What’s the best smart speaker? Apple was the last major technology to step up, and in June 2017, I introduced its new product, a smart speaker, the Apple HomePod, which will fight all Amazon Echo and Google Home models. Is Apple’s new smart speaker worth it against its cheaper competitors? Let’s see if you need a Smart Speaker at home.
First, what is a smart speaker? It’s a WIFI speaker pushed to the extreme: they can stream music from your smartphone or tablet or streaming services like Google Play Music and Amazon Prime Music, but they are also able to act as personal assistants thanks to Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant. An example? You get up in the morning and ask your speaker what time it’s going to do throughout the day. You’ll have the answer in a few seconds.
Amazon takes the lead with its Echo speakers, but things get interesting with Apple input and all Google models.
Google, Amazon or Apple smart speakers
Did you know what other speaker brands Alexa or Google Assistant assistants incorporate into one of their models? For example, Sonos. So many of us models also fall into the category of smart speakers.
What does this mean? You don’t have to go straight for a smart speaker from Amazon, Apple or Google… You can check our speaker inputs to discover the best speaker options by quality and sound.
Apple HomePod vs Amazon Echo vs Google Home: Design and Sound
Design and versions
The Google Home and Apple HomePod are very similar in terms of design, at least in the Google Home edition, then we have two more options, the Google Home Mini (very cheap) and the Google Home Max. The Home is the one that can be further customized with several coloured bases.
Google subsequently introduced the Nest Hub, a kind of digital frame speaker to control your entire home.
The Amazon Echo looks more like a traditional speaker. The Amazon Echo comes with a controller in the United States, giving you extra control options. Eye! Amazon offers several versions of its popular smart speaker:
- Amazon Echo Dot: the cheapest and smallest version shaped like a flattened cylinder
- Amazon Echo Plus: higher than Echo and with better sound
- Amazon Echo Spot: with 2.5″ circular touch screen and perfect to put next to the bed (not available at the moment).
- Amazon Echo Show 5, Echo Show 8 and Echo Show: with 5.5″, 8″ and 10.1″ rectangular display. It has a camera.
- Amazon Echo Studio: Smart speaker with high fidelity sound and Alexa
Which one sounds better?
Looking at its specs, the Apple HomePod has to win with 7 tweeters and a 4″ woofer in front of the Echo’s 2″ tweeter and its 2.5″ woofer and Google Home’s 2″ dual passive radiators and driver. Provides 360o sound.
Amazon’s Echo Studio also delivers great sound thanks to its 5 speakers and Dolby Atmos technology that generates multi-dimensional sound.
- Within Amazon models, the echo Plus and Show are the ones that sound the best of all. But the Echo Studio takes the palm in sound quality.
- The Google Home Max is the one with the most powerful volume.
Apple HomePod vs Amazon Echo vs Google Home: Features
- Google has Google Play Music at its disposal and integration with Google Cast or Spotify. It also connects to the Chromecast
- Amazon connects to Spotify and can be connected via 3.5mm or Bluetooth to another speaker.
- Apple works with Apple Music
- Google Home integrates with other company services such as Google Maps, Translate, Calendar.
- Amazon has many apps like Uber, Eat etc…
- Apple has given app creators access to its new speaker, so there are expected to be many compatible apps.
- Amazon is integrating with products such as Samsung smart things or Philips Hue bulbs.
- Google integrates with Nest devices
Google and Amazon speakers support multiple users.
- Amazon Echo: You have to switch users using a voice command
- Google Home: Recognizes the voice of different users
- Apple HomePod: Doesn’t support multiple users
- Google Assistant: similar to Google Now, so it has a lot of information available.
- Amazon Alexa: You can talk a little bit about everything: calendars, sports, understanding simple phrases. Probably the smartest.
- Apple Siri: The iPhone assistant is passed to the speaker. He’s got a little left to catch up with his opponents.
Clearly, the speaker that respects your privacy the most is Apple’s model, so its smart features are more limited than on the other models. Apple uses artificial intelligence for its smart speaker, encrypts everything, and doesn’t link your data to your Apple account.
Google and Amazon use what you ask to learn from you, and they send all your data to their servers. That data can be used to show you advertising on other devices or to personalize your searches on Amazon or Google.
And many times they inadvertently turn on and record certain conversations. You have to keep an eye on it.
If you want privacy, Apple’s speaker is the way to go.
Conclusion: Which One is the best smart speaker?
The most developed system at the moment is the Amazon Echo (your Alexa assistant is the most evolved). Still, Google integrates a lot of services into your Google Home and is expected to integrate them better over time.
- The cheapest models of “Smart Speaker” are Amazon’s Echo Dot and Google Home Mini.
- The ones with the best sound are Apple HomePod, Amazon’s Echo Studio and Google Home Max.
- The model that respects your privacy the most is the Apple HomePod.
- For the quality price, the best option is the Amazon Echo.