Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 Pro offer improved audio and ANC for $230

Samsung typically reveals a new set of true wireless earbuds alongside its latest phones, and today is no different. In addition to the Galaxy Fold 4, Galaxy Flip 4 and new watches, the company is debuting the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, the follow-up to the Galaxy Buds Pro that debuted early last year. While not a complete redesign, this new model offers enough of an overhaul with smaller buds, improved active noise cancellation (ANC), retooled audio and a host of other handy features. All of the upgrades will cost you though: the Buds 2 Pro are $30 more than their predecessor. 

In terms of design, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are 15 percent smaller than the Galaxy Buds Pro. Samsung says the "new compact, ergonomic design" is built to offer a secure fit that won't move around in your ear, even during workouts. The design should also relieve pressure, thanks to a vent and nozzle grille that facilitate air flow. So while the buds may look similar to the previous model, they are indeed different. The case, on the other hand, appears to be mostly unchanged. Like the previous model, the Buds 2 Pro are IPX7 rated for water and sweat resistance, although Samsung made it clear the same protection doesn't apply to the case. Should you lose an earbud, the Buds 2 Pro can be located with SmartThings Find either in the case or out.

Inside the Buds 2 Pro, two-way speakers (woofers and tweeters) handle the sound. In addition to 360 Audio (Dolby Atmos) that debuted on the Buds Pro, this model also offers 24-bit HiFi audio via Samsung's Seamless Codec (the buds also support AAC and SBC). The company says this produces 256 times "richer sound" than 16-bit audio. When it comes to canceling noise, Samsung explains that three high new mics are capable of blocking subtle and high-pitched sounds with three more decibels of overall reduction. 

There's ambient sound and a new Voice Detect feature on board as well. With Voice Detect, the Buds 2 Pro can determine when you're speaking. The tool temporarily changes to ambient sound mode and lowers the volume so you can have a quick convo without removing the earbuds. Sony has offered something similar with its buds and headphones for a while now, but its Speak-to-Chat tool fully pauses the audio when you talk. And yes, Bixby handles voice control on the Buds 2 Pro, a feature that works across Samsung's phones, tablets and even its newer TVs. The company also says LE Audio will debut on the earbuds later this year, a tool that allows you to capture 360 environmental sounds if you're streaming or recording. 

Unfortunately, battery life is unchanged from the Galaxy Buds Pro. You can expect up to five hours of use with ANC on (18 hours including the case) or eight hours with it off (29 hours with the case). If you were hoping Samsung would reinstate iOS compatibility with this model, you're going to be disappointed. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro will work with those devices, but with Bluetooth only — there's no companion app to unlock the full suite of features. Those are reserved for Android (Galaxy Wearable app), PC (Galaxy Buds app) and Samsung's 2022 TVs. Speaking of TVs, the company has added those to its compatible devices for audio switching. Basically, you can quickly change between Galaxy phones, tablets and TVs via the Auto Switch feature without having to enter pairing mode. 

When it comes to first impressions, Engadget Deputy Editor Cherlynn Low "loved the fit" and noted that the ANC worked well too. UK Bureau Chief Mat Smith explained that the smaller size is indeed more comfortable and the Buds 2 Pro feel "less obtrusive." He also said Voice Detect worked well, but it could be duped by coughs and humming since it relies on a voice pickup unit to detect vibrations. For what it's worth, this is also a downside to Sony's automatic-pausing speech detection. 

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are available for pre-order starting today in graphite, white and Bora Purple for $230 from Samsung, Amazon and other retailers. General availability begins 26th. Both the Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Buds 2 will remain in Samsung's true wireless lineup if you prefer open wear or more affordable options, respectively. 

Follow all of the news from Samsung's Unpacked event right here!

Sennheiser promises 60 hours of listening with its new Momentum headphones

Sennheiser hasn't refreshed its over-hear Momentum noise-canceling headphones since 2019, but that changes today. The company has announced the Momentum 4, a new take on its flagship headphones that includes an exterior redesign, new features and a whopping 60 hours of battery life. What's more, Sennheiser is offering this host of updates for $50 less than the Momentum 3 at its debut. 

First, the design Sennheiser had carried through much of the Momentum line since its introduction is gone. The mix of metal and leather with visible cables has been traded for a more simplified, more plastic affair. The new look is decidedly less premium than previous Momentum models. However, what the Momentum 4 may lack in aesthetics is offset by increased comfort. The company notes the new hinge easily adjusts and doesn't exert too much pressure on your head. Earcups also rotate flat now, which makes storage a bit easier. Another big change is the on-board controls: most of the physical buttons have been replaced with a touch panel on the right side.

Sennheiser Momentum 4
Sennheiser

Inside, Sennheiser says it opted for an "audiophile-inspired acoustic system" that relies on 42mm transducers for the sound. The company explains the setup creates "brilliant dynamics, clarity and musicality," plus you can use an EQ, presets and a new Sound Personalization feature to further adjust the tuning. Sound Personalization takes into account your personal preferences and adjusts "the listening experience" accordingly. 

Of course, these are flagship headphones so active noise cancellation (ANC) is on board. The company says its updated adaptive ANC works to maintain sound quality even in the noisiest of surroundings. Transparency Mode is available as well and there's a slider control between it and ANC in Sennheiser's app. In other words, you're not just left with one or the other, so you can mix in a dash of environmental noise if needed. This model can automatically change sound settings based on your location too, a feature Sennheiser first debuted in March.

Sennheiser also offers a feature called Sidetone, which allows you to adjust how much of your voice comes through during calls. It's a tool that helps you feel less shouty and it works on top of automatic wind noise suppression for the Momentum 4's beamforming microphones during voice and video chats. 

Sennheiser Momentum 4
Sennheiser

Sennheiser says you can expect up to 60 hours of battery life on a charge, and that's with ANC turned on. A quick-charge feature gives you six hours of use in 10 minutes. To help you conserve battery, the Momentum 4 is equipped with both automatic pausing and automatic on/off. The company says the headphones will power off when you leave them unattended and turn back on when you pick them up.

The Momentum 4 will be available for preorder in black and white color options on August 9th before shipping on August 23rd. The headphones are priced at $349.95, which is $50 less than the Momentum 3 when it debuted in 2019. 

The best smart speakers you can buy

When Amazon first introduced Alexa and the Echo speaker years ago, the idea of talking to a digital assistant wasn't totally novel. Both the iPhone and Android phones had semi-intelligent voice controls — but with the Echo, Amazon took its first step toward making something like Alexa a constant presence in your home. Since then, Apple and Google have followed suit, and now there's a huge variety of smart speakers available at various price points.

