Harman Kardon Citation 100 review: Big, bold, and beautiful sound in a midsized package

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Harman Kardon describes the design as “premium industrial” which I think is a perfect descriptor for it.

TA-ratings-97

If you roll back through our reviews section you’ll find several different Google Assistant enabled speakers we’ve reviewed. Several of those I have reviewed myself and many of them I thoroughly enjoyed. But the Harman Kardon Citation 100 is in a class all its own.

Not only does the Harman Kardon Citation 100 look amazing in terms of design, but the sound this midsized speaker produces is bold and beautiful. Read on for the full review and find out why I picked the Harmon Kardon Citation 100 as a Top Pick for 2019.

Specifications

The Harman Kardon Citation 100 has the following features and specifications:

  • Power Supply: 100-240V – 50/60Hz
  • Wireless network: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz)
  • 2.4G Wi-Fi transmitter frequency range: 2412 – 2472MHz (2.4GHzISM Band, USA 11 Channels, Europe and others 13 Channels)
  • 2.4G Wi-Fi transmitter power: <20dBm
  • 2.4G Wi-Fi modulation: DBPSK, DQPSK, CCK, QPSK, BPSK, 16QAM, 64QAM
  • 5G Wi-Fi transmitter power: <23dBm
  • 5G Wi-Fi modulation: QPSK, BPSK, 16QAM, 64QAM, 256QAM
  • 5G Wi-Fi transmitter frequency range: 5.15 – 5.35GHz, 5.470 – 5.725GHz, 5.725 – 5.825GHz
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: >80dB
  • Supported audio formats: HE-AAC, LC-AAC, MP3, Vorbis, WAV (LPCM), FLAC, Opus
  • Output power: 50W RMS
  • Transducer: 1 x 20mm tweeter, 1 x 102mm woofer
  • Bluetooth: Version4.2
  • Bluetooth transmitter frequency range: 2402 – 2480MHz
  • Bluetooth transmitter power: <5dBm
  • Bluetooth transmitter modulation: GFSK,π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK
  • Dimensions: (W x H x D)172 x 275 x 163 mm
  • Weight: 2.7 kg (6lb)

What’s In The Box

  • Harman Kardon Citation 100
  • Power Cable
  • Manuals and documentation

Design

I know there are a variety of Google Assistant enabled smart speakers on the market, and I have used my fair share. That being said, the Harman Kardon Citation 100 is easily the nicest looking and aesthetically pleasing Google Assistant speaker I’ve personally used.

Harman Kardon describes the design as “premium industrial” which I think is a perfect descriptor for it. The entire speaker is covered in a high-quality fabric covering which not only looks amazing but feels great to the touch. The Harman Kardon branding is neatly placed at the center bottom of the speaker which is nice and subtle.

The bottom of the speaker is where the power cable goes in, and there is a cut out to allow the cable to not interfere with placing the speaker on a flat surface. On the front center of the speaker are 4 LED lights which indicate the volume level as well as when you’re are activating the Google Assistant.

Harman Kardon Citation 100 Google Assistant
Top touch controls

The top of the speaker is where the touch controls are housed. There are visual indicators as to what each control does and it’s just a simple tap to make them work. I will say, the touch controls can be a bit touchy in some cases. Like raising and lowering the volume can be a bit challenging because the controls sometimes read your touch as more or less than you actually pushed. So the volume may go up or down a few notches more than intended.

It’s not a major deal, it just takes a few tries to get really used to the touch controls, since there is no tactile feedback to give a good indication of input. You can alternatively control the speaker with voice using Google Assistant. Just ask the Assistant to lower the volume or skip tracks or even stop playing music. So the touch controls aren’t really needed.

The Harman Kardon Citation 100 is also a bit on the hefty side weighing in at 6 lbs. But this really isn’t a speaker made to lug around from place to place. This is a nice, clean, artsy piece of hardware that’s meant to not only sound good but look good on a nice shelf.

