In an effort to more closely compete with Amazon’s latest additions to its Echo lineup, Google unveiled the Google Home Mini and the Google Home Max. Here’s what you need to know about these new products and how they compare to one another.
The Google Home Mini is pretty much just a smaller Google Home, and it aims to take on Amazon’s Echo Dot. It comes in a smaller form factor, but still provides 360-degree sound and the complete Google Assistant experience that you can get with the original Google Home.
It also still comes with a touchpad on the top, allowing you to perform a handful of finger gestures to control music, volume, and other settings. However, instead of a flat, hard top, the Google Home Mini is covered in fabric, which makes it look a bit more homey.
There doesn’t appear to be an audio out port like there is on Echo devices, but Google says that you can pass audio duties off to a Chromecast Audio-equipped speaker if you want better sound than what the Mini provides.
The Google Home Mini is priced at $49 (the same price as the Echo Dot) and is available for pre-order right now, with an official release coming on October 19th.
To fill out the “good, better, best” lineup, Google also announced the Google Home Max. However, this one seems to be more of an Apple HomePod competitor, since it will focus largely on music and providing the best audio quality possible. In fact, Google says that the Max is 20 times more powerful than the original Google Home (whatever that means).
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Plus, the Max can also detect where walls and other objects are in your house and automatically tune the speaker to cater to the specific space it’s in—much like Apple’s HomePod. This will adjust the subwoofer and tweeters accordingly in order to give you a nice clean sound.
The Google Home Max is priced at $399, and will be available at some point in December. This makes it $50 more expensive than Apple’s HomePod, but those who purchase the Max will get YouTube Red for 12 months free—a $120 value.
As mentioned above, the original Google Home is now firmly placed in the middle of the Google Home lineup. It may not be as cheap and compact as the Mini, and it may not provide sound as good as the Max, but it’s there for users who want a decent midrange option that’s still fairly affordable and sounds reasonably good.
Of course, the Google Home Max is specifically aimed at music lovers who enjoy cranking up their tunes to max volume—the original Google Home does tend to get a bit choppy when you crank the volume all the way up.
However, it still provides a pretty robust music-listening experience. So it’s still worth buying if you’ll use it for that, especially with the price tag of the Max being so much higher and not really worth it for most casual users anyway.
As for the Mini, it’s not quite meant for music listeners, but rather Google Assistant aficionados that want a dedicated voice assistant in more rooms in their house. The low price point makes the barrier to entry a smaller pill to swallow, much like the Echo Dot compared to its bigger brother.