How does Google's pricey Home Max speaker compare to Apple's HomePod and Amazon's Echo Plus?
There's no question about it: Google wants to be the center of your smart home.
The tech giant took a significant step toward that goal Wednesday with the announcement of the $49 Google Home Mini and the $399 Google Home Max. Google's Mini and Max give potential customers entry- and premium-level options, with the $130 Google Home now positioned as the midrange Google-Assistant-enabled speaker.
Like Amazon's $50 Echo Dot, Google's cute Home Mini is just affordable enough to make it pretty easy to buy guilt-free. The Max is entirely different. $399 is a lot to spend on a single smart speaker, particularly when the $349 Apple HomePod and the $150 Amazon Echo Plus promise to do similar things.
We won't know for sure if the Max really is worth $399 until we review it. But we can compare its key features to the Apple HomePod and the Amazon Echo Plus to see how all three smart speakers stack up against one another at a glance.
|Google Home Max||Apple HomePod||Amazon Echo Plus|
|Color||Chalk, charcoal||White, space gray||Black, white, silver|
|Voice control||Google Assistant||Siri||Alexa|
|Weight||11.7 pounds||5.5 pounds||2.1 pounds|
|Dimensions (height, width, depth)||13.2 x 7.4 x 6 inches||6.8 x 5.6 x 5.6 inches||9.3 x 3.3 x 3.3 inches|
|Speaker||Two 4.5-inch high-excursion woofers and two 0.7-inch tweeters||High-excursion woofer and 7-tweeter array||2.5-inch woofer and 0.8-inch tweeter|
|Ports||USB-C, 3.5-millimeter jack, AC power||Information not yet released||3.5-millimeter jack, AC power|
|Protocol type(s)||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth||Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee|
Again, while we can't say definitively which device is the best before we test all three, there are some clear standout features here. The Google Home Max has two woofers and two tweeters, compared to the HomePod and the Echo Plus (both of which have just one each). It also has more ports than the Echo Plus, with a USB-C and a 3.5-millimeter audio jack. Apple has not yet disclosed what ports and connectors HomePod will have.
Also, Amazon's Echo Plus, which is designed to double as a smart home hub, supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ZigBee. The Max is equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and Apple's HomePod only has Wi-Fi. In terms of third-party integrations, then, the HomePod might be more limited than its competition. That has been a theme for Apple since it first announced its HomeKit smart home platform in 2014. With Apple previously requiring a specific chip be added to each HomeKit-enabled device for device certification, developers and manufacturers had been slower to embrace HomeKit compared to Alexa and the Google Assistant.
We'll just have to wait and see when these devices become available. The Google Home Max and the Apple HomePod will be available in December; Amazon's Echo Plus goes on sale in late October.