Apple HomePod VS Google Home Max

Which of these smart speakers is best? Let's find out.

Affiliate Disclosure: CNET may get a commission from retail offers.
The Good

Apple's $349 HomePod has excellent bass and consistently superior sound quality across a wide variety of music genres. The speaker is easy to set up and Siri can hear you from across a room.

The Bad

You’re stuck with Apple-only audio services when using voice commands and the HomePod only works on iOS. Siri and HomeKit lack the polish and device compatibility of Alexa and Google Assistant.

The Bottom Line

Apple's HomePod doesn't match the features offered on Alexa and Google Assistant speakers. But if you’re an iPhone user who prizes sound quality above all, you should seriously consider this speaker.


The Good

The Google Home Max builds the convenience of Google Assistant into a plus-size speaker that can fill a room with excellent sound. The microphones respond well, even when you're blasting music.

The Bad

The sound can be a little too revealing, and guitar lines in particular can sound a little too piercing for comfort. If you mainly want background music, you should spend half as much on the Sonos One.

The Bottom Line

Although too expensive for mass appeal, the Google Home Max is the best-sounding smart speaker yet.



Both smart speakers have sleek designs, but the HomePod's compact size makes it much simpler to integrate in your decor.


While Apple's speaker finally supports stereo sound, multiroom audio and calling, Siri still doesn't offer as many features as Google Assistant.


In addition to not having as many features as Google Assistant, Siri doesn't perform as well either. If you ask Siri general trivia questions, it often can't answer (and, just like on the iPhone, would prompt you to search Google for the answer).

Sound quality

The HomePod's sound quality is truly great, especially when you consider its size, performing slightly better overall than the Home Max. Its sound is even better when you combine two HomePods into a stereo pair.


Both the HomePod and the Home Max are solid smart speakers. The HomePod brings better sound, but it's locked into the Apple ecosystem, whereas Google's Home Max offers more features and better voice interactions.

Videos / Photos

model White
  • Apple HomePod (Space Gray)
    Apple HomePod - Space Gray mqhw2xa $499

Specs / Prices

model Charcoal
  • Google Home Max (Chalk)
    Google Home Max - Chalk
Speaker System Details
Bluetooth, Smart Speaker Type Smart

More VS