Smart things have taken the world by storm in the 21st century. From smartphones, smart TVs to smart refrigerators, everything is becoming smarter today. In that lead, we are going to see the best smart speakers under $100. Although the US is a sensitive market for speakers, smart speakers are selling a lot. Before we jump into the topic, Let’s see what a smart speaker is and what it does?
What is a smart speaker?
A smart speaker is a device that has better Intelligent functionality than being a speaker. It is not or not just a Bluetooth speaker but has chipsets and software embedded in it to perform various functions.
What a smart speaker can do?
Unlike Bluetooth speakers, it has an array of functions to do. First, it connects to your Wi-Fi, and therefore you get better quality sound than a regular Bluetooth speaker. It pulls the music directly from the server. Some smart speakers come with Bluetooth inbuilt. It is not true the other way round. Unlike Bluetooth speakers, it has a mic that listens to us. Almost all functions are accessible by talking to it.
The speaker can play music, forecast the weather, tell you about the sports scores; you can set reminders, you can ask for translations, etc. You literally have a companion to talk. Ask anything literally to Alexa, and she will respond.
Properly configured smart devices can turn the lights on, on your comment. It can open garage doors, can add an item to your grocery list, play music, answer your questions, are appointments, and even reply to your emails.
You might be wondering, how is personal security when there is a mic listening to all our conversation. The companies say that they have taken the security of individuals as a top priority. Almost all smart speakers come with a dedicated Mic off button for added satisfaction. The voice is end to end encrypted. This make sure, the privacy is kept at top notch condition.
Related article: If you like to know which is the best earbuds under $30, click here.
Types of smart speakers:
Like a phone operating system, smart speakers come with their own operating system. They are
- Amazon Alexa
- Apple Siri
- Google home
- Samsung Bixby etc.
They not only power their in-house speakers but also powers third party speakers. For example, Alexa powers their own echo devices and Sonus, Harman/Kardon speakers. All answers are just a call away.
How does a smart speaker work?
Although the system is complex, it is simple to understand. When you ask to say, Alexa, “Alexa, what is the weather be like today?”, Alexa listens through the mic, processes it to digital signals, sends the request to the server, deciphers it, gets the results from the internet, and sends the response to the speaker. The speaker plays the result out loud.
Now, let’s see a few best smart speakers under $100
Best smart speakers under $100
The robust smart speakers and a uniquely friendly home design make Amazon Echo plus the best buy. Just like all the other amazon smart speakers, this one answers to Alexa as well, which can pull information from your calendar and G suit account. Amazon has improved the Zigbee hub, which, previously, did not seem so useful. This time around, you can use the app to add Philips Hue bulbs that change the colors as well as the power of the lights. You get more control of the color’s variety and switches.
Other cool features include a built-in temperature sensor and a motion sensor that you can use in your routine to command Alexa to turn on the fan if the temperature exceeds a specific number. Apart from these features, Echo plus sound quality is excellent, with an array of 0.8-inch tweeter and a 3-inch subwoofer, which is an upgrade from the previous models. It is the best smart speaker for music under $100
For a while now, Amazon has been giving us the best and affordable smart speakers. Their quest for improvements and adding new specs each time is something to be impressed about. Amazon did not disappoint us this time, either. There is a noticeable improvement in the audio quality and home control from the previous models, giving us .8″ tweeter and 3″ woofer with a Dolby processor.
You can also pair multiple devices together for a stereo effect, stream music online, or connect it to your phone via Bluetooth. The Alexa app is easy to set up, which can help you create a routine and even blueprints for Alexa. Apart from the technical specs, the Amazon echo 3rd gen comes in 5 different fabric colors, has a LED ring light on the top and softer edges.
Amazon Echo Dot has been reviewed as the best sound system in its price range. It has a display that shows the time and the temperature, which is just a cherry on the top. However, you can buy this model without the clock display, taking off $10 from the actual price. The audio output is with 4cm speakers, and the device weighs about 300g. It has 3.5mm jack to connect to external stereo systems.
It is designed to do everything that the other Amazon models do, for example, checking your calendar, using the Zigbee hub to control your lights and temperature. A new feature including a snoozing option for which you just have to tap the device. It has a neat fabric design that has rounded edges that looks too sleek and can be a beautiful accessory for the room.
Google nest mini
The nest mini is a newer version of Google home mini, with better wall mounting options, more microphones, 360 degrees sound system, and is made entirely from recycled plastic and fabric. Nest not only comes with the wireless connectivity of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi but also of Chromecast.
The model supports android and iOS phones and is available in 4 colors. Nest mini is the smallest option that there is, which weighs only 181 grams, making it unbearably cute! However, being so petite does not compromise the audio quality, it is louder than its size. Being a Google product, the product has a google assistant, which is already set up and can be easily connected to your Google home.
Echo show 8 is a digital display from amazon echo. It sits right in between the Echo 5 and Echo show. Although it is not a speaker per se, it can act as a speaker and can produce room-filling sound. The advantage is that this is not just as speaker replacement. It has a digital display with which you can watch videos, make video calls, etc.
The sound quality of this speaker is good. It is not as good as the bigger sister, the echo show. But, for the price, it produces a good sound. The speaker focuses on mid-range, and it delivers well.
This is the best smart speaker with a screen. Even though the screen is included, the sound quality is really good. The mids are sweet. The highs are great. The bass is okay for the price. The Ui is intuitive. The features are high in number compared to the other echo devices. you get to see the results and interact with them. It has cooking tips, reminders everything on the display.
You get a 1 mp camera for video calling. Although 1 mp is too less by today’s standard, it is okay for video calling. Also, you get to cover the camera, and that takes care of privacy issues related to the exposed camera. The mics can be disabled.
we have seen a few smart speakers. Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. Irrespective of the speakers, the purpose of these speakers is to listen to stuff. In that regard, Amazon echo plus 2nd gen $80 is the best speaker. It has a bigger woofer and tweeter to produce 360 degrees of entertainment. If the display isn’t a priority, Amazon echo plus 2nd gen is best smart speakers under $100
Aju Vignesh Sathiaraj Padma is a mechanical and audio engineer. He is a person who loves technology and things. He is also an audiophile and loves to listen to audio gears. He is an avid writer and loves to blog.