As the market exploded, the downsides of having a device that's always listening for a wake word have become increasingly apparent. They can get activated unintentionally, sending private recordings back to monolithic companies to analyze. And even at the best of times, giving more personal information to Amazon, Apple and Google can be a questionable decision. That said, all these companies have made it easier to manage how your data is used — you can opt out of humans reviewing some of your voice queries, and it's also less complicated to manage and erase your history with various digital assistants, too.

The good news is that there's never been a better time to get a smart speaker, particularly if you're a music fan. For all their benefits, the original Amazon Echo and Google Home devices did not sound good. Sonos, on the other hand, made great sounding WiFi-connected speakers, but they lacked any voice-controlled smarts.

That's all changed now. Sonos is including both Alexa and Google Assistant support in its latest speakers. Google and Amazon, meanwhile, made massive improvements in sound quality with recent speakers. Even lower-end models like the Echo Dot and Nest Mini sound much better than earlier iterations. With the growing popularity of these speakers, there are now more options than ever. Let’s walk through the best choices at different price points and for different uses.

Picking an assistant

The first thing most people should do is decide what voice assistant they want to use. Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa are both well-supported options that are continually evolving, with new features added at a steady clip. A few years ago, Alexa worked with more smart home devices, but at this point, basically any smart device worth buying works with both.

It's mostly a matter of personal preference. If you already use Google Assistant on your Android phone, it makes sense to stick with that. But while Alexa isn’t quite as good at answering general knowledge questions, it syncs just fine with things like calendars from your Google account. And it works with perhaps the widest variety of smart home devices, as well. If you’ve never used Alexa or Google Assistant, you can download their apps to your smart phone and spend some time testing them out before buying a speaker.

As for Apple, you won’t be surprised to learn its HomePod mini is the only Siri-compatible speaker on the market, now that Apple has discontinued the larger HomePod. Siri has a reputation for not being as smart as Alexa or Google Assistant, but it’s totally capable of handling common voice queries like answering questions, controlling smart home devices, sending messages, making calls and playing music. Technically, Siri and Apple’s HomeKit technology doesn’t work with as many smart home devices as the competition, but it’s not hard to find compatible gear. And since the HomePod mini arrived last fall, Apple has added some handy features like a new Intercom tool. Apple is also starting to support music services besides Apple Music. Currently, Pandora is the only other option, but Apple has confirmed that Amazon Music will eventually work natively on the HomePod mini as well.

Best smart speaker under $50: Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot 2020
Engadget

Most people's entry point into the smart speaker world will not be an expensive device. Amazon's fourth-generation Echo Dot and Google's Nest Mini are the most obvious places to start for two important reasons. One, they're cheap: Both the Nest Mini and Echo Dost cost $50. Two, they're capable. Despite the low price, these speakers can do virtually the same things as larger and more expensive devices.

Buy Echo Dot at Amazon - $50Buy Nest Mini at Walmart - $50

The Nest Mini was released in late 2019, but Amazon just refreshed the Echo Dot in 2020. After testing both devices, I think the Echo Dot is the best small smart speaker for most people. Amazon keeps improving the audio quality across its Echo line, and the Echo Dot is no exception. It produces much louder and clearer audio than I’d expect from a $50 speaker. The Nest Mini doesn’t sound bad, and it’s perfectly fine for listening in the bedroom while getting ready for the day, but the Echo Dot is a better all-purpose music listening device.

From a design perspective, Amazon broke the mold with the latest Echo Dot. Instead of a small puck like the Nest Mini, the new Dot is shaped like a little globe. It’s much bigger than the Nest Mini, but that size gives it room for higher-end audio components. The Dot keeps the handy physical volume buttons and mute switch on top, along with a button to activate Alexa. While the Dot doesn’t look as sleek as the Nest Mini, having physical buttons makes it easier to adjust volume and mute the mic. I do wish the Dot had a way to physically pause music; on the Nest Mini, if you tap the middle of the device, the music stops.

Another benefit the Echo Dot has over the Nest Mini is its 3.5mm audio out jack, which means you can plug it into other speakers and instantly upgrade the audio quality. When you do that, you can ask Alexa to stream music, and it'll output to whatever speaker you have connected. That'll help you get more mileage out of the Dot in the long run. The Nest Mini answers with a handy wall mount, for people who want to keep their counter or shelf clear. The Echo Dot’s new bulbous form is definitely not suited to this, so if you want a speaker you can really hide, the Nest Mini is probably the better choice.

Overall, the Dot is the best choice for most people, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Nest Mini, either. I generally prefer using Google Assistant over Alexa, and anyone who feels the same should go ahead and get the Nest Mini. The Dot does sound notably better, so if you plan to listen to audio on a regular basis, that’s probably the way to go. But if you only plan to use it for a quick song or podcast when you’re getting ready in the morning, just pick your favorite assistant and go from there.

Best smart speaker under $100: Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo
Amazon

Amazon, Apple and Google all have $100 smart speakers: the fourth-generation Echo, the HomePod mini and the Nest Audio, respectively. All three companies claim superior audio quality, so for lots of people these speakers will be the sweet spot between small speakers like the Echo Dot and Nest Mini and bigger, more expensive models like the Sonos One.

Buy Echo at Amazon - $100Buy HomePod mini at B&H - $100Buy Nest Audio at Walmart - $100

Once again, Amazon punches above its weight. Like the Dot, the new Echo is totally redesigned and the new internals were made with music in mind. It combines a three-inch woofer with two 0.8-inch tweeters — a more advanced setup than either the Nest Audio or HomePod mini. (The Nest Audio uses a three-inch woofer but only a single 0.75-inch tweeter, while the HomePod mini makes do with a single “full range” driver and two passive radiators.)

In practice, this means the Echo is noticeably louder than either the Nest Audio or HomePod mini and much better suited to filling a large room than the competition. It also delivers an impressive bass thump and powerful mid-range frequencies. In fact, my main complaint with the speaker is that highs aren’t quite crisp enough. Compare the Echo to a Sonos One and the One sounds much more lively, while the Echo comes off a bit muddy. Then again, the Sonos One costs twice as much as the Echo.

While the Echo may beat the Nest Audio and HomePod mini on volume and bass, Google and Apple’s speakers are not bad options. The HomePod mini is the quietest of the three speakers, but it still sounds balanced across the entire audio spectrum. The bass isn’t too assertive, but there’s more presence than I would have expected given its tiny size (it’s by far the smallest of these three speakers).

