Google Home Max vs. HomePod and Google Home Mini vs. Amazon Echo Dot: battle of the smart speakers

 In Technology

On Wednesday, Google unveiled two new versions of the Google Home speakers: the Mini, which is priced to compete with the Amazon Echo Dot, and the Max, which is positioned at the luxury end of the market, similar to Apple’s HomePod. Both the Max and the HomePod are set to come out in December. So how do these smart speakers stack up against each other? With most of these products still unavailable in retailers until November or December, we can’t determine the best smart speakers in terms of sound quality just yet. Historically, Sonos has cornered the market with the very well-reviewed Sonos Play: 1 and Play: 3, and the company just unveiled a speaker with Alexa software built in.

So even though we can’t make a full comparison just yet, we are able to line these speakers up spec by spec to give you a good look at what will be available this holiday season. We’ve factored in price points, speakers, microphones, processors, and more. Here’s what we know so far. (You can scroll the spec sheet.)

Google Home Mini and Max comparison

Categories Google Home Mini Echo Dot Google Home Max HomePod Amazon Echo Echo Spot Echo Plus Google Home Sonos One Sonos Play:1 Sonos Play:3
Categories Google Home Mini Echo Dot Google Home Max HomePod Amazon Echo Echo Spot Echo Plus Google Home Sonos One Sonos Play:1 Sonos Play:3
Price $49.99 $49.99 $399.99 $350 $99.99 $129.99 $149.99 $129.00 $199.00 $199.00 $299.00
Speakers 360 sound with 40mm driver 0.6-inch speaker Two 4.5-in woofers and two 0.7-inch tweeters 7 tweeters, 4-inch subwoofer 0.6-inch tweeter, 2.5-inch woofer 1.4-inch speaker 2.5-inch woofer and 0.8-inch tweeter 2-inch driver and dual 2-inch passive radiators Two digital amplifiers, one mid-woofer, one tweeter 3.5-inch mid-woofer, tweeter Two 2.75-inch mid-woofers, 1-inch tweeter
Microphones Far-field voice recognition supports hand free use 7-microphone array Far-field voice recognition supports hand free use 6-microphone array 7-microphone array 4-microphone array 7-microphone array 2-microphone array 6-microphone array N/A N/A
Smart assistant Google Assistant Alexa Google Assistant Siri Alexa Alexa Alexa Assistant Alexa Alexa through connected Echo(in private beta) Alexa through connected Echo(in private beta)
Processor TBA Texas Instruments DM3725 1.5GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Apple A8 Texas Instruments DM3725CUS100 TBA TBA Marvell 88DE3006 Quad-core processor ARM Cortex A9 PowerPC e300
Multi-room audio? Chromecast Audio Yes, through Alexa Chromecast Audio AirPlay 2 Yes, through Alexa Yes, through Alexa Yes, through Alexa Chromecast Audio Sonos Sonos Sonos
Music services supported Google Play Music, Spotify Premium, Pandora, YouTube Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio Amazon Music, Prime Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, Spotify Premium, Pandora, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Audible Google Play Music, Spotify Premium, Pandora, YouTube Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio Apple Music Amazon Music, Prime Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, Spotify Premium, Pandora, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Audible Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, and more Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, and more Google Play Music, Spotify Premium, Pandora, YouTube Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, SiriusXM, and TuneIn Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Deezer, TuneIn, Napster, Microsoft Groove, Slacker, Stitcher, Tidal, and more Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Deezer, TuneIn, Napster, Microsoft Groove, Slacker, Stitcher, Tidal, and more
Third-party developer support Yes, Assistant actions Yes, Alexa Skills Yes, Assistant actions As of now, no Yes, Alexa Skills Yes, Alexa Skills Yes, Alexa Skills Yes, Assistant actions Only through Sonos partnerships Only through Sonos partnerships Only through Sonos partnerships
Interface No visible buttons, LED indicators Light ring, buttons LED indicators, touch panel Siri waveform / touch panel Light ring, buttons Front facing camera, volume and mics/camera buttons Light ring, buttons LED indicators, touch panel Touch controls, LED indicators Volume and play / pause buttons Volume and play / pause buttons
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Chromecast Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3.5mm headphone jack Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Chromecast Wi-Fi Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi
Weight 6.10 ounces 0.36 pounds 11.7 pounds 5.5 pounds 1.81 pounds 0.92 pounds 2.1 pounds 1.05 pounds 4.08 pounds 4.08 pounds 5.71 pounds
Dimensions (in.) 3.86 in dia x 1.65 in height 1.3 x 3.3 x 3.3 13.2 x 7.4 x 6 6.8 x 5.6 x 5.6 5.9 x 3.5 x 3.5 4.1 x 3.8 x 3.6 9.3 x 3.3 x 3.3 5.62 x 3.79 x 3.79 6.36 x 4.69 x 4.69 6.36 x 4.69 x 4.69 5.2 x 10.6 x 6.3

