When Amazon first introduced Alexa and the Echo speaker six years ago, the idea of talking to a digital assistant wasn't totally novel. Both the iPhone and Android phones had semi-intelligent voice controls -- but with the Echo, Amazon took its first step toward making something like Alexa a constant presence in your home. Since then, Apple and Google have followed suit, and now there's a huge variety of smart speakers available at various price points. As the market exploded, the downsides of having a device that's always listening for a wake word have become increasingly apparent. They can get activated unintentionally, sending private recordings back to monolithic companies to analyze. And even at the best of times, giving more personal information to Amazon, Apple and Google can be a questionable decision. That said, all these companies have made it easier to manage how your data is used -- you can opt out of humans reviewing some of your voice queries, and it's also less complicated to manage and erase your history with various digital assistants, too. The good news is that there's never been a better time to get a smart speaker, particularly if you're a music fan.
The Apple TV 4K 32GB model is on sale for just $149.99 at Amazon as of Feb. 4. You can also get the 64GB Apple TV 4K for just $189.99 with an extra $9 discount. By this point we have subscriptions to more streaming services than we need. So it might be time to upgrade to a streaming device that connects all of your favorite platforms into a single interface for easier access. And if you want to make the jump to a 4K streaming box (even if you don't own a 4K TV yet), Amazon has a rare deal on one of the more premium options on the market.
Amazon's fourth-generation Echo Alexa smart speaker is a complete redesign in form and audio, with the popular device transformed into a ball of sound. The Echo costs £89.99 and is Amazon's mid-range speaker, sitting above the £49.99 Echo Dot and below the £189.99 The first smart speaker on the market, the original Echo set the standard in 2014 with a tall cylinder shape and 360-degree audio – resembling a Pringles can with a speaker in it. Six years later and on its fourth generation, Amazon has now broken the mould with a new spherical shape and directional audio. The plastic and mesh fabric ball has one woofer and two tweeter speakers producing directional, stereo sound – and is designed to sit in the corner of a room rather than the centre of it.
Apple's new, cheaper HomePod is a tough smart speaker to nail down. On the one hand, the HomePod Mini boasts impressive audio quality for its size. The HomePod Mini also has a Thread radio that lets it act as a smart home hub, but for now, there are only a few Thread-enabled smart devices available to control. And while Apple's new Intercom feature makes for an easy way to broadcast messages to household members, it doesn't allow for two-way calling. Now, if you're a dedicated Apple user and you've been waiting for a more affordable Siri-powered smart speaker than the $300 HomePod, the $99 HomePod Mini is your best--and only--bet.
Amazon's Summer Sale 2020 is here! The sale, which ends on Sunday, July 12, is a great time to pick up incredible bargains across Amazon's departments, including big savings on popular tech items. From top-rated fitness trackers and smart bathroom scales to bestselling wireless headphones, there are several deals on Amazon you need to know about. This includes an unmissable saving on Amazon's Echo Plus (2nd Gen). You can now get the Alexa smart speaker with a huge 50 per cent off- that's a massive saving of £70.
The second generation of Google's smallest smart speaker gets a new name, more eco-friendly, a little smarter and more bass. The £49 Nest Mini replaces the Google Home Mini as part of a revamped and renamed line of Google smart home products under the Nest brand, pushing its predecessor to a clearance price of only £19. From the outside you would be hard pushed to see what has changed. The Nest Mini sticks with the same pincushion design with a fabric top and nonslip rubber pad on the bottom. The top contains three far-field microphones and is touch sensitive.
Amazon's Echo has been our long-time favorite in the lineup of Alexa-enabled smart speakers and displays. Since its introduction in 2015, the Echo has stood out in an increasingly congested marketplace for its sound quality, far-field voice technology, and minimal footprint. The new Echo is no exception to that trend with its improved speaker, rounded design, and ever-helpful Alexa. Let's dig a little deeper into what the third-generation Echo is about and whether you should get one. The third-generation Echo can put out decent sound with its 0.8-inch tweeter and 3-inch woofer.
Sure, Siri can open Netflix for you and search for a George Clooney movie, but only if you spring $179 to $199 for the Apple TV accessory streamer. Now, Apple's personal assistant can turn on the TV, change the channel and find a specific TV show, on certain newer TVs from Vizio, Samsung, Sony and LG. It's part of a radical rethink on Apple's part to bring Apple outside of the ecosystem, and onto mainstream television sets. Samsung pushed out Apple's AirPlay features on new smart TVs that began shipping May 13. AirPlay lets you mirror what's on your device.
The Battle of Winterfell is finally happening on this week's Game of Thrones, and the only thing that could possibly make that more exciting is the opportunity to watch it in glorious 4K on a huge TV -- and Walmart has just the thing. Transform your home theater setup with this stellar 4K TV from Vizio -- it's $130 off right now at Walmart, and you'll be really happy that you made the investment. First things first -- this TV looks gorgeous. Value and quality truly come together in this device, combining 4K resolution, a slew of smart TV apps, high dynamic range, and voice control functions -- it's extremely inclusive. Booting up Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video has never been easier, and the built-in Google Chromecast is a luxury that you never knew you needed.
Your message has been sent. There was an error emailing this page. You don't need to live in a smart home to benefit from a Wi-Fi-connected smart speaker. Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, and other digital assistants can help you in dozens of ways, and you don't have to lift a finger to summon them--just speak their names. If you already know you want a smart speaker, scroll down for our top recommendations.