And it has a few nice perks if you’re using an iPhone 11 or newer. Thanks to the U1 “ultra-wideband” chip in recent iPhones, the HomePod mini can tell when there’s a phone near it, which makes handing off music from your phone to the speaker (or vice versa) quite simple. Playback controls for the HomePod mini will automatically pop up as well, and your phone’s lock screen will display music suggestions if the speaker isn’t currently playing. Setup is also dead-simple — just bring an iPhone or iPad near the speaker and it’ll automatically start the process.

Google’s Nest Audio is also quite pleasant to listen to. It’s a little louder than the HomePod mini, and has stronger bass, to boot. It doesn’t have the same overall power and presence that the Echo does, but for $100 it’s a well-balanced speaker that should serve most people’s needs.

All three of these speakers support stereo pairing as well, if you want more volume or crave a more immersive experience. For $200, two Echoes will fill a large room with high-quality sound and enough bass to power a party. A pair of HomePod mini or Nest Audio speakers aren’t quite as powerful, but it makes for a great upgrade if you’re a more avid listener. A pair of Nest Audio or HomePod mini speakers sounded great on my desk during the workday. I don’t need overwhelming volume but can appreciate the stereo separation. And two of those speakers together can easily power a larger living space, although the Echo is the better choice if volume is a priority.

Here too, I think that picking the assistant that works best in your house and with your other gadgets is probably the most important factor — but given Alexa’s ubiquity and the new Echo’s superior sound quality, I think it’s the best smart speaker at this price point.

Best midrange smart speakers: Sonos One, Amazon Echo Studio

If you have more than a passing interest in music, the Echo Dot and Nest Mini aren't really going to cut it. Spending more money to upgrade to a speaker designed with audio in mind is one of the best decisions I've made. For years, I didn't have a proper home music solution, but in the end the modest investment has made my life much more pleasant.

For a long time, my default recommendation was the $219 Sonos One. It hits a sweet spot of size and convenience, and it's a huge upgrade in sound quality over the Nest Mini or Echo Dot, not to mention the larger Echo and Nest Audio. You can use either Alexa or the Google Assistant with it, and Sonos supports a huge variety of music services. But most importantly, it simply sounds great, especially if you tune the speaker to your room using the Sonos iOS app. It takes just a few minutes and makes the One sound lively, with punchy bass and clear highs.

Buy Sonos One at Sonos - $219Buy Echo Studio at Amazon - $200

But Amazon flipped the script in 2019 with the Echo Studio, a $200 Alexa-powered smart speaker that can stand up against the Sonos One. Yes, it's larger than nearly every other speaker in this guide, but the bang-for-the-buck factor is extremely high with the Echo Studio. Naturally, it's a full-fledged member of the Alexa ecosystem, which means you can do multi-room playback with other Echo speakers or set up two Studios in a stereo pair. All of Alexa's features are on board here, and it has a built-in Zigbee smart home hub, if you happen to need that.

The Echo Studio has a few other unique features for music lovers. If you sign up for Amazon's hi-def music service, you can play a (very limited) selection of songs in Sony's 360 Reality Audio format; Amazon refers to this as "3D music." It may sound great, but the selection is so sparse that we can't recommend it as a reason to buy into the Echo Studio — but it will be nice as Amazon expands its catalog over time. That said, the Echo Studio’s five-speaker, 360-degree design naturally provides a more 3D effect than a speaker like the Sonos One, which has a more traditional forward-firing design.

The Studio also supports Dolby Atmos, making it a candidate for a home theater setup — but it only works with Amazon's own Fire TV devices. And using a single speaker for watching movies is odd; it may sound great, but it's not the immersive experience you'll get with a dedicated soundbar and surround speakers. A stereo pair plus Amazon's Echo Sub should sound notably better, but we haven't been able to get that setup yet.

Given the quality of the Studio, the speaker shines when used with a high-def streaming service, like Amazon Music HD or Tidal's HiFi tier. The downside is that you'll pay for those — but if you want to stick with standard Spotify or Apple Music, the Studio still sounds great.

While the Studio is comparable to the Sonos One in terms of pure audio quality, the Sonos ecosystem does have a few advantages over Amazon. Sonos speakers that support voice commands, like the One, work with either Alexa or Google Assistant. So if you prefer Google, Sonos is probably the way to go. And Sonos speakers work with a much broader set of music services. I’ve spent a lot of time recently comparing the One to the Echo Studio, and I go back and forth on which is superior in terms of music quality. They definitely have different profiles, and while I have come to prefer Sonos over Amazon, I know plenty of people (including my colleague Billy Steele) who find the opposite to be true.

If you have a smaller home and aren't concerned with multi-room playback, the Echo Studio should be your pick. But if you're interested in building out a multi-room setup over time, Sonos currently provides a greater variety of speakers for that mission. But either way, you'll end up with a setup that puts something like the Echo Dot or Nest Mini to shame.

Best smart speaker for music lovers: Sonos Five

Sonos Play 5

As nice as the Echo Studio and Sonos One are, there's only so much you can get out of them. If you crave more bass, clarity and stereo separation, the Sonos Five is one of our favorite pure music speakers. It has all the conveniences of the One (except for one, which we'll get to) and sounds significantly better than any other Sonos speaker. It also sounds much better than the Echo Studio and anything Google is currently selling.

Buy Sonos Five at Sonos - $549

That said, the Five stretches our definition of a smart speaker here because it doesn't have a built-in voice assistant. But it's so good at music playback that it's worth recommending you pick one up along with an Echo Dot or Nest Mini. Both of those speakers work with Sonos, so you can use voice commands to control the Five just as you would a dedicated Alexa or Google Assistant device. It’s also easier to recommend than it was a year ago, because Sonos refreshed the speaker last spring with a new wireless radio as well as more memory and a faster processor. This means it should stay current and work with future Sonos software updates for years to come.

Since we're talking "best" here, I'm going to go ahead and recommend that true music junkies splash out on two Five speakers and pair them in stereo. Put simply, it's the most enjoyable experience I've had listening to music in years; I found myself picking up new details while listening to albums I've heard over and over again. It's a wonderful experience and worth saving for if you're a music lover. Put simply, I didn't know what I was missing until I tried the Five.

Best portable smart speaker: Sonos Roam

Sonos Roam portable speaker outside, standing vertically on a wooden railing.
Engadget

While many people will be happy with a few speakers strategically placed throughout their home, you might want something that works outside as well as inside. Fortunately, you can find speakers that pair voice controls and strong music playback performance with portable, weatherproof form factors. For my money, it's hard to beat the Sonos Roam for sheer versatility, not to mention audio quality.

Buy Sonos Roam at Sonos - $179

When used inside the home, the Roam works like any other Sonos speaker. It fits in with an existing multi-room Sonos setup, or you can get a pair for stereo playback. Like most other Sonos speakers, it works with either the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, and it supports essentially every major music service available. It sounds very good given its tiny size; it’s quieter and not quite as clear as the Sonos One, but it still packs a surprising bass thump and distinct highs.

