When you think of buying a smart home speaker, there are many options, but you have to choose one. You have certainly heard of Amazon and Google’s popular smart speakers and voice assistants, Alexa and Google Assistant. The difficult question is which to choose! Given their usefulness for both playing music and integrating with many smart home devices, it’s no wonder they are the most popular choices.
For our review of the best overall smart speakers of 2021 check out out article here.
The Google Home speaker has been around since 2016, but it has since been renamed to Google Nest. A little research reveals that many online stores still sell the original Google Home. Its biggest rival is the Amazon Echo, which has seen four major updates since it’s original release. The current article is based on the fourth generation of the Amazon Echo.
Knowing where they are similar or different will help you make an informed purchase. The following paragraphs go through some of the larger factors you will likely take into account, such as cost, look and size, and compatibility with other smart home devices.
Both smaller versions of the product come at around the same price point between 40$ and 50. On the other hand there is a bigger difference between the larger speakers. Google’s Nest Audio currently costs 130$ whereas the Amazon Echo costs around 60$ (small colors and versions can be cheaper)
Look and Size
The Google Nest is shaped like a cylinder. It resembles other Bluetooth speakers such as the Sonos or JBL Charge 4. It is white above and slate grey below. It sits at 5.6 inches tall and it’s 37.9 inches in diameter.
You can also get a special base for the speaker, which changes from gray to a more attractive color for $20. The device is currently available in 4 colors: grey, black, blue or pink.
The Google products have the same “smart” capabilities but their main difference are their size
- Nest Mini: 50.8 mm (2 in) tall and 101.6 mm (4”) wide
- Nest Audio: 175 mm (6.9″) tall and 124 mm (4.9″) wide
The Nest Audio is larger, more expensive, but has a significantly better sound. The Nest Mini is a miniature version and cheaper version of the original model. There are 2 other products in the Google product line to take into account.
Visually, the Google Nest devices are slightly larger than the Echo Dot at 5.6”. The Echo Dot is a smaller device that looks like an alarm clock (or hockey puck) and has no screen. For the Echo, instead of having a top light like the Google devices, it has a light ring around the base, which lights up when activated.
Side Note, the Nest Hub and Next Hub Max
The Google Home Max and Home Mini are smart devices that combine a tablet to the smart speaker. It has a 7” touchscreen display that allows you to watch things like videos, view photos, control your smarts with the touchscreen, and view your door (if you have a video doorbell compatible with Nest Hub and Nest). Google has also released a Nest Hub Max. This device, as well as the Max, are some of Google’s newest devices. Now in its second generation, this device is faster and cheaper than the previous version. What’s more, it’s now made from recycled materials.
With similar functionalities as the Nest Hub, the Nest Hub Max just does everything bigger and better First of all, the product offers a larger 10” display for a better video viewing experience and sound performance. With its built-in camera, which allows users to enjoy seamless two-way video calls and use their device for home security, this device can replace your phone in many ways. Unlike the other devices, the Hub Max only comes in 2 different colors.
Voice Assistant Comparison Alexa vs Google Assistant
Alexa is the virtual assistant connected to both the Echo and Echo Dot. As you must already know, Alexa allows you to control a range of smart devices and has many built-in commands that allow you to ask for the weather or add activities to your schedule. In addition, there are multiple voice options that you can choose from.
One new and fun feature of the Google voice assistant is the ability to use “interpreter mode”. This feature allows Google Assistant to act as translator at the same time as the conversations take place.
Both voice assistants have more features than one can count, but have taken different approaches to their development. Amazon has launched the Skill Blueprint portal, which is a website that allows the community to build and add to the number of Alexa skills that are available. On the other hand, Google has retained full control of the development of new commands, which are always increasing every year.
Both assistants allow you to create automated routines. These are automated steps that can be setup to take place one of the other through triggers. Both Amazon Echo and Google Home could, for instance, turn your smart lights off at a certain time or turn on the news in the morning to wake you up.
Both assistants can only answer one question at a time. Complex questions that require the combination of different information are not yet possible on either device.
One uniqueGoogle Assistant feature is Google Duplex. This feature allows the device to make calls for you. It can order pizza, take dinner reservations or call different stores to get information for you.
Overall, when it comes to the assistant comparison, Google has more unique features, but Amazon has a greater number of commands in total. The Google Assistant also performed better than Alexa when searching the web for answers to user questions.
Smart Device Compatibility
While doing research on the topic of smart device compatibility you’ll find that in most cases new smart thermostats and lights work with both Google and Alexa. However, according to each company the number of compatible devices is quite large. According to Amazon, Alexa works with more than 100,000 smart home products. Google Home, according to its website, supports over 30,000 products, which means it has far less compatible products than Amazon Echo.
Most of the time, you’ll have to look at each product you want on a case by case basis, Whether you’re looking for smart lighting, a smart thermostat or any other device, you’ll be sure to find compatible devices. Perhaps if you’ve not made the choice of your devices yet, the amazon Alexa would be a safer bet.
This is no easy choice since in many ways these two devices are very similar. However, since we can only pick one, our pick right now is the Amazon Echo. With more compatible devices, more available commands and superior sound this speaker this smart device is better than Google’s competing product. Now the choice is up to you which smart speaker will be the right one for you?