Smart speakers have taken technology a notch higher in 2020. After all, gone are the days of stereo systems and aux cables. The year 2020 forced a lot of us to spend time indoors. Whether it is finding the time to watch all of whatever was on your wishlist, or simply having some 'me' time by listening to music -- the year taught us to enjoy what was left of the year in peace and amidst technology. It is no surprise that the sale of smart speakers gained momentum in this year.
Smart speakers that have emerged are important for this modern era to make lifestyle easier. This latest technology of voice assistant is extremely helpful, thanks to its multifunctional features.
Onwards & Upwards
Led by Amazon Echo devices, the shipments of smart home speakers are expected to cross 7.5 lakh units in India by the end of the year, which is an all-time high, according to techARC.
The market is primarily led by Amazon Echo Smart Speakers which had a massive 95.9 per cent cumulative market share for the January-September period.
Xiaomi made an impressive debut in the September quarter, with 7.1 per cent market share by unit shipments. Google has a cumulative India market share of 1.2 per cent for the year (till September).
If you are looking for the best smart speakers, here are the 5 best one for you to try for.
Amazon Echo Show 5:
The Amazon Echo Show 5 is the trickled down version of the Amazon Echo Show that we reviewed earlier this year and it is available at a price of Rs 8,999 in the country.
It comes with a 5.5-inch HD display with a 1MP camera that manages 720p HD video recording and measures 5.8x3.4x2.9-inches in dimensions and weighs 410 grams.
On the top, it has a set of controls - two for controlling volume, one for turning the mics and camera on or off and one to place a shutter on the camera.
In terms of the audio capabilities, the Echo Show 5 features a full range 1.65-inch built-in speaker and a 3.5mm stereo audio output which can be connected with external speakers using an audio cable.
It comes with built-in Alexa, wherein users can watch shows from Amazon Prime Videos and listen to your favourite songs.
Apple HomePod Mini:
The HomePod Mini is priced at Rs 9,900 in India and comes in two colors – white and space grey. It is powered by the Apple S5 chip.
It uses a full-range driver, and a pair of force-cancelling passive radiators, that enable deep bass and high frequencies. The smart speaker features a three-microphone array.
HomePod mini works effortlessly with Apple devices, making it easy to pick up an incoming call, listen to music on the Mac, or upgrade the TV experience by taking the sound from Apple TV to the next level.
It also comes with a new Intercom feature that lets members in a house connect with each other at home.
Google Nest Audio:
The Nest Audio is Google's latest smart speaker which is essentially a successor of Google Home (launched in 2016) and it is currently available for Rs 7,999.
The Nest Audio smart speaker uses a 19mm tweeter for consistent high-frequency coverage and clear vocals, and a 75mm mid-woofer that really brings the bass.
It is powered by a Cortex-A53 quad-core processor clocked at 1.8GHz. It features Bluetooth 5.0 and dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity.
It comes with Ambient EQ and Media EQ sound modes. The former can automatically adjust the volume according to background noise while the latter adjusts the audio settings depending on the type of content that is being consumed.
The Google Nest Audio features a fabric-clad body that is also found on the Nest Mini. It sports a cylindrical-shaped design unlike the slant touch surface design of the Google Home.
Mi Smart Speaker:
Mi Smart Speaker was launched in India today at Xiaomi's Smart Living 2020 online event, alongside Mi Band 5 and Mi Watch Revolve for Rs 3,999.
The Google Assistant-powered Mi Smart Speaker features a 12W 63.5-inch front-firing audio driver tuned with DTS sound. The speaker has a touch panel atop with controls to adjust the volume level, play/ pause music tracks, and mute the in-built microphones.
It features a matte finish on top of its 0.7mm-thin metal mesh that delivers a premium look and feel. The mesh design helps in delivering a room-filling sound experience.
Xiaomi has offered a Hi-Fi audio processor made by Texas Instrument on the Mi Smart Speaker to help accurately decode audio signals.
Sony SRS XB402M:
Sony SRS XB402M is another best smart speaker in India available for Rs 19,061. This speaker has built-in Alexa support and provides extra bass to your music.
The speakers are IP67 certified which makes them waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, and rustproof. Customers can also use the multi-colored line lights and flashing strobe lights on the speaker when hosting a party.
To set up the speaker, customers can use the Sony Music Center app which is available on both Google Play Store and Apple's App Store
The SRS-XB402M features traditional Bluetooth connectivity to be used with smartphones, tablets and computers but also has Wi-Fi connectivity for additional functionality.
(With inputs from IANS)