Marshall’s new Major IV headphones feature over 80 hours of battery life and Qi wireless charging

Marshall update their Major headphones to include Qi wireless charging and a massive 80+ hours of wireless playback on a single charge.

Marshall’s newly announced Major IV on-ear Bluetooth headphones aren’t the companies flagship pair, but they pack a couple of unique features rarely seen in any other headphones.

First off, the Marshall Major IV hold a huge 80+ hours of battery. This is enough for over three days and nights, or two 40 hour working weeks. For reference, the Sony WH-1000XM4 (one of the best pairs of headphones around) score 38 hours with ANC turned off.

Once your battery is depleted, Qi wireless charging will keep you topped up. Wireless charging has been a standard on top end earbuds for a couple of years now, but we’ve rarely seen this tech in on/over-ear headphones. Qi wireless charging will work on all compatible pads or phones with reverse wirless charging. The matte silicone piping on the ear cap will protect the plastic and stop it from sliding around. Quick charging is available via USB-C, giving the headphones 15 hours of listening from 15 minutes.

Wireless charging

Marshall have improved the design of the Major IVs, with better ergonomics and softer cushions to keep them comfortable on long listening sessions. The same gold multi-directional knob found in the previous versions and Monitor IIs provides one of the best control methods around and avoids finicky swiping. Play, pause, skip, volume, power as well as answering/rejecting calls are all possible from the single joystick. The headphones fold down into a compact package, however unfortunately cannot be charged in this position. Aesthetically, Marshall’s Major IV follows their headphone style established, with their iconic Marshall logo along with the textured black vinyl on the band.

Custom-tuned dynamic drivers will ensure you receive great sound across bass, mids and treble. The 3.5mm jack can be used to plug in when you’re out of juice or to share Bluetooth music with a friend.

3.5mm

At $149.99, this is a fantastic price for a great pair of wireless headphones. You’ll have to shell out extra for their Monitor II headphones if you need ANC or a voice assistant. They are available for pre-order today from Marshall and start shipping October 14th.

Check out our top five headphones with ANC here.

Amazon’s new redesigned 4th-gen Echo Dot comes in Kids Editions

Launching at the same budget-friendly $50, the new Echo Dot aims to bring Alexa into all homes, making asking questions, smart home controls and listening to music a breeze.

Amazon update their best selling smart speaker with a fresh design. Echo Dot 4th-generation comes in three varients:

  • Echo Dot: $49.99 – Charcoal, Glacier White or Twilight Blue
  • Echo Dot with clock: $59.99 – Glacier White or Twilight Blue
  • Echo Dot Kids Edition: $59.99 – Tiger or Panda

While not the best sounding music speakers, the Dot line has always focused on providing the Amazon smart assistant at an affordable price. With the new Echo Dot, Amazon are moving away from the flatter puck design seen in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation models, in favour of a new spherical design, that measures 3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5-inch.

The new Echo Dot still has all the same great smart features as before, with support for all major music, podcast, audiobook and radio platforms such as Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, SiriusXM, Audible and more. Multi-room audio support makes playing music in all rooms easy. The same size 1.6-inch speaker should produce comparable sound to the current Dot with impressive volumes that can get distorted when loud. This lends the speaker to smart assistant features more than music playback. The 3.5mm line out makes hooking up a traditional hi-fi setup easy and is a port missing on Google’s budget-end Nest Mini. The same four buttons atop the speaker wake Alexa, volume up, volume down and turn the mic off.

On top of the new kid designs, Amazon are launching kids features available on all speakers at no extra cost. Kids mode can be automatically enabled when it recognises the childs voice. Kid-friendly responses filter explicit songs, block shopping and lets kids call approved contacts. Parents can set time limits and review activity on their kids speaker. A Kids+ subscriptions gives access to more content such as Audible books from the likes of Disney, Nickelodean, National Geographic and more, with interactive games, education skills and Reading Sidekick.

Features:

  • Meet the all-new Echo Dot – Our most popular smart speaker with Alexa. The sleek, compact design delivers crisp vocals and balanced bass for full sound.
  • Voice control your entertainment – Stream songs from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, SiriusXM, and others. Play music, audiobooks, and podcasts throughout your home with multi-room music.
  • Ready to help – Ask Alexa to tell a joke, play music, answer questions, play the news, check the weather, set alarms, and more.
  • Control your smart home – Use your voice to turn on lights, adjust thermostats, and lock doors with compatible devices.
  • Connect with others – Call almost anyone hands-free. Instantly drop in on other rooms or announce to the whole house that dinner’s ready.
  • Designed to protect your privacy – Built with multiple layers of privacy protections and controls, including a microphone off button that electronically disconnects the microphones.

The Echo Dot 4th generation will be released on October 22nd. Pre-order the Echo Dot, Echo Dot with clock and Echo Dot Kids Edition today. Amazon are offering $20 off packs of two with the code DOT2PACK.


Prime Day is scheduled for the October 13th and 14th in the US and UK. If you don’t fancy the new Echo Dot, Amazon are selling two 3rd generation Dots for just $39.98 to Prime members as an early Prime Day deal. See all Prime Day deals here.

Prime Day Deal

For more smart speakers such as something with a bit more oomph or with Google Assistant, find our top smart speakers here.

Spotify founder Daniel Ek promises $1bn investment in “super companies”

Spotify’s founder and CEO, the highly successful Daniel Ek, is promising huge new investment in “super companies that raise the bar”.

Spotify are one of the most notable tech startup success stories, amongst many that have spawned in the 21st Century. They have spread their vision globally and lead a revolution that has reinvented the music industry.

With the knowledge of how powerful investment and belief in a new product can be, Daniel Ek – the founder and CEO of Spotify – is looking to give back to new startups and entrepreneurs in Europe. He says: “I want to do my part; we all know that one of the greatest challenges is access to capital.”

Ek has pledged $1 billion in investment over the next 10 years in up and coming deeptech projects or “moonshot projects”. These include machine learnings, biotechnology, materials sciences and energy companies and ideas.

Ek adds: “I get really frustrated when I see European entrepreneurs giving up on their amazing visions selling early on to non-European companies, or when some of the most promising tech talent in Europe leaves because they don’t feel valued here.”

One of Spotify’s earliest investors, Shakil Khan, has tweeted out his support suggesting that he is coming out of retirement to help Ek achieve their “European Dream”. Khan invested nearly half of his net worth in Ek and Spotify with a belief in the company and so knows full well the potential in burgeoning companies when given the chance.

Ek continues: “Europe needs more super companies, both for the ecosystem to develop and thrive; but I think more importantly if we’re going to have any chance to tackle the infinitely complex problems that our societies are dealing with at the moment, we need different stakeholders, including companies, governments, academic institutions, non-profits and investors of all kinds to work together.

“We need more super companies to raise the bar and can act as an inspiration… There’s lots and lots of really exciting areas where there are tons of scientists and entrepreneurs right now around Europe.”

Apple One bundle prices revealed

Apple have revealed the entertainment bundles which they’re offering with Apple One and how much each subscription will cost.

