The smart home market is changing dramatically. And Amazon and Google are at the root of that.
Armed with their assistants — Alexa and Assistant — Amazon and Google, respectively, have dominated the smart home business. And as time has gone on, both companies have only solidified their power with more capable and more appealing devices and software improvements.
Still, for those people who haven’t yet invested in the smart home or aren’t sure which platform to go with, making the decision can be difficult. Both Amazon and Google have done outstanding jobs at delivering compelling and sought-after smart home experiences. And trying to determine what’s best isn’t so simple.
So, to help out those folks and provide a bit more clarity, we’ve compiled the following roundup of features users should consider before opting for the Google Home or the Amazon Echo — two devices that act as attractive starter devices for the smart home.
From features to design, read on to determine whether Amazon Echo or Google Home is right for you:
Key Features And Specifications:
- 3.79 x 5.62 inches
- Google Assistant built-in
- Colors: White or Slate fabric
- Microphone: Dual mic array
- Speakers: One two-inch driver; Dual two-inch passive radiators
- 3.9 x 5.8 inches
- Amazon Alexa built-in
- Colors: Charcoal, Twilight Blue, Limited Edition (RED), Sandstone, Heather Gray
- Microphone: Seven-microphone array
- Speakers: 3-inch woofer; 0.8-inch tweeter
Google Home has a decidedly attractive design, with a grille-like finish on the bottom and a sloped area at the top. It comes in different colors at the bottom, which allows you to decide whether you want the standard gray or something else that might suit your home decor a bit more effectively. With help from LED lights at the top and a mute button on the rear, you can quickly find out if your Google Home is on and turn off the microphone when you want privacy.
Amazon’s third-generation Echo is another compelling option for those who want customization in their design. It’s available in a slew of colors, ranging from gray to blue, and offers an LED ring around the top to tell you when it’s on, listening, or needs to communicate something. You can also turn off the microphone with ease. Add that to a cylindrical design, and the Echo should fit quite well into just about every room in your home.
Indeed, while both devices come with solid designs, it’s hard to bet against the simplicity and style of the Echo.
If you’re in the market for features, both the Amazon Echo and Google Home deliver what you’re looking for.
Both devices are powered by voice commands that let you do everything from get information on recipes to turn off the smart home devices you have around your home, like thermostats, lights, and smart locks. And since both devices work with today’s most popular products (including Nest products that Google owns), you shouldn’t have any trouble with compatibility.
While neither device supports video (you’d need higher-end versions for that), you can get plenty of audio from them, including music, podcasts, audiobooks, and other content. Be aware, however, that in some cases, you’ll need accounts set up on services like Pandora, Spotify, or others to actually play your music. And since Amazon owns Audible, getting audiobooks to your Echo is quite simple.
Once you get the hang of it with the Echo and Google Home, you shouldn’t have any trouble performing most of the tasks you regularly perform around the house from these devices. Best of all, you can do it with your voice.
Google Home is available with Google’s own virtual personal assistant Google Assistant. According to Google, Assistant can now perform more than one million “actions” that span the full gamut of things you can do with tech. In some cases, you can use Google Assistant to search the Web and get answers to your most pressing questions. In others, you can use your voice to set tasks and to-dos or call a friend or family member. Add that to local information support, the ability to listen to music and news in a flash, and much more, and Google Assistant is a decidedly powerful voice assistant.
It’s a similar story for Amazon’s Alexa, which comes with many of the same skills you can find from Google Assistant, including the ability to access news, play audio, control your smart home devices, and so much more. Amazon is also heavily integrated with third-party apps, like Uber, Domino’s, and others, that let you do everything from request a car to order a pizza. And since Amazon Alexa is heavily integrated with Amazon, you can also call on the assistant to order products and get the status of an order.
If you’re an Amazon shopper, Alexa is for you.
Pricing and Availability
If you’re in the market for a new smart home device and based on the features above, you think you’re close to making a decision, there’s one last thing to keep in mind: pricing.
Both the Amazon Echo and Google Home are available now, so there’s no fear of availability. But keep in mind that the Echo starts at $80, compared to $100 for the Google Home. So, if budget matters, the Echo might be a better option.
Either way, you can find them both online and offline at a variety of retailers right now.
Buy Amazon Echo here:
Buy Google Home here: