The Amazon Echo comes in a sleek black and looks great with its monolith-like appearance. It’s also taller than the Google Home, with a height of 235mm.
The Google Home was designed in such a way that it wouldn’t look out of place in your home. It has a curvier shape which Google says was inspired by wine glasses and candles (though we think it looks more like an air freshener).
At its top, the Amazon Echo has physical buttons that allow you to control volume, mute and activate it. It also has a blue ring that glows blue when you interact with it.
Google on the other hand, have opted for a capacitive touch panel. Tap to stop or start the music, or drag to raise and lower the volume. There are a series of LEDs that shine through the surface show you the current volume level.
We really like the Amazon Echo’s sleek, black look. However, if you’re big on customisation, you can change the look of your Google Home with a new, shiny base. Half of them are fabric and the other half are metal and are designed to make your Home device fit in better with your home décor.
As you already know, the user interacts with both smart speakers through voice commands. With the Echo, you activate it by saying “Alexa” and then speaking your command. For the Home you say “OK, Google.”
The Echo has Amazon’s assistant, Alexa. On the Home you are interacting with Google Assistant, which is basically a voice given to Google’s powerful search engine.
We prefer Alexa since it feels like we’re talking to a person rather than to cold artificial intelligence. On the other hand, Home’s AI seems to beat Echo’s as it has the ability to carry out tasks based on conversations, not just commands. For example, you could say:
“What’s the capital of Thailand?”
“How far is it?”
“Show me a map on TV.”
Google Home can follow your line of questioning, unlike the Echo. Echo’s commands are limited to doing one this at a time, as you’ll have to use the keyword “Thailand” in every question.
The Amazon Echo and Google Home have fantastic speakers that are great for streaming music.
By default, the Echo uses Amazon Prime Music while Google Home uses Google Play Music. When it comes to their respective catalogues, Amazon Prime Music only has around two million songs available, whereas Google Play Music has an astounding 35 million songs. If you don’t use any of these music services then no matter, both also integrate with Spotify and Pandora.
You can use either device to control outlets, switches, bulbs and thermostats from Samsung SmartThings, Philips Hue and Nest. However, the Echo works with Hive while Google Home has IFTTT. This is going to be a close fight, with both companies vying to be your smart home hub of choice.
One advantage the Google Home has over the Amazon Echo is that it can integrate with Chromecast devices. You can use your voice to cast videos to pop up on your TV screen, just like when you cast from your phone.
In the US, Vizio announced at CES 2017 that they’d be releasing a line of SmartCast-equipped devices that have support for Google Home, including recent TVs, soundbars and speakers. If you want to watch a movie on Netflix, you don’t even have to wake your TV — say the right words to Google’s smart speaker and it’ll start playing on your set. You can also pause and skip songs and even tweak the volume without touching a button.
It is possible to make the Echo work with a Chromecast device, though it’s nowhere near as seamless as doing so with the Google Home.
The Amazon Echo costs $179 or £149.99 in the UK. The Google Home, however, is £129.99. You can also grab some great value bundles from retailers like Currys who are offering a free Chromecast to anyone purchasing the Google Home.
That being said, Amazon also offers the Dot, a smaller speaker-free version of the Echo which only costs £50. That’s sure to appeal to anyone intending to build a fully voice-controlled home with a unit in every room.
In a nutshell
Amazon Echo vs Google Home. Who wins?
For now the Amazon Echo is the better prospect, especially if you own smart home devices as it integrates and supports a lot more services than its Google rival.
However, the Google Home already boasts smarter AI than the Echo and will continue to add more commands and features with future updates.
Amazon EchoShop now on Amazon
Amazon Echo DotShop now on Amazon
Google Home + Chromecast Bundle
Get a free Chromecast when you buy a Google Home from CurrysShop now on Currys
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