Is a smart speaker useless?

Opinions about the usefulness of smart speakers differ diametrically – someone has no idea how to live without it, and someone assures that a more useless device simply does not exist. Let’s try to systematize these opinions and figure out which one is closer to the truth, and in which cases the use of the column is still there.

The phrase about the contradictory opinions of different people from the announcement is not a metaphor or an exaggeration. Here are the testimonials from two real buyers on the same device:

Who is right? To begin with, any smart speaker provides many features that can help in different areas of life. Let’s see how she does it.

Music
Many users dissatisfied with the smart speaker call the sound quality the main drawback, comparing the device with portable speakers of similar price. For some reason, it never occurs to anyone to compare the price of a smart speaker with a bundle of smartphone + audio system – and yet its functionality is much closer to the second option.

It is absolutely natural that the sound of a smart speaker will be worse than that of a portable speaker at a similar price. And it is completely pointless to expect quality from a smart speaker as from a surround sound system.

The main advantage of a smart speaker over an ordinary one is not the quality of music, but the organization of its listening. Selection of tracks and albums by mood and for a specific purpose, search for songs by a phrase from a song or by a musical phrase, etc. Alice, for example, over time will begin to understand your preferences and more often begin to guess what kind of music you will like – you just have to not hide your opinion, commenting on the listened tracks with the words “like” or “dislike”. And Marusya has access to VK playlists.

By the way, if you are a music lover and audiophile, this does not mean that a smart speaker will be useless to you – some models have an audio output, and they can be connected to headphones or to a stationary audio system.

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Many are saddened by the fact that smart speakers require a paid subscription to play music. However, these are the realities of our time. Smart speaker manufacturers pay a lot of money to provide music to users, and they don’t have the slightest reason to do it for free. If you listen to music downloaded from pirate sites (of which there are still quite a few on the network) and fundamentally do not want to pay for what you are used to receiving for free, then a smart speaker will really be useless to you in terms of listening to music.

“In general, I even dreamed about a smart column with access to VK playlists once, because in fifteen years so much has already been collected, sorted and accumulated, not a single iTunes or Yandex music can replace this, and then bang! Suddenly. You can listen to your own, you can combine with someone else’s. ”

Guest about smart speaker with Marusya

“It’s great to turn on music before bed and turn it off on a timer. You can create playlists with podcasts and fall asleep to them. You can conveniently select music to listen to, like / dislike it through a special command (which affects the selection of the AI ​​track), find out the name of the track, rewind for the specified number of seconds, set a musical alarm. ”

Guest about a smart speaker with Alice

“After a few months, the free boom subscription ended. At the same time, any music from the VK playlists ended and as a result, such a column (without choosing what you want to listen to) turned out to be out of work for the child. ”

Alex555-2 about smart speaker with Marusya

“An offer to play music, a song or tell a fairy tale requires a paid subscription on Yandex. pay 4500 for the mini-station and subscribe to the monthly YANDEX PLUS subscription. ”

In terms of video organization, everything is about the same as with music, but worse. Few smart speakers are capable of displaying video on a TV screen.

And for those who can, video playback is limited by a subscription – even though it is available, you may be charged an additional fee to watch many films. In addition, not all film production ends up in video stores such as Kinopoisk or Okko. Anime lovers, for example, will have a tough time. There is no possibility to connect another subscription (ivi, netflix, etc.).

Using a smart remote control, Yandex speakers can be connected to any TV, after which all commands that correspond to any buttons on the TV remote control can be performed by voice.

Many speakers are capable of working with smart TVs, but the possibilities of such integration are low and most often boil down to turning on / off the TV and choosing the desired channel. Smart speakers do not have support for smart TV applications (Youtube, browser, games, etc.).

A smart speaker does not replace a smart set-top box , the functionality of an existing set-top box does not fully use, so there is no need to expect much from it in terms of connecting to a TV. But the column provides some organizational advantages – you can ask it to turn off the TV after a certain period of time, or, conversely, turn it on at a certain time on the right channel so as not to miss the desired program or movie.

“Especially great for children, I pressed the button, said a cartoon, said and done, I immediately found downloaded plays, shows, it’s definitely better and cheaper, 133 pleasures for a subscription for only 169 rubles, for me personally a quick fat plus! The sound is excellent, there is a lot of bass, films are like in cinema art, so it won’t work out quietly, keep in mind. ”

Alien-JY58818 about smart speaker with Alice

“Regardless of the subscription that came as a” gift “, not all films or cartoons can be watched while searching for free. For some he asks for money. Moreover, it does not depend on the date. The same Shrek 1 requires “to make a tax.” (I didn’t use subscriptions before and thought that for the amount per month you get access to everything that is. Well, apparently I was just wrong) ”

But upon closer examination, it turns out that the functions of such smart homes are severely limited. Basically, they boil down to turning on / off certain devices at a certain time or according to a certain phrase. However, this is also a lot.

Instead of dressing yourself and going outside, just say out loud: “Alice, turn off the light in the bathhouse” – it’s worth a lot. You can set scenarios – so that different devices are turned on or off in turn, in a given order. There may be several such scenarios. For example, before you wake up, a smart coffee maker can prepare coffee, when you go to work, the column itself will control the shutdown of all household appliances, and by your return, it will turn on the air conditioner at the desired temperature and boil the kettle.

With all this, the elements of a smart home are quite affordable both in price and in ease of connection. It is not at all necessary to run the system completely on the entire home, you can equip it with smart lamps and sockets on the sly.