Since it was designed with on-the-go usage in mind, the Roam has a battery and Bluetooth so you can take it anywhere and use it far away from your WiFi network. And its diminutive size makes it easy to take it everywhere, both around the house and out and about. It’s also the first Sonos speaker that is fully waterproof, as well as dust- and drop-resistant, so you shouldn’t worry about taking it to the pool or beach.

The Roam gets about 10 hours of battery life, whether you're on WiFI or Bluetooth. There are other portable speakers that last longer, so if you’re really going to push the battery you might be better served by another option.

Sonos also has another portable option, the Move. Like the Roam, it’s a full-fledged Sonos speaker when on WiFi and works with Bluetooth when you’re away from home. But it’s $400 and much larger than the Roam, and even bigger than the Sonos One. This means it is very loud and has better audio quality than all the other speakers I’ve mentioned, but it’s not something you can toss in a bag and bring with you anywhere. When I reviewed it, I liked having a speaker I could tote around the house with me and out to my porch, but the Roam does that all just as well in a much smaller package. The Move is a good option if you want a high-quality speaker for a living room with the option to occasionally drag it to the backyard.

While this guide is all about smart speakers, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention all of the solid portable speakers out there that either have limited smart features or none at all. We have an entire guide to the best portable Bluetooth speakers, and some of our favorites that support smart voice commands come from Bose. The $149 SoundLink Flex supports Siri and Google Assistant commands, plus it has an IP67 design that's roughly the size of a small clutch bag. It pumps out bright, dynamic sound and can pair with other speakers for stereo sound, too.

On the higher end of the spectrum, the $399 Bose Portable Smart speaker supports Alexa and Google Assistant commands, and since it can connect to WiFi, you can ask your preferred assistant to play music from Spotify, Amazon Music and other services. On top of that, it produces well-rounded sound, sports an IPX4 design with a convenient carry handle and will last up to 12 hours on a single charge.

The best smart speakers you can buy

When Amazon first introduced Alexa and the Echo speaker years ago, the idea of talking to a digital assistant wasn't totally novel. Both the iPhone and Android phones had semi-intelligent voice controls — but with the Echo, Amazon took its first step toward making something like Alexa a constant presence in your home. Since then, Apple and Google have followed suit, and now there's a huge variety of smart speakers available at various price points.

As the market exploded, the downsides of having a device that's always listening for a wake word have become increasingly apparent. They can get activated unintentionally, sending private recordings back to monolithic companies to analyze. And even at the best of times, giving more personal information to Amazon, Apple and Google can be a questionable decision. That said, all these companies have made it easier to manage how your data is used — you can opt out of humans reviewing some of your voice queries, and it's also less complicated to manage and erase your history with various digital assistants, too.

The good news is that there's never been a better time to get a smart speaker, particularly if you're a music fan. For all their benefits, the original Amazon Echo and Google Home devices did not sound good. Sonos, on the other hand, made great sounding WiFi-connected speakers, but they lacked any voice-controlled smarts.

That's all changed now. Sonos is including both Alexa and Google Assistant support in its latest speakers. Google and Amazon, meanwhile, made massive improvements in sound quality with recent speakers. Even lower-end models like the Echo Dot and Nest Mini sound much better than earlier iterations. With the growing popularity of these speakers, there are now more options than ever. Let’s walk through the best choices at different price points and for different uses.

Picking an assistant

The first thing most people should do is decide what voice assistant they want to use. Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa are both well-supported options that are continually evolving, with new features added at a steady clip. A few years ago, Alexa worked with more smart home devices, but at this point, basically any smart device worth buying works with both.

It's mostly a matter of personal preference. If you already use Google Assistant on your Android phone, it makes sense to stick with that. But while Alexa isn’t quite as good at answering general knowledge questions, it syncs just fine with things like calendars from your Google account. And it works with perhaps the widest variety of smart home devices, as well. If you’ve never used Alexa or Google Assistant, you can download their apps to your smart phone and spend some time testing them out before buying a speaker.

As for Apple, you won’t be surprised to learn its HomePod mini is the only Siri-compatible speaker on the market, now that Apple has discontinued the larger HomePod. Siri has a reputation for not being as smart as Alexa or Google Assistant, but it’s totally capable of handling common voice queries like answering questions, controlling smart home devices, sending messages, making calls and playing music. Technically, Siri and Apple’s HomeKit technology doesn’t work with as many smart home devices as the competition, but it’s not hard to find compatible gear. And since the HomePod mini arrived last fall, Apple has added some handy features like a new Intercom tool. Apple is also starting to support music services besides Apple Music. Currently, Pandora is the only other option, but Apple has confirmed that Amazon Music will eventually work natively on the HomePod mini as well.

Best smart speaker under $50: Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot 2020
Engadget

Most people's entry point into the smart speaker world will not be an expensive device. Amazon's fourth-generation Echo Dot and Google's Nest Mini are the most obvious places to start for two important reasons. One, they're cheap: Both the Nest Mini and Echo Dost cost $50. Two, they're capable. Despite the low price, these speakers can do virtually the same things as larger and more expensive devices.

Buy Echo Dot at Amazon - $50Buy Nest Mini at Walmart - $50

The Nest Mini was released in late 2019, but Amazon just refreshed the Echo Dot in 2020. After testing both devices, I think the Echo Dot is the best small smart speaker for most people. Amazon keeps improving the audio quality across its Echo line, and the Echo Dot is no exception. It produces much louder and clearer audio than I’d expect from a $50 speaker. The Nest Mini doesn’t sound bad, and it’s perfectly fine for listening in the bedroom while getting ready for the day, but the Echo Dot is a better all-purpose music listening device.

From a design perspective, Amazon broke the mold with the latest Echo Dot. Instead of a small puck like the Nest Mini, the new Dot is shaped like a little globe. It’s much bigger than the Nest Mini, but that size gives it room for higher-end audio components. The Dot keeps the handy physical volume buttons and mute switch on top, along with a button to activate Alexa. While the Dot doesn’t look as sleek as the Nest Mini, having physical buttons makes it easier to adjust volume and mute the mic. I do wish the Dot had a way to physically pause music; on the Nest Mini, if you tap the middle of the device, the music stops.

Another benefit the Echo Dot has over the Nest Mini is its 3.5mm audio out jack, which means you can plug it into other speakers and instantly upgrade the audio quality. When you do that, you can ask Alexa to stream music, and it'll output to whatever speaker you have connected. That'll help you get more mileage out of the Dot in the long run. The Nest Mini answers with a handy wall mount, for people who want to keep their counter or shelf clear. The Echo Dot’s new bulbous form is definitely not suited to this, so if you want a speaker you can really hide, the Nest Mini is probably the better choice.

