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Posted: July 10, 2017

Which smart speaker is right for you? Comparing Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod


By Fiza Pirani, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Of all the top-notch Amazon Prime Day deals being rolled out for the big 2017 sale, the Amazon Echo, with its limited $89.99 price tag, is arguably the best bargain so far.

» RELATED: Amazon Prime Day 2017: When is it; what's on sale? 

But just before Amazon Prime Day’s official launch on Monday, July 10, at 9 p.m. ET, Google slashed the price of its own smart speaker to $99, down from $129.

And when it comes to Apple’s HomePod, tech experts say interest in the anticipated smart speaker is on the rise.

» RELATED: 7 hidden perks of Amazon Prime you probably never knew about 

So, which device is right for you? We’ve compiled prices, expert and consumer reviews and more details to help you make your decision.

Amazon Echo

Usual price: $180

Amazon Prime Day deal: $89.99 (Amazon)

The e-commerce giant’s voice-activated smart speaker is one of its most popular products, offering consumers the ease of playing music, making appointments, getting reminders, reading news and much more through its virtual assistant, Alexa.

One of the product’s biggest perks is its compatibility with dozens of smart home devices, such as Belkin smart outlets and Honeywell smart thermostats.

» RELATED: 5 things you didn’t know about Amazon

Experts at CNET describe the Echo as an “undeniably futuristic” smart speaker “that can control your whole house.”

Consumers and experts alike have noted the Echo’s sometimes lackluster sound quality.

Overall, CNET editors rated the product 8.3 out of 10.

» RELATED: 5 ways to maximize your savings on Amazon 

Amazon’s smaller Echo Dot, normally priced at $49.99, will also be available for the low price of $34.99 for Prime members starting Monday.

Additionally, Amazon is offering the following Echo bundle deals:

  • Save $75 on Echo Show and Arlo Security Camera bundle.
  • Save 30 percent on Echo Dot and TP-Link Smart Plug bundle.

Google Home

Usual price: $129

One-week bundle offer with Chromecast: $99.99 (eBay)

Ahead of Amazon Prime Day, Google paired its $129 smart speaker with the popular $135 Chromecast streaming stick for a $99.99 bundle on eBay. The deal is marketed to last one week.

Though not as widely popular as Amazon Echo, the device that started the smart speaker trend, Google Home is gaining traction as the speaker with the “bigger brain,” due to its integration with Google’s search engine.

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According to TechRadar, if the Google Home keeps up its pace, it might catch up to the Amazon Echo.

Other perks include high sound quality and more personalized virtual assistance than the Echo and integration with Chromecast, which makes for easy, high-quality digital entertainment, according to CNET.

Still, Google’s smart assistant does need some help, consumers and experts say, arguing that changing your tone and using different words to ask a specific question often confuse the virtual assistant.

» RELATED: Cheeto shaped like Harambe the gorilla sold for $100,000 on eBay 

CNET editors also rated the Google product 8.3 out of 10. 

Apple HomePod

Price: $349 (Apple)

In addition to providing Alexa-like information on news, weather, reminders and more, Apple’s HomePod, with virtual assistant Siri, features wireless access to Apple’s Music library and a stellar musical experience.

» RELATED: The hottest products, iOS 11 features announced at Apple’s big developer conference 

The speaker won’t actually hit the market until December, but according to experts who played around with the HomePod at June’s big developer conference, “Apple has done a remarkably good job finding ways to get its speaker to feel like it’s filling a room with sound.”

The tiny speaker, according to The Verge, manages to put other smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home, to shame.

» RELATED: 7 hidden iPhone tricks you probably never knew about 

But experts can’t attest to the smart speaker’s “smart” qualities just yet. The integration with Siri didn’t seem to work at the June conference.

Unimpressed by the malfunctioning Siri integration, Tech Radar experts described the HomePod as “the wild card from Cupertino.”

» RELATED: iPhone 8 leak confirms wireless charging, but reveals Apple’s expensive secrets 

Still, experts are waiting to fully weigh in until the speaker hits the market in December.


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