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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.

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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