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Top picks highly rated for Wi-Fi music players

CNET has picked Chromecast Audio as one of

CNET has picked Chromecast Audio as one of the best Wi-Fi music players. Photo Credit: CBS Interactive

With more than a dozen different brands of Wi-Fi music players to choose from, it can be hard to find the right one for you. CNET helps you with some sound choices.

The following CNET staff contributed to this story: executive editor David Carnoy, CNET contributor Steve Guttenberg, senior editor Laura K. Cucullu, and associate editors Ty Pendlebury and Ry Crist. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit


CNET RATING (Out of 5)

4.5 stars (outstanding)

THE GOOD Google’s budget audio dongle pipes music to any stereo from the most popular streaming apps on your smartphone. It’s simple and works well, with direct compatibility for most major music services, and even more supported via the Chrome browser plug-in and on the Android app.

THE BAD Some notable music services, including iTunes, Apple Music and Amazon Music, are not supported on iPhone and iPad.


BOTTOM LINE One of the best and most affordable music-streaming devices you can buy.


CNET RATING (Out of 5)

4.5 stars (outstanding)

THE GOOD The LG SH7B offers excellent performance for the money, particularly for movies. The connectivity on offer is better than most competitors with HDMI, optical, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Streaming options include Google Cast, Spotify and Pandora.

THE BAD Adding surrounds is a little ad hoc. If you want to listen to music, a dedicated stereo system will sound better for the money.

THE COST $347-$397

BOTTOM LINE The LG SH7B proves how far affordable sound bar/wireless subwoofer systems have come, and sounds equally credible with movies and music.


CNET RATING (Out of 5)

4 stars (excellent)

THE GOOD Amazon’s voice-activated smart home speaker is undeniably futuristic, but it’s also practical and accessible. With a rapidly growing slate of features and integrations, it’s easy to get excited about the Echo’s potential.

THE BAD Sound quality is uneven, with weak bass at high volumes. The growing list of “Skills” in the Alexa app could also benefit from better organization.


BOTTOM LINE More than a year after its debut, the Echo is smarter than ever, and one of the best connected home products for the money.


CNET RATING (Out of 5)

4 stars (excellent)

THE GOOD This compact Wi-Fi speaker plays much bigger than its size would indicate, and it offers convenience features like Bluetooth and shortcut buttons. The app is pleasant to use and most functions are straightforward. The sound is impressive with surprisingly punchy bass and an articulate, exciting midrange.

THE BAD The revealing nature of the speaker means some genres of music can sound a little harsh at higher volumes.


BOTTOM LINE An affordable and impressive compact Wi-Fi wireless speaker that also offers Bluetooth connectivity.

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