The Apple HomePod is now available to buy. It's not alone in the smart speaker space with plenty of competition from Google Home and Amazon Echo, but it is unique in that it's the only one with Siri as the virtual assistant at its core rather than Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
But what if you want a smart speaker with decent sound but don't want the £319/$349 HomePod? What then?
That's why we're here - of course - with our selection of the top Apple HomePod alternatives to buy today.
Our pick of the best HomePod alternatives
Google Home Max
- Buy from Best Buy US
At $399, the Google Home Max isn't exactly budget (it's only available in the US for now), and with such a large footprint it's a whole different prospect to the easy-to-place Home and Home Mini.
It's clearly a speaker for those who are married to Google and its ecosystem - you want Google Assistant, not Amazon Alexa - and want premium sound. That latter point offers a clear reason to plump for it rather than an Echo device.
But can Google really demand Sonos-level pricing on its first large-scale outing? It sounds good, sure, but we think would need to undercut on the price front to be a true rush-out-and-buy-it-now speaker.
Amazon Echo Plus
You get more from the Plus than you did from the original Echo for less money and . That's difficult to argue with.
But while Alexa continues to be better connected and provide greater scope for controlling the smart home, the average customer won't be savvy with Zigbee or really understand what Amazon is trying to achieve with the smart hub element of the Echo Plus.
It works for ad hoc additions, but it's not going to replace all your smart home hubs and apps. As for sound quality, it is way better than the basic new Echo.
The Echo Plus has a 2.5-inch woofer and a 0.8-inch tweeter, but also has a larger sound chamber than the smaller model. It's still not anything like the quality of the other more expensive speakers in this list, however.
The Libratone Zipp is a fantastic sounding portable speaker with interchangeable jackets. It's a total rework of the 2012 original.
The physical size - which makes it a bit too large to cart around really - lends well to stomping bass and audio output considering its price point. 360-degree sound is fired out all around and the overall profile can be adjusted using the companion app.
It's been updated to support Amazon Alexa too, meaning you can speak to it, whether it be to change the music that's playing, or turn your kitchen lights off. The fact it's portable also means you can take Alexa with you wherever you go.
Sonos has entered the Alexa-enabled speaker market with the Sonos One. As you'd expect, it sounds fantastic and looks just as good too. And it has a price point significantly lower than that of the Apple HomePod.
It has the same design at the Play:1 except for on the top where there is a new control panel in place of the volume button on the Play:1.
If you want one of the best sounding speakers around, with multi-room capability and Alexa built-in, look no further. For music fans seeking a smart speaker that delivers excellent sound quality for its size, the One is unrivalled.
UE Boom 2
The UE Boom 2 is one of our all-time favourite Bluetooth speakers. It offers a sound that belies its size, which just so happens to be perfect for taking with you wherever you go. It's fully waterproof and you can pair it with another UE speaker to create a stereo pair.
The addition of Amazon Alexa makes it even more desirable, although you do have to press the Bluetooth button each time, rather than it being in an always on mode.
It's worth noting that you can only adjust music playback settings such as volume and track playing. It can't control your smart home products and it's only supported by Android devices. Sorry iPhone users.
After gifting the UE Boom and Megaboom Alexa capabilities at the press of the Bluetooth button, UE has returned with the Megablast (and smaller Blast). The Megablast takes things one step further by having always-on Alexa voice-control, that's always listening out for your voice. The only caveat is that you naturally need a Wi-Fi connection for Alexa, so it can only be used at home.
Being a dedicated speaker first and foremost, the UE Megablast sounds fantastic. We already had high expectations of it after hearing the Megaboom, but the Megablast can go even louder and remain distortion-free while doing so.
And don't forget to check out our HomePod initlal verdict, too