You may have thought Amazon had it all wrapped up with its announcement of numerous new smart speakers just a few days ago. But not so fast. Hot on Amazon’s heels, Google responded with its own new flavors of Google Home products: A donut-shape voice-enabled speaker called the Mini, and a larger, more musically inclined voice-enabled speaker called the Max.
Google Home Mini
The Google Home Mini wins the beauty prize, with its smooth, curved exterior encased in fabric of three different colors: Chalk, Charcoal and Coral. Its price is right, too—just $49. Amazon’s similar-size Dot runs about the same. The LEDs underneath the fabric light up when its built-in Google Assistant technology hears you. This pint-size home listening device plays music, too—you can tap the top of it to pause music and tap it on the left and right to adjust the volume.
Google Home Max
But if high-fidelity is important, that’s the forte of the Google Home Max. Priced at $399, it’s sets itself in direct competition with the newly release Sonos One smart speaker, which sells for $199. Packed inside this stereo speaker are two 4.5-inch woofers and a couple of tweeters. Google says it plays loud—20 times more powerful than the original Google Home.
A nifty feature of the Max is its ability to tunes itself to your listening environment, though a technology Google dubs “Smart Sound.” For example, if you move Max from one location to another it automatically adjusts how it plays music. It supports Bluetooth, and can be placed horizontally or vertically. And, of course, Google Assistant listens for your voice commands. It comes in either Chalk or Charcoal.
According to Google, you can control more than 1,000 smart products by using Google Home devices. One of these devices is a Nest Camera; here’s how it works:
With Nest Camera, you can say “Ok Google, show me the entryway on my TV” to your Assistant on Google Home and keep up with what’s going on in your home. Coming next year, with the Familiar Faces feature on Nest Hello, when the doorbell rings and Nest Hello recognizes the person at the door, it will automatically have the Assistant broadcast that information to all the Google Home devices in the house. So you can know who’s there right when they arrive.
You can pre-order the Home Mini now; it will hit stores October 19. The Home Max doesn’t ship until December.