Overall, the Dot is the best choice for most people, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Nest Mini, either. I generally prefer using Google Assistant over Alexa, and anyone who feels the same should go ahead and get the Nest Mini. The Dot does sound notably better, so if you plan to listen to audio on a regular basis, that’s probably the way to go. But if you only plan to use it for a quick song or podcast when you’re getting ready in the morning, just pick your favorite assistant and go from there.

Best smart speaker under $100: Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo
Amazon

Amazon, Apple and Google all have $100 smart speakers: the fourth-generation Echo, the HomePod mini and the Nest Audio, respectively. All three companies claim superior audio quality, so for lots of people these speakers will be the sweet spot between small speakers like the Echo Dot and Nest Mini and bigger, more expensive models like the Sonos One.

Buy Echo at Amazon - $100Buy HomePod mini at B&H - $100Buy Nest Audio at Walmart - $100

Once again, Amazon punches above its weight. Like the Dot, the new Echo is totally redesigned and the new internals were made with music in mind. It combines a three-inch woofer with two 0.8-inch tweeters — a more advanced setup than either the Nest Audio or HomePod mini. (The Nest Audio uses a three-inch woofer but only a single 0.75-inch tweeter, while the HomePod mini makes do with a single “full range” driver and two passive radiators.)

In practice, this means the Echo is noticeably louder than either the Nest Audio or HomePod mini and much better suited to filling a large room than the competition. It also delivers an impressive bass thump and powerful mid-range frequencies. In fact, my main complaint with the speaker is that highs aren’t quite crisp enough. Compare the Echo to a Sonos One and the One sounds much more lively, while the Echo comes off a bit muddy. Then again, the Sonos One costs twice as much as the Echo.

While the Echo may beat the Nest Audio and HomePod mini on volume and bass, Google and Apple’s speakers are not bad options. The HomePod mini is the quietest of the three speakers, but it still sounds balanced across the entire audio spectrum. The bass isn’t too assertive, but there’s more presence than I would have expected given its tiny size (it’s by far the smallest of these three speakers).

And it has a few nice perks if you’re using an iPhone 11 or newer. Thanks to the U1 “ultra-wideband” chip in recent iPhones, the HomePod mini can tell when there’s a phone near it, which makes handing off music from your phone to the speaker (or vice versa) quite simple. Playback controls for the HomePod mini will automatically pop up as well, and your phone’s lock screen will display music suggestions if the speaker isn’t currently playing. Setup is also dead-simple — just bring an iPhone or iPad near the speaker and it’ll automatically start the process.

Google’s Nest Audio is also quite pleasant to listen to. It’s a little louder than the HomePod mini, and has stronger bass, to boot. It doesn’t have the same overall power and presence that the Echo does, but for $100 it’s a well-balanced speaker that should serve most people’s needs.

All three of these speakers support stereo pairing as well, if you want more volume or crave a more immersive experience. For $200, two Echoes will fill a large room with high-quality sound and enough bass to power a party. A pair of HomePod mini or Nest Audio speakers aren’t quite as powerful, but it makes for a great upgrade if you’re a more avid listener. A pair of Nest Audio or HomePod mini speakers sounded great on my desk during the workday. I don’t need overwhelming volume but can appreciate the stereo separation. And two of those speakers together can easily power a larger living space, although the Echo is the better choice if volume is a priority.

Here too, I think that picking the assistant that works best in your house and with your other gadgets is probably the most important factor — but given Alexa’s ubiquity and the new Echo’s superior sound quality, I think it’s the best smart speaker at this price point.

Best midrange smart speakers: Sonos One, Amazon Echo Studio

If you have more than a passing interest in music, the Echo Dot and Nest Mini aren't really going to cut it. Spending more money to upgrade to a speaker designed with audio in mind is one of the best decisions I've made. For years, I didn't have a proper home music solution, but in the end the modest investment has made my life much more pleasant.

For a long time, my default recommendation was the $219 Sonos One. It hits a sweet spot of size and convenience, and it's a huge upgrade in sound quality over the Nest Mini or Echo Dot, not to mention the larger Echo and Nest Audio. You can use either Alexa or the Google Assistant with it, and Sonos supports a huge variety of music services. But most importantly, it simply sounds great, especially if you tune the speaker to your room using the Sonos iOS app. It takes just a few minutes and makes the One sound lively, with punchy bass and clear highs.

Buy Sonos One at Sonos - $219Buy Echo Studio at Amazon - $200

But Amazon flipped the script in 2019 with the Echo Studio, a $200 Alexa-powered smart speaker that can stand up against the Sonos One. Yes, it's larger than nearly every other speaker in this guide, but the bang-for-the-buck factor is extremely high with the Echo Studio. Naturally, it's a full-fledged member of the Alexa ecosystem, which means you can do multi-room playback with other Echo speakers or set up two Studios in a stereo pair. All of Alexa's features are on board here, and it has a built-in Zigbee smart home hub, if you happen to need that.

The Echo Studio has a few other unique features for music lovers. If you sign up for Amazon's hi-def music service, you can play a (very limited) selection of songs in Sony's 360 Reality Audio format; Amazon refers to this as "3D music." It may sound great, but the selection is so sparse that we can't recommend it as a reason to buy into the Echo Studio — but it will be nice as Amazon expands its catalog over time. That said, the Echo Studio’s five-speaker, 360-degree design naturally provides a more 3D effect than a speaker like the Sonos One, which has a more traditional forward-firing design.

The Studio also supports Dolby Atmos, making it a candidate for a home theater setup — but it only works with Amazon's own Fire TV devices. And using a single speaker for watching movies is odd; it may sound great, but it's not the immersive experience you'll get with a dedicated soundbar and surround speakers. A stereo pair plus Amazon's Echo Sub should sound notably better, but we haven't been able to get that setup yet.

Given the quality of the Studio, the speaker shines when used with a high-def streaming service, like Amazon Music HD or Tidal's HiFi tier. The downside is that you'll pay for those — but if you want to stick with standard Spotify or Apple Music, the Studio still sounds great.

While the Studio is comparable to the Sonos One in terms of pure audio quality, the Sonos ecosystem does have a few advantages over Amazon. Sonos speakers that support voice commands, like the One, work with either Alexa or Google Assistant. So if you prefer Google, Sonos is probably the way to go. And Sonos speakers work with a much broader set of music services. I’ve spent a lot of time recently comparing the One to the Echo Studio, and I go back and forth on which is superior in terms of music quality. They definitely have different profiles, and while I have come to prefer Sonos over Amazon, I know plenty of people (including my colleague Billy Steele) who find the opposite to be true.

