Personal digital assistants are becoming the newest wave of popular digital trends. These little A.I companions are indeed everything you could’ve asked for and more. They’ll let you know the best route to take for work, whether you’ll need an umbrella or sunglasses in this unpredictable British weather and they’ll even tell you a Dad joke to help cheer you up. Nevertheless, they act as an extended digital family member within your household. As the HomePod, Amazon Echo and Google Home currently dominate the market, the question remains: which is the best speaker for you?
Despite these devices relatively doing the same thing as each other, it’s their design that sets them apart.
The Amazon Echo’s design has seen various iterations of the product over the course of its launch. It currently remains slightly shorter and fatter compared to its predecessor. When you call its name, a ring on the top of the product lights up to let you know that it’s indeed listening and awaiting commands. There’re the standard volume buttons located on top as well as a voice muting option. The product comes in a space grey or white metallic/mesh looking finish.
The Google Home’s design is certainly unique compared to the others. However what this product does do well is that it blends in seamlessly with your home decor, and with an exceptional additional fee, you are able to pick up different coloured bases that either has a metallic or fabric finish. There is an LED light found on the top that ensures you know that the device is listening.
The HomePod’s design makes it clear and obvious that it’s indeed an Apple created product. Its metallic-covered exterior perhaps gives it away and needless to say, it keeps consistent with Apple’s usual brand design techniques – minimalism. Siri can, for the first time, be seen in real-life as it appears when given commands on top of the product. The device comes in a black or white metallic finish.
One of the best USP’s about these digital geniuses is that they’re always learning. Their voice recognition is improving and can adapt appropriately to accents. There’re a variety of skills each device can have installed to make them an all round better and cooler assistant. The Google Home takes clear advantage of it’s Google Assistant and, by having Google’s search engine available at its fingertips, nothing else can quite compete within the knowledge aspect. The Echo’s microphone however is very efficient at picking up on sounds from a greater distance. The HomePod rightfully uses Siri to its advantage and with Apple utilising its integration technology within the Apple ecosystem, the speaker can’t be flawed for those hardcore Apple lovers out there. However, the HomePods biggest drawback is exactly that – it is designed solely to benefit those with anything Apple (which is something we’ll explore later on). Find out even more about the HomePod’s, Echo’s and Google Home’s features.
The most important factor – and one I bet you haven’t overlooked – is the pricing of these products.
Apple’s HomePod claims the expensive spot by initially launching the device at £319 in the U.K. Both Google Home and Amazon Echo undercuts that price significantly, with the Echo priced at just £89.99 and the Google Home at £130. There’re also smaller versions of the 2 devices available, which helps lower the cost, both retailing at £50.
The Echo is a Bluetooth speaker, meaning it can stream music via Wi-Fi and be controlled by any device that supports Bluetooth audio streaming. The device comes with a single 0.6 speaker and a 2.5 inch woofer. The songs and volume can be controlled via voice commands, making it even easier to control your songs.
Google Home is a Wi-Fi speaker that can stream music directly via the cloud. Unfortunately, what sets this product apart from the Echo is that it doesn’t have Bluetooth support, so you must ensure that you use apps and services that can support Google Cast. The Google Home doesn’t sound dramatically better than the Echo, but the feature of Multi-room definitely adds a sense of clarity to the sound quality if you have more than one of the device.
Apple’s HomePod offers Airplay from your Apple devices, or with apps/services that runs on cloud. Also, there’s a lack of Bluetooth with the device, which is to be expected. It’s interesting to note that the speaker is compatible and exclusive to iPhone only and Apple Music users, which limits the device in terms of accessibility. So if you’re an Android user that has an active Apple Music membership, you’re indeed out of luck as the speaker even requires an Apple device running iOS 11 to set it up. As the HomePod is much larger, it undeniably has a greater advantage over the other 2 in terms of sound with a 4 inch woofer.
It’s difficult to say which comes out on top of all 3. If audio is your necessity, the HomePod comes out as the clear and obvious winner despite being the most expensive.
Visually speaking, the Echo indeed has an intriguing design, most notably its lit up ring that awaits your commands. It is sleek and fits very well with your home decor at a reasonable price. The same point can also be argued for the Google Home. Furthermore, Echo is widest in terms of accessibility, compatibility and it’s skill sets that can be downloaded via the accompanied app. For now, I’d say the Echo takes the top spot overall with its appropriate price, stylish design and high sound quality, but time will tell as we get to see just how well Siri integrates with the HomePod.