Apple One combines Apple’s range of content offerings under a cheaper subscription plan. It brings together Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+, and iCloud but how much are you really saving?

Now that Apple have officially announced the bundles on offer and how much they will cost we can see if they are truly good value.

  • Individual includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage for $14.95 per month.
  • Family includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 200GB of iCloud storage for $19.95 per month, and can be shared among up to six family members. 
  • Premier, where available, includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+, and 2TB of iCloud storage for $29.95 per month, and can be shared among up to six family members.

Apple One users can also sign up to a free 30-day trial of any of the services that they don’t have included in their plan.

How much do you save with each?

  • Individual – over $6 a month
  • Family – over $8 a month
  • Premier – over $25 a month

However, some people are suggesting that what comes in the bundles reduces their value. Whilst you’re technically saving money, many people will be getting the bundle for Apple Music and TV+ but not Arcade, and so-on.

If, however, you’re a sucker for Apple’s offerings and most if not all of the services available in the bundles are something you would use then these are some good value entertainment packages. Apple plan to launch Apple One this fall in over 100 countries.

Ikea’s Sonos friendly speakers now come in new colours and can be washed

Ikea’s mission to make speakers part of the furniture is getting more real with new customisation options for their Sonos powered speakers.

Ikea announced their mission to make smart speakers more affordable and part of the home design, last year. Their new Symfonisk range of speakers designed to blend into the furnishing have clearly been a success as they have announced a new range of add-ons for them.

The Symfonisk bookshelf speaker can now be transformed either red or blue with new covers for their front side. The covers cost €8 whilst the speaker itself costs €99.95.

The lamp speaker (it’s a speaker that is also a lamp…) can now be accessorised with fabrics sleeves in the same colours that can be washed. In case you get your lamps dirty, I guess.

The lamp speaker is available for €179 whilst its fabric cover is available to buy for €10.

Both of the speakers offer Smart Speaker features at an affordable price. With Wi-Fi connectivity and Sonos compatibility you can hook them up to the internet and stream music and other Sonos-powered content through them.

The lamp speaker also serves as a stroke-able lamp.

Best Amazon Alexa enabled home smart speakers 2020

We’ve compiled the top smart speakers for Amazon Alexa users at each price range. Great for requesting your favourite song on all major streaming services.

Find the best Google Assistant smart speakers here.

Budget ($50)

Echo Dot – $49.99
  • Made for any room – You can place Dot in the bedroom and use it as a smart alarm clock that can also turn off your lights. Or use Dot in the kitchen to easily set timers and shop with just your voice.
  • Voice-control your music – Use your voice to play a song, artist, or genre through Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, and others.
  • Voice-control your smart home – Switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, turn up the thermostat while reading in your favorite chair, or dim the lights from the couch to watch a movie.
  • Alexa always getting smarter – The more you use Dot, the more it adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal references. And because Echo Dot is always connected, updates are delivered automatically.
  • Alexa app – With the free Alexa app on Fire OS, Android, iOS, and desktop browsers, you can easily set up and manage your Echo Dot.
  • Call almost anyone hands-free using your voice – Use Drop In to instantly connect to another compatible Echo at home or send an announcement across Echo devices, like calling the family for dinner or reminding the kids to go to bed. Plus, now with Skype calling stay in touch with friends and family in over 150 countries.

The music this speaker produces won’t blow you away, but if you’re just asking questions, setting alarms, controlling smart devices, etc. it’s a great choice. If you’re primary use is music, perhaps scroll down and get something with better sound. Note, this speaker regularly goes on sale or giveaways bundled with subscription services. Echo Dot allows you to hook up external speakers via 3.5mm headphone jack or Bluetooth.


Good sound (under $100)

Echo Plus – $79.99 (usually $149.99)
  • Echo Plus has a built-in Zigbee hub to easily set up and control your compatible smart home devices and improved sound for streaming music
  • New premium speakers powered by Dolby play 360° audio with crisp vocals and dynamic bass response. You can also use your voice to adjust equalizer settings
  • Ask Alexa to play music, answer questions, read the news, check the weather, set alarms, control compatible smart home devices and more
  • Set up your smart home without a separate hub. Ask Alexa to control compatible smart lights, switches, sensors, door locks, and more. Echo Plus also includes a built-in temperature sensor
  • Ask Alexa for a song, artist, or genre from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, and more. With multi-room music, play music on compatible Echo devices in different rooms
  • Call almost anyone hands-free using your voice. Use Drop In to instantly connect to another compatible Echo at home or send an announcement across Echo devices, like calling the family for dinner or reminding the kids to go to bed.
  • Plus, now with Skype calling stay in touch with friends and family in over 150 countries.

The next step up from the Echo Dot, with more powerful, Dolby processing, 360°, room filling sound, from a 3″ neodymium woofer and 0.8″ tweeter.


Great sound ($200)

Echo Studio – $199.99
Echo Studio
  • Immersive sound – 5 speakers produce powerful bass, dynamic mid-range, and crisp high tones. The Dolby Atmos technology adds space, clarity, and depth.
  • Ready to help – Ask Alexa to play music, read the news, and answer questions.
  • Voice control your music – Stream songs from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Tidal and more. Play a growing library of music mastered in 3D from Amazon Music HD.
  • Adapts to any room – Automatically senses the acoustics of your space, fine-tuning playback for optimal sound.
  • Built-in smart home hub – Ask Alexa to control Zigbee-compatible devices.
  • Keep your family in sync – Use your Alexa devices like an intercom, and talk to any room in the house with Drop In and Announcements.
  • Designed to protect your privacy – Built with multiple layers of privacy controls, including a microphone off button that electronically disconnects the microphones.

We’re getting into seriously good speaker territory here. This will be sufficient for your house parties (when they’re back on) or even TV speaker replacements. 5 speakers, Dolby Atmos and music that adapts to the room the speaker is placed in. 3.5mm jack input/output, as well as mini-optical Toslink line in. Can wirelessly connect to a Fire Stick for great sounding TV speakers


Sonos One – $199
  • Enjoy the music your love in one place – The Sonos app works with 80 streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon Music and YouTube Music to make listening to music as simple as possible.
  • Brilliant clear sound in any room – With Sonos, you can create a wireless multiroom audio system with simple control and wide functionality. Pair two speakers in the same room for stereo separation and more detailed sound.
  • Manage your sound system from any device – The Sonos app is compatible with iOS, Android, Mac, or Windows devices.
  • Smart speaker with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant – Allows you to start and control your music with your voice.
  • Make your life easier with Alexa and Google skills – You can check traffic, find a recipe for dinner, play games, or make announcements for a whole home.
  • Wireless connection – Connects to your home Wi-Fi network with any 802.11b/g, 2.4GHz broadcast-capable router for uninterrupted wireless streaming.
  • Apple AirPlay support – With AirPlay, stream directly from your Apple devices or ask Siri to play your favorites from Apple Music throughout your home.
  • Two Class-D digital amplifiers – Tuned to match the speaker drivers and acoustic architecture.
  • Compact speaker combines woofer and tweeter – Ensures rich sound with high-frequency response, faithful playback of mid-range vocal frequencies and deep bass.
  • Four far-field microphones – Provide advanced beamforming and echo cancellation.
  • Convenient top panel – Use capacitive touch controls for volume up/down, previous/next track, play/pause, microphone mute. The LED indicates the status, mute status, and voice feedback.