If you have a smaller home and aren't concerned with multi-room playback, the Echo Studio should be your pick. But if you're interested in building out a multi-room setup over time, Sonos currently provides a greater variety of speakers for that mission. But either way, you'll end up with a setup that puts something like the Echo Dot or Nest Mini to shame.

Best smart speaker for music lovers: Sonos Five

Sonos Play 5

As nice as the Echo Studio and Sonos One are, there's only so much you can get out of them. If you crave more bass, clarity and stereo separation, the Sonos Five is one of our favorite pure music speakers. It has all the conveniences of the One (except for one, which we'll get to) and sounds significantly better than any other Sonos speaker. It also sounds much better than the Echo Studio and anything Google is currently selling.

Buy Sonos Five at Sonos - $549

That said, the Five stretches our definition of a smart speaker here because it doesn't have a built-in voice assistant. But it's so good at music playback that it's worth recommending you pick one up along with an Echo Dot or Nest Mini. Both of those speakers work with Sonos, so you can use voice commands to control the Five just as you would a dedicated Alexa or Google Assistant device. It’s also easier to recommend than it was a year ago, because Sonos refreshed the speaker last spring with a new wireless radio as well as more memory and a faster processor. This means it should stay current and work with future Sonos software updates for years to come.

Since we're talking "best" here, I'm going to go ahead and recommend that true music junkies splash out on two Five speakers and pair them in stereo. Put simply, it's the most enjoyable experience I've had listening to music in years; I found myself picking up new details while listening to albums I've heard over and over again. It's a wonderful experience and worth saving for if you're a music lover. Put simply, I didn't know what I was missing until I tried the Five.

Best portable smart speaker: Sonos Roam

Sonos Roam portable speaker outside, standing vertically on a wooden railing.
Engadget

While many people will be happy with a few speakers strategically placed throughout their home, you might want something that works outside as well as inside. Fortunately, you can find speakers that pair voice controls and strong music playback performance with portable, weatherproof form factors. For my money, it's hard to beat the Sonos Roam for sheer versatility, not to mention audio quality.

Buy Sonos Roam at Sonos - $179

When used inside the home, the Roam works like any other Sonos speaker. It fits in with an existing multi-room Sonos setup, or you can get a pair for stereo playback. Like most other Sonos speakers, it works with either the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, and it supports essentially every major music service available. It sounds very good given its tiny size; it’s quieter and not quite as clear as the Sonos One, but it still packs a surprising bass thump and distinct highs.

Since it was designed with on-the-go usage in mind, the Roam has a battery and Bluetooth so you can take it anywhere and use it far away from your WiFi network. And its diminutive size makes it easy to take it everywhere, both around the house and out and about. It’s also the first Sonos speaker that is fully waterproof, as well as dust- and drop-resistant, so you shouldn’t worry about taking it to the pool or beach.

The Roam gets about 10 hours of battery life, whether you're on WiFI or Bluetooth. There are other portable speakers that last longer, so if you’re really going to push the battery you might be better served by another option.

Sonos also has another portable option, the Move. Like the Roam, it’s a full-fledged Sonos speaker when on WiFi and works with Bluetooth when you’re away from home. But it’s $400 and much larger than the Roam, and even bigger than the Sonos One. This means it is very loud and has better audio quality than all the other speakers I’ve mentioned, but it’s not something you can toss in a bag and bring with you anywhere. When I reviewed it, I liked having a speaker I could tote around the house with me and out to my porch, but the Roam does that all just as well in a much smaller package. The Move is a good option if you want a high-quality speaker for a living room with the option to occasionally drag it to the backyard.

While this guide is all about smart speakers, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention all of the solid portable speakers out there that either have limited smart features or none at all. We have an entire guide to the best portable Bluetooth speakers, and some of our favorites that support smart voice commands come from Bose. The $149 SoundLink Flex supports Siri and Google Assistant commands, plus it has an IP67 design that's roughly the size of a small clutch bag. It pumps out bright, dynamic sound and can pair with other speakers for stereo sound, too.

On the higher end of the spectrum, the $399 Bose Portable Smart speaker supports Alexa and Google Assistant commands, and since it can connect to WiFi, you can ask your preferred assistant to play music from Spotify, Amazon Music and other services. On top of that, it produces well-rounded sound, sports an IPX4 design with a convenient carry handle and will last up to 12 hours on a single charge.

Amazon’s Echo is back on sale for a record low of $60

If you missed the chance to pick up an Echo smart speaker during Prime Day last week, you have another opportunity to do so today. Amazon's full-sized Echo is back down to a record-low price of $60, which is 40 percent off its normal rate. The Echo Show 5 is also on sale for $40 right now, which is only $5 more than it was on Prime Day. The Echo Dot, on the other hand, is currently 20 percent off and on sale for $40.

Buy Echo at Amazon - $60Buy Echo Show 5 at Amazon - $40Buy Echo Dot at Amazon - $40

You may just think of Amazon's Echo as a way to get Alexa into your home, but it's a pretty capable speaker as well. We gave it a score of 89 when it came out and it remains one of our favorite smart speakers. We like its spherical design and its bottom light ring that changes colors depending on what it's doing. Inside the Echo are a three-inch woofer and two 0.8-inch tweeters that work together to help the speaker get quite loud and pump out sound with solid bass and powerful mid-range frequencies. It does a better job filling a room with sound than Google's Nest Audio or Apple's HomePod mini, which will be important for those who want to use it as their primary living room speaker.

In addition to asking Alexa to play music from various sources like Spotify or Apple Music, the Echo can be used as a Bluetooth speaker if you prefer. It also has a 3.5mm audio jack, which takes both input and output. Plus, if you buy two of the speakers, you can pair them together to play sound in stereo mode as well.

The Echo can also act as your main smart home hub thanks to its built-in Zigbee capabilities. Instead of buying a separate hub or bridge to connect things like smart lights, switches and more, the Echo can act as the central point in your home. And if you primarily get IoT devices that work with Alexa, you'll be able to use voice commands to control them, too.