Speakers

The Google Home Max appears to be the company’s answer to Apple’s HomePod, which has seven tweeters and a 4-inch subwoofer. The Home Max only has two tweeters and two 4.5-inch woofers, with an emphasis on producing lots of bass.

The Sonos One, announced just an hour before the new Google Homes, is an upgrade to the Sonos Play:1 and Play:3, but now with two digital amplifiers. With two amps, a mid-woofer, and a tweeter, from the specs alone, the Sonos One boasts better sound than nearly all of its rivals, but of course, we’ll know more once we’ve put these all to the test.

Meanwhile, the smaller devices have passable speakers not meant for blasting music. The choice here will likely be whether you prefer one digital assistant over the other, which brings us to…

Virtual assistants

Which device or family of devices you begin investing in will largely be determined by which virtual assistant you prefer: Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, or (not featured on this list) Cortana.

The Google Assistant also got plenty of upgrades announced at the Pixel event, putting it at an advantage compared to Siri. For instance, both Google and Amazon home devices now can extend routines, performing several actions at the behest of a single prompt. But Apple’s Siri still doesn’t have that functionality and you have to ask Siri to do one thing at a time. (Also, you can now make your Google Assistant sound male.)

Curiously, Sonos — which doesn’t have its own proprietary virtual assistant, and relies on collaboration with Amazon and Google — will have the first devices with both Alexa and Google Assistant enabled next year. You can summon either with their catchphrase, which might lead to conundrums when you say things like, “Hey Alexa, Google The Verge.” Having two virtual assistants at once could either be great, or terribly confusing.

Control

Both the Google Home Max and HomePod claim to be able to auto-adjust based on their positions in the room to give the optimal reverb and sound. It’s also worth noting that Google’s partnership with Nest means easier compatibility to smart security systems, if you go with Google Home products.

Although the Google Mini has no visible buttons, you can tap the top of it to pause and left or right to tune the volume. Similarly, the Sonos One offers touch controls and it’s got a new six-microphone array to better capture voice recognition compared to the older Sonos models.

Price

The Google Home Mini, priced at $49.99, is the same as the Amazon Echo Dot. Choice, again, comes back down to preferred virtual assistant or aesthetic. If you’re concerned about size, there’s also the Amazon Echo Spot which is designed like an alarm clock with a video conferencing camera, but it costs $129.99.

The Sonos One at $199.99 is solidly in the mid price range, while the HomePod at $350 and the Google Home Max at $399.99 make up the higher-end side of the market. It’s easy to see how customers could be swayed to buying two Sonos Ones for the price of one Google Home Max.

Deals

It’s worth noting that the Google Home Max also comes with a promotion at the moment: it’s offering a year-long free subscription to YouTube Red. Amazon, for its part, is offering a number of bundle deals on Echo devices. You can get multi-room audio with a three-pack of Echos for $249. You can also get an Echo Dot and Fire TV bundle for $80.

With the range of Amazon Echo products, all at different price points, it’s more likely that you’ll find devices that suit your needs among the offerings. As of now, Google Home only comes in the original model, Mini, and Max. And Apple is betting solely on the HomePod for its part of smart speaker market share. No other company has an Echo Spot equivalent quite yet, which may not matter much to you if you live in a condo or a house with less rooms.

More deals are likely to come as we get closer to the end of the year and as some of the higher-end products make it to market. Check back on The Verge for our full reviews of all the flagship products above and if we find any solid sales ahead of the holidays.

Recent Posts
Get Breaking News Delivered to Your Inbox
Join over 2.3 million subscribers. Get daily breaking news directly to your inbox as they happen.
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
Get Latest News in Facebook
Never miss another breaking news. Click on the "LIKE" button below now!