smart speakers are sometimes a bit stupid

“Hey, Google!” Many people nowadays have a smart speaker at home. I have one too and use it about twice a month. If not less.

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Thick layer of dust on your smart speaker? You’re not the only one

I don’t know if I would really call my smart speaker “smart”. Usually I reach for my smartphone, tablet, laptop or even smartwatch faster to look up something or send a message. But why actually? A smart speaker has potential, right? Yes, but no. Let me explain to you.

Speech recognition leaves a lot to be desired

Smart speakers are becoming increasingly popular. Many households have an extra listening ear, in the form of a Google Nest, Amazon Alexa or… Apple HomePod mini. These speakers are always ready to answer your questions or perform small tasks. Want to hear a thigh-slap of a joke? Your smart speaker know how to do that. And the great thing is: if you don’t laugh, the speaker will do it for you.

Of course this sounds nice, but after three jokes I was already tired of it. Sometimes I ask a useful question, such as: “is it going to rain in Alkmaar today?” Nine times out of ten, my Google Nest Mini doesn’t understand me. Then I have to say “hey, Google!” a few times. screaming before the device registers my voice.

Google Nest Mini

I also regularly experience the opposite. Then Google suddenly starts telling a whole story without any interaction. I may have ghosts in the house, but I think my speaker just isn’t quite a hundred. Do you like devices that always work, no matter the situation? Then don’t start with a smart speaker. My disobedient Nest Mini has already wiped the blood from under my fingernails several times.

Disappointing sound quality

“Hey Google, play Katy Perry on Spotify.” This sentence reverberated through my house regularly after purchasing my smart speaker. “Okay,” Google would say (after a few tries) – “here’s Katy Perry on Spotify”. However, full enjoyment was not possible, because the sound quality of the speaker is substandard to say the least.

The Google Nest Mini has trouble with bass. So don’t expect bass that rumbles through your brain. The sound is empty and quite tinny. That is a missed opportunity, since a smart speaker – the term says it all – is a speaker.

lossless audio
Google Nest Audio

A number of smart speakers do focus on sound quality. Think of the Google Nest Audio. According to Google, this speaker will fill your house with clear vocals and powerful basses. There are also smart speakers that have been developed in collaboration with major manufacturers. Think of brands such as Sonos, Bose or JBL. However, these are a lot more expensive.

In any case, I no longer use my Google Nest Mini for music. I have now bought a separate bluetooth speaker for that. The possibilities of use of a smart speaker become very scarce with a good sound quality. Is the ‘smart’ aspect the only thing selling point?

Smart speakers aren’t that smart on their own

A smart speaker doesn’t actually do anything that your smartphone doesn’t. And that is perhaps the biggest drawback. Smart speakers are not that smart. It is also not possible to have a nice conversation, because it is and remains a device. You get a simple answer to your question and that’s it.

A smart speaker can be useful if you also have all kinds of other smart tech in your house. Think of a smart thermostat and Philips Hue lamps. You can control this by voice with, for example, a Nest or Home speaker. All those extra smart gadgets are quite expensive – and so many users can’t enjoy this.

And yet I would miss my smart speaker (a little)

I don’t find my smart speaker fascinating at all, but I would still miss it a little bit. This is due to the handy timer function, which I regularly use while cooking. That way I don’t smear my smartphone with pasta sauce. My Google Nest Mini is therefore prominent in the kitchen. In a wild mood sometimes even ask for the latest news.

But be honest, was that timer worth buying my Google Nest Mini? New. Before you spend your hard-earned money on a shiny HomePod, check out which features you’d like to use. If your house is already completely smart, then a smart speaker might really add something. In all other cases I would happily spend my money on something else. A neighbour-angering bluetooth speaker, for example.

Do you have a different experience with your smart speaker? Let us know in the comments below this article! Sign up for the Android Planet newsletter, download the Android Planet-app and of course follow us on Instagram of Facebook.

Source: Android Planet by

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