Don’t know which smart speaker to buy? There are three brands to look out for: Apple HomePod, Amazon Echo, and Google Nest (formerly known as Google Home). Each manufacturer has its speaker and assistant and depending on the use you want to give this device, it may be better one option or another. In this article, we review which model is better to buy.
HomePod Mini: The Perfect Speaker if you have an iPhone
The HomePod mini is the latest smart speaker from Apple. It stands out for its incredible value for money: it has a very good sound and only costs $99. It is a compact and very nice design, which makes it look good anywhere in the home. It is a perfect device if you have an iPhone for several reasons.
It has compatibility with the iPhone and other Apple products: I use this device in my day-to-day, and the compatibility is very, very good. For example, if you are listening to music on your iPhone and want to send it to the speaker, you just have to bring the device close to the HomePod mini and in a matter of seconds, the music will start playing on the HomePod. It is also possible to control other Apple devices, such as Apple TV.
It is compatible with Apple Music and other services: it offers very good compatibility with Apple Music, but also with other third-party music services.
- Home control: if there are accessories connected to the HomeKit, the HomePod mini can serve as a control center to activate or deactivate devices with voice.
- Intercom Feature: if you have more than one HomePod mini you can use the intercom function.
However, some drawbacks may make the HomePod mini not the best choice. One of them is that there are not as many HomeKit-compatible accessories as there are with Alexa or Google Assistant, although, many of them, such as Xiaomi or Philips light bulbs, are compatible. Another drawback is that Siri’s answers are not as complete as those of Amazon or Google Assistant.
Therefore, if you have an iPhone and are looking for a nice, economical speaker that allows you to play music with good sound and control connected devices, the HomePod mini is the best option. If you prioritize the use of voice assistants, you can opt for an Amazon Echo or Nest.
One of the positive points of the Amazon Echo is that it has a very large catalog. Therefore, it is very likely that you will find a device that fits your needs: the Echo Dot is perfect for the bedroom, the Amazon Echo, has a better sound and is bigger, so it can be very useful in the living room at home. The Echo Show, which has a screen, is perfect for the kitchen.
Like the HomePod Mini, the latest generation Amazon Echo has a rounded design and a compact size, which increases according to the model. They also add the ability to control your home accessories through Alexa, and there are many compatible accessories here. Most light bulbs, plugs, and lamps. It supports integration with Alexa and Amazon Echo. They can also serve as a music player with services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and more.
But without a doubt, the Amazon Echo stands out because of Alexa, its voice assistant. Alexa is very, very smart, and always has answers for everything. She even updates herself constantly to respond with current phrases or even events that have happened recently. Also, the integration with third-party services is very good thanks to the Skills. Skills are like a kind of application that is installed from the Alexa App and is compatible with the Echo. Developers can create skills to make their services compatible with the wizard.
For example, you can install a Cooking Recipe Skill to ask Alexa for the steps to make a pizza. Or another Skill with relaxing sounds for moments of relaxation. Another funny detail is that it synchronizes through Amazon, so it can tell us how our order is going or even buy things from the speaker.
As I mentioned, there are a lot of Echo devices. The most economical, and the one that competes with the HomePod mini in sound quality, is the 4th generation Echo, which is usually priced at around $99.99. The Echo Dot ($49.99) competes with the HomePod mini in size but does not have the same sound as the Apple speaker. Both products are highly recommended if you prioritize voice control through the wizard.
Google Nest (Google Home) with Google Assistant
Google rebranded its smart speakers a few months ago. They went from being called Google Home to Google Nest, and recently the family grew up with new devices. The Nest Mini and Nest Audio are two of the most interesting options, and they compete with the Amazon Echo Dot and the HomePod mini, respectively. Nest speakers stand out for several features, but they have a distinctive point between the HomePod mini and the Amazon Echo: their design.
I think that the Google Nest is the most beautiful intelligent speaker on the market: impeccable and minimalist design, with clear colors and shapes that adapt to any area of the home. The Nest Mini is perfect to be placed on the bedside table or the desk, while the Nest Audio, with a larger size, is made to stand out in the living room or on a sideboard.
The Google Nest brand devices also have good sound and integration with services such as Spotify or YouTube Music, among others. However, it does not have integration with Apple Music, so if you are a subscriber to this service, it is better to discard Google Nest. Like the Amazon Echo, Google Nest can control home devices with a large number of compatible accessories.
Google Assistant also does a very good job as a voice assistant. While it is not as complete as Alexa in terms of updates, it does include very intelligent responses and relevant information about traffic conditions, nearby stores, etc. Therefore, it is also a good option to use it as a voice assistant. Besides, there are also routines to consider, which allow you to automate accessories or assistant information. For example, we can create a routine so that Google turns on the lights, plays music, and tells us the news when we get home by just saying “Ok Google, I’m home”.
The Amazon Echo and Google Nest are very similar. Google also has a very interesting catalog, like the Nest Mini for $49, Nest Audio for $99, and Nest Hub with a screen for $70.
The Google Nest is a good option for those users who use Google services, either in Android or iOS, since the integration is very good. Besides, if you are looking for a speaker that sounds good with an eye-catching design, Nest Audio is also a very good option.