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(Pocket-lint) – Amazon’s Alexa is great, a voice assistant that can control all manner of smart home products, answer questions you may have and play the music you request. The Amazon Echo devices aren’t the only speakers that offer the capable Alexa assistant though – there are numerous third party options that have embraced Alexa too.
Sonos One (2nd gen)
Sonos entered the Alexa-enabled speaker market with the Sonos One. As well as Alexa, it also offers Google Assistant too, making it one of the most capable smart speakers around. As you’d expect, it sounds fantastic and looks just as good too, though not all of Alexa’s skills are available as yet.
If you want one of the best sounding speakers around though, with Sonos multi-room capabilities and Alexa built-in, look no further. Sonos also offers a cut-down version of the Sonos One – Sonos One SL – that doesn’t have the smart element, if you’re not so fussed about it.
Libratone Zipp 2
The Libratone Zipp 2 is a fantastic sounding portable speaker with interchangeable jackets. Sound is fired out in 360-degrees and the overall profile can be adjusted using the companion app.
In its second generation, the Zipp 2 is like an Amazon Echo Plus on steroids. It sticks to its successful roots, marrying great design with good sound, voice control and a decent app. The fact it’s portable also means you can take Alexa with you wherever you go.
Bang and Olufsen Beosound A1 2nd Gen
Bang and Olufsen has refined an already impressive speaker with this refresher of its diminutive but powerful A1 wireless speaker. One of the key additions is built-in Alexa support, making it a smarter speaker than ever before.
Elsewhere, though, you get superb sound and a really distinctive and classy design, plus the build quality that B and O is known for. It’s by no means the best bit of value on this list or the wider market, but if you’re looking for a high-class mini speaker, it’s a superb pick.
Ultimate Ears offers the Megablast (and smaller Blast), both offering always-on Alexa voice-control, that’s always listening out for your voice. The only caveat is that you need a Wi-Fi connection, so it can only be used at home.
Being a dedicated speaker first and foremost, the UE Megablast sounds fantastic and it’s portable and waterproof so while Alexa won’t work outside your Wi-Fi connection, the Megablast stills offer great portable speaker functionality around the house.
KitSound Voice One
The KitSound Voice One is essentially an Amazon Echo Plus, but with even better audio grunt. It was made in collaboration with Amazon, so you get the full Alexa experience, meaning it can answer questions, play music from various sources and control smart home devices.
It’s capable of hearing you speak from the other side of the room and up to eight Voice One speakers can be connected together for multi-room playback.
Sonos took a leap into the future (or the present, if you prefer) by finally releasing a portable speaker towards the end of 2019, and it’s a seriously impressive bit of kit. With that textbook Sonos sound balance and great volume, even when you’re outside, it’s a brilliantly versatile speaker.
When you’re at home, though, you can dock the speaker and have it connect to your home Wi-Fi to become a really capable smart speaker, with Alexa compatibility just like the Sonos One. It’s arguably the best of both worlds, although it does have a pretty hefty price tag to go with it.
Bose Home Speaker 500
The Bose Home Speaker 500 features a well-known Bose design but it adds a display on the front, which is quite unique for smart speakers. The Home Speaker 500 has eight mic arrays to make sure it hears your Alexa commands, and there is a chance other voice assistants could be added in the future too.
The Bose Home Speaker 500 supports Amazon’s multiroom platform, allowing you to group this speaker with other Alexa speakers and it also sounds excellent.
Writing by Britta O’Boyle. Editing by Max Freeman-Mills.