If you can’t decide between Google Assistant or Alexa, the Sonos One features both assistants in one, as well as AirPlay 2 for seemless streaming from your iOS device or Mac.


Premium sound ($300)

Bose Home Speaker 500 – $299 (usually $399)
  • Bose Home Speaker 500 Multi-room compatible Wireless Smart Speaker – Play music in multiple rooms at once. With a soundstage wider than any other smart speaker, you’ll be able to fill any room with astonishing stereo performance.
  • Control your music from the palm of your hand – With the Bose Music app, you can easily browse through all your music in one place and seamlessly jump between stations, playlists, and services.
  • More ways to connect with the music you love – Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capability for pairing wireless devices.
  • Add more sound around the house – Listen to the same music in different rooms at the same time by grouping two or more Bose Home Speakers together – or with Bose SimpleSync™ technology. You can also group a Bose Home Speaker with a Bose SoundLink Bluetooth speaker and play them both in perfect sync. Compatible Bose Smart Home speakers are Home Speaker 500, Home Speaker 300, and Portable Home Speaker. Compatible Bose Soundlink speakers are Soundlink Revolve, Revolve+, Mini, Mini II, Color, Color II, and Micro.
  • Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control built right in – Get access to weather, timers, or use the Home Speaker 500 as a smart home hub to control your existing smart devices with built-in Amazon Alexa and Google Voice Assistants.
  • Two custom drivers point in opposite directions – Wall-to-wall stereo from a single speaker.
  • Six preset buttons for one-touch access to music – Play your favorite music services over a home Wi-Fi network, like Spotify or Amazon Music, at the touch of a button.

Best of the best, for those with $300 to drop on smart speakers, Bose’s Home Speaker 500 features Alexa, Google Assistant and AirPlay 2, with 8 microphones for voice pickup.


With screens

Sometimes you need your smart assistant to provide you with visual clues or video streaming. Be it a recipe, binging a show or showing you who’s at the door, Amazon have a range of Echo smart screens. The cameras make them great for video calls and can be manually turned off to keep prying eyes out of your home. Amazon devices support Prime Video streaming, but unfortunately no luck for other services such as Netflix. The 3.5mm audio output means you can hook up your external HiFi system.

Echo Show 5 – $69.99 (usually $89.99)
  • See and do more with Alexa – Echo Show 5 connects to Alexa to give you vivid visuals on its 5.5″ smart display with a crisp full sound – all in a compact design that fits in any room, in any home. See on-screen lyrics with Amazon Music.
  • Connect with your favorite people – Connect with your favorite people. Make hands-free video calls to the Alexa app or another Echo device with a screen. Instantly connect to other supported devices in your home, or make a voice announcement to every room with a supported Echo device. Set alarms and timers, catch up on the current events, check weather and traffic, as you head out in your new city.
  • Entertainment for every part of your day – Catch up on today’s news and sports highlights. Watch movie trailers. Cook along with step-by-step recipes. See song lyrics and album art with Amazon Music. It’s the perfect size for adding glanceable entertainment to any room.
  • Designed around your privacy – Enjoy multiple layers of privacy. Your voice is streamed to the cloud only after your device detects the wake word – Alexa. You can turn off the microphone and camera with a press of the button. The built-in shutter lets you easily cover the camera.
  • Control your smart home – Manage compatible smart home devices on the simple interactive display, or use your voice. Regulate lights and switches, set thermostats, view security cameras.
  • Make other nightstands jealous – Use the ambient sunrise lighting feature to get your day started right. You can also choose from several fun clock face designs.
  • Alexa boasts more than 80,000 skills and counting – Amazon Alexa is always getting smarter. The skills are like apps, and help you do more. Play Jeopardy! or learn something new with wikiHow. Just say, “Alexa, show me skills.”

5.5-inch screen, that’s roughly phone sized.


Echo Show 8 – $104.99 (usually $129.99)
  • Alexa can show you more – With an 8″ HD screen and stereo sound, Alexa can help manage your day at a glance.
  • Connect with video calling and messaging – Connect with your favorite people. Make hands-free video calls to the Alexa app or another Echo device with a screen. Instantly connect to other supported devices in your home, or make a voice announcement to every room with a supported Echo device.
  • Be entertained – Ask Alexa to show you movie trailers, TV shows, movies, or news. Or listen to radio stations, podcasts, and audiobooks.
  • Control your smart home – Voice control compatible devices, or manage them on the easy-to-use display. Ask Alexa to show you security cameras, control lights, and adjust thermostats.
  • Make it yours – Show off your Amazon photo albums. Customize your home screen. Create morning routines to start your day.
  • Made to fit your life – Cook along to step-by-step recipes. Easily update to-do lists and calendars. Glance at weather and traffic on your way out.
  • Designed to protect your privacy – Electronically disconnect the microphones and camera with one press of a button. Slide the built-in shutter to cover the camera.

8-inch screen, that’s small tablet sized. Essentially the same as above, with a bigger screen and better speakers.


Echo Show 10 – $229.99
  • All-new Echo Show – Features a new look, a vibrant 10″ HD screen, built-in smart home hub, and improved speakers. Just ask Alexa to show you a recipe, watch live TV and sports with Hulu, make video calls, or see who’s at the front door.
  • Hands-free video calling and messaging – Connect with your favorite people. Make hands-free video calls to the Alexa app or another Echo device with a screen. Instantly connect to other supported devices in your home, or make a voice announcement to every room with a supported Echo device. Echo Show’s new speakers boast dual 2″ premium drivers, a passive bass radiator, and Dolby processing to deliver expansive stereo sound with deep, powerful lows and crisp highs. Adjust the treble, mid, and bass levels using only your voice, or set up multiroom music to play music across compatible Echo devices throughout your home.
  • Alexa can show you even more – Watch as the display comes alive to show song lyrics and album art from Amazon Music. Stream music from Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio. Stream books from your Audible library or watch movie trailers, news briefings, Prime Video content, and live TV and sports with a Hulu subscription.
  • Always ready to help – Echo Show is the kitchen companion that helps you get more done in your day. Cook along to step-by-step recipes, set alarms and timers, add items to your to-do and shopping lists, see weather forecasts, calendars, photos, and more. Echo Show is optimized for visibility across the room and can hear you even while music is playing.
  • Voice-control your smart home – Alexa can control thousands of compatible smart home devices, such as security cameras, lights, thermostats and more. Just ask to show you the front door camera or brighten the kitchen lights. Easily set up and control compatible Zigbee smart home devices without the need for a separate hub. Just say, “Alexa, discover my devices,” and Echo Show will discover and set up compatible devices so you can control them with your voice or manage them on-screen. You can also voice call or message almost anyone, or instantly connect to other devices in your home to make a quick announcement or check in on the kids. Plus, now with Skype calling stay in touch with friends and family in over 150 countries.
  • Alexa has skills – With over 50,000 skills and counting, Alexa is always getting smarter. Skills are like apps and let you do more, such as play Jeopardy, meditate with Headspace, or view your favorite beaches with Surfline. Just say, “Alexa, help me get started with skills.” You can even create your own with Alexa Skill Blueprints.

