Google Home Max vs Apple HomePod | Head to HeadAugust 26, 2018
One of the main bits of tech that always gets me excited is, Smart Speakers. From previous reviews you can see I really get into these things, Echo Dot, Echo Spot, Google Home vs Google Home Mini. Needless to say, I’m excited for the battle of two Smart Speaker heavyweights to get underway. Essentially the best of the best, Google Vs Apple, Google Home Max vs Apple HomePod.
I will be comparing Design, Performance, Smart Features and Price, at the end I will tally the results and crown a winner so that you can make an informed decision about which device is right for you.
When it comes to purchasing a Smart Speaker for your home, the most important thing other than the performance is the way it looks. Don’t be fooled, we are not all bleeding edge consumers, we need our products to look as good as they sound.
The Home Max and the Homepod seem to follow the same design ethos, minimalist, less is more.
The Google Home Max looks like it comes from a much more competent and established speaker brand like Bose, Jamo or Bang & Olufsens. You get a fabric speaker grill up front and the whole device comes in either chalk or charcoal variants. When you say “Hey Google” or “OK Google” the device gives a visual response with the signature Google colors lighting up behind the grill. Compared to the Google Home and Google Home Mini the Max is a Behemoth, Coming in at 5.3kg and a towering 13.3 inches if you stand it on its side. Around the back, you have a mic on and off switch, USB-C Port capable of charging devices and an AUX input.
Apple HomePod looks like an Apple product, it has pulsating lights on top of the device when Siri is active, and the overall design while minimalist, looks like it was designed by a computer company. You can get the device in White or Space Grey, and everywhere besides the light show on top is covered in acoustic mesh. The HomePod is unassumingly heavy at 2.5kg and 6.8 inches high. There are no ports to speak of on the device and the only way you can control the speaker is via the touchscreen on top.
Both devices are understated and underwhelming, but you have to give this category to the Google Home Max, purely based on the fit and finish of the device and the addition of USB-C and AUX.
Score: Google Home Max – 1 / Apple HomePod – 0
The sound is the biggest performance metric when it comes to smart speakers of this size. The Google Home Max and Apple Homepod are both impressive at high volumes and have some great hardware on deck.
The Home Max has your bass and highs covered with a pair of 4.5 inch subwoofers and two 0.7 inch tweeters. There are 6 amplifiers on board, 2 for each woofer and 1 per tweeter. Combined with 6 far-field microphones and the Maxs auto-calibration feature, the Google Max will fill a room full of sound. Even at high volumes, the Max has great clarity and bass.
The Apple HomePod has several horn-loaded tweeters and a single high-excrusion subwoofer, each tweeter is run by its own amplifier and the woofer also gets its own as well. Similar to the Max, you will find 6 far-field microphones onboard and the ability to auto-calibrate. The Homepod does a great job of providing clear concise highs with punchy lows, the mids can become a little muddy but the overall package is great sound.
Connectivity in my mind is also another important factor that I need to group in with performance. The Google Home Max allows you to connect any device to it via Bluetooth or AUX cable and you can stream music from any music streaming service, making it a very capable party Bluetooth or wired speaker. Whereas the HomePod won’t connect to anything but an Apple Product, and to play music on the device you also need an Apple Music account, making it an exclusive product for Apple customers in the Apple Ecosystem.
Compared to the Google Home and Google Home Mini the Max is leaps and bounds when it comes to sound. The Apple HomePod delivers sounds very confidently and can get pretty loud, but if you put both these speakers in the same room at max volume, the Google Home Max wins hands down.
Score: Google Home Max – 2 / Apple HomePod – 0
On these 2 speakers, the assistants play second fiddle to the audio performance. With Siri and Google Assistant, we have two of the Top 3 assistants on the market, the 3rd being Amazons Alexa. These assistants help you out with everyday tasks like making appointments, setting reminders, sending texts, searching the web or streaming music.
It’s all about delivery and how you interact with the assistant when it comes to these 2 devices, with the amount of firepower these speakers have, you need a lot of microphones to listen in for your commands. Both devices have 6 far-field microphones that help Google Assistant or Siri hear your commands.
To interact with the Google Home Max all you need to say is “OK GOOGLE” or “HEY GOOGLE” when the assistant is listening and processing commands you will see 4 colored dots dancing around on the front of the device. If you have ever used Google Assistant on your phone or another smart speaker, the experience will be familiar.
To interact with the Apple HomePod all you need to say is “HEY SIRI”, when Siri is listening and processing commands you will see a futuristic light show on top of the device, one of the speakers coolest features. You will have the same Siri experience as your phone or Mac.
Both of these companies boast that the Smart Assistants should still be able to hear you even when the volume is cranked up to the Max and you are speaking at a normal volume, from my experience and numerous other reviews, this statement is hit-and-miss and experiences vary from very good to pretty bad.
In my opinion, this category is a draw, like I said at the start of this category, the Smart Assistants are second fiddle to the sound when you are looking at speakers that produce the type of sound these 2 do. It doesn’t matter how smart your speaker is when it’s at high volume and the assistant can’t hear you.
Score: Google Home Max – 3 / Apple HomePod – 1
These devices are some of the most expensive smart speakers on the market, direct from Google the Home Max costs $399 USD and direct from Apple the HomePod costs $349 USD. Both devices are a substantial investment when it comes to purchasing a Smart Speaker.
I’m sure you can get these devices on sale at retailers but numbers don’t lie. The winner on Price is the Apple HomePod
Score: Google Home Max – 3 / Apple HomePod – 2
The Google Home Max and Apple HomePod are truly 2 of the best sounding Smart Speakers on the market when it comes to audio experiences you pay for quality, and both these devices don’t disappoint.
The results are in, Google Home Max won Design and Performance, Apple HomePod won on Price and it was a Draw on Smart Features. Making the winner the Google Home Max.
If you are in the market for a Smart Speaker to fill your house with sound, I recommend the Google Home Max, It looks good, Sounds Good and is worth the Premium. There seems to be a universal rule when it comes to Smart Speakers, if you want a smart speaker that listens well, it won’t sound very good. If you want a smart speaker that sounds good, it won’t listen well.
Winner: Google Home Max
Hope you enjoyed todays article, What is your favorite Smart Speaker? Comment below and let me know!