In this post we review some of the best combination of smart speakers to buy in 2021 and certainly authority speakers for the remainder of the decade. The global COVID pandemic had a lot of us stay at home and huge tech companies did not hesitate to develop a solution to help us keep our humanity in isolation.
The Apple Homepod Mini is hugely seen as a price compromise after the original Homepod failed to launch at the market. The competition was too stiff for the product and many retailers had a tough time driving sales. Yes we all want laser focus on high fidelity sound and 360 beams of sound do sound appealing but we also want more for less. Thanks to fellow giants in the tech arena like Google and Amazon, the Apple team had to make a price compromise to stay competitive. They developed a quick complement for the Homepod which looks nothing like the original.
Similarly, the Google Home was the first speaker that Google ever built and we were stoked to hear them out. It has grown to be one of the most popular smart speakers of all time not only for its impressive sound but also for the embedded features. This device hit the stands a little while later than the Amazon Echo and was price considerate as expected. It is not the latest but the first of several siblings that would come after the 2016 launch date including the Google Home Mini, Google Home Hub and recently the name change to Google Nest Hub Max and Mini.
|Google Home||Apple Homepod Mini|
Massive song library.
Expanding hardware ecosystem.
|Affordable high grade speaker.|
Small compact and elegant design.
High fidelity 360 degree sound.
Works well with Apple products and platform.
Similar capabilities as the larger more expensive Homepod.
|Missing Google’s own services.|
Phrasing needs to be precise.
Google Cast support needs work.
|Lost the heaviness of bass from the Homepod.|
Forces you to use Apple forums.
Siri is not as developed as Google Assistant.
|BUY NOW||BUY NOW|
Arriving later than the Amazon Echo which was then taking the world by storm, the Google Home product can be seen as a concerted effort by the giant to compete with Amazon. The amazing Alexa voice controlled platform on the Echo was mouthwatering for the tech company that wrote the rule book on virtual assistants. There have been gradual improvements and the google Home you buy today is certainly much better than the one of 2016.
The Google Home speaker was a well-balanced product from the start though not as good as the competition which we can stomach for the added benefits. By the end of 2018, the same speaker was so much better that it could be considered a peer to the Echo which received considerably less upgrades. Currently the platform is a good as it ever was and if you know Google, they will make it even better for free.
Apple Homepod Mini
Apple was also considerably late to the smart speaker arena but made a more grand entrance with laser focused products for a targeted market. As usual Apple claims an intense amount of testing and long period of development for this high end product and it was after much speculation that the speaker made it to launch date alongside the new iPhone 12 series.
From the pricing and premium feature on this tiny rhythm box you can easily see why it is Apple’s attempt to make their premium features achievable for the masses. It is still built with jealousy to work only within their ecosystem and some specialized connectivity and advanced assistant support.
For its size, the Homepod Mini is an awesome sounding speaker that will simply change the way you enjoy music at home. If you already wield the latest iPhone hardware you will profit from advanced software such as AirPlay and Siri.
The Apple Homepod Mini is the miniature version of the Homepod just like we have iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini. It has the smaller form factor but retains much of the features of the larger sibling save for the 4 mics instead of 6 which does not really make an impact on the attentiveness of Siri. On the flipside, the smaller size means loss in the heaviness of bass compared to the larger speaker. It would suffice to say that even though the Apple Homepod Mini is the complimentary release for the Homepod offering, it looks nothing alike.
This device was developed for accurate and crisp sound but the ergonomics and elegance of the little ball make it one of the most beautiful speakers you can buy online today. I looks like a cue ball with a segment slashed off and covered in a soft mesh and bottom fitted with a soft rubbery material for grip and no markings on surfaces. Unlike in many of their products, the Apple Logo is tucked away under the little speaker so that it is not flaunted in normal operation. It’s almost like they knew the speaker would be so tempting to touch that we would all eventually try to flip it upside down and see the logo.
Google Home is a taller cylinder and that will tower over the Apple Homepod Mini and even the Echo from Amazon. It looks like a fancy bottle for say air freshener with a tapered top which doubles as the control interface. It features a clean and minimalistic look with pastel colors for all themes and color palette. When the device is active, you will enjoy a series of colored lights and a prominent feature is the microphone mute button. People are concerned with their privacy when we think of how smart assistants listen in on our conversations and Google wanted to handover total control just to reassure buyers.
There are additional bases you can add onto the device for an extra price. The launch of this speaker did not quite o to plan but when they finally hit the stands, we were eager to sample them for all the features they had bee hyped for. The Smarts they were overly glorified for having were obviously underwhelming but overall we thought it was a beautiful speaker well-crafted and built to last.
The Google Home launch was met with negativity when they put an ad at the end of their My Day rundown audio clip but that aside, the device sounds great. They have since stopped their little experiment which they dared not say was an actual advertisement since it sparked massive negative responses. Users do not want embedded ads in their smart assistant even though they enjoy these features for free.
Like the original, the Mini is a great speaker that showcases just how good Apple can get with laser focused audio clarity and also features 360 degree sound projection technology. When you are looking for sheer clarity of voices and balanced mids then the Mini is your best buy for a compact, affordable and best sounding smart speaker. It is not as loud as the competition but when paired up with another Mini in stereo pair it can sound massive.
The Google Home may not be the ideal smart home hub that it has been marketed to be but on the plus, it is straightforward to set up. You just have to figure out how to plug it in correctly and then get a Google Home app on your android or iOS device and then follow a few quick steps to connect through your Wi-Fi connection.
The Homepod mini is the best of Apple artificial intelligence, and require the iOS environment to work. It has an easy and straightforward setup process that should flow intuitively and take only a couple of minutes. The Multi-room setup will help you broadcast messages and also sounds better than just one. The Mini will also compliment the Homepod original very nicely.
Your Home App allows you to get a hold of all settings for the Homepod Mini hands-free and from the comfort of your bedroom. The intercom feature on this smart system allows users to send one way messages to specific speakers in an interconnected system. The app also allows you to manipulate IoT accessories compatible with the Homekit system.
It would suffice to say that the Homepod Mini is a great compliment for the original Homepod and also sounds just as good, matter of fact better than the Google Home speaker we reviewed here. It is smooth to use and will work best to impress lovers of the greater iOS platform. It sounds small for its size and the price is enticing for the premium Apple platform.
The Google Home speaker is also a formidable force with smart outlook and quite the boom for its size. It comes with interesting smart functions which are wildly intelligent and supreme versatility. This speaker has some ground to cover for sound and we will expect that Google eventually integrates some of its core services in the speaker.