It has been quite busy in the market for smart speakers lately.
After Amazon created the product category with Amazon Echo Show, Google quickly tracked its own version, Google Home. Last year, Apple also jumped into the race with announcement of the Apple HomePod.
But that’s not the end of the story. Although each player has his flagship Smart Speaker, there are now many variations of each. Amazon has, among other things, the Echo Dot mini speaker and the show screen, while Google has the mini and max versions in the market.
Which of these three speakers deserves a place in your home?
We’ll split function by function and compare between the three speakers in a second, but first, let’s look at what intelligent speakers are and why they are made by the world’s top three technology companies.
Smart speakers are primarily a home for the voice aids they host. Of course you can control them with a phone to play music like a Bluetooth speaker, but basically, they are designed to interact with your voice.
Creating Siri, Alexa and the Google Assistant on the speaker in your house makes a lot of sense. While it is sometimes embarrassing to talk to the phone in public, there is not the same social pressure at home where it can be as strange as you want with your new robot friend.
Google was created with the automation of voice in phones, but it was Amazon who first built a voice assistant in a static speaker. Google follows with Google Home, a smart speaker using the company’s Google Voice Assistant technology. And now, three years after the launch of Echo, Apple has plunged into battle with Apple HomePod, an Internet-connected speaker using Apple’s Siri voice assistant at home.
Amazon has an early advantage, but do not underestimate Google or Apple, which have consistently developed their voice aids on mobile devices for years.
So, which one should you buy?Here’s what we think about them so far:
Smart speaker hardware
In terms of aesthetics, Google Home and Apple HomePod are very similar. Both are smart speakers in the form of air fresheners that are bulbous and relatively inconspicuous.
From the 2017 update, Amazon Echo Show is now more versatile. It is available in fabrics, wood, plastic, and metal. Meanwhile, the Google Home is still a fabric and plastic construction, though it offers a variety of colorful underframes so you can customize the look of your speaker.
The Echo Show comes with a remote control in the United States, which is interesting if you consider that you can access all
these basic functions by saying a few words. However, if you are never within reach of Alexa, it will be useful to have a remote control with a built-in microphone. It also is the only of the three that includes a screen which allows you to view videos and see graphics.
The Apple HomePod will be to our knowledge the average kid in terms of design. It will have a height of 7 inches, which makes it higher than the Google Home and shorter than the Echo Show, but has a slightly larger size than either.
Who really sounds better? Well, just for the hardware specifications, Apple HomePod seems to be the real winner. It has a tweeter matrix of 7 beams and a powerful subwoofer in the lower part. This compares to the built-in 2.0-inch tweeter and built-in 2.5-inch woofer from the original Amazon Echo Show, as well as the Google Home 2-inch controller and two 2-inch passive radiators.
The best bang for the buck
Switching to the standard models of each speaker, Google Home costs $130.00 US, while the new Amazon Echo Show costs $199.00. The HomePod is the most expensive of the three at $ 350.00.
So, who has the best price? As you can see, Apple HomePod does not work here, but if Google Home or Amazon Echo Show is at the top, that’s a push. If you are looking for the cheapest and most deadly smart speaker, the two are pretty much alike. But if you want a cheap smart speaker that really plays music at full volume, Amazon HomePod seems to have the advantage. However, all of the options have bluetooth, so you can stream everything from your smart speaker through your favorite bluetooth speaker, making the Echo Dot the price winner at only $49.99.
Richard Webb is an entrepreneur, fitness author of Fat Burning Secrets (available on Amazon), bodybuilder, blogger of fitness & technology, and a digital nomad working mainly from Mexico and travels frequently to Texas and California. He has 25 years experience working in software technology, so he truly considers himself as an unusual combination of bodybuilder-tech nerd.