If you thought Amazon and Google were both hot on each other’s heels in the smart speaker game, Apple just jumped into the race as well. At the WWDC hosted by Apple, the company introduced to the world a new wireless smart home speaker – the HomePod. With incredible features (but an equally incredible price!), Apple’s HomePod might give the Amazon Echo and Google Home a run for their money.
There’s no doubt that all three smart home speakers have their own unique features and qualities; however, when it comes to the similar specs, that’s where the real competition begins.
HomePod vs. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home: Design
For a smart home speaker to really stand out, it needs to be compact and classy in appearance and design. Fortunately, the HomePod, Amazon Echo and the Google Home all have an impeccable structure that makes them unique.
The HomePod comes in two colors – Space Grey and White, weighs a good 5.5 pounds and measures 172 x 142 mm. Amazon Echo, on the other hand, comes in a basic white color with variation in the base color. Compared to the HomePod, it’s much lighter and weighs only 1.05 pounds with dimensions 142.8 x 96.4 mm. Finally, Google Home measures 235 x 84 x 84 mm in dimensions, weighs about 2.34 lbs, and comes in Black or White color variants.
It’s clear to see Amazon Echo is the lightest, most compact of the three but the Home Pod has interesting color options.
The Battle of the Voice-Assistants
Ultimately, it’s the voice assistants that make the smart home speakers smart. Apple uses Siri, Amazon uses Alexa, and Google uses Google Assistant as the voice assistant. While all three services use cloud computing for voice recognition and responding to commands, there are some notable differences in how the individual voice assistant performs.
Recently, Amazon upgraded its Alexa-based devices by making the voice assistant smarter and more versatile. Apple is also rumored to expand the services of Siri with new changes coming up in the iOS 11 this fall. Alexa and Google Assistant are designed to carry out more task-specific requests for example ordering a pizza from Dominos, whereas, Apple’s Siri doesn’t have that ability.
Siri does however connect with third-party apps, something Google Assistant and Alexa have fallen short in. However, the two are working with developers that will allow their voice-assistants to reach out to third-party applications.
On the whole, all three voice assistants perform similar functions: they play your music, tell you how the weather is, automatically switch off the lights if you have a smart lighting system, and they all require an Internet connection to work on.
In the end, the ultimate purpose of the three smart home speakers is delivering excellent quality music and sound. Although all three are great, there is no doubt that Apple’s HomePod takes the lead in this category, even claiming the speaker system being more powerful than Sonos.
The HomePod, powered by Apple’s A8 chip, contains an enormous 4-inch woofer and a seven tweeter array of speakers. In comparison, Amazon Echo has only two speakers and 2.5-inch woofer. Google Home has similar specs as the Echo device but the sound quality is notably weaker.
The HomePod and Amazon Echo both offer multi-room speaker support whereas Google Home does not. This feature allows the smart speakers to play music throughout the house instead of only one room where it’s placed. The HomePod can also connect to AirPlay speakers using the AirPlay 2 technology
Connectivity and Support
Depending on whether you’re more of an Android person on an iOS person, one of the three smart speakers will work best for you. HomePod only has iOS support, while both the Amazon Echo and Google Home offer both iOS and Android support. All three speakers connect via WiFi and Bluetooth.
For Android lovers, Google Home might be the best choice. For Amazon Prime subscribers, Amazon Echo will take the lead. And for those dedicated Apple fanatics, the HomePod will be the clear winner. It all depends on the individual’s preferences in the ecosystem the three services offer.
Smart Home Control: Who Does it Better?
While all three smart home speakers offer smart home control features, there are some minor differences in what the individual device can do. Apple’s HomePod, for example, offers full voice control of any smart home device that is supported with Apple’s HomeKit. This includes lights, cameras, locks, garage doors, fans and thermostats etc.
Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Google Assistant don’t offer as many controls as Siri; however, they are compatible with third-parties like Nest, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings and WeMo.
Ultimately, it is the price that sets the three home speakers apart. The HomePod is definitely the most high-end of the three speakers, with an overwhelming price tag of US $359 (set to start shipping this December). The Amazon Echo costs US $180, whereas Google Home costs US $109.