Apple’s HomePod smartspeaker has struggled at least partly because of its high price. Well, Bose doesn’t see a problem because it just unveiled an even pricier option. And Harman Kardon will bring out one twice as expensive.
The Bose smartspeaker uses Alexa, while Harman Kardon turned to Google Assistant. Both these voice control systems are widely regarded as a more capable than Apple’s Siri.
$400 Bose smartspeaker
The Home Speaker 500 doesn’t depend entirely on Alexa. Buttons on top can be used to begin and stop playback, or mute the audio. There’s also a collection of preset buttons for playlists. There’s a small screen, but this is only used to display album art.
An array of 8 microphones are used to pick up the user’s voice.
The HomePod and the Home Speaker 500 have a somewhat similar barrel-shaped designs, though Bose went for aluminum where Apple chose cloth. There are silver and black options. The overall shape is 8 by 6 by 4 inches.
Bose put in two custom divers pointed in opposite directions. This idea is that the stereo sound will reflect off nearby walls. This company built its reputation on great audio, but only time will tell if this smartspeaker lives up to that rep.
Wi-Fi is built in, and so is Bluetooth. Support for Apple’s AirPlay 2 is promised for next year.
The Bose Home Speaker 500 costs $51 more than Apple’s HomePod. It’s scheduled for release in October.
$700 Harman Kardon smartspeaker
If $349 or $400 seems expensive, try the Harman Kardon Citation 500 at £549 or a whopping $700.
No matter who they are from, these top-tier products promise high-end sound. This Harman Kardon smartspeaker has 200W stereo speakers, and supports 24 bit/96Khz high-definition audio.
There are control buttons on the top, plus a small LCD touchscreen. And there’s Google Assistant, of course.
Pre-orders for the Harman Kardon Citation 500 are expected to begin at the end of next month. That’s in Europe, and there’s no word yet on a US release.