The age of the speaker has completely transformed over the past two years. When I was a kid, you had massive speakers that were anything but portable. When portability became an issue with the emergence of laptops and other devices, speakers became smaller and more efficient, but you still had to connect them with wire plug-ins. Now, the speaker market has completely emerged with a new concept. Not only are they portable, they are also responsive. Two of the most popular brands on the market right now, the Amazon Echo and the Google Home system. The Echo has been on the market for several years, and was the top spot for quite awhile, until the new Google Home competitor came into play.
There are a lot of things to take into consideration when you are looking for a new speaker system. However, price doesn’t always tell you the whole story. If you are looking for something that is within your budget, the Echo runs about $180 for the system.
The Google Home runs about fifty dollars cheaper- running at about $129 for the setup. However, the extra cost of the Echo seems to support the additional speakers and the additional adaptability.
The Amazon Echo offers a variety of features. Using your voice, you can play all of your music from a variety of platforms. Aside from playing music, you can have the Echo answer basic questions, read the news, get sports scores, get information about local businesses and just about anything else that you want through your assistant, Alexa.
You can also control items in your home that are compatible, including sprinklers, electronic locks for your home, thermostats, lights and fans using this hands-free device. You can order pizza, a cab, and much more. You wake up the Echo by saying, Alexa, Echo or Amazon and you can run several devices at one time. The Echo came out first, so over time, Amazon has had time to refine the product. Your music options include Pandora, Amazon Prime Music, TuneIn, Spotify, iHeartRadio,and oithers.
Google Home has all of these same features, but is specific to Google which opens up a variety of options. Anything you can do on Google, you can do with your new virtual assistant. You can access directions, look up information, control your thermostat and much more with this device without having to press any buttons. It won’t let you update everything on your Google account quite yet, but I am sure that its designers are working on improving the options available.
In order to wake up the device, you have to say, “Okay Google” or “Hey Google” just as you would on your smartphone when using voice-recognition searches. To listen to music, you can stream from Pandora, Google Play Music, TuneIn, YouTube Music, and Spotify. You can customize the appearance, unlike the Echo which comes standard. You can output to a stereo system with Google Home, unlike the Echo.
Both products are always listening to what you are saying, so unless you turn off the mechanisms, you may end up hearing things or your children may hear things that you may not intend to be heard. Just be careful if you have little ones around- some customers have told some pretty interesting stories about experiences regarding this.
The Echo is approximately 9″ x 3″ x 3″ and weighs almost 38 ounces. It operates over WiFi with dual-band and a dual-antenna but does not connect with peer-to-peer WiFi networks. It supports audio streaming to Bluetooth speakers and to your mobile devices. The speaker has a 2.5″ woofer and 2″ tweeter and comes ready to connect to your WiFi. The app is compatible with Fire OS, Andriod, and iOS devices and through your web browser. It comes with a power adapter cable that is six feet long.
Google Home is just under 4″ in diameter, is approximately 5.5″ high, and weighs 1.05 pounds. It also comes with a six foot power cable, and the power adapter weighs just under five ounces. The speaker is a two inch driver plus dual two inch passive radiators. It is operable with Android 4.1 and higher and with iOS 8.0 and higher.
The Amazon Echo comes with a one-year limited warranty, but you can purchase extended warranties. Google Home also comes with a one-year warranty provided that you keep all of the original packaging, and offers a limited warranty for refurbished items. Amazon has great warranty protection, but they specialize in retail. Google Shop is newer on the market, and therefore their options are still quite limited compared to the other international retailer.
When searching out these products, it isn’t a coincidence that the Echo is available through Amazon and that Google Home is available through the Google Store. Since the Echo has been on the market longer than Home, it is available at more retailers both online and offline. Pretty much wherever you can purchase a Kindle, you can purchase the Echo.
The one thing that Google Home has on the Echo is that Google already has a variety of services such as Google calendar, map and Keep that you can connect your device to. You can keep ongoing lists and it will connect with all of your devices across the board. Amazon does not have the market for services as Google does, so you have to be a little more creative when opting to use to-do lists and the like. However, the Echo has a wider range of services when it comes to ordering pizza and and other services and it much more expansive in this area.
Overall, the experience the Amazon has over Google in the portable responsive speaker arena is evident when comparing these two devices. Although the Echo is more expensive, you have more options and it is much more compatible than the Google Home. Home is heavier, but smaller, and it customization is better. it also works with other devices such as televisions and can output music to external speakers. The Echo allows you to connect to more services, and has stronger customer reviews due to its longevity on the market.