The main disadvantage of systems controlled by smart speakers is the impossibility of receiving signals from sensors and creating scenarios based on them. Tasks like “call the phone number if there is no one in the house and the front door is open for more than 5 minutes”, which can be easily solved by systems like livicom or fibaro, are something transcendent for a smart speaker. Yandex columns, for example, in scripts have only two launch conditions: time and passphrase. Smart speakers cannot perceive and process signals from motion detectors, smoke detectors, door opening, etc., and this is not a small part of what is meant by the phrase “smart home”.

A smart speaker is a good option for getting to know smart home systems. If you like this approach to controlling your home equipment, you might consider installing a complete system. If not, it’s okay, unlike ordinary smart home control centers, the speakers have many other functions.

“This compact speaker did not disappoint me. I have equipped my apartment as a “smart” house, now I enjoy it, the house is completely relaxed)) I control various electrical appliances through the column. ”

Guest about smart speaker with Marusya

“An excellent opportunity to create a smart home gradually, all the elements of which cost within 3000 rubles. In general, I am satisfied with the purchase as a child ”

Alien-IL5461 about smart speaker with Alice

Alien-IQ72201 about smart speaker with Marusya

“The smart home is unfinished. The list of compatible devices is extremely small. And just a demo version. Some other competitive system provides a significant scripting advantage. By notifications. Alice and Yandex UD, in principle, cannot send event notifications. At all.”

Alien – QL54835 about smart speaker with Alice

For children
Those who will definitely appreciate the novelty are children. As experience shows, even in a simple communication mode, children can torment a smart device for hours and adults are better off not hearing it – their ears fade. But pointless chatter is not the only thing that a smart speaker can attract children. Fairy tales, audiobooks, games, answers to endless children’s questions (this alone can determine the choice of a gift for a child) and even an interesting study for a child – all this can be provided by a smart speaker.

Yandex, for example, gave third-party organizations access to the production of content for Alice – this is called skills. Now Yandex stations have hundreds of different “skills”. And although most of them are not worth attention, some of them are useful: playing cities, making riddles, quizzes, quests, etc. So a smart speaker can be bought only for the fact that it manages to keep the child busy, not only without spoiling his eyes, but even for the benefit of him.

“My son (he is in the second grade) went with a bang with a bang for the“ children’s regime ”. There are games, children’s radio, fairy tales you can listen to. He also helps with lessons, finds information on the desired topic. So the “smart speaker” is not only for entertainment at home, but also for learning) ”

“I took my son a column with Marusya for his birthday, because I have asked for a long time – to listen to music (to record tiktoks))), in general, for relaxation. Recently I came, I saw – he was doing English, asks for words. That is, I bought it for fun – in the end it came in handy in my studies. The wife also began to use it on the sly, putting reminders. In general, one gift – and the whole family benefited – then the voice can be controlled, this of course facilitates many processes. ”

Guest about smart speaker with Marusya

“An excellent assistant in everyday life 🙂 she will put on music, tell about the weather, and recommend a film, and find a recipe for the dish. And the most important thing for me is to play with the children 🙂

Alien-BV84535 about smart speaker with Alice

To old people
Older people often lack communication – an undeniable fact, alas. Who should a pensioner talk to? Suitable relationships do not always develop with neighbors, while strangers are not inclined to talk nowadays. The children have left, they have their own lives, their own worries and, God forbid, they call once a week.

So for an elderly person, a smart speaker may be the way to make up for the communication deficit. Someone will say that this is a surrogate that can never replace live conversation. But if an elderly person’s mood improves from this, then why not? And then you have to see who is sincere: a son who calls once a week, because “it is necessary” and is just waiting for an excuse to end the conversation; or artificial intelligence, ready to chat with unrelenting enthusiasm on any topic even day and night. Moreover, as in the case of children, the speaker’s ability is not limited to chatter: she will tell the latest news, find the right recipe, explain an unfamiliar word and talk about the weather.

“At first I was looking for a talking clock, my mother-in-law sees very badly, but found nothing suitable. And then one seller reminded about Alice! So I thought why not! Bought. Mother-in-law 83, a conservative, but surprisingly she liked the device, at first she only asked for time, now she’s comfortable and listens to the news and songs with “Alice”. In short, she liked it! ”

Alien-IC28128 about smart speaker with Alice

“I bought it as a present for my mother 3 days ago, my mother is 70 years old. Mom already considers Alice to be her friend. A very useful gadget for the elderly ”

Alien-FE33018 about smart speaker with Alice

conclusions
A smart speaker can hardly be called a daily necessity. Everything she does can be done without her. Find music yourself, play it on a speaker or audio system. Find your own recipe, weather forecast and historical information on the Internet. Turn off the lights in all rooms yourself and play with the children in the city yourself. Those who are accustomed to saving in everything will definitely not like it – not only does it cost money itself, but you also have to pay for a subscription.

But for those who value time, it is worth considering – it is quite possible that the time saved by a smart speaker will be much more expensive than the cost of it.

“She wakes up children in the morning, plays music during the day, tells fairy tales before going to bed, turns off at a set time, and that’s not all she can do.”

Karatai about smart speaker with Marusya

“If you want Yandex to offer you advertisements constantly 3-4 times a day, connect Yandex music to mini or Yandex movies for maxi for money and you don’t mind receiving a bunch of push notifications on your phone with this advertisement. You won’t be able to disable ads. ”

Alien-HU81315 about smart speaker with Alice

“If you don’t know what to give, then this is one of the best options. Suitable for lonely people, keep the conversation going, put on your favorite music, tell a fairy tale or anecdote, can play with you in the cities and many other games, and much more) My best buy this year 10/10 “