10.1-inch screen, we’re talking large tablet sized. At over $200, these don’t come cheap, but the large screen, premium speakers and improved camera makes streaming video, music and video calls a joy.

Best Google Assistant enabled home smart speakers 2020

We’ve compiled the top smart speakers for Google Assistant users at each price range. Great for requesting your favourite song on all major streaming services.

Find the best Amazon Alexa smart speakers here.

Budget ($50)

Google Nest Mini – $49
  • Better sound, all around – Music sounds bigger and richer on Nest Mini, with more power and bass. Ask your Google Assistant to play your favorite songs from Spotify, YouTube Music, and more. Or stream music from your phone to Nest Mini.
  • A little help with the Google Assistant – Just ask and get the best of Google – weather, news, or almost anything. Set timers and alarms. And with Voice Match, you can hear your personalized schedule, commute times, reminders, and more. So your day gets off to a good start.
  • Control your home with just your voice – Dim the lights, pause the TV, or turn up the heat – all with your voice. Nest Mini works with thousands of compatible smart devices, like lights, thermostats, and TVs, from your favorite brands. Just say “Hey Google.”
  • Thoughtfully designed for every room – Nest Mini blends right into your home. It looks great on a nightstand, shelf, or countertop – even on the wall. Each color complements the entryway, living room, bedroom, or kitchen.

The music this speaker produces won’t blow you away, but if you’re just asking questions, setting alarms, controlling smart devices, etc. it’s a great choice. If you’re primary use is music, perhaps scroll down and get something with better sound. Note, this speaker regularly goes on sale or giveaways bundled with subscription services. Unforunately no headphone jack on this one, but you can still connect to external speakers via Bluetooth.

Have a Spotify Premium account in the UK? Get your hands on a free Nest Mini here.


Good sound (under $100)

We’d love to recommend the Google Home speaker, but they are no longer available on the Google Store in anticipation of the already teased updated mid-range smart speaker. We suggest holding off for the new version but currently no release date is known.

Google Home

Great sound ($200)

Google Home Max – $199 (usually $299)
  • Made for music – Google Home Max is built with advanced hardware for the ultimate in high-fidelity music with dual 4.5″ woofers, and crystal-clear highs from two tweeters.
  • Smart Sound inside – By applying the power of Google to audio, your music will sound amazing in any room. Google Home Max analyzes, tunes and updates itself – automatically.
  • Your songs, your way – Play music from apps like YouTube Music, Pandora and Spotify by streaming over Wi-Fi. Play, pause, skip, control the volume, and more with just your voice. “Play Discover Weekly on Spotify.” “What song is this?”
  • Rock the house – Play music everywhere by creating a multi-room group using Google Home Max along with Google Home, Google Home Mini, or a speaker with Chromecast Audio plugged in. “Ok Google, play party playlist on all speakers.” “Ok Google, turn the volume up to 8.”
  • A speaker with smarts – Powered by the Google Assistant, you can control compatible smart home devices with your voice and do things like turn up the thermostat and turn lights on or off. Plus you can check traffic, get your daily schedule, the weather forecast, set reminders, or even make phone calls,* all hands-free. “Ok Google, what’s the weather?” “Ok Google, dim the lights.”
  • Fits your style and fits your space – Google Home Max comes in two distinct colors – chalk and charcoal. And you can stand it on either end, so it’s easy to fit in anywhere.

We’re getting into seriously good speaker territory here. This will be sufficient for your house parties (when they’re back on) or even TV speaker replacements. Dual 4.5-inch woofers and custom tweeters. 6 microphones will pick your voice up from across the room, even when music is playing. Again, this speakers adapts to the room it’s placed in.


Sonos One – $199
  • Enjoy the music your love in one place – The Sonos app works with 80 streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon Music and YouTube Music to make listening to music as simple as possible.
  • Brilliant clear sound in any room – With Sonos, you can create a wireless multiroom audio system with simple control and wide functionality. Pair two speakers in the same room for stereo separation and more detailed sound.
  • Manage your sound system from any device – The Sonos app is compatible with iOS, Android, Mac, or Windows devices.
  • Smart speaker with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant – Allows you to start and control your music with your voice.
  • Make your life easier with Alexa and Google skills – You can check traffic, find a recipe for dinner, play games, or make announcements for a whole home.
  • Wireless connection – Connects to your home Wi-Fi network with any 802.11b/g, 2.4GHz broadcast-capable router for uninterrupted wireless streaming.
  • Apple AirPlay support – With AirPlay, stream directly from your Apple devices or ask Siri to play your favorites from Apple Music throughout your home.
  • Two Class-D digital amplifiers – Tuned to match the speaker drivers and acoustic architecture.
  • Compact speaker combines woofer and tweeter – Ensures rich sound with high-frequency response, faithful playback of mid-range vocal frequencies and deep bass.
  • Four far-field microphones – Provide advanced beamforming and echo cancellation.
  • Convenient top panel – Use capacitive touch controls for volume up/down, previous/next track, play/pause, microphone mute. The LED indicates the status, mute status, and voice feedback.

If you can’t decide between Google Assistant or Alexa, the Sonos One features both assistants in one, as well as AirPlay 2 for seemless streaming from your iOS device or Mac.


Premium sound ($300)

Bose Home Speaker 500 – $299 (usually $399)
  • Bose Home Speaker 500 Multi-room compatible Wireless Smart Speaker – Play music in multiple rooms at once. With a soundstage wider than any other smart speaker, you’ll be able to fill any room with astonishing stereo performance.
  • Control your music from the palm of your hand – With the Bose Music app, you can easily browse through all your music in one place and seamlessly jump between stations, playlists, and services.
  • More ways to connect with the music you love – Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capability for pairing wireless devices.
  • Add more sound around the house – Listen to the same music in different rooms at the same time by grouping two or more Bose Home Speakers together – or with Bose SimpleSync™ technology. You can also group a Bose Home Speaker with a Bose SoundLink Bluetooth speaker and play them both in perfect sync. Compatible Bose Smart Home speakers are Home Speaker 500, Home Speaker 300, and Portable Home Speaker. Compatible Bose Soundlink speakers are Soundlink Revolve, Revolve+, Mini, Mini II, Color, Color II, and Micro.
  • Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control built right in – Get access to weather, timers, or use the Home Speaker 500 as a smart home hub to control your existing smart devices with built-in Amazon Alexa and Google Voice Assistants.
  • Two custom drivers point in opposite directions – Wall-to-wall stereo from a single speaker.
  • Six preset buttons for one-touch access to music – Play your favorite music services over a home Wi-Fi network, like Spotify or Amazon Music, at the touch of a button.

