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Apple HomePod vs Google Home vs Amazon Echo

Henry Burrell | June 23, 2017
We check out the design, features and specs of all three.

Of them all, it's really down to personal taste. The Google Home is quite Ikea, while the Alexa perhaps doesn't look as premium. HomePod has divided opinion at Macworld towers for its design - what do you think?

All three can easily sit on an opportune windowsill or kitchen surface in earshot of your beck and call.

 

Features and specs

This is where things get a little different. For all intents and purposes, Google Home and Amazon Alexa are the same product. They are both mid-range speakers with built-in mics that content via Wi-Fi to their corresponding company's data mines.

When activated with an 'OK, Google' or 'Alexa' command, they spring into life and attempt to react to what you ask of them. For example, 'OK, Google, what's the news' will prompt a reading of the latest local radio news headlines, while an 'Alexa, when's the next train to Kings Cross' will give you your answer.

Google especially sits on a huge amount of user and search data but Amazon has done well with its Alexa service and both speakers give answers to many requests. They are still learning, too.

Our colleagues at Tech Advisor have reviewed the Google Home here and the Amazon Echo here. See which they think is best.

The HomePod has been positioned by Apple as a music player. It will be controlled via Siri, Apple's longstanding voice command assistant. Debatably it is less interactive than Google Assistant or Alexa, so perhaps is why Apple has chosen to focus on the audio quality of HomePod. It is unclear if the product will be able to do exactly the same everyday tasks as the competition.

The Amazon Echo has been out the longest and has seven microphones that are listening for you to say 'Alexa' (you can set the trigger to a few other preset words if you want). Google's Home actually only has two mics under the hood and in our testing sometimes took a few goes to pick up a command.

Home has only one 2in driver while Echo has two speakers; one woofer and one tweeter. The HomePod steps up here with a 4in upwards facing woofer and seven special beamforming tweeters. These will help to form sound around the room the speaker is in to give the best possible sound to everyone in it. It'll pick up your commands with six microphones.

The HomePod looks best equipped here - it will definitely be a better audio experience than Home or Echo, and will likely pick up commands better than the Home and as well as the Echo in noisy environments.

 

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