Got $400? Apple HomePod vs stereo Sonos One vs Google Home Max
For the longest time, if you wanted a smart speaker that is a connected speaker with a built-in voice assistant, you had to be content with the Amazon Echo.
While it's an insanely popular product, it offers the widest compatibility of any competitor.
Its main problem is it doesn't sound very good.
What if you want something that is good of playing tunes?
Enter the Apple HomePod.
Apple says this is a music speaker first and smart speaker second.
But at $350, is it the best option for the money?
For example, at that price you can get not one but two Sonos Ones which also incorporate Amazon Alexa and work in stereo.
I've compared notes with CNET's own audio [INAUDIBLE] Steve Gutenberg To get his take on the smart speaker phenomenon.
Now Steve, you're predominantly a two channel type of person.
But you spent a lot of time with the Apple HomePod.
What's surprised you about it?
How fussy it was to use, really.
I mean, I thought it would be more Apple friendly.
It knows I'm an Apple person.
Just to say, hey you're one of us, but it was aloof it was distant.
Distant as far as sound quality is concerned?
Well, distant, it sounded small but then it sounded big.
Sound quality changed a lot from when I changed one tune to the next to the Right and I think it's got something to do with the lobes.
The system of like-
Sterio sort of beams.
Which change depending on when you move the speaker around.
But, what are one of its best qualities?
I'm running out of best
If you're into the whole Apple eco system it's a great thing.
What about base response?
Makes a lot of base for a very small speaker.
And I would say that is its best quality more so than any of the other three speakers here.
It has a surprising amount of base.
Yes, quality or quantity.
This is a really good product if you want to stick it on your bench and you are cooking or doign something like that.
You need to ask Siri something.
It's really good for that.
Now compared to something like the Google Home.
How do you think it compares?
It sounds like a bigger, more satisfying speaker.
I mean, I imagine that some people especially will buy the max, wanna party and have fun and stuff and I think it's a more fun, can play louder or rock and roll.
And also it has a 3.5 millimeter [INAUDIBLE] -> I know that.
So you can I guess hook it up to
Anything you want.
Like a TV, you could use it as a center speaker for TV, which is something you can't do for this.
Or for the Sonus ones.
But, we've obviously compared these three speakers.
Which one is the winner for you?
The two ones, actually, are definitely my far and away favorite.
Because they're the closest to sounding like, and pardon the expression, a Hi Fi.
So what is it about these that these can't do?
They're mono speakers.
They just had a more contained and sound like coming out of a box, as opposed to sound filling a room.
So what would you use the Sonos Ones for?
See, I could imagine the Sonos One as being someone's home audio system, in terms of listening to music, as opposed to just having it on as background.
I would say the Sonos Ones would definitely fit that bill.
Right, even if it was, say, on a side table or something, would you still buy
If you had a choice between any of these three products.
If you wanted something that you could use for background music, would you still choose the ones?
Background music, I think they're all acceptable for background music.
And if that's the priority, just to have sound, I would Would say to the home pod [UNKNOWN]
I guess it depends on which ecosystem you tied into.
If you're in Google, you probably get this one, if you're with Apple, this one.
This one is going to be the interesting product because coming this year sometime you're going to get
Google and Amazon, the problem with that being the mics aren't as sensitive as either of these two products.
Right, you were saying before we started that the voice recogniztion on the Sonus is-
Yeah, the microphones aren't as sensitive as either of these two products.
That is Apple iPod's biggest claim to fame, apart from the base response, is that its microphone is very sensitive.
But I think for me, for $ 350 the Sonos one is really good product.
And as you're saying it's a great stereo replacement.
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