How it stacks up to other smart speakers like Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Sonos One
Listen up — Alexa and Siri want you to hear them out.
This week, the Apple HomePod started shipping. For $349, it’s the newest smart speaker on the block, and Apple’s much more expensive answer to Amazon Echo ($84.99), Google Home ($99), and Sonos One ($199).
While the HomePod has myriad perks — for example, you can rig your home with smart upgrades (in this case using HomeKit products ranging from $34 to more than $100) like you would with Amazon Echo or Google Home — sound is its big selling point. Indeed, Apple touts that it “sounds amazing” and is “the ultimate music authority.” Through the HomePod’s top-notch speakers, Siri plays your favorite songs via Apple Music and adapts to your musical preferences (for the $14.99 per month subscription fee).
But experts concur that although the sound quality of Apple HomePod beats out Amazon Echo and Google Home, it doesn’t necessarily beat the Sonos One, which has all the power of Alexa (who’s integrated into the Sonos sound system), all the good quality sound of the Sonos brand, and a price that’s a whole lot cheaper than the HomePod.
“If you did an audio test, I think you’re going to have certain people say that Sonos is fantastic,” said consumer tech expert Rick Singer, CEO of AppGames.com. Plus, “[It’s] almost half the price [of HomePod] and it has Alexa built in,” Singer noted. Many retailers are even offering a price break on a special Sonos One bundle package, selling two units for the discounted price of $349.
And for many consumers, the Amazon Echo speakers’ quality is just fine — and Amazon’s products have a major leg up in both the price and features departments. For less than a third of the price of HomePod, you can enjoy a wealth of additional options offered by Alexa that Siri doesn’t offer: Being able to order from Amazon, order dinner on GrubHub, getting groceries delivered through Whole Foods or Amazon Fresh, sending emails with the MailBox app, or tracking packages. Plus, Alexa plays music with a sound quality that’s good enough to sell well over 20 million Echo products as of late 2017.
In fact, shopping and shipping are two areas where Amazon really has the market cornered, said Singer. “Apple is so far behind the curve and Amazon has the delivery component of this world dominated,” Singer told Moneyish. “Apple is not in the delivery business, and I don’t think Apple is ever going to be in that business.”
What’s more, Singer added, the HomePod is essentially useless if you don’t have an iPhone — so for Android or Galaxy users, the Apple device is a nonstarter.
“If you want versatility, Echo still remains no. 1,” Singer said. “If you are simply looking for a high quality external audio speaker, that is what I classify as HomePod right now.” When asked about its competition, Apple did not immediately respond to a Moneyish request for comment.
Where does Google come into the equation? As far as Google Home, Moneyish previously reported that analysts agree that brand loyalty is the key differentiator between Google and Amazon Echo. All things considered, the functionality of both is quite similar, otherwise.
Given all that, Singer didn’t mince words in concluding his opinion on Apple’s new smart speaker.
“Why would you need the Apple HomePod anyway?”
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