Kicking off Google’s smart speaker line up is the Google Home Mini. As the name implies, this is the smallest version of the Google Home, measuring only 3.8″ across and 1.6″ tall. It comes in four colors: chalk, charcoal, coral, and aqua, averages in price for $49, but can be had for half that amount right now from the Google store.
Even at the low price point, it still offers all of the same features that the rest of the Google Home devices offer. It comes with Google Assistant, so you can use it for things like checking the weather, updating shopping lists, and playing music – all with just your voice.
The Nest Hub – renamed in May after Nest merged with Google’s smart speaker division, is the first and only available Google Home device that features a screen
Because of its small size, you can easily “hide” it behind your TV, allowing you to use it without having to see it. It works with Google’s smart TV device Chromecast, so you can use it to operate your TV as well. The Google Home Mini is great for those new to smart speakers, kids, or those who aren’t as concerned about the device’s audio quality.
2. Google Home
The Google Home is a step up from the Google Home Mini, and it comes with some slight improvements. It’s priced at $80 normally but can be had for less right now for $69 at Home Depot. It comes in four colors as well – chalk, coral, carbon, and copper.
Unlike the Mini, though, only the base of the speaker changes colors – the top is always white. The carbon and copper colors are metal speaker covers, while the chalk and coral colors indicate the area that is fabric.
In terms of capabilities, the Google Home and the Google Home Mini are each equally capable. The only difference between the two is the look, size, and audio quality – with the Google Home being a slight improvement. This is a good option for those who want slightly better audio quality and a nicer design.
Last up in the Google Home line is the Google Home Max. It’s the biggest of the bunch and looks much more like a traditional speaker than the smaller variations. It comes in just two colors: chalk and charcoal, and it costs $269 regularly, but can be had for $20 off right now at Wal-Mart. This is a pretty steep change in price, and the reason for that is because all of that extra dough is going into the audio quality.
While the other two variations of the Google Home are focused mainly on their smart home functionality, the Google Home Max is more of a quality speaker that includes all of the features that the Google Home comes with. It has dual 4.5″ woofers, rigid housing, and acoustically transparent fabric.
It’s also one of the best-sounding smart speakers around. So if you’re in the smart speaker market looking for the best audio quality possible, this is the best currently available in a single smart speaker device.
4. Nest Hub
This is where the Google Home lineup starts to deviate a bit. In fact, these next two devices aren’t even known as Google Home devices anymore. The Nest Hub – renamed in May after Nest merged with Google’s smart speaker division – is the first and only available Google Home device that features a screen.
The Nest Hub still allows you to control everything in your smart home with just your voice, but you can also use it to look at pictures on its 7” screen, see displays of Google Maps when needing directions, and check the time just by looking at it.
The Nest Hub only costs $100, but is available now for $79.99 at Best Buy, which is a pretty solid deal considering that’s still lower than some of its screen-less competitors. The audio is on par with the Google Home, so this device is more for those looking for a smart home hub – hence the name.
5. Nest Hub Max
The Nest Hub Max is the newest addition to the Google Home lineup – so new, in fact, that it isn’t even available yet. This device was just unveiled at Google’s I/O keynote in May, so prospective buyers can only join a waitlist for it for now.
It has a 10″ touch screen display and costs $230. The audio quality is marketed as substantially better than the standard Nest Hub, though it’s still a couple of marks below the Google Home Max. This device is somewhere between a smart speaker and a tablet, with an abundant amount of touchscreen interactivity – as opposed to the Nest Hub, which mainly uses its screen to display information.
It also includes a front-facing camera, allowing you to make video calls, send video messages, and monitor your house remotely. While it won’t be released for another few months, the Hub Max could challenge the throne as the best smart home display in the market. It joins the likes of the Amazon Echo Show, Lenovo Smart Display, JBL Link View, and even Facebook’s own entrant in the premium smart display market: Facebook Portal.
Photo courtesy of Google Home Tech on Flickr.