Overall, the Echo is one of the best smart speakers you can get at the $100 mark, so it's an even better buy when you can get it for less. If you prefer a device that has a display to show things like weather forecasts and even security camera feeds, the Echo Show 5 is a solid option. It's the smallest of Amazon's smart displays, but that means it works well as a smart alarm clock of sorts. We like its surprisingly solid audio quality and its tap-to-snooze feature, too. As for the Echo Dot, it's the smart speaker to get if you're on a tight budget or want something that allows you to use Alexa voice commands without taking up too much space.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

Amazon’s Echo is back on sale for a record low of $60

If you missed the chance to pick up an Echo smart speaker during Prime Day last week, you have another opportunity to do so today. Amazon's full-sized Echo is back down to a record-low price of $60, which is 40 percent off its normal rate. The Echo Show 5 is also on sale for $40 right now, which is only $5 more than it was on Prime Day. The Echo Dot, on the other hand, is currently 20 percent off and on sale for $40.

Buy Echo at Amazon - $60Buy Echo Show 5 at Amazon - $40Buy Echo Dot at Amazon - $40

You may just think of Amazon's Echo as a way to get Alexa into your home, but it's a pretty capable speaker as well. We gave it a score of 89 when it came out and it remains one of our favorite smart speakers. We like its spherical design and its bottom light ring that changes colors depending on what it's doing. Inside the Echo are a three-inch woofer and two 0.8-inch tweeters that work together to help the speaker get quite loud and pump out sound with solid bass and powerful mid-range frequencies. It does a better job filling a room with sound than Google's Nest Audio or Apple's HomePod mini, which will be important for those who want to use it as their primary living room speaker.

In addition to asking Alexa to play music from various sources like Spotify or Apple Music, the Echo can be used as a Bluetooth speaker if you prefer. It also has a 3.5mm audio jack, which takes both input and output. Plus, if you buy two of the speakers, you can pair them together to play sound in stereo mode as well.

The Echo can also act as your main smart home hub thanks to its built-in Zigbee capabilities. Instead of buying a separate hub or bridge to connect things like smart lights, switches and more, the Echo can act as the central point in your home. And if you primarily get IoT devices that work with Alexa, you'll be able to use voice commands to control them, too.

Overall, the Echo is one of the best smart speakers you can get at the $100 mark, so it's an even better buy when you can get it for less. If you prefer a device that has a display to show things like weather forecasts and even security camera feeds, the Echo Show 5 is a solid option. It's the smallest of Amazon's smart displays, but that means it works well as a smart alarm clock of sorts. We like its surprisingly solid audio quality and its tap-to-snooze feature, too. As for the Echo Dot, it's the smart speaker to get if you're on a tight budget or want something that allows you to use Alexa voice commands without taking up too much space.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

Android is ready to automatically switch device audio on Pixel Buds Pro

Android audio switching is finally a practical reality — provided you have the right earbuds. Google has started rolling out the automatic toggle to Android devices paired with the Pixel Buds Pro. If your phone or tablet supports Bluetooth multipoint connections, Android will intelligently switch sound from one product to the other using a priority system. You'll switch from your tablet's audio to your phone for an incoming call, for instance, but you won't have to worry about incoming notifications. You can always switch back through a notification if the OS made a mistake.

The feature will expand to JBL and Sony headphones sometime in the "coming weeks," Google said. The functionality will also reach non-Android platforms in the future, although the company didn't provide an exact timeframe. You can enable switching by using Fast Pair to connect your headphones and link them to your Google account.

The concept isn't unique. Apple devices paired with AirPods have offered audio switching since 2020, and Sony has offered a similar approach. It's a welcome addition if you want to use one set of Bluetooth earbuds for all of your Android gear, though, and Google's technology won't restrict you to any one headphone manufacturer.

Android is ready to automatically switch device audio on Pixel Buds Pro

Android audio switching is finally a practical reality — provided you have the right earbuds. Google has started rolling out the automatic toggle to Android devices paired with the Pixel Buds Pro. If your phone or tablet supports Bluetooth multipoint connections, Android will intelligently switch sound from one product to the other using a priority system. You'll switch from your tablet's audio to your phone for an incoming call, for instance, but you won't have to worry about incoming notifications. You can always switch back through a notification if the OS made a mistake.

The feature will expand to JBL and Sony headphones sometime in the "coming weeks," Google said. The functionality will also reach non-Android platforms in the future, although the company didn't provide an exact timeframe. You can enable switching by using Fast Pair to connect your headphones and link them to your Google account.

The concept isn't unique. Apple devices paired with AirPods have offered audio switching since 2020, and Sony has offered a similar approach. It's a welcome addition if you want to use one set of Bluetooth earbuds for all of your Android gear, though, and Google's technology won't restrict you to any one headphone manufacturer.

Ultimate Ears’ latest earbuds fit like in-ear monitors

Ultimate Ears brought its in-ear monitor (IEMs) expertise to true wireless earbuds in 2020 with the UE Fits, a set of buds with fancy tech that molds the tips to fit your ears. Despite the interesting premise, the earbuds didn't deliver on a lot of the basics you expect from an audio accessory these days, namely subpar audio and limited features. The Logitech-owned brand is back with a new take on custom-fit buds, only this time the company is making the process more like how you would order a set of IEMs with the UE Drops.

Indeed, the main attraction of UE Drops is the custom fit, which is coordinated via the company's FitKit. Once you place your order, Ultimate Ears will ship you a FitKit that the company says includes the "technology and information" to guide you though the process of taking your "earprint." More specifically, the kit shows you how to take impressions of your ears with an app, just like you would if you were ordering a set of the company's CSX IEMs. A set of eartips are molded to your ears with a warming process that looks similar to the light and heat method for UE Fits, only this time they're attached to a contraption you plug in. You then return the impressions and your pair of UE Drops are built to those specifications. You can expect to receive your pair about 2-4 weeks after the FitKit is received back at the factory. 

Inside, 9.2mm drivers power the sound the UE describes as "revered by music professionals and music lovers alike." There's no active noise cancellation (ANC), but the custom-fitting tips should provide better passive noise isolation than most off-the-shelf earbuds. However, there is a transparency mode, allowing you to tune into your surroundings as needed. Dual beamforming microphones on the water- and sweat-resistant buds are there for calls, plus handy features like on-board controls, in ear detection and wireless charging are here too. 

Ultimate Ears says you can expect up to eight hours of battery life with 14 additional hours in the case. A quick-charge feature offers one hour of use in five minutes. You can check your battery status in the UE Drops app, where you can also choose between sound presets, manage connected devices, configure voice controls and more. 

The UE Drops are now available in the US via the Ultimate Ears website for $449, which means you'll pay a premium for that custom-tailored fit. The company says UE FitKit and UE Drops apps are available for both Android and iOS devices. 

