Google Home and Amazon Echo are the 2 leading models of virtual assistants. Virtual assistants are AI based assistants that come pre-installed on smart speaker. Virtual assistants are programmed to aid in multiple daily functions including reciting the weather, playing music, setting alarms, and more.
Each has its own strengths and weaknesses in different categories. In this article, we will be covering the differences and similarities between the Amazon Echo and the Google Home to better help those find which virtual assistant would better serve their needs.
Amazon Echo has more models to choose from than the Google Home. The Amazon Echo line of models includes the Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Dot, Echo Spot, Echo Show, and more third-party devices that come with Alexa pre-installed.
The Amazon Echo was the first ever model to be released in the Echo series commonly referred to as Alexa. The Amazon Echo was released in June 2015 and has been one of the leading models for smart speakers.
The main competitor for the Echo is the Google Home. Currently, the 2nd generation of Amazon Echo has better audio quality than the Google Home with clearer audio quality and higher bass output. The Amazon Echo retails for about $100.
Amazon Echo Dot
The Amazon Echo Dot is the cheapest model in the Amazon Echo series costing about $50. The Echo Dot was released in mid-2016 and contains the same functions as the Echo. The key difference between the Echo Dot and Echo is the sound quality.
The Dot’s overall sound quality doesn’t compare to the Echo since the Dot possesses no woofer making it have zero bass output. However, the Dot is not sold for the sake of its audio quality. The Dot’s main competitor is the Google Home Mini costing about the same price, however, the 3rd generation Dot has better audio quality than the current generation mini.
Amazon Echo Plus
The Amazon Echo Plus is extremely similar to the standard Amazon Echo but has a few marked differences. The key difference is the sound quality, the Plus has a larger tweeter and woofer making audio quality clearer and the bass stronger than the standard Echo.
The Plus also has a built-in Zigbee hub allowing the user to control all their smart connected devices in their home with no setup needed. The Echo Plus costs about $150 and has no direct competitor in the Google Home series.
Amazon Echo Spot
The Amazon Echo Spot is one of the smallest Echo models while costing more than the standard Echo, retailing for about $130. The Echo Spot is a smart display, speaker and glorified alarm clock. The Spot’s display measures 2.5 inches making it the smallest display in the Echo series.
The Spot has the lowest sound quality in the Echo series due it having the smallest speaker. The Spot has a front facing camera for video calls and is capable of the same Alexa functions as the rest of the Echo series. The Spot has no direct competitor in the Google Home series.
Amazon Echo Show
The Amazon Echo Show is the premier smart display in the Echo series. The Show’s screen size measures a total of 10.1 inches and is capable of 720p HD video. The Show contains a camera on the front for video calling.
The cost of the Show is about $230. The main competitor for the Show is the Google Home Hub. The Show’s screen size is larger than the Hub’s and the Hub does not contain a camera for video calls. The Show’s sound quality also outpaces the Hub’s sound quality.
Google Home has a total of 4 Google-branded devices including Google Home, Google Home Mini, Google Home Max, Google Home Hub and a handful of third-party devices that come with Google Assistant pre-installed.
Original Google Home
The first and standard model of the Google Home was released as the main competitor for the Amazon Echo. Google Home can cost anywhere from $100 to $130. The current generation of Google Home falls short against the 2nd generation Echo when it comes to sound quality. The Echo’s sound is a bit more clear and the bass is stronger than the Google Home’s.
The cheapest Google Home model is the Mini costing about $49 but depending on the vendor, the Mini can be found for nearly half that price. The Mini’s main competitor is the Echo Dot.
The Mini’s sound quality once outpaced the 2nd generation Echo Dot but the 3rd Generation Dot’s sound quality is superior to the Mini’s current sound quality.
Google Home Max
The Google Home Max is the most expensive of all the Google Home models costing about $400. To command such a large price tag the Google Home Max is made to focus primarily on sound quality. The Google Home Max is equipped with two 4.5 inch woofers for bass and 2 tweeters.
The Max utilizes Google’s Smart Sound technology that adjusts the sound settings depending on the layout of the room. The Max uses the 6 microphones to listen to the feedback and adjusts the sound settings to fit the acoustics of the room.
There is no direct competitor to the Max in the Amazon Alexa line of speakers. The closest competitor would be the Bose Home Speaker 500 with Alexa pre-installed. The Bose Home Speaker 500 has a similar price range of $350 to $400.
Google Home Hub
The Google Home Hub is Google’s own smart display. The Hub utilizes technology that adjusts the screen’s brightness to the ambient lighting of the room making the current image on the Hub’s screen appear as if it was a printed photograph. The Hub costs about $150 and the display screen measures 7 inches.
The main competitor for the Hub is the Amazon Echo Show. The Show costs about $230, a considerable amount more than the Hub. The Show has better sound quality than the hub and has a camera for video calling.
Now that we’ve covered the hardware aspect of the Amazon Echo series, let’s jump into the software. Amazon Echo’s built-in smart assistant, Alexa, is the main driving force of what made the Echo series so unique.
Alexa is capable of doing many things including setting alarms, playing music, making purchases from Amazon, controlling smart devices and more. One key feature that set Alexa apart are its skills. Skills are activated via the Alexa app and are developed by third parties.
Skills can do anything from using the light ring on the Echo as a nightlight or what kind of wine pairs with a certain type of food. The potential for Alexa’s skills is massive. The main drawback of skills is that they must be activated individually by the user, while Google’s actions are already activated and integrated.
Another drawback of Alexa is her lack of intelligence when answering questions. Alexa is worse when it comes to interpreting questions and delivering correct answers. With Alexa, the user will notice they will get more responses that Alexa doesn’t understand their question or doesn’t have the answers to their questions.
The Google Assistant is the key AI behind the Google Home speakers and has access to Google’s wide array of information to perform functions and answer questions intelligently. Google Assistant is the more intelligent of the two virtual assistants especially when it comes to its answer engine and taking multiple commands at once.
For example, a user could ask their Google Home to lower its volume and detail the current traffic conditions. Google Assistant would proceed to lower the volume on the device and report on the traffic conditions. Alexa struggles with multiple commands at once.
Google Assistant also gives more detailed answers you would expect from Google. Google has a similar feature to Alexa’s skills called actions. The key difference between Google’s actions is that they don’t need to be individually activated. However, Google has far fewer actions than Alexa does skills.
Which Should You Choose?
The question of which smart speaker to choose is subjective to the user. Depending on which ecosystem the user is invested in, we would recommend going with whichever ecosystem they rely on more. If someone uses multiple Google services it would be best to go with Google Home. The same could be said for the Amazon ecosystem as well.
Another factor to consider when choosing which device to purchase is the initial reason for wanting to purchase a smart speaker. If the intention for purchasing a smart speaker is for music while keeping the budget under $200, we’d recommend an Echo Plus.
However, if someone wants a digital photo frame we would recommend the Google Home Hub for its ability to display images as if they’re printed photographs. It all comes down to what the user plans on using their smart speaker for. Each smart speaker will have its own advantages and drawbacks.
Writer and Product Tester
David has been a tech geek and avid gamer since he was young. In his free time, he enjoys reading, traveling, writing and of course gaming. His experience with tech brings an educated opinion to his writing.