Best of the best, for those with $300 to drop on smart speakers, Bose’s Home Speaker 500 features Alexa, Google Assistant and AirPlay 2, with 8 microphones for voice pickup.


With screens

Sometimes you need your smart assistant to provide you with visual clues or video streaming. Be it a recipe, binging a show or showing you who’s at the door, both Google and Alexa have a range of smart screens. Google Nest Hubs have support for all Google services such as YouTube, Google Photos, Google Maps, etc. as well as Netflix. Neither Hub has a 3.5mm audio jack for audio output, so be aware, you may be limited in the speaker department.

Nest Hub – $89.99
  • Help at a glance – Google Nest Hub helps you make the most of moments at home.
  • Command your day – With Voice Match, get your calendar, commute, reminders, and more right on the home screen. You can even watch the news, make a shopping list, and place calls to friends, family, and local businesses.
  • Simplify your smart home – Voice control compatible lights, cameras, TVs, and more from a single dashboard. Works with Nest and 5000+ smart devices from 400+ popular brands.
  • 7-inch touch screen – View more information and content at a glance, clear and crisp.
  • Answers for any moment – Ask questions and get visual, immersive answers from Google on weather, recipes, local business information, and more. You can even watch helpful videos from YouTube.
  • Play your favorite songs – Use your voice to play your favorite songs, albums, artists, and music videos from YouTube Music. You can also listen to Spotify and Pandora. All available free.
  • Relive your memories – Use your voice to show any picture you’ve ever taken in Google Photos. And with Live Albums, always view the latest photos of loved ones.
  • Add a Nest Aware subscription – Starting at $6 a month for all your Nest cameras, speakers, and displays. Nest Aware gives you more video history and alerts that matter.

7-inch screen, this is small tablet territory. Unforunately the smaller Nest Hub does not include a camera, so video calls are off.


Nest Hub Max – $229
  • Hey Google, make it easier – Google Nest Hub Max helps your busy family stay in touch and on track. And with the Google Assistant, you don’t have to lift a finger. Just use your voice.
  • Mobile control from your smartphone or tablet – With the Google Home app, set up, manage, and control your Google Home and Chromecast devices, plus thousands of connected home products, such as lights, cameras, thermostats and more – all from one app.
  • Keep everyone connected – Hey Google, call Mom. Make video calls to friends and family. You can also leave video messages for each other on Nest Hub Max.
  • Stay in touch and in sight – Multitask while you make video calls. With auto-framing, the camera keeps you in view as you move around the room.
  • Ultimate digital picture frame – See your latest great shots from Google Photos automatically. They’ll all look beautiful on a 10″ HD screen.
  • Check in on home when you’re away – Keep an eye on things at home with the built-in Nest Cam. Check in from your phone, and get motion and sound alerts. With a Nest Aware subscription, you’ll also get continuous video recording and familiar face alerts.
  • Make your smart home even smarter – Use your voice to control your Nest thermostat, Nest x Yale lock, lights, TVs, and thousands of other compatible smart home devices. See them all on one screen – no more opening app after app.
  • Watch what you want and when you want – With Chromecast built in, stream movies and TV shows from services, such as Google Play Movies, HBO NOW, Hulu and more.
  • Google Assistant shows you all you need to know – Nest Hub Max automatically shows your calendar, commute, reminders and more.
  • Add a Nest Aware subscription – Starting at $6 a month for all your Nest cameras, speakers, and displays. Nest Aware gives you more video history and alerts that matter.

Same as above, plus a larger screen, larger speakers and a camera, great for video calls and can be manually turned off to keep prying eyes out of your home.

Best home smart speakers 2020 – Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant enabled

We’ve compiled the top smart speakers for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant users at each price range. Great for requesting your favourite song on all major streaming services.

Budget ($50)

The music these speakers produce won’t blow you away, but if you’re just asking questions, setting alarms, controlling smart devices, etc. it’s a great choice. If you’re primary use is music, perhaps scroll down and get something with better sound. Note, both of these speakers regularly go on sale or giveaways bundled with subscription services.

Amazon Alexa
Echo Dot – $49.99
  • Made for any room – You can place Dot in the bedroom and use it as a smart alarm clock that can also turn off your lights. Or use Dot in the kitchen to easily set timers and shop with just your voice.
  • Voice-control your music – Use your voice to play a song, artist, or genre through Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, and others.
  • Voice-control your smart home – Switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, turn up the thermostat while reading in your favorite chair, or dim the lights from the couch to watch a movie.
  • Alexa always getting smarter – The more you use Dot, the more it adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal references. And because Echo Dot is always connected, updates are delivered automatically.
  • Alexa app – With the free Alexa app on Fire OS, Android, iOS, and desktop browsers, you can easily set up and manage your Echo Dot.
  • Call almost anyone hands-free using your voice – Use Drop In to instantly connect to another compatible Echo at home or send an announcement across Echo devices, like calling the family for dinner or reminding the kids to go to bed. Plus, now with Skype calling stay in touch with friends and family in over 150 countries.

Echo Dot allows you to hook up external speakers via 3.5mm headphone jack or Bluetooth.


Google Assistant
Google Nest Mini – $49
  • Better sound, all around – Music sounds bigger and richer on Nest Mini, with more power and bass. Ask your Google Assistant to play your favorite songs from Spotify, YouTube Music, and more. Or stream music from your phone to Nest Mini.
  • A little help with the Google Assistant – Just ask and get the best of Google – weather, news, or almost anything. Set timers and alarms. And with Voice Match, you can hear your personalized schedule, commute times, reminders, and more. So your day gets off to a good start.
  • Control your home with just your voice – Dim the lights, pause the TV, or turn up the heat – all with your voice. Nest Mini works with thousands of compatible smart devices, like lights, thermostats, and TVs, from your favorite brands. Just say “Hey Google.”
  • Thoughtfully designed for every room – Nest Mini blends right into your home. It looks great on a nightstand, shelf, or countertop – even on the wall. Each color complements the entryway, living room, bedroom, or kitchen.

Largely the same as the Echo Dot. Unforunately no headphone jack on this one, but you can still connect to external speakers via Bluetooth.

Have a Spotify Premium account in the UK? Get your hands on a free Nest Mini here.


Good sound (under $100)

Amazon Alexa
Echo Plus – $79.99 (usually $149.99)
  • Echo Plus has a built-in Zigbee hub to easily set up and control your compatible smart home devices and improved sound for streaming music
  • New premium speakers powered by Dolby play 360° audio with crisp vocals and dynamic bass response. You can also use your voice to adjust equalizer settings
  • Ask Alexa to play music, answer questions, read the news, check the weather, set alarms, control compatible smart home devices and more
  • Set up your smart home without a separate hub. Ask Alexa to control compatible smart lights, switches, sensors, door locks, and more. Echo Plus also includes a built-in temperature sensor
  • Ask Alexa for a song, artist, or genre from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, and more. With multi-room music, play music on compatible Echo devices in different rooms
  • Call almost anyone hands-free using your voice. Use Drop In to instantly connect to another compatible Echo at home or send an announcement across Echo devices, like calling the family for dinner or reminding the kids to go to bed.
  • Plus, now with Skype calling stay in touch with friends and family in over 150 countries.

