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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Best Alternative to HomePod – Sonos, Bose Smart Speaker


Our favorite picks for AirPlay speakers




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Apple’s larger HomePod has been gone for over a year. For folks that need more power than the HomePod mini, here are our favorite AirPlay-compatible smart speakers that will fill your space with as much sound as the original HomePod did.

The original Apple Homepods were appreciated by a vocal contingent of fans for AirPlay compatibility, full Apple ecosystem compatibility, and high-fidelity sounds. It’s since it’s been discontinued, and Apple has yet to hit that segment again — although there are rumors that a new one is coming.

In the absence of the larger HomePod, there are good alternatives. Here are our picks.

Marshall Uxbridge Home Voice Speaker

If rock and roll is your favorite genre, check out this eye-catching speaker beaming with nostalgic vintage vibes.

Marshall Multi-Room Speakers

For starters, you can manually adjust the volume, treble, and bass with brass buttons on the top panel. You can also download the Marshall Voice app to adjust the equalizer and control the speaker.

It’s compatible with AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and Amazon Alexa for easy access to music from your favorite bands. It has smart voice recognition and noise cancellation, so even when the music is loud, Alexa will hear you.

This speaker with basic features is Marshall’s take on modern smart speakers while keeping their heritage with their iconic logo proudly on display.

Sonos Move

Sonos Move is a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled smart speaker that can easily be moved from room to room, or even outside for a backyard pool party. It’s durable with a shock-resistant case, so you can enjoy its powerful sounds worry-free.

Sonos Move

Sonos Move is rugged for outdoors adventures

This smart speaker is weather resistant and can stand up to rain or snow. It can also withstand salt spray or UV rays, and at only 10 inches, you can throw this in your beach bag for some fun in the sun.

It has up to 11 hours of continuous play time on battery, and can be recharged on the included charging dock or a USB-C charger.

A useful feature is its automatic Trueplay tuning, which automatically calibrates sounds depending on its environment. This way, you can get a robust, balanced sound whether you’re in your home or outdoors.

Sonos Move can easily be controlled with the Sonos app, and Amazon Alexa is also built right in. Snag yours for $399 on Amazon or for the same price direct from Sonos.

Bose Home Speaker 500

At a mere 8 inches tall, this speaker is perfect if you’re a fan of hefty sounds while keeping a clean, minimalist space.

Bose Home Speaker 500

Bose Home Speaker 500

This can easily be paired to Apple AirPlay 2 or Spotify Connect. You can also set up Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to use hands-free controls, and you can even make or take phone calls with Alexa.

For extra ease of use, the color LCD display shows you what’s playing, like the current song, playlist, and album art.

If you own additional Bose speakers or soundbars, you can group them together for a multi-room listening experience. Pick one up for $379.00 from Amazon or from Bose.

Libratone Zipp Mini 2 Portable Smart Speaker

This smart speaker is super practical for your everyday life and is perfect for a smart home or dorm set up.

Libratone Zipp 2

Libratone Zipp 2

This cylindrical speaker projects 360-degree sound and has space-sensing technology to automatically adjust the EQ based on its environment. Enjoy up to 12 hours of music on a single charge.

If you get a phone call in the middle of a dance session, simply put your palm on top of the speaker to minimize the volume, then lift your palm to resume playing at its original volume.

You can set up Amazon Alexa for voice controls, and it can also control other smart-home devices like smart lights, door locks, and thermostats.

For style points, it is casually chic and comes in four colors, including Pine Green and Cranberry Red. Get yours for $249.00 from Amazon.

Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge

If you are looking for a high-quality single speaker, this unique smart speaker will truly be music to your ears.

Bowers & Wilkins Formation Audio range

This hi-res stereo speaker is built with two double-dome tweeters, two FST midrange drivers, and a woofer with an 80W Class D amplifier. You can stream audio at 24-bit/96kHz resolution for state-of-the-art music.

Not only is this compatible with AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect, it can also be used with services like Tidal, TuneIn, Qobuz, and Roon Ready. It also supports voice controls with Amazon Alexa.

Devialet Phantom I

If you want to treat yourself to insanely sweet beats, this is a splurge that you will have for years to come.

Devialet Phantom I

Devialet Phantom I

Developed by a French acoustic-engineering company, this luxury line is fully loaded with everything an audiophile could ask for in a wireless AirPlay speaker.

This speaker consists of two lateral woofers and delivers implosive sound with zero distortion, saturation, or background noise.

It boasts a built-in battery with 2.5 months of autonomy and is rechargeable via an included USB cable. This is compatible with AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and Universal Plug and Play.

It comes with a remote and the Devialet app for precise controls. For example, in the Devialet app, you can adjust latency for A/V and customize bass for Night Mode. Check out our Devialet Phantom review.

I have personally seen and heard Phantom I in action and can attest to its impressive performance. You can buy this from Devialet on Amazon for $3,300.

Symfonisk floor lamp speaker

On December 2, 2022, IKEA announced a new AirPlay-compatible speaker in the form of a floor lamp.

SYMFONISK floor lamp speaker

SYMFONISK floor lamp speaker

The newest Symfonisk lamp evokes Bali vibes with modern touches, and doubles as a smart speaker made by Sonos. This can be added to the IKEA Home smart app and controlled with other devices.

The style resembles their braided bamboo Sinnerlig lamp, and when paired with soothing music, creates the perfect hygge ambience.

More details remain to be released on this new product, but keep an eye on this when it’s available for purchase in January 2023.

In the meantime, you can get the $99 Symfonisk Bookshelf Wi-Fi speaker with AirPlay 2. Two of them in a stereo pair are very nice, albeit the same price as a HomePod mini.

Symfonisk Bookshelf speaker

Symfonisk Bookshelf speaker from IKEA and Sonos

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