Harman Kardon announces a $600 Google Assistant speaker

Harman Kardon is releasing a new smart speaker that’ll support Google Assistant called the Citation 500. It’ll be shown for the first time at IFA 2018, and it will be available for preorder in Europe at the end of September.

The speaker comes in gray and black wool cover options, similar to the fabric-wrapped Google Home speakers. What’s not similar is the cost: the Citation 500 is priced at $599.95/€649. That’s about $200 more expensive than the Google Home Max, making it one of the most expensive Google Assistant speakers yet. (There are still the absurdly expensive $1,750 Bang & Olufsen Beosound 1 and 2 to beat.)

The Citation 500 has 200W stereo speakers and can support 24 bit/96Khz high-definition audio streaming. There’s a full-color LCD touch panel at the top of the speaker for controlling playback, though with Google Assistant support, you can just use your voice to request music or play wirelessly from your phone. You can also use the speaker as a smart home hub for functions like controlling the lights or thermostat.

Image: Harman Kardon

The Citation 500 is Harman Kardon’s third smart speaker, but it’s the first in the “luxury” range. The Samsung-owned company still has yet to release a Bixby-enabled speaker, but it has already released an Alexa-enabled model called Allure, which costs $249, and the Cortana-enabled Invoke, which costs $199.

Update 8/28/18: The Citation 500’s US price has been corrected to $599.95.

Comments

I know I’m going to sound like an audiophile nut here, but I wish we could get some actual tech specs on all the audio devices reviewed here.

In the article, it says "The Citation 500 has 200W stereo speakers" but doesn’t clarify at all. Is that 200W for the pair or are they each 200W? Is that the RMS rating or the Peak? Chances are it’s the peak wattage for the pair, but that doesn’t give us any useful information about what it can handle continuously, or how sensitive the speakers will be.

Why? Sonos has a $500 speaker that plays incredibly loud, and with their tuning tech sounds absolutely incredible. There is no way this will sound better, especially at higher volumes than a Sonos Play 5 speaker, or at least $200 better… Good luck Harman (Samsung), good luck.

giving audiophiles a google assistant option? but in that case they could easily choose the google home max for a lot cheaper.

that being said what kind of google assistant speakers provide good sound with assistant capability?

So you think Harman is for audiophiles?

Nothing will ever compare to the Infinity IRS V. (not technically Harman, but a subsidiary)

Harman is stepping into an increasingly crowded space and £549 for 200W is hard to justify. Hard to tell without any technical specs, but you can already find the very talented Naim Muso Qb and impressive newcomer Audio Pro sitting comfortably in that price range.

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