The next step up from the Echo Dot, with more powerful, Dolby processing, 360°, room filling sound, from a 3″ neodymium woofer and 0.8″ tweeter.


Google Assistant

We’d love to recommend the Google Home speaker, but they are no longer available on the Google Store in anticipation of the already teased updated mid-range smart speaker. We suggest holding off for the new version but currently no release date is known.

Google Home

Great sound ($200)

We’re getting into seriously good speaker territory here. These will be sufficient for your house parties (when they’re back on) or even TV speaker replacements.

Amazon Alexa
Echo Studio – $199.99
Echo Studio
  • Immersive sound – 5 speakers produce powerful bass, dynamic mid-range, and crisp high tones. The Dolby Atmos technology adds space, clarity, and depth.
  • Ready to help – Ask Alexa to play music, read the news, and answer questions.
  • Voice control your music – Stream songs from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Tidal and more. Play a growing library of music mastered in 3D from Amazon Music HD.
  • Adapts to any room – Automatically senses the acoustics of your space, fine-tuning playback for optimal sound.
  • Built-in smart home hub – Ask Alexa to control Zigbee-compatible devices.
  • Keep your family in sync – Use your Alexa devices like an intercom, and talk to any room in the house with Drop In and Announcements.
  • Designed to protect your privacy – Built with multiple layers of privacy controls, including a microphone off button that electronically disconnects the microphones.

5 speakers, Dolby Atmos and music that adapts to the room the speaker is placed in. 3.5mm jack input/output, as well as mini-optical Toslink line in. Can wirelessly connect to a Fire Stick for great sounding TV speakers


Google Assistant
Google Home Max – $199 (usually $299)
  • Made for music – Google Home Max is built with advanced hardware for the ultimate in high-fidelity music with dual 4.5″ woofers, and crystal-clear highs from two tweeters.
  • Smart Sound inside – By applying the power of Google to audio, your music will sound amazing in any room. Google Home Max analyzes, tunes and updates itself – automatically.
  • Your songs, your way – Play music from apps like YouTube Music, Pandora and Spotify by streaming over Wi-Fi. Play, pause, skip, control the volume, and more with just your voice. “Play Discover Weekly on Spotify.” “What song is this?”
  • Rock the house – Play music everywhere by creating a multi-room group using Google Home Max along with Google Home, Google Home Mini, or a speaker with Chromecast Audio plugged in. “Ok Google, play party playlist on all speakers.” “Ok Google, turn the volume up to 8.”
  • A speaker with smarts – Powered by the Google Assistant, you can control compatible smart home devices with your voice and do things like turn up the thermostat and turn lights on or off. Plus you can check traffic, get your daily schedule, the weather forecast, set reminders, or even make phone calls,* all hands-free. “Ok Google, what’s the weather?” “Ok Google, dim the lights.”
  • Fits your style and fits your space – Google Home Max comes in two distinct colors – chalk and charcoal. And you can stand it on either end, so it’s easy to fit in anywhere.

Dual 4.5-inch woofers and custom tweeters. 6 microphones will pick your voice up from across the room, even when music is playing. Again, this speakers adapts to the room it’s placed in.


Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant
Sonos One – $199
  • Enjoy the music your love in one place – The Sonos app works with 80 streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon Music and YouTube Music to make listening to music as simple as possible.
  • Brilliant clear sound in any room – With Sonos, you can create a wireless multiroom audio system with simple control and wide functionality. Pair two speakers in the same room for stereo separation and more detailed sound.
  • Manage your sound system from any device – The Sonos app is compatible with iOS, Android, Mac, or Windows devices.
  • Smart speaker with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant – Allows you to start and control your music with your voice.
  • Make your life easier with Alexa and Google skills – You can check traffic, find a recipe for dinner, play games, or make announcements for a whole home.
  • Wireless connection – Connects to your home Wi-Fi network with any 802.11b/g, 2.4GHz broadcast-capable router for uninterrupted wireless streaming.
  • Apple AirPlay support – With AirPlay, stream directly from your Apple devices or ask Siri to play your favorites from Apple Music throughout your home.
  • Two Class-D digital amplifiers – Tuned to match the speaker drivers and acoustic architecture.
  • Compact speaker combines woofer and tweeter – Ensures rich sound with high-frequency response, faithful playback of mid-range vocal frequencies and deep bass.
  • Four far-field microphones – Provide advanced beamforming and echo cancellation.
  • Convenient top panel – Use capacitive touch controls for volume up/down, previous/next track, play/pause, microphone mute. The LED indicates the status, mute status, and voice feedback.

If you can’t decide between Google Assistant or Alexa, the Sonos One features both assistants in one, as well as AirPlay 2 for seemless streaming from your iOS device or Mac.


Premium sound ($300)

Bose Home Speaker 500 – $299 (usually $399)
  • Bose Home Speaker 500 Multi-room compatible Wireless Smart Speaker – Play music in multiple rooms at once. With a soundstage wider than any other smart speaker, you’ll be able to fill any room with astonishing stereo performance.
  • Control your music from the palm of your hand – With the Bose Music app, you can easily browse through all your music in one place and seamlessly jump between stations, playlists, and services.
  • More ways to connect with the music you love – Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capability for pairing wireless devices.
  • Add more sound around the house – Listen to the same music in different rooms at the same time by grouping two or more Bose Home Speakers together – or with Bose SimpleSync™ technology. You can also group a Bose Home Speaker with a Bose SoundLink Bluetooth speaker and play them both in perfect sync. Compatible Bose Smart Home speakers are Home Speaker 500, Home Speaker 300, and Portable Home Speaker. Compatible Bose Soundlink speakers are Soundlink Revolve, Revolve+, Mini, Mini II, Color, Color II, and Micro.
  • Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control built right in – Get access to weather, timers, or use the Home Speaker 500 as a smart home hub to control your existing smart devices with built-in Amazon Alexa and Google Voice Assistants.
  • Two custom drivers point in opposite directions – Wall-to-wall stereo from a single speaker.
  • Six preset buttons for one-touch access to music – Play your favorite music services over a home Wi-Fi network, like Spotify or Amazon Music, at the touch of a button.

Best of the best, for those with $300 to drop on smart speakers, Bose’s Home Speaker 500 features Alexa, Google Assistant and AirPlay 2, with 8 microphones for voice pickup.


With screens

Sometimes you need your smart assistant to provide you with visual clues or video streaming. Be it a recipe, binging a show or showing you who’s at the door, both Google and Alexa have a range of smart screens. All devices with cameras can be manually turned off to keep prying eyes out of your home.