The best Amazon Prime Day 2022 headphone and earbud deals

Amazon Prime Day brings a great opportunity to grab a new pair of cans or wireless earbuds for yourself or someone you love. A plethora of audio gadgets are on sale for a members-only shopping event, including some of the best models from Sony, Bose, Beats, Jabra and others. Now's the time to pick up a pair of active noise cancelling headphones if you've been running your non-ANC cans into the ground, a set of water-resistant earbuds to accompany you on your toughest workouts or a new portable speaker for your backyard setup. Here are the best deals on headphones, earbuds and other audio gadgets we could find for Prime Day 2022.

Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4
Billy Steele/Engadget

Sony's excellent WH-1000XM4 headphones are down to a new low of $228 right now. We gave these cans a score of 94 for their powerful ANC, immersive sound quality and multi-device connectivity.

Buy WH-1000XM4 at Amazon - $228

Beats Fit Pro

Beats’ latest true wireless earbuds offer all of the best features from Apple’s new AirPods in a less polarizing design.
Billy Steele/Engadget

The Beats Fit Pro are 20 percent off and down to $160. We gave them a score of 87 for their comfortable, water-resistant design, good sound quality and ANC and long battery life.

Buy Beats Fit Pro at Amazon - $160

AirPods Pro

Billy Steele/Engadget

The AirPods Pro with the MagSafe case have been discounted to $170. These remain Apple's best sounding earbuds, and we liked them for their solid sound, powerful ANC and hands-free Siri capabilities.

Buy AirPods Pro at Amazon - $170

AirPods (2nd gen)

Chris Velazco/Engadget

The original AirPods are down to $90. While they're a bit outdated at this point, these are still decent earbuds that we liked for their improved wireless performance and good battery life.

Buy AirPods (2nd gen) at Amazon - $90

AirPods Max

AirPods Max
Billy Steele/Engadget

The AirPods Max are on sale for $449 right now. These headphones earned a score of 84 from us for their excellent, balanced sound, solid ANC and good battery life.

Buy AirPods Max at Amazon - $449

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony totally overhauled its true wireless earbuds with a new design, more powerful noise cancellation, improved battery life and more. However, the choice to change to foam tips leads to an awkward fit that could be an issue for some people. The M4 is also more expensive than its predecessor, which wouldn’t be a big deal if fit wasn’t a concern.
Billy Steele/Engadget

Sony's WF-1000XM4 earbuds are down to $198 right now. We gave them a score of 86 for their excellent sound quality, good ANC, wireless charging capabilities and improved battery life.

Buy WF-1000XM4 at Amazon - $198

Bose QuietComfort 45

With the latest installment in its popular QuietComfort lineup, Bose revisits some of its best headphones ever with timely upgrades.
Billy Steele/Engadget

Bose's QuietComfort 45 headphones have dropped to $229, or 30 percent off their normal price. We gave them a score of 86 for their clear, balanced audio, improved ANC and long battery life.

Buy QuietComfort 45 at Amazon - $229

Sony WH-CH710N

Sony WH-CH710N headphones
Billy Steele / Engadget

Sony's affordable WH-CH710N wireless headphones have dropped to a new low of $68 for Prime Day. These are a great option if you want deep, punchy bass, solid ANC and 35-hour battery life all in a budget-friendly package.

Buy WH-CH710N at Amazon - $68

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 revivew
Billy Steele/Engadget

Samsung's Galaxy Buds 2 have dropped to $100, or 33 percent less than usual. These much-improved earbuds impressed us with their better audio quality, adjustable ambient sound mode and tiny, comfortable design.

Buy Galaxy Buds 2 at Amazon - $100

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro review
Billy Steele/Engadget

Samsung's high-end Galaxy Buds Pro are on sale for $120, which is 40 percent off their normal price. They earned a score of 85 from us for their comfortable fit, wireless charging and good sound quality.

Buy Galaxy Buds Pro at Amazon - $120

Bose 700

Bose 700 headphones
Billy Steele / Engadget

The sleek Bose 700 headphones are on sale for $269 right now. We gave these cans a score of 90 for their remarkable noise cancellation, improved, more comfortable design and easy to use touch controls.

Buy Bose 700 at Amazon - $269

Jabra Elite 85t

Jabra Elite 85t
Billy Steele/Engadget

Jabra's Elite 85t earbuds are on sale for $115, or a whopping 60 percent off their normal price. We like these true wireless earbuds for their strong ANC, comfortable size and wireless charging case.

Buy Jabra Elite 85t at Amazon - $115

Jabra Elite 3

Jabra Elite 3 review
Billy Steele/Engadget

Jabra's excellent Elite 3 earbuds have dropped to $50, or $30 off their normal rate. These already affordable buds earned a score of 88 from us for their impressive sound quality, good battery life, reliable touch controls and comfortable fit.

Buy Elite 3 at Amazon - $50

Jabra Elite 45h

Jabra 45h
Jabra

Jabra's Elite 45h headphones are half off and down to $50. We like these cans for their solid sound quality, voice assistant access, compact design and 50-hour battery life. 

Buy Jabra Elite 45h at Amazon - $50

Bose QuietComfort earbuds

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
Billy Steele/Engadget

Bose's QuietComfort earbuds are down to $179. These are some of the company's best true wireless earbuds and they earned a score of 87 from us for their clear sound, powerful ANC and comfortable size.

Buy QuietComfort earbuds at Amazon - $179

Beats Solo 3

Beats Solo 3
Beats

Beats' Solo 3 wireless headphones are 43 percent off and down to $115. These cans have a streamlined design, Apple's W1 chipset and a 40-hour battery life.

Buy Beats Solo 3 at Amazon - $115

Jabra Elite 7 Active

Jabra Elite 7 Active
Jabra

Jabra's Elite 7 Active wireless earbuds are on sale for $120, or 33 percent off their normal price. These buds are designed to withstand your sweatiest workouts with their IP57 rated design, plus they have adjustable ANC and four microphones for clear calls.

Buy Jabra Elite 7 Active at Amazon - $120

Sony WF-C500 earbuds

Sony WF-C500 earbuds
Sony

Sony's already affordable WF-C500 earbuds have dropped to $58, or almost half off their usual rate. These buds have an IPX4 rating, a 10-hour battery life and support for 360 Reality Audio.

Buy WF-C500 at Amazon - $58

Sony SRS-XB13

Sony SRS-XB13
Sony

Sony's compact SRS-XB13 Bluetooth speaker is down to just $48, which is nearly half off its regular price. Not only does it come in a bunch of fun colors, but this tiny speaker also has a waterproof IP67 rated design, punchy bass and a 16-hour battery life.

Buy SRS-XB13 speaker at Amazon - $48

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo (2020)
Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Amazon's Echo smart speaker has dropped to $60. It earned a score of 89 from us for its solid audio quality, attractive design and its inclusion of a 3.5mm audio jack.

Buy Echo at Amazon - $60

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