Amazon Echo Studio ReviewAmazon’s first high-end smart speaker for home cinemas is its best-sounding Echo so far. One of the most powerful speakers you’ll find for the money at 330W, buy two Amazon Echo Studio speakers and you can set them up in the Alexa app to create an immersive home cinema system. It’s seriously impressive, though to get the best from it consider becoming a subscriber to Amazon Music HD. Our only complaint is that its up-mixing of stereo tracks to Dolby Atmos is inconsistent.
Sonos Beam ReviewEven the best TVs typically have lousy sound quality due to their tiny built-in speakers, which makes soundbars an attractive option for many. However, many soundbars tend to be large, and clunky affairs despite their overall simplicity. This where the Sonos Beam comes in. A compact and well-styled bar, it can easily fit under the smallest of TVs on either a console or on the wall using the optional bracket. Like every Sonos product, it has very good sound quality for its size and can become part of a much larger multiroom audio system. The Sonos app lets you stream from virtually every music service on the planet and it does an excellent job managing your private music collection too.
Echo 2nd Generation ReviewIt's been five years since Amazon's revolutionary Echo appeared and sparked the smart home speaker industry. Now, there are more than a dozen Alexa speakers on the market, with more on the way. And while Amazon has launched plenty of other Alexa-enabled devices since then, the second-generation Echo remains an excellent step up from the first-gen Echo. Amazon hasn't really placed a premium on making its devices stylish. Just look at its phones, tablets and first-generation Echos. That's changing with the second-generation Echo. Not only is it more compact than the original, but it looks have greatly improved.
Apple HomePod ReviewThe obvious benefit of an Apple HomePod over an Echo or Google Home device is that it'll play nice with your other Apple products. So if you're a die-hard Apple fan the HomePod may be a no-brainer. But it's worth asking the same question you should always be asking yourself when you want to splurge on a new Apple product: how much of a premium should you pay for owning a device that fits only seamlessly into the Apple ecosystem?
JBL Link Portable ReviewThe JBL Link Portable's neat connectivity features bring a plethora of streaming options to the table – features rarely seen in the sub-$150 speaker category including AirPlay 2, Chromecast and hi-res support. You also get hands-free Google Assistant, a charger cradle and wireless streaming via wi-fi or Bluetooth. The Link Portable looks and feels like a premium product. For a speaker of this size, it has oodles of detail and an expansive mix with everything present, including bass. While there's no PartyBoost or Connect+ support for daisy-chaining other JBL speakers, the Link Portable makes JBL a serious contender in the category of affordable wireless speakers.