Harman Kardon Citation ONE Google Assistant Enabled Smart Speaker [Review]

By now, you probably own some kind of smart speaker in your home. Whether it be an Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple Siri powered speaker, your choice was probably based on what type of smart devices you also have installed in your home. This is especially true since there are now smart devices that only work with either Google, Amazon, or Apple so choosing the proper equipment is necessarily. In my case, my home is basically Google Assistant based so a speaker like the Harman Kardon Citation ONE makes sense for me. This is a premium speaker meant to deliver an exceptional audio experience to your home.

Design

In my mind, when I first saw the Harman Kardon Citation ONE in photos, I imagined something much smaller, some more in line with the size of the Google Home. Instead, what I got was something about the size of an upside-down bucket of popcorn at the movies. That’s probably the best way to describe the shape of it as well.

The most distinguishing thing about the Citation ONE is the premium blended wool fabric, made by Kvadrat, that is dirt repellent and flame retardant. It makes the device looks less like a cold, piece of equipment and more like a piece of furniture or decoration. The fabric covering wraps all the way around the Citation ONE. It also helps that you can grab this thing in either black or grey which mean you can get it to match any of your rooms.

On top, you’ll find that it’s all smooth plastic with controls that are touch enabled. There are no physical buttons. Buttons include play/pause, volume up and down, mic mute, and Bluetooth. The play/pause button also activates the Google Assistant if you hold it down for more than 2 seconds. While the touch interface is super clean, it’s also very hard to use without looking at it since there aren’t any sort of tactile feel for indications of what you’re pressing.

One thing to note. This is not a portable speaker. The Citation ONE must be plugged into a power source in order to be used. It’s comes with its own power cable and for the most part, once plugged in, it stays powered on at all times, always listening unless you mute the mic.

Usage

The Citation ONE is meant to be a streaming speaker. What that means is that it’s best used to stream music from the web, like Pandora, Spotify, or Google Play Music for instance over your WiFi network. It can also play music you have stored on your device, though you’ll need to stream that via Bluetooth. The speaker itself works just like any other Google Assistant enabled speaker. If you’ve used the Google Home or Home Mini, you’ll be able to control the Citation ONE in pretty much the same way via voice commands.

First and foremost, it’s a Google Assistant speaker. That means you’ll be able to ask it queries, your schedule, reminders, tasks, etc. just like before. It does this pretty well over WiFi. Since it is connected to the Google Home app too, you can have it play music from all the supported streaming sources with your voice. Voice controls also include adjusting volume, play and pause, and skipping to next track.

In terms of sound, the Harman Kardon Citation ONE can get really loud at full volume. At 100%, it’s almost too loud for a regular sized room. I had to decrease the volume to around 65-75% to listen to my music comfortably. You’ll probably need to adjust the speaker too to a more comfortable level based on your taste.

The audio itself though is fantastic sounding. I would expect nothing less from a Harman Kardon speaker. Because of its size, it has much more bass than smaller speakers. It really gets thumping and you can even feel it vibrating if you touch it. The bass is nice and deep but it doesn’t overpower the highs and mids. The highs and mids are crisp and clear which means you’ll be able to hear a full range of sounds.

If you have multiple Harman Kardon Citation speakers, you’re supposed to be able to link them up so they can all play the same music at once. I don’t have a chance to try that however as I only have one speaker here with me. You’re also supposed to be able to pair speakers together to produce stereo sound, but again, I was not able to try this.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a full sized, room filling speaker that so happens to have Google Assistant built in, you’ll want to check out the Harman Kardon Citation ONE. Not only can this thing get loud, it’s also pretty nice looking and something you don’t need to hide away. I would say, the Citation ONE is one of the best Google Assistant enabled speakers you can buy, though there are other speakers too in the Citation line, I haven’t tried those so I can’t comment on how good those are. All I can say is the Citation ONE is really good.

It is however on the pricier side of things coming in at just shy of $200. That’s way more than something like a Google Home or Home Mini, but it’s also a much bigger speaker than both of those. It only makes sense that it would cost more.

With that said, the Harman Kardon Citation ONE is a premium speaker worth a look, especially if you’re looking for a Google based speaker that’s better then the Home and Home Mini.