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Last updated: 25 May 2018

Smart speakers give you the freedom to control your home entertainment, smart devices and even your life with simple voice commands. You can ask them to pick a show on Netflix, add biscuits to your shopping list or set the oven to 180 degrees. If you are looking for a simple wireless speaker to connect to your smartphone using Bluetooth, check out the portable wireless speaker test.

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Our expert testers give each smart speaker a thorough workout to help find the models that:

  • are the easiest to set up and use 
  • have the best sound quality
  • have the lowest annual running costs.

Our interactive comparison tool helps you compare how well the smart speakers recognise voice commands, what features and services they offer and which third-party streaming services, home automation devices and websites they work with. 

Our Recommended rating will help you quickly see which models come out on top. And our buying guide tells you what to look for when choosing one for your home.

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Brand

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List of brands we tested in this review.

Price

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Recommended retail or typical retail price as of May 2018 (Australian dollars).

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Personal assistant

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The digital assistant included with the speaker.

Overall Score

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Made up of Ease of use (50%), Sound quality (40%) and Standby power consumption (10%).

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Ease of use score

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Includes set-up, control, responsiveness to voice commands and media playback.

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Sound quality score

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Performance tests are based on our listening panel's appraisal of two pieces of music (rock/pop and electronic). The speaker is positioned about two metres away from the listener, with the panel assessing overall quality.

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Features

Music service support

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Music service support refers to services from which music can be played when you request it via voice command, directly from the speaker. You can listen to music from services that aren't supported, by connecting a smartphone, tablet, PC etc via Bluetooth. However, this set-up doesn't support voice commands through the smart speaker.

Video services supported

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Refers to whether voice commands can be used to launch video services such as Netflix and Stan (via supported video devices).

Audio playback devices supported

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Refers to devices, such as dongles or connected Bluetooth speakers, that can be used to play content via a command issued to the smart speaker.

Video playback devices supported

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Refers to video devices that are compatible with the smart speaker, for accepting voice commands to launch video services and content on your TV.

Costs

Annual running cost

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Based on 19 hours sitting idle, five hours active. Cost is 30 cents per kilowatt-hour; this is a minimum cost as the cost will vary depending on how often the speaker is used, and the type of task you've asked it to perform

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Included in this review

Members-only access
  • Recommended
  • Overall Score
  • Ease of use score
  • Sound quality score
  • Power consumption score
  • Annual running cost
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Availability
  • Price
  • Personal assistant
  • Speaker
  • Microphone
  • Indicator light
  • Mute button
  • Other physical controls
  • Wi-Fi (single/dual band)
  • Bluetooth
  • Music service support
  • Audio playback devices supported
  • Video services supported
  • Video playback devices supported
  • Photos
  • News and weather briefings
  • Calendar support
  • Set alarms
  • Create shopping and to-do lists
  • Translation
  • Smart LED integration
  • Smart switch integration
  • Where is data processed
  • Data that's stored
  • Can stored data be easily deleted
  • Voice purchasing
  • Multi-user support
  • Weight (g)
  • Dimensions (cm, HxWxD)
  • Cord length (cm)
  • Warranty (years)
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