The new decade has brought forth a surge in all technological advances and the smart speaker world is no different. The three biggest players Apple, Amazon, and Google have all had an important start with new releases in 2020 and all in quick succession. The customer is king and spoilt for choice but fishing for best value for money has become ever more difficult. There are so many features to consider and whichever you choose, you might seem to be missing out on an infinity of possibilities on the other platform.
The new decade was marked the release of tiny speakers that sound heavier than they look and also are starkly distinct from their predecessors. Simple overhauls of existing speakers or repackaging as different products just won’t cut it anymore as cutting edge innovation across platforms threatens to drive poorly developed, light on features products out of market.
The stiff competition has driven prices down to around the same ranges and all speakers seem to be in direct competition in each other. Price has proved an important factor forcing the ever exclusive Apple to compromise on the Homepod series with the latest entrant, the Homepod Mini retailing for under $100.
Perhaps it had to do with the COVID situation but the Year 2020 saw the biggest giants in tech release affordable and feature rich speakers. The Nest Audio from Google is a crème de la crème product that you cannot easily rule out when considering the best wireless speaker with good sound and flexing smart features.
|Google Nest Audio||Apple Homepod Mini|
Smart Google Assistant.
Adept listening device.
Comes in a unique array of pastel colors.
Uses recycled plastics 70%.
Built-in Chromecast for integration with TV’s.
360 degree sound.
Elegant latticed mesh appearance.
Light effects are gorgeous.
Heavy for stability.
Less shelf space and weight than the original Homepod.
|Big name speaker but not the best sounding for its price range.|
Not yet capable of the smart home hub that it has been made out to be.
|Lacks smart home compatibility.|
Siri is still inferior to Google Assistant and Alexa.
Does not support third party streaming services.
You need a subscription to make the most out of your speaker.
|BUY NOW||BUY NOW|
Google Nest Audio
The Nest Audio was the successor to Google’s debut in the smart speaker arena, the Google Home. The product is starkly different from the Google Home speaker as hinted by the name change which shifted the attention from the speaker to its ability to integrate with the feature rich displays Nest. Needless to say, this comes with the Google Assistant framework and thus hands you a vast if not infinite range of resources for every day needs. We are living the information age and the ability to churn through tons of searches and providing relevant and useful information is priceless.
The Speaker will obviously help you enjoy other features of your Google platform such as the calendar, Gmail, Google Duo and so much more. If you are looking for smart speaker that can also give you the weather outside ten the Google Nest Audio is your best bet with the world’s leading search engine behind it.
If you use Google services regularly and also enjoy streaming high fidelity music on your smartphone then the Nest Audio platform will make an ideal smart speaker for you. Here are some stuff we found interesting for and against the Nest Audio speaker.
Apple Homepod Mini
After a quick year of speculation the Apple Homepod Mini finally hit the stands in 2020 and not surprisingly seeking to be price competitive to the other smart speakers in the market from google and Amazon. It is now the cheapest entryway to the Apple platform with a spherical design that sets it apart from anything on the market. It is minute to the original and definitely lacks the depth of sound of the original but also packs some impressive quality at moderate volume. It is similar to the Echo from Amazon and looks nothing like the Homepod from the outside. The gadget has incredible audio quality and performs well in any room and though tiny, it is still a sound to reckon with.
We put the mini up against one of the best sounding speaker for the price range and released within the same period, the Google Nest Audio. Both are excellent small smart speakers with the perfect balance of price and quality. The bass cannot be too heavy on tiny speakers like these but seems impressive. When you want the full stereo experience you can pair two minis for a fully immersive music experience.
The Mini was expected to be a botched product for tis price given the maker’s high price range and the surprise turn of events but instead, it has been known to sound much better than the Echo or Nest Audio. It is less unwieldy and costly as its predecessor which is an opportunity Apple enthusiasts will jump on to gain the most out of exclusive sound and entertainment. This restriction to the Apple bubble is also the Achilles heel for all their products because not everyone uses Apple premium features on the regular.
The google Nest Audio speaker is a subtly designed product and appears the least conspicuous among its 2020 peers and incorporates a unique pebble like build that will easily vibe with any room. It has a natural contour and is actually eco-friendly having been made 70% from recycled material. It is not the most exciting design for a smart speaker out there but it certainly blends in nicely and coldly competitive and aesthetic when you take a moment to absorb its features. Google went with a varied palette of colors that will stylize any room and allow you to pick one for every color scheme.
Internally, the speaker has been equipped with sensitive and precise listening and playing mechanisms and you will notice that the commands are picked up even when you speak faintly from the next room. Commands work even when playing back which is impressive and this voice feature only is almost worth
Google Assistant is smarter than anything else out there and gives your access to over 30 million catalogued songs and unlimited access to YouTube Music which makes the platform by far the largest offering for music variety.
Additionally, you may choose from two types of bases for the speaker in all the different color. They offer metallic or rubber bases where the metal is steel or polycarbonate and come with copper, snow and carbon colors.
Google Assistant is not the best sound out there but it has excellent balance at around a quarter of the full volume. The smarts of google Assistant might be the main lure to this product because you will immerse yourself in a world of unlimited free access to music and services. With the Cast capabilities, this speaker will blow your mind as a Wi-Fi speaker and it works well with a wide range of TV’s
The Mini sounds a notch better than the Nest Audio but lacks on almost all other features of connectivity that a smart speaker desperately needs so there is that. The Google Nest Audio speaker might not be laser focused on 360 sound but it is a well-balanced offer that will be worth your while.
While the audio performance is the key reason to but the Homepod Mini, the Google Nest Audio is superior for smartness. It boasts of a more powerful search engine and better filters to give you relevant information instantly. Siri is still playing catchup and is often unresponsive and inaccurate.
These budget smart speakers are actually quite impressive in sound and smarts but it is very easy to feel disappointed when you do not manage expectation. For instance if you are buying the Google speaker for the coveted smart home hub that they market it to be then you might be in for rude shock. It is awesome but not quite there in terms of language comprehension and the list of smart home devices is underwhelming and financially draining.
It is even worse for the Siri platform because it is limited to the Apple machine and will not offer you much else. You have to own other Apple products and get a subscription plan going to make the most of your speaker.
From the preceding discussion, it is clear that for better sound quality you are better off with the Mini while the Google Nest Audio offers reasonable sound and a ton of embedded services. If you want to make use of Spotify directly to your smart speaker then the latter is your better buy.
That said, these are two formidable sounding little speakers and they both look elegant and are super easy to set up and use. Both makers have strived to develop bespoke commands and more services are in development.