When looking for the best smart devices for your home or gifts for your friends, you may come across both the terms: “Bluetooth speaker” and “smart speaker.” The differences aren’t immediately apparent, and sometimes the terms are applied to the same device, so we know information technology can get a footling disruptive.
We’re immigration up the mess right now by explaining just what these 2 categories mean, where they overlap, and what term may exist most useful depending on the sort of speaker experience you desire. Permit’s go!
Let’due south start with an overview to provide a quick summary of Bluetooth speakers vs. smart speakers on the market.
These are lightweight speakers, oft made for on-the-go activities, and designed to connect to a mobile device like your smartphone for music playback via a Bluetooth connection. They help become music in places or situations where it would otherwise exist difficult to have it. Something like the JBL Flip series is a classic Bluetooth speaker example.
These are speakers that tin can be controlled via an app, voice command, or other means, and are a style to add together smart features to audio in a specific location, like a kitchen, anteroom, bedroom, or great room. They tend to come up with more features and exist more stationary than Bluetooth speakers. Something like the Sonos Ane, Apple HomePod Mini, or Amazon Repeat would qualify equally a smart speaker.
Now let’southward take a closer await at specific features and how they differ between the two.
Portability and ability
Bluetooth speakers are the masters of portable sound. Brands like JBL, Sonos, and Ultimate Ears (UE) take fabricated names for themselves by creating speakers y’all can have anywhere, including the outdoors. Some are fifty-fifty small enough to clip onto a carabiner or loop on a pack, and nearly have resistances to water and grit…or fifty-fifty the power to survive a dunk in the puddle. All this is enabled past their rechargeable batteries, which can provide at least several hours of music playback before needing to be recharged.
Smart speakers are less portable. They are more often than not designed to be placed in one central location on a shelf, desk, or tabular array. They typically demand a nearby outlet to connect for power, too, and don’t usually take batteries.
Again, there’south certainly overlap betwixt these speaker categories. Some smart speakers are also highly portable (cheque out our Bose portable speaker option on our smart kitchen speaker list as an example), and some Bluetooth speakers aren’t made for on-the-become, outdoor apply. All the same, it’s more common for a Bluetooth speaker to take a rechargeable bombardment, a handle, and resistance to h2o and dust — while information technology’s more mutual for a smart speaker to demand a wired connection, be larger, and not have a design fabricated for portability.
Bluetooth speakers are somewhat bound past their natural portability, which means their drivers and other components can’t be equally large. Today’s engineering science tin do seriously impressive things with these small speakers and they generate a lot of sound for their size, but audio quality often pays a cost. Smart speakers, which tend to exist central and often (simply non ever) larger, are the articulate option when it comes to sound quality. Many smart speakers support connections to TVs, speaker bars, and home entertainment systems for this reason (some, such as the Echo Studio, are specifically designed for it).
If you really want Bluetooth speakers to put out firm-filling sound, there is an selection: Both Bluetooth and smart speakers unremarkably take the ability to link to other models of the aforementioned blazon, allowing you to play the same sound through multiple sources.
have voice assistant compatibility (the JBL Link Portable, for example, has Google Assistant), but information technology’s not guaranteed, and unlikely on the smaller models. Equally the proper noun suggests, they are more focused on using the Bluetooth wireless protocol for controls and playback.
Smart speakers don’t always have phonation assistants and their accompanying mics either, merely it’s much more mutual, and has become an expected feature in recent years. Amazon’s Echos accept Alexa, the Nest Minis use Google Assistant, and HomePods have Siri. Other brands often offer a combination of Alexa and/or Google Assistant support.
Voice assistants permit the smart speaker to serve as a hub for many kinds of interactions. The right phonation commands tin help you ask questions near the weather, go updates on sports games, schedule events, and call one of your contacts. They can likewise connect to supported smart devices effectually your home and allow y’all to control them with vocalization commands. Bluetooth speakers are non normally capable of these things.
Controls and indicators
Controls for Bluetooth and smart speakers are relatively the same. Both tend to accept options for ability, volume, and playback. Smart speakers may be a fiddling fancier in how those controls are displayed, with larger LED lights or rings equally indicators, merely they have the same role. The large difference here is that smart speakers typically come up with mics and an extra mute push to shut those mics down for privacy.
Smart displays are an added touchscreen that’s typically only available on a smart speaker, like an Echo Bear witness or a Nest Hub Max. Bluetooth speakers are also pocket-sized and portable for a touchscreen, and it wouldn’t exist nearly as useful. If you are interested in an added touchscreen, focus on smart speaker options.
Bluetooth vs. Wi-Fi
Bluetooth speakers mostly don’t need a Wi-Fi connection to work. A direct Bluetooth connection to your telephone is enough to stream music and other audio. This capability too helps them save on battery life, and makes setup a lot easier.
Smart speakers have both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections, and they often need Wi-Fi connections to operate properly. This is why they are spring to the home or function. However, that Wi-Fi connection is besides what makes actress features possible, like phonation administration, smart device control, and more than.
Note: This is different from streaming sound over Bluetooth vs. streaming audio over Wi-Fi. Smart speakers tin require a Wi-Fi connexion without enabling Wi-Fi streaming, although some do offer Wi-Fi streaming besides equally Bluetooth connectivity. Bluetooth speakers generally can’t stream via Wi-Fi at all. Some people prefer speakers that can stream via Wi-Fi considering that can brand streaming from a figurer more reliable, you don’t accept to worry about range every bit much, and it makes complex setups a flake easier.
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