One could not just talk about Google Home without talking about Amazon Echo and vice versa. Both smart speakers are hot items on the market right now. Though they do have a lot of similarities, they also possess differences that can help consumers decide which voice-activated smart device is the one for them. In this review, consumers will find out which is the better choice between Google Home and Amazon Echo.
In terms of design, both Google Home and Amazon Echo are made to be compact and stylistic despite their minimalist appearance. Google Home stands at 5.62 inches and it has a diameter of 3.79 inches. Its shape is reminiscent of a tabletop air freshener. Its body is white but its base is slate fabric. The base is also customizable, so users can switch to other colors in order for the device to match their living space. On the other hand, Amazon Echo stands as tall as a Lysol disinfectant spray. At 9.3-inches, it is obviously taller than Google Home. However, the cylindrical device, which comes in matte black and matte white color options, is slightly slimmer than Google’s smart speaker given its 3.3-inch width. With their dimensions, it’s easy to say that both devices do not take up that much space.
Google Home is built with 2-inch driver and dual 2-inch passive radiators to ensure clear highs and rich bass sounds. Its microphone has far-field voice recognition, so users won’t have to use their hands in controlling Google’s device. Aside from its port for the power adapter, Google Home also has a micro-USB port. The top surface, which also has dot lights for notifications, gives users full control of the device and there is a separate mute button located just above the “G” label. Its Hi-Fi speaker is located at the bottom, and it is encased by the removable and customizable base.
Contrariwise, Amazon Echo has a 7-microphone array on the top surface. The action button and mute button are also situated at the top surface, which is highlighted by the light ring on the edge. The light ring is actually the top part of the volume ring that is rotated to control the volume of the speaker. The lower half of the speaker is the speaker grille, and this is where the 2.5-inch woofer and 2.0-inch tweeter for sound production are housed.
When it comes to performance, both Google Home and Amazon Echo deliver a good quality user experience on average use. Given their price points however, consumers should understand why they do not really give the best sound quality compared to other prominent speaker brands out there. Trusted Reviews says if one is purchasing Amazon Echo for its speaker functionality, it is best to spend one’s money on a different sound system. At $179.99, the Echo’s sound quality is only good at low-to-middling volumes. At high volumes, the sound could get distorted. Then, there’s the issue with voice recognition when the volume is at maximum level. Apparently, Amazon Echo can only hear the user’s voice when music is at moderate levels. When music is at high levels, users would find themselves shouting at the device’s voice assistant Alexa in order for voice commands to work. Engadget also gives the same verdict to the $129 Google Home. The tech news site even points out that sound quality is so-so when using Google’s smart speaker.
The thing that separates the Amazon Echo from Google Home is the set of skills it has. As the newer product between the two, Google Home has a lot of catching up to do in order for it to be up to par with what the Echo can do. From giving daily facts to sharing random quotes and from hailing an Uber to reading Twitter feeds, Amazon Echo does a whole lot more than Google Home. The Echo also acts as a notable remote control for a growing list of home appliances. The Wall Street Journal even considers the device as the best butler between the two, and this is because the Echo does an exemplary job in controlling lightbulbs, thermostats, outlets and many more. Alexa can hold multiple profiles, so Amazon Echo can be the perfect techie companion for the entire family. Meanwhile, Google Home has very limited support for third-party apps, causing many consumers to question its functionality and use in certain aspects. It cannot set a simple reminder, send an email or work with multiple Google accounts. If it’s any consolation, Google has already confirmed that it has plans of opening up the platform to other software developers in the future.
If Amazon Echo has an advantage over Google Home, the latter also has an advantage over the other. Google Home is running on Google’s intelligent voice assistant, called Google Assistant. Engadget says Google Assistant is actually conversational and context aware. The Wall Street Journal also regards Google Assistant as the better voice assistant than Alexa just because the latter couldn’t answer random questions and lacks the ability to cite specifics about the user’s schedule and travel plans. Furthermore, Alexa isn’t designed to respond as though it is engaging in a dialogue. Therefore, one couldn’t do a two-way conversation or ask follow-up questions to Alexa, unlike Google Assistant, as per Android Headlines.
Amazon Echo runs Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa, as mentioned earlier. On the other hand, Google Home has Google Assistant. The limitations of what they can do are not only embedded on the voice assistant they have, but also on the operating systems they are compatible with. Google Home is only compatible with Android and iOS, while Amazon Echo is compatible with Android, iOS and Amazon’s Fire OS. This is perhaps the reason why Amazon Echo already has support for over 1,000 third-party apps. In addition to third-party apps, Amazon Echo also has support for over 400 news publishers. The software of the two also dictate their compatible music partners. For Google Home, users have access to songs from YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Pandora, Spotify and TuneIn. On the contrary, Amazon Echo has access to music from Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Prime Music and Music Unlimited.
Amazon Echo emerges triumphant in this comparison review for the very reason that it has support for more third-party apps. Though Google Home is on its way to becoming a competent rival of Amazon’s smart speaker, it still has a long way to go in terms of making its user experience more inviting to the general user. Amazon Echo has already sold 8.6 million units, and this alone speaks volumes on why the device is the better option between the two. CNET best described Amazon Echo when it said, “Amazon’s voice-activated smart home speaker is undeniably futuristic, but it’s also practical and accessible. With a rapidly growing slate of features and integrations, it’s easy to get excited about the Echo’s potential.”
Do you agree that the Amazon Echo is the better smart speaker than Google Home? Sound off in the comments below.