos and other video content.

This is how Netzwelt tests

When testing speakers, we must not only pay attention to good sound. We rate the "design and processing", "sound" and "equipment" of all speaker models. We use 1 to 10 points to rate each of the criteria mentioned, the higher the product score in the category, the better the score. The overall score comes from each score, but the tester can upgrade or downgrade it by 1 level. If one of the standards is particularly good compared to other equipment. You can find who we are, how to get test equipment and how to fund the online world on the transparency page.

20th

Speaker test

200+

time spent

Tip: Previous models are usually cheaper, but equally good

Some smart speakers in different versions are available on the market-for example, you can still get the second generation and the new third generation from Amazon Echo. Amazon usually also provides cheaper echoes in the form of refurbished goods. These offers are well worth a look. The generational differences between Amazon devices and other smart speakers are usually small. Software features are also usually updated to older models.

Data protection: Is the smart speaker listening to me?

For smart speakers, the term "bug" appears again and again. This kind of speaker has been listening, this idea still makes many users feel uncomfortable. In fact, research shows that smart speakers may be activated incorrectly-for example, when speaking a word on TV that sounds similar to the activation word. However, the researchers were unable to determine any evidence that the speaker was recording.

However, in 2019, it was known that Amazon and Google accidentally recorded conversations that employees evaluated in some cases. This is about improving the voice assistant. This can be prevented in the settings of each application. Here you can also view your recorded content. Many smart speakers also offer the option to lock the microphone at the touch of a button. If all of these are still too unsafe, it is best not to use smart speakers, but to use a simple Bluetooth box or unplug when not in use.

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