Review: Canton Smart Soundbox 3 – Wireless Speaker

Review: Canton Smart Soundbox 3 – Wireless speaker with hi-fi sound -The greatest stereo sound a compact speaker can deliver - Outstanding sound quality, now even smarter.

A while back, we tested a Canton soundbar from the Smart line. This family also includes wireless speakers, with the Smart Soundbox 3 Wireless speaker as the cheapest and smallest member. This review tests this Sonos Era 100 challenger, solo and stereo.

On paper, the Smart Soundbox 3 is a counterpart to the Sonos Era 100 or similar rivals. Just look at its size and the scenarios this wireless Canton speaker fits into – just like the new Sonos (or its predecessor, the Sonos One ). And like the Sonos hit song, this is a compact speaker with a limited footprint. Its height of 21 cm and narrower base compared to the Era 100 make the Canton slightly slimmer. Therefore, the Smart Soundbox 3 is a perfectly suited device to play music in a kitchen or dining room. In addition, you have quite a few options to play your favorite tracks. Streaming is possible via AirPlay 2, among other things, Chromecast and Spotify Connect. Currently, there is no own app with built-in streaming services, but it will be coming. The small Canton speaker costs 389 euros, which means it is higher than some rivals. Like competitor Bluesound, the German hi-fi brand focuses on more options and a greater focus on what a hi-fi sound quality should be.

WhatWireless speaker
streamingAirPlay 2, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth
Extrasline-in, ethernet, multiroom via Smart platform

Part of a larger Smart whole

Thanks to the flexibility of the underlying Canton Smart platform, you can combine two Smart Soundbox 3s into a stereo pair. We also look at that in this review. The step to ‘real’ stereo is quite interesting if you want to be able to listen more attentively, even in a somewhat larger room. In the latter case, you can expand a single speaker or a stereo pair with a subwoofer. For example, there are currently three models, including the Smart Sub 10, that can be mounted on the wall. In addition, as we did in the review of the Smart Soundbar 10 gen2, you can use a pair of Soundbox 3 speakers to bring surround sound to the back of the room. This gives you a more enveloping experience.

Thus we touch on perhaps the greatest asset of the Canton story. These speakers are part of the Smart range of the Germans. It is much more extensive than with Sonos and almost all rivals. Only the BluOS ecosystem (used by several audio brands) comes close. But even then, Canton remains remarkably versatile, and the range of Smart speakers and other devices is particularly large.

Tight in German

The design of the Smart Soundbox 3 is sleeker and perhaps more anonymous than some rivals. The Harman Kardon Citation series, for example, uses Kvadrat fabrics to make the speaker a showpiece. That is not the case here. Whether you opt for the black or white version, due to its equilateral beam shape, rounded corners, and grille that covers almost the entire device, you end up with a rather inconspicuous device in the room. That may, of course, be just what you are looking for. The build quality seems excellent.

Perhaps you will use the Smart Soundbox 3 as a wireless speaker. However, an ethernet port is also there, which can come in handy in certain circumstances. There is also an aux-in to connect a source, such as the CD player or turntable (with amplified output). You can then play them or forward them to other Smart speakers in the house. The speaker can be hung.

Turn on the radio quickly

Something very useful about these speakers: there are more control options than is usually the case. You can select music on your mobile device via the app of your favorite music service (with AirPlay 2 or Chromecast). By the way, setting up the speaker is done via Google Home. You follow the usual and clear step-by-step plan to set up a Chromecast-compatible speaker.

In addition, you can operate the Smart Soundbox 3 via an optional remote control or the buttons on the top. They have recessed keys; you have to get used to that. In addition to buttons for media playback, there are three preset buttons, which you can link to a radio station, for example. If you come down for breakfast in the morning, you can listen to the radio news at the touch of a button – quite handy. Preset buttons may break through the sleek design of a speaker, but it is nice not always have to reach for your smartphone.

With a single speaker

We start by streaming music to a single Smart Soundbox 3 cast from the Qobuz app. As mentioned, this speaker positions itself as a counterpart to the Sonos One. Or at least recently, before Sonos replaced this model with the slightly larger Era 100. We also compared Canton with these two models from the American brand. It is immediately striking that the two brands have different visions regarding their sound. Sonos is more compressed and focuses more on bass and certain midrange frequencies, while the Canton speaker produces a more open sound. The Berlin techno of Moderat on ‘MORE D4TA’ is a bit less pounding, but when we listen to ‘Sort of Revolution’ on Fink’s ‘IIUII,’ there is more of a live experience at the Canton. You get more of those little details, like the fingers sliding over the guitar strings. We noticed that a free bubble was created around the speakers with Tamino’s ‘Habibi’ – now in stereo pair mode. You can also give the Canton speakers some extra bass via an equalizer. That is a bit cumbersome via the buttons and the screen on the speaker itself, but you only do it once. We’re waiting for an app to make this easier – we’ve heard rumors about that for a while.

