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Amazon Echo Studio vs. Apple HomePod vs. Google Home Max

We compare premium smart speakers from Google, Apple and Amazon.

Molly Price Former Editor
2 min read
See at Amazon
Amazon Echo Studio
Best for entertainment
See at Apple
Apple HomePod
Best for audiophiles
See at Best Buy
Google Home Max
Best for Google smart homes

Google, Amazon and Apple have all released smart speakers over the last few years. We've seen them in a variety of shapes, sizes and prices. With Amazon's latest Echo Studio announcement, we now have a premium speaker option for all three voice assistants. 

Which one is best? We can't say until we get out hands on one. It ships to customers on Oct. 16. For now, let's compare specs and talk about where each speaker appears to stand out. 

Read more: Amazon's new $60 Echo Dot with Clock answers one of the most common Alexa questions

James Martin/CNET

We haven't tested Amazon's new, premium smart speaker, but the Echo Studio sure looks impressive. It boasts 3D Dolby Atmos surround sound, so you can connect it to your TV for an immersive home theater experience. At launch, Amazon says the speaker will have hundreds of songs via Amazon Music HD, and Amazon says you'll also be able to stream music from Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and Tidal. 

The Echo Studio comes with high, mid, and bass level speakers, and can pair with other Echo Studio speakers. Priced at just $200, Amazon's newest speaker might be the most affordable way to get premium surround sound into your home theater. 

Read our Amazon Echo Studio review.

Read more: The best smart speakers for 2019

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

In our testing the HomePod performed with unmatched sound quality. There's no surround sound option like what Amazon demoed with the Echo Studio and Dolby Atmos, but the HomePod does analyze acoustics based on its position in a room, and you can pair two HomePods together for bigger stereo sound.

Apple continues to add small, but meaningful updates to the HomePod. You can pass audio off of your phone and onto the HomePod when you walk near it, and the HomePod can recognize who's speaking for multiple users in a household. However, you'll still need Apple Music to stream directly from the HomePod, and a compatible iOS device to stream other music platforms to it. 

At $299, HomePod is quite a bit more expensive than the Echo Studio, and that's down from an original MSRP of $349. Still, if you're an Apple Music lover, we think you'll be happy with this premium smart speaker.

Taylor Martin/CNET

Like the HomePod, Google's premium speaker costs $299. It sounds great, but can't quite match the quality we heard from its Apple competitor. Like the HomePod and Echo Studio, the Google Home Max analyzes its sound to adjust to the acoustics of a room. You can stream music from Spotify, YouTube, Pandora and iHeartRadio. 

Google Assistant hears well across the room with six microphones and integrates seamlessly with all your other Google products, so it's a great pick for someone full invested in that platform. Otherwise, we think Amazon's new Echo Studio or Apple's HomePod will deliver better sound with assistant smarts. 

Read our Google Home Max review.