Google Home vs Google Home Mini vs Google Home Max: Which Google Home speaker should you buy? | Apps news

If you’re looking for an intelligent smart home speaker, then one powered by Google is likely to be a good alternative to the Amazon Echo range. 

Like the Amazon Echo smart speakers, Google Home devices are available in a range of sizes. While they all have Google Assistant built-in – meaning they can carry out the same tasks – they have very different designs and specifications which will determine where you put them around your home and what you use them for.

Here’s everything you need to know about Google’s trio of Home speakers to help you work out which Google Home is right for you.

Pocket-lintGoogle Home Max Vs Google Home Mini Vs Google Home Whats The Difference image 2
  • Availability: UK (from Currys; Chalk, Charcoal), US (from BestBuy)
  • Price: £49/$49 (discounts regularly available)
  • Dimensions: 42 x 98mm, 173g
  • Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), Bluetooth, Chromecast and Chromecast Audio
  • Audio: 40mm speaker driver
  • Audio formats: HE-AAC, LC-AAC+, MP3, FLAC, WAV, Vorbis
  • Google Assistant: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The Google Home Mini is, at its name suggests, the smallest of Google’s smart home speaker range. Like the Amazon Echo Dot, it’s a small puck-like device that is available in three colours: chalk, charcoal and coral, but unlike the Home, the fabric covers aren’t interchangeable. 

Thanks to its diminutive size, the Home Mini can be placed virtually anywhere and even kept out of sight if you wish. It can load up content on any Chromecast device, giving you voice-controlled access to movies and TV shows from supported services.

The Home Mini gives you access to all those Assistant-powered features, so it’s a smart home control device, it’s an entertainer and a plaything, it’s a quiz master, a reference tool and so much more. It’s everything the big Google Home is without the larger speaker.

The Google Home Mini is compatible with numerous smart home devices, the list of which is constantly growing. It also works with Spotify, Google Play Music, as well as a multitude of other audio services, though isn’t the best speaker of the bunch. 

Read the full review: Google Home Mini review: Great voice-assistant, not-so-great speaker

Pocket-lintGoogle Home vs Google Home Max vs Google Home Mini Whats the difference image 2
  • Availability: UK (from Currys, Argos), US (from BestBuy)
  • Price: £129/$109
  • Dimensions: 142.8 x 96.4mm, 477g
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5Ghz)
  • Audio: 2-inch speaker driver, dual 2-inch passive radiators, dual microphones with far-field voice recognition
  • Audio formats: HE-AAC, LC-AAC+, MP3, WAV, FLAC, Vorbis
  • Google Assistant: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The Google Home is the “regular” sized version in Google’s repertoire. It’s the original member and the one that will likely be most popular because of the way it blends style and function. Usually priced at £129, but often discounted during sale periods to under £100 it’s pricier than the Google Home Mini, but delivers more punch. 

The Google Home sports a design that’s reminiscent of an air freshener, with a slightly bulbous bottom that tapers in towards the top. On the angled top of the Home there is a touch-sensitive surface that can be used to control a variety of functions. You can also change the colour of the base to suit your style.

Its sound quality is good, but nothing to shout home about, so you likely won’t be using it as your main party speaker, even if it is a step-up from the Home Mini. It offers all the connected functions of Google Assistant, so it’s a natural smart home hub, letting you control all your devices, as well as accessing a wide range of Google services, information and giving you control of your Chromecast.

The Google Home has all the same smarts as the Google Home Mini, only with more power under the hood. You can also purchase different bases to change the style of your Google Home speaker on a whim. 

Read the full review: Google Home review: A better voice assistant than Amazon Echo?

GoogleGoogle Home vs Google Home Max vs Google Home Mini Whats the difference image 3
  • Availability: US/Canada only (from BestBuy, Google Store, Walmart) 
  • Price: $399
  • Dimensions: 336.6 x 190 x 154.4mm, 5.3kg
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5Ghz), Bluetooth 4.2, Chromecast and Chromecast Audio, USB-C, 3.5mm auxiliary 
  • Audio: 2 x 4.5-inch dual voice coil woofers, 2 x 0.7-inch tweeters, six microphones with far-field voice recognition
  • Audio formats: HE-AAC, LC-AAC+, MP3, WAV, FLAC, Vorbis, Opus
  • Processor: 1.5GHz Quad-core ARM
  • Google Assistant: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

Google Home Max is max by name and max by nature. It has been designed to be the life and soul of a party, delivering high-quality sound that can go loud when you need it.

A large price tag puts the Google Home Max in the premium smarthome speaker bracket – competing with Sonos offerings and it shows. We certainly found it to be capable in terms of sound, but many may recoil at the price tag. 

As it’s on the large size as far as wireless speakers go, finding a home for the Home Max could be tricky. We imagine most people will put one in their living room or bedroom, or multiple speakers around the home to create a full multi-room system. It cannot be wall-mounted but can be positioned either vertically or horizontally making it pretty versatile. 

The Google Home Max packs some serious tech inside its housing. Including six far-field microphones for picking up voice commands, a touch-sensitive volume slider and media controls and a USB Type-C port for wired networking. Packing four drivers and six Class-D amplifiers, the Google Home Max delivers brilliant high-quality sound that makes most other smart home speakers pale in comparison. 

Read the full review: Google Home Max review: Turning smart-home sound quality up to 11

The Google Home is the original and, in our view, the best of both worlds. It can be used to control all manner of smart home products (like the other Google Home speakers) but has a decent-sized speaker to cater for the majority of audio tasks. Better yet, it’s available in the UK and the US and is often regularly discounted, making it as affordable as it is intelligent.

The Google Home Max is a seriously powerful speaker, which when combined with Google Assistant could make it the only one you need in your home for entertainment. Unfortunately, you need to live in the US or Canada to be able to get one. 

The Google Home Mini is small and cheap enough to go into any home. It has the same power and features of Google Assistant as its larger siblings, but in a much more manageable size. That makes it cheap, but the Home Mini is very much about talking to Google, rather than being used as a full-time music speaker.

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