For the Best and Smartest Audio, Stick With Apple or Google

1. Apple HomePod
Best for: Demanding audiophiles
Few compact speakers, smart or otherwise, sound better than this 7-inch-tall cylinder. It listens to the sound waves bouncing around the room, then adjusts the output for pristine audio. Chat interactions are a bit limited for now, but Siri’s an ace DJ. The AI can play songs or podcasts from Apple Music and control connected outlets and smart LED bulbs.

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2. Google Home Max
Best for: Inquisitive beat freaks
We found the Assistant inside Google’s largest Home speaker smarter than other AIs, answering queries, bossing connected devices, and sending driving directions to a Pixel phone. It can also cue up audio from your fave streaming platform. The Max puts out a beastly thump, with enough low end to make the neighbors think Janelle Monáe has moved in.

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