Should You Buy a New Google Home Column?
On Wednesday, Google announced a pair of new smart home speakers to rival devices from Amazon and Apple. The search giant now offers a pint-sized Google Home Mini for $ 49 and a powerful Google Home Max for $ 399, as well as the original Google Home for $ 129.
Choosing a new smart speaker just got more challenging, but we’re here to help. Here’s how Google’s new gadgets compare to the competition.
Google Home Max or Apple HomePod?
If you’re looking for a smart speaker that’s also loud enough, the Google Home Max, which went on sale in December for $ 399, seems to be your best bet at the moment. It includes a pair of woofers for powerful bass, as well as a feature called Smart Sound, which Google says can tune the speaker so you get the best sound in any situation (even if you place it in the corner of a room).
Home Max can play music from Google streaming services (YouTube Music and Google Play Music) as well as Spotify and Pandora. It also supports Bluetooth, Google Cast, and has a headphone jack for direct connection to your phone.
In addition to music, Home Max can control smart home gadgets – this includes products from the Google Nest line, Philips Hue smart lights and others. It works with Chromecast to play YouTube or Netflix videos on any TV in your home. Of course, it has the usual set of smart features, so yes, it will let you order Domino without lifting a finger.
HomePod offers a similar experience for $ 50 less and will go on sale in December. The Apple speaker promises better sound quality with seven tweeters (Google Home Max only has two) and 360-degree audio. It has a touchpad for quick pause or volume changes, but no headphone jack. HomePod also relies on Siri, which continues to improve but still can’t compete with Google Assistant.
You may also want to consider the new Sonos One that was announced today. It’s Alexa-enabled, Google Assistant support is coming in 2018, and it’s only $ 199. It’s also smaller and probably less powerful than the HomePod or Google Home Max, but if you already own a Sonos setup, this is your best bet.
In fact, the only real reason to choose the HomePod is if you’re already tied to the Apple ecosystem (which many of us are). Otherwise, the Google Home Max looks like a better choice as a standalone smart speaker, even if it costs a little more.
Google Home Mini or Amazon Echo Dot?
On the smaller side, Google has unveiled the Home Mini, which offers the same basic capabilities as the Max, only with a less powerful speaker, and ships on October 18 for $ 49. Unfortunately, it also lacks a 3.5mm audio port, so you’re also stuck with less audio unless you have a wireless speaker that supports Google Cast software.
For the same price, you can get the Echo Dot, Amazon’s tiny smart speaker that instead works with Alexa and has a 3.5mm port. Amazon’s AI also supports more voice-activated apps than Google Home, although Google Assistant is arguably smarter, especially when you’re trying to access other Google apps like Calendar or Maps.
If you’d like to connect a larger wired speaker to your new smart speaker, check out the Amazon Echo. If you’re more concerned about getting a smarter AI assistant and a more natural design, choose the Google Home Mini.