Amazon Alexa
Echo Show 5 – $69.99 (usually $89.99)
  • See and do more with Alexa – Echo Show 5 connects to Alexa to give you vivid visuals on its 5.5″ smart display with a crisp full sound – all in a compact design that fits in any room, in any home. See on-screen lyrics with Amazon Music.
  • Connect with your favorite people – Connect with your favorite people. Make hands-free video calls to the Alexa app or another Echo device with a screen. Instantly connect to other supported devices in your home, or make a voice announcement to every room with a supported Echo device. Set alarms and timers, catch up on the current events, check weather and traffic, as you head out in your new city.
  • Entertainment for every part of your day – Catch up on today’s news and sports highlights. Watch movie trailers. Cook along with step-by-step recipes. See song lyrics and album art with Amazon Music. It’s the perfect size for adding glanceable entertainment to any room.
  • Designed around your privacy – Enjoy multiple layers of privacy. Your voice is streamed to the cloud only after your device detects the wake word – Alexa. You can turn off the microphone and camera with a press of the button. The built-in shutter lets you easily cover the camera.
  • Control your smart home – Manage compatible smart home devices on the simple interactive display, or use your voice. Regulate lights and switches, set thermostats, view security cameras.
  • Make other nightstands jealous – Use the ambient sunrise lighting feature to get your day started right. You can also choose from several fun clock face designs.
  • Alexa boasts more than 80,000 skills and counting – Amazon Alexa is always getting smarter. The skills are like apps, and help you do more. Play Jeopardy! or learn something new with wikiHow. Just say, “Alexa, show me skills.”

5.5-inch screen, that’s roughly phone sized. The camera makes it great for video calls. Amazon devices support Prime Video streaming, but unfortunately no luck for other services such as Netflix. The 3.5mm audio output means you can hook up your external HiFi system.


Echo Show 8 – $104.99 (usually $129.99)
  • Alexa can show you more – With an 8″ HD screen and stereo sound, Alexa can help manage your day at a glance.
  • Connect with video calling and messaging – Connect with your favorite people. Make hands-free video calls to the Alexa app or another Echo device with a screen. Instantly connect to other supported devices in your home, or make a voice announcement to every room with a supported Echo device.
  • Be entertained – Ask Alexa to show you movie trailers, TV shows, movies, or news. Or listen to radio stations, podcasts, and audiobooks.
  • Control your smart home – Voice control compatible devices, or manage them on the easy-to-use display. Ask Alexa to show you security cameras, control lights, and adjust thermostats.
  • Make it yours – Show off your Amazon photo albums. Customize your home screen. Create morning routines to start your day.
  • Made to fit your life – Cook along to step-by-step recipes. Easily update to-do lists and calendars. Glance at weather and traffic on your way out.
  • Designed to protect your privacy – Electronically disconnect the microphones and camera with one press of a button. Slide the built-in shutter to cover the camera.

8-inch screen, that’s small tablet sized. Essentially the same as above, with a bigger screen and better speakers.


Echo Show 10 – $229.99
  • All-new Echo Show – Features a new look, a vibrant 10″ HD screen, built-in smart home hub, and improved speakers. Just ask Alexa to show you a recipe, watch live TV and sports with Hulu, make video calls, or see who’s at the front door.
  • Hands-free video calling and messaging – Connect with your favorite people. Make hands-free video calls to the Alexa app or another Echo device with a screen. Instantly connect to other supported devices in your home, or make a voice announcement to every room with a supported Echo device. Echo Show’s new speakers boast dual 2″ premium drivers, a passive bass radiator, and Dolby processing to deliver expansive stereo sound with deep, powerful lows and crisp highs. Adjust the treble, mid, and bass levels using only your voice, or set up multiroom music to play music across compatible Echo devices throughout your home.
  • Alexa can show you even more – Watch as the display comes alive to show song lyrics and album art from Amazon Music. Stream music from Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio. Stream books from your Audible library or watch movie trailers, news briefings, Prime Video content, and live TV and sports with a Hulu subscription.
  • Always ready to help – Echo Show is the kitchen companion that helps you get more done in your day. Cook along to step-by-step recipes, set alarms and timers, add items to your to-do and shopping lists, see weather forecasts, calendars, photos, and more. Echo Show is optimized for visibility across the room and can hear you even while music is playing.
  • Voice-control your smart home – Alexa can control thousands of compatible smart home devices, such as security cameras, lights, thermostats and more. Just ask to show you the front door camera or brighten the kitchen lights. Easily set up and control compatible Zigbee smart home devices without the need for a separate hub. Just say, “Alexa, discover my devices,” and Echo Show will discover and set up compatible devices so you can control them with your voice or manage them on-screen. You can also voice call or message almost anyone, or instantly connect to other devices in your home to make a quick announcement or check in on the kids. Plus, now with Skype calling stay in touch with friends and family in over 150 countries.
  • Alexa has skills – With over 50,000 skills and counting, Alexa is always getting smarter. Skills are like apps and let you do more, such as play Jeopardy, meditate with Headspace, or view your favorite beaches with Surfline. Just say, “Alexa, help me get started with skills.” You can even create your own with Alexa Skill Blueprints.

10.1-inch screen, we’re talking large tablet sized. At over $200, these don’t come cheap, but the large screen, premium speakers and improved camera makes streaming video, music and video calls a joy.


Google Assistant
Nest Hub – $89.99
  • Help at a glance – Google Nest Hub helps you make the most of moments at home.
  • Command your day – With Voice Match, get your calendar, commute, reminders, and more right on the home screen. You can even watch the news, make a shopping list, and place calls to friends, family, and local businesses.
  • Simplify your smart home – Voice control compatible lights, cameras, TVs, and more from a single dashboard. Works with Nest and 5000+ smart devices from 400+ popular brands.
  • 7-inch touch screen – View more information and content at a glance, clear and crisp.
  • Answers for any moment – Ask questions and get visual, immersive answers from Google on weather, recipes, local business information, and more. You can even watch helpful videos from YouTube.
  • Play your favorite songs – Use your voice to play your favorite songs, albums, artists, and music videos from YouTube Music. You can also listen to Spotify and Pandora. All available free.
  • Relive your memories – Use your voice to show any picture you’ve ever taken in Google Photos. And with Live Albums, always view the latest photos of loved ones.
  • Add a Nest Aware subscription – Starting at $6 a month for all your Nest cameras, speakers, and displays. Nest Aware gives you more video history and alerts that matter.

7-inch screen, this is small tablet territory. Google Nest Hubs have support for all Google services such as YouTube, Google Photos, Google Maps, etc. as well as Netflix. Unforunately the smaller Nest Hub does not include a camera, so video calls are off. Neither Hub has a 3.5mm audio jack for audio output, so be aware, you may be limited in the speaker department.


