The Pocket-lint Awards celebrate some of the best devices the team at Pocket-lint has seen and reviewed over the last year, spanning 21 categories from smartwatches and smartphones to laptops and headphones. Each category has six nominations, all of which have been fully reviewed by us in the past year.
The Best Speaker category is all about acknowledging the best-sounding at-home or on-the-go audio devices and it’s been a year full of some great ones. The shortlisted nominees for Best Speaker 2023 are:
You can click on the links above to read our full review on each of these exceptional speaker nominations. We’ve also highlighted some short verdicts below to help you understand what we loved about them, what they did well and why they have been nominated for the Best Speaker category in the Pocket-lint Awards 2023.
Apple HomePod (2nd Gen)
The Apple HomePod (2nd generation, 2023) is a superb-sounding speaker, just like its predecessor was, and if it’s sound quality you’re after, the HomePod (2nd generation) will not let you down. It delivers a great balance with an impressive soundstage for a variety of tracks and genres.
It’s also much smarter than the 2018 model was (you at least get radio this time around), adding a range of features that make it significantly more useful as a smart speaker. Matter support helps to make HomeKit more relevant in the smart home market and in turn, HomePod. There are also a few nice-to-have features mixed in too, especially – and importantly – for those embedded in Apple’s ecosystem.
Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5
Whether the Beosound A5 is a sensible way of spending north of $1099/£899 will very much depend on what you determine “sensible” to be. For many it will be a stretch too far, especially when some of its best competition costs half the price.
However, this is one of the best battery-powered speaker we’ve heard and it looks undoubtedly lovely too, particularly in the finish we tested. It’s a real step above anything else in the category.
JBL Charge 5 Wi-Fi
The JBL Charge 5 Wi-Fi might not rip up trees with lots of new features, and the lack of a battery life upgrade is a bit of a bummer, but the fundamental fact is that it takes a very good speaker and makes it better.
Having all the benefits of portability, along with those of Wi-Fi connectivity, for under $200 makes it a really solid option for those who want a new all-purpose speaker. It’s as at home on the kitchen counter or on a camping trip, which you can’t say is true of that many of its competitors.
The Middleton is another absolutely rock-solid speaker from Marshall, one that actually weighs about as much as a rock, but sounds phenomenal to make up for it. Its weight means that it won’t be perfect for every scenario, but that’s fine – there are smaller speakers available. For those who do want its hefty, punchy sound, this is a great beefy speaker.
It manages to retain sonic balance even at high volumes and makes it really easy to adjust things on the fly, all while looking like a bit of classic sound equipment.
Sonos Era 100
The Sonos Era 100 is a new era – pun entirely intended – for Sonos speakers. It takes the company’s excellent entry-level speaker from 2017 and gives it a make-over, both internally and externally.
The Era 100’s new design gives the baby Sonos a new lease of life, whilst adding a number of new features that make it even more appealing – like Bluetooth capabilities, new controls and line-in functionality. Yes, it adds a few pounds or dollars to the One’s price tag, and no it can’t be paired with its predecessor, but if you’re considering entering the Sonos platform, the Era 100 is a perfect place to start.
Sonos Era 300
The Sonos Era 300 has a unique design. Some will love it, others might not be so sure, but you can’t deny it’s different and we have grown pretty fond of it. It’s not just about what it looks like though – the Era 300 sounds incredible.
It offers excellent performance, a range of great features and a design that really stands out. Sure, if you are an Apple user, the HomePod could be a better choice, but for those already invested in the Sonos system, or looking to start one with a bang, the Era 300 is a truly fantastic choice.
How the Pocket-lint Awards judging works
The winner for the Best Speaker category is decided by the Pocket-lint team, along with a panel of expert judges from other publications across the industry. Following a vigorous scoring process, the Best Speaker winner for 2023 will be announced at an in-person event on 9 November 2023, along with the winners from the other 20 categories.
A Product of the Year winner will also be announced, chosen from the winners of the 21 categories and a winner of the New EE Superfast Award will also be revealed at the event. On the night, we will announce the results on the Pocket-lint Twitter handle as they unfold and there will also be a feature detailing the winners once the Awards are over too.
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