Overall, the design is beautiful and all the materials used are of top notch quality.

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Ease of Use

One of the beautiful things about Google Assistant devices is the ease of setup and the Harman Kardon Citation 100 is no exception. All that you need to do is plug the speaker in, download and open the Google Home app, and set up new device in the app.

The Google Home app will walk you through setting up the speaker through your Wi-Fi connection. Once you’re connected to Wi-Fi, the speaker will show up in your list of devices in the Google Home app and you’ll be able to do all of your Googly things with it.

Of course, this includes getting your weather, music, news, and pretty much everything Google has to offer from it. If you already have Google Assistant set up on another device, most likely you will have Voice Match setup and the Assistant will already know your voice.

Some of the things you can do with the Assistant include listening to music from music services, listening to the news, listening to podcasts, listening to audiobooks, and much more. For a full list of what you can do with your Google Assistant smart speaker, check out Google’s help page here.

Google Assistant

Here’s just a sample of the things you can do with the Harman Kardon Citation with Google Assistant:

There’s much more than this and if you’re okay with giving Google a lot of permissions to your data, then you’ll be all set. Overall, I think the Google Assistant is useful. It does allow Google to know more about you than you think they know, but if you’re okay with that then it works great.

Harman Kardon Citation 100 Google Assistant
Bottom

Sound

While the smart features on the Harman Kardon Citation 100 are great, it’s really the sound that matters. Harman Kardon does not disappoint in this category. This speaker comes in at a hefty 6 lbs and it produces some of the richest sound I’ve heard from a speaker of this size.

What I liked best about the sound of the Harman Kardon Citation 100 is its bold and robust bottom end that doesn’t overpower the mids or highs. I felt the foundation under the music which, when done right, elevates all of the music in harmony.

I don’t feel that the bass is tweaked any more than usual, I still feel that the sound signature is flat and natural here. All the frequencies just played well together and the sound reproduction sounded natural but everything was just much fuller than other speakers I’ve used.

The Harman Kardon Citation 100 is definitely the best sounding Google Assistant Bluetooth speaker I’ve heard in this size. Everything sounded amazing with a full enveloping sound stage and good volume. Overall, this is one of the best speakers I’ve ever used.

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Harman Kardon Citation 100 Google Assistant
Subtle logo

Reception

While you can connect to the Harman Kardon Citation 100 via Bluetooth, it’s designed to be used with the Google Home app and Wi-Fi. When paired to Wi-Fi, connection is always solid anywhere in the house. When paired to Bluetooth, connection is standard Bluetooth range so expect to get anywhere from 30 – 60 feet of distance before you see drops in signal. It is important to note that you won’t get the Google Assistant features if you connect via Bluetooth, you need the Google Home app to take advantage of those features.

Price/Value

The Harman Kardon Citation 100 is priced at US$299.95 which is typical of Harman Kardon. The company is considered a higher-end audio brand so their prices are a bit up there. That being said, I know not everyone wants to pay US$300 for a speaker but for those who are willing to pony up the money, there is a lot of value here. The sound alone is worth the price of admission and the Google Assistant extras are a great value add.

Wrap Up

The Harman Kardon Citation 100 is certainly not for everyone. Its price is high, which may keep many away. But it does offer superior sound, an incredible design aesthetic, and smart features that make it a consideration for those seeking a speaker in this price range.

*We received a review unit of the Harman Kardon Citation 100 for the purposes of this review.

Harman Kardon Citation 100

US$299.95
9.7

Design

9.5/10

Ease of Use

9.5/10

Google Assistant

9.5/10

Sound

10.0/10

Reception

10.0/10

Price/Value

9.5/10

Nailed it

  • Clean industrial design
  • Easy to setup and use
  • Google Assistant works great
  • The sound is rich, thick and vibrant
  • Decent price for Harman Kardon

Needs work

  • Price may be an issue for some
  • Touch controls can be a little....touchy

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