Nest Hub Max – $229
  • Hey Google, make it easier – Google Nest Hub Max helps your busy family stay in touch and on track. And with the Google Assistant, you don’t have to lift a finger. Just use your voice.
  • Mobile control from your smartphone or tablet – With the Google Home app, set up, manage, and control your Google Home and Chromecast devices, plus thousands of connected home products, such as lights, cameras, thermostats and more – all from one app.
  • Keep everyone connected – Hey Google, call Mom. Make video calls to friends and family. You can also leave video messages for each other on Nest Hub Max.
  • Stay in touch and in sight – Multitask while you make video calls. With auto-framing, the camera keeps you in view as you move around the room.
  • Ultimate digital picture frame – See your latest great shots from Google Photos automatically. They’ll all look beautiful on a 10″ HD screen.
  • Check in on home when you’re away – Keep an eye on things at home with the built-in Nest Cam. Check in from your phone, and get motion and sound alerts. With a Nest Aware subscription, you’ll also get continuous video recording and familiar face alerts.
  • Make your smart home even smarter – Use your voice to control your Nest thermostat, Nest x Yale lock, lights, TVs, and thousands of other compatible smart home devices. See them all on one screen – no more opening app after app.
  • Watch what you want and when you want – With Chromecast built in, stream movies and TV shows from services, such as Google Play Movies, HBO NOW, Hulu and more.
  • Google Assistant shows you all you need to know – Nest Hub Max automatically shows your calendar, commute, reminders and more.
  • Add a Nest Aware subscription – Starting at $6 a month for all your Nest cameras, speakers, and displays. Nest Aware gives you more video history and alerts that matter.

Same as above, plus a larger screen, larger speakers and a camera.

What we’ll see at Apple’s September 15th event

Apple have announced an event scheduled to live stream on September 15th. We’re expecting an Apple Watch Series 6 and updated iPad Air, but where’s iPhone 12?

Prominent Apple leakers predicted Apple would release a new Apple Watch and iPad Air yesterday via a press release. This didn’t happen, with Apple instead announcing the date for an upcoming event. As usual with events, Apple are being tight-lipped about what’s being announced, but some hints can usually be obtained by the imagery.

Apple Event

Apple have updated the events page on their site and set up a live stream on YouTube ready for September 15th. Clearly the “Time flies” text on then YouTube live stream thumbnail indicates an Apple Watch update. Apple have hidden an easter egg on their events page. Open the page on an iPhone via Safari and tap the blue Apple image to view it in AR. The numbers 9.15 mark the date for the stream.

The only other bit of information we have directly from Apple themselves are the tags they chose for the live stream on YouTube. These can found in the source code for the stream. The tags list most key Apple products as well as specifying Series 6, to further confirm rumours of a new Apple Watch.

Apple Event Tags

The rest of the information we have is going off leaks, predictions and rumours outside of Apple.

iPhone

September is usually the month we get our first look at the new iPhone. Many have been calling the event next week the “iPhone Event”, however sources close to Apple suggest iPhone production has been delayed due to the pandemic. It seem the iPhone will debut at a separate event in October, with iPhone 12 pre-order/release due October and iPhone 12 Pro in November. It would be unusual for Apple to host two event a month apart, but as neither will happen on stage in front of an audience, this make sense. Two events means double the press coverage, without having to hold two physical showcases.

Apple Watch

Apple Watch Series 6 likely won’t be a huge redesign, but rather a minor spec bump, with improved performance, water resistance, WiFi/cellular speeds, battery, as well as blood oxygen montioring and mental health capabilities.

Currently on sale from Apple are the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 3 at a reduced price. This year, we may see Apple release a Series 6 alongside an Apple Watch SE, much like iPhone SE, this will likely be a Series 3 body with upgraded internals at a ‘budget’ price.

iPad Air

Alongside the Apple Watch Series 6, the other key product expected to drop next week is an updated iPad Air. Last updated in March 2019, iPad Air serves as a mid point between the ‘budget’ iPad and iPad Pro. Holding a similar form factor to the iPad with beefier interals. The updated iPad Air will likely feature a thinner bezels, much like the iPad Pro, with a Touch ID sensor under the display or build into the power button. Other potential features include USB-C, A12Z/A13 chip, Smart Connector for Magic Keyboard and four speakers.

Other Products

Two fairly minor updates don’t seem enough to fill an entire event. There are no other rumoured annoucements for next week, but products we are expecting from Apple in the near future that could feature on stage include 12-inch MacBook with Apple Silicon, 13-inch MacBook Pro with Apple Silicon, 24-inch iMac redesign with Apple Silicon, 16-inch MacBook Pro with Intel, AirPods Studio, AirTags, HomePod Mini and AirPower. Many of these will likely show up on stage at next month’s iPhone event.

Xbox officially announce Series S design and pricing, plus leaked specs and release date

Last night, information on the cutdown/cheaper next generation Xbox Series S leaked, with design and pricing oficially confirmed by Xbox this morning.

We know almost everything there is to know about the flagship next generation Xbox Series X due to release this fall. Xbox Series S has until now been shrouded in mystery. Design, pricing, specification and a promo video leaked last night, with Xbox officially confirming the design and pricing on Twitter this morning.

Design

Prior to yesterday, we expected the design to be based on the tall Xbox Series X, with a shrunken, more cubed shape. Instead design turned out to be quite different to initial predictions. Xbox report Series S as “the smallest Xbox ever”. Series S looks to be about as tall as the Series X, at around a third the volume. The white coating holds a large circular vent, rather than the chamber atop the Series X.

Pricing
  • Xbox Series X will sell for $499 or $35/month with an Xbox All Access financing option.
  • Xbox Series S will sell for $299 or $25/month with an Xbox All Access financing option.

This $200 price different will be very appealing to the casual gamer market who want to play next generation games and don’t care about resolution or frame rates.

PlayStation are yet to release their pricing for PlayStation 5 or PS5 Digital Edition, but these are expected to be $499 and $399/$450 respectively.

Series X will support 4K gaming at 60fps (with some games capable of 120fps). Much like the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, the Series S is designed to be a next generation Xbox, without the disc drive. However, unlike the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, Series S is thought to have slightly limited performance, with a cutdown CPU and GPU, hence the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition’s predicted price at around $100-150 more.

Leaks

The rest of the information such as technical specification and release date is only speculation.

The only confirmed information we have on specs is the tagline in the promo shot above “Next gen performance”. This morning, this promo video leaked following the announcement, showing the size against the Series X and performance specification.

These specs listed include:

  • All-digital
  • 1440p at up to 120fps
  • DirectX ray tracing
  • Variable rate shading
  • Variable refresh rate
  • Ultra-low latency
  • Custom 512 SSD
  • 4K streaming media playback
  • 4K upscaling for games

No word yet on options for upgrading the fairly small 512 SSD. Series X has a custom port at the rear of the console for expanding storage that we’d like to see make its way onto the Series S, or to make internal upgrades possible much like the PS5.

Release date is thought to be 10th November, the same as the Series X. This is yet to be confirmed by Xbox.

As subscription services such as Xbox Game Pass become more popular, thought of as ‘the Nexflix of gaming’, discs will increasingly become less relevant. Most importantly, aside from whose console is better than whose, giving gamers the choice of four consoles is great for us consumers.