Tech-savvy homeowners started the trend of using digital technologies to control, secure, and upgrade their homes. However, with the advent of so many options designed for mass appeal, the public is getting on the smart home bandwagon. According to Statista, the global intelligent home market in 2016 was worth USD 24.1 billion, and by 2020, it is expected to grow to USD 40.9 billion. Consumers want to use smart home devices to create a home that is responsive and adheres to their lifestyles. Smart home products can control home thermostats, locks and security systems, lighting, and more.
The smart home market has been recently flooded with new products, and it is continuously growing at a dizzying pace. With the recent new launches from Apple, Amazon, and Google, we now have a wide selection of smart home devices to choose from – so much so that the decision can be confusing. Here we compare Amazon Echo Plus, Apple HomePod, and Google Home Max.
AMAZON ECHO PLUS
The Amazon Echo Plus has the same design as the original tall Echo, and it acts as a smart home hub and comes in three new colors. It houses a 2.5-inch woofer and a 0.8-inch tweeter and has a 3.5mm jack portal. The Echo Plus can be connected via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ZigBee. One of the most significant selling factors of this device is the auto-detection of smart products within your home. For instance, once a new smart light bulb is installed in your home, the Echo Plus and Alexa will automatically detect the light fixture and connect to it after receiving approval.
Price: USD 150
Apple is a newcomer to the smart home industry, as it only recently announced its HomePod, activated by the familiar Siri voice assistant. The device will only be available in retail stores from December 2017. However, we have been given specifications of their foray into the smart home arena. The HomePod stands at 7 inches tall, will come in white and space gray colours, and has an astounding seven tweeters and one 4-inch woofer. The product will be able to detect and analyse the space it is in to optimize sound to the dynamics of your home. HomePod has Wi-Fi connectivity only, and to date, we are not aware of any connection ports on the device.
PRICE: USD 349
GOOGLE HOME MAX
The Google Home Max has a steep price tag of USD 399. It is a stereo speaker with TWO 4.5 inch woofers and two tweeters. It is covered in fabric and comes in two colors: chalk and charcoal. It can be placed horizontally or vertically, and there are touch controls on the top that adjust volume (but you really should be speaking to the device). It is larger than Apple’s HomePod and weighs almost twice as much. It is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled and comes equipped with a USB-C port and a 3.5mm auxiliary jack if you want to connect with a wire.
Like the Apple HomePod, the Home Max will automatically optimise sound as per its location in real-time, ensuring great audio quality. Home Max’s Google Assistant can now recognize multiple voices and link answers to everyone’s Google account. The Home Max also has a new “Broadcast” feature which means you can push voice messages and reminders across all Google Home devices within your residence.
Price: USD 399
The answer to which device you should choose to purchase depends very much on price-points and also, which ecosystem you prefer: Amazon, Apple, or Google. Ultimately, the decision could very much rely on what type of smartphone you have, as easy compatibility between your phone and the smart home device is ideal and convenient.
Having said that, with two woofers, one may say the Google’s Home Max has the best sound system, as Apple and Amazon both only offer one. The Home Max also has more ports than the other two products. The Echo Plus and Home Max are both equipped with multiple connectivity features. However, the HomePod is more limited in this regard, with only Wi-Fi.