Internally, the Smart Soundbox 3 is constructed differently from your average wireless speaker. For example, there is a relatively large woofer and tweeter pointing in front, plus a passive woofer on each side. That makes these speakers capable of producing low tones, although that doesn’t seem like a priority for Canton. They are certainly slightly more directional compared to the Era 100. It is best to place these Cantons a little further away and with the front facing you. This is how they best fill the room, especially in stereo mode.

The step to true stereo

As is often the case with compact wireless speakers, you can significantly improve the sound quality and experience by combining two Canton speakers into a stereo pair. With Sonos, you do that via the app; here, it is slightly different. There the somewhat different approach of the German company rears its head again. The Smart Soundbox 3 was originally designed to be set up via the physical buttons or the remote. As a result, linking a pair of Cantons is slightly different than with other brands. You choose one speaker as ‘master’ and reach a menu with settings by pressing the input button longer. It takes some getting used to because the display behind the grid only shows a few letters. Taking the manual with you is, therefore, quickly necessary, even if you can wait until the function name scrolls past completely. In this case, you make a stereo pair by indicating on that master speaker which other speaker you want to link with. That is a different way of thinking because, for example, you have to choose ‘FR’ on the left speaker (which you then make the MSL, the Master Speaker Left). So Front Right, which is the name of the second speaker. You plug it into the socket – and 30 seconds later, the connection is made automatically. As soon as you understand the Canton logic, it goes very smoothly. You plug it into the socket – and 30 seconds later, the connection is made automatically. As soon as you understand the Canton logic, it goes very smoothly. You plug it into the socket – and 30 seconds later, the connection is made automatically. As soon as you understand the Canton logic, it goes very smoothly.

Two is better?

The sonic upgrade a pair of Smart Soundbox 3s offer is well worth it. The features we already mentioned about a single device are further supported here, and the soundstage is suddenly a lot more layered. Quite wide because playing stereo through two speakers is always better because you can display the information in the recording. With that Alison Goldfrapp album, for example, the soaring atmosphere of ‘The Beat Divine’ hung much thicker in the room. You suddenly get disco synths that float and move noticeably, which is a lot more fascinating than through one speaker.

They remain small wireless speakers. These juniors will never sound as open and three-dimensional as a pair of large Canton floor standers. The bass extension only goes so far – although you can also do something about it by adding one of the very solid Smart subwoofers from the Germans. Of course, these are comments that you can make with almost all wireless speakers, whether they come from Harman Kardon, Canton, or Sonos. But the bit of refinement and nose for detail make the Smart Soundbox 3 a reproducer that has something special to offer in its category. Another tuning to start with, which is a bit more audiophile and puts more emphasis on detail. So you get more experience moving towards hi-fi. They play all music well,

Speaking of the latter genre, we listened to ‘Voice of the Moon’ with the stereo pair, a great collaboration between Anoushka Shankar, the Metropole Orkest, Jules Buckley, and Manu Delago. You either love a sitar or don’t; in this case, you will hear a virtuoso playing from daughter Shankar. The rich Indian mood is well conveyed by the two of Canton, with the sometimes very fast sit-target pluck being correctly conveyed. It’s a successful performance.


The Smart Soundbox 3 performed well as rear speakers with a Canton Smart soundbar. This small wireless speaker also convinces as a separate speaker with a sound that comes across as fresh and authentic. Canton prices its speakers slightly higher than most rivals. To compensate, you get some extra features and a sleeker design. The Smart platform is a potential asset for those who want to take a step toward a high-quality music system. Because of this, you can add very high-end speakers to your multi-room story.

But the Canton also has plenty to offer as a separate speaker. For example, you have less of the compressed of many wireless speakers here, which creates more space for an open and larger reproduction. As a stereo pair, two Smartbox 3 speakers perform excellently, and you get (for speakers like this) an impressive stereo experience.


  • Detailed and balanced rendering
  • Wider appearance
  • Stereo pair delivers a more immersive listening experience
  • Lots of streaming options
  • Part of the Canton Smart platform


  • A slightly higher price (which also makes a stereo pair more expensive)
  • Waiting for own app