Denon Home 150 and 250 add built-in Alexa: See our review

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Denon’s line of Home wireless speakers have been out on the market for more than a year now, but they just got a feature that made them worthy of a fresh look: built-in Alexa, courtesy of a recent firmware update. That means the Denon Home 150, Home 250, and other Denon Home devices are now smart speakers, on par with similar wireless speakers from the formidable Sonos.

I’ve been testing the $249 Denon Home 150 and $499 Denon Home 250 for several months now, in anticipation of the Alexa update that dropped only recently.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart speakers and displays, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.

So, how do the Denon Home 150 and Home 250 measure up now that they’re smart speakers? Let’s dig in.

Design and specifications

Measuring 7.4 x 4.7 x 4.7 (HxWxD), the short, squat Denon Home 150 feels solid and substantial at 3.7 pounds, with a fabric-wrapped circumference and a glossy top with touch-sensitive controls that appear when the speaker detects a nearby hand.

denon home 150 and 250 touch controls Ben Patterson/IDG

Touch-sensitive controls on top of the Denon Home 150 (pictured) and the Home 250 light up when your hand approaches.

Near the base of the speaker is a short, thin status LED, while a second blue LED near the top of the speaker glows from behind the fabric when Alexa is listening or speaking.

In back of the speaker is an ethernet port, a 3.5mm auxiliary input, and a USB-A port that can read music files on an external storage drive. Also in the rear is a Bluetooth pairing button, a second button that lets you connect to a Wi-Fi router via WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup), and a threaded mounting hole.

denon home 150 and 250 inputs Ben Patterson/IDG

Inputs on the back of the Denon Home 150 and (in a slightly different arrangement) the Home 250 include ethernet, a USB-A connector that supports external storage drives, and a 3.5mm auxilliary jack. The Home 150 also comes with a threaded mounting hole.

Considerably larger than the Denon Home 150, the rectangular Home 250 measures 11.6 x 8.5 x 4.7 inches (WxHxD) and tips the scales at 8.2 pounds, making it roughly twice the size and weight of its smaller sibling. As with the Home 150, the Home 250 is fabric-covered, with similar touch controls on its glossy top. You also get the same rear inputs and buttons, although the Home 250 swaps out the Home 150’s threaded mounting hole for a deep, molded handle.

denon home 250 handle Ben Patterson/IDG

The hefty Denon Home 250 lacks the Home 150’s threaded mounting hole; instead, you get a deep molded handle.

The Denon Home 150 comes equipped with a pair of drivers: a 25mm tweeter and an 89mm mid-bass woofer, each of which gets its own class D amplifier. The Home 250, meanwhile, has four drivers, including two 19mm tweeters and two 100mm woofers, plus a 133mm passive radiator. With those four drivers—which, similar to the Home 150, all get their own class D amplifiers—the Home 250 can deliver stereo sound (well, on paper, anyway), while the Home 150 settles for mono.

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