With Apple’s HomePod delayed into 2018, here are the best alternatives available this holiday season

Apple announced yesterday that it’s delaying the HomePod smart speaker into early 2018, missing the critical holiday shopping season. The delay is definitely a disappointment for eager Apple fans, but thankfully there are a handful of other smart (and dumb) speaker options out there. In many cases, they may even be better options than Apple’s HomePod. Read on as we break it all down…

The HomePod is unique in that it offers Siri integration, allowing it to act as a virtual assistant for things like HomeKit control and music playback. While you can always use Siri with one of the below speakers via your connected iPhone or iPad, it’s not as integrated of an experience as what HomePod offers. So, that’s something to keep in mid as you look at third-party smart speakers.

Here’s Apple’s statement on the HomePod delay:

“We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers. We’ll start shipping in the US, UK, and Australia in early 2018.”

These are the best alternatives to the Apple HomePod this holiday shopping season:

It’s hard to deny that Sonos is the current leader in whole home audio systems. While pricey, you’re paying for a system that’s easy to use and works nearly flawlessly with Apple’s ecosystem.

Sonos offers several different speaker options, but most recently the company introduced the Sonos One wireless speaker. This model marks the first speaker to offer built-in voice control with Amazon Alexa integration. Furthermore, the Sonos One will gain support for AirPlay 2 and Siri sometime in the future, which improves compatibility with Siri and the rest of the Apple ecosystem.

Sonos One is available is available now for $199. Sonos also offers the Play:3 speaker at $299 and the Play:5 at $499. Both of these are solid speaker options, though they don’t offer Alexa built-in. An accessory like the Amazon Dot, however, brings Alexa to the Play:3 and the Play:5.

Ultimate Ears Power Up

Ultimate Ears recently unveiled its competitor to the HomePod with its new Blast and MegaBlast speakers. These are the first Ultimate Ears speakers to offer integrated Amazon Alexa voice control.

Ultimate Ears touts that both the Blast and the MegaBlast offer “bold, immersive 360 degree sound,” while remaining compact and portable. Both are capable of running off a home Wi-Fi network, which means Alexa can be accessed easily whether your smartphone is around or not.

While you can’t use Alexa to control Apple Music on the Blast or MegaBlast, you can use standard Bluetooth and still take advantage of Alexa’s other features, integrated directly into the speakers.

Both the Blast and MegaBlast are available now. The Blast is the smaller of the two, coming in at $229.99 . The larger MegaBlast is available for $299.99.