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HomePod vs. Google Home Max: Which should you buy?

Google Home Max
Google Home Max (Image credit: Android Central)

HomePod

HomePod in Space Gray

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Apple's HomePod is a compact smart speaker that has amazing sound. The microphones are super responsive — even with the volume turned up — but the HomePod can only use Apple's HomeKit and stream directly from Apple Music.

HomePod

Signature Apple Flair

Amazing sound quality
Compact design
Simple setup process
HomeKit and Apple Music only

Google Home Max

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With its combination of great sound, smart home features, and built-in Google Assistant, The Google Home Max has a lot to offer. However, the multi-room audio can be tricky to set up, and the bulkier design doesn't look as sleek as it could.

Google Home Max

Smart and versatile

Google Assistant and smart home controls built-in
Multiple streaming services
AUX port for wired audio
Heavy and bulky design
Multi-room audio is a bit tricky

Apple set out to build a speaker that truly sounds amazing and is as easy to set up, use, and integrate into its existing product line, and the HomePod accomplishes all that in spades. Meanwhile, the Google Home Max takes all the smarts of the Google Assistant and takes it to the next level, making it an easy fit into almost any smart home setup.

The important specs

The HomePod and Google Home Max are both capable, powerful smart speakers that'll cost you a pretty penny (the Google Home Max costs $100 more, but both will set you back at least $300). Besides the price, both take slightly different approaches to what a smart speaker should be, and thus, the final products differ in some significant ways.

Apple's superior sound quality and ability to play more types of audio files will leave audiophiles very happy. Not to mention, its more compact design blends into most home decor with ease. As with most Apple Products though, the HomePod is limited to working within the Apple ecosystem. It only works with Siri as its smart assistant, and if you want to listen to music, it only has Apple Music built-in (although you can listen to other services if you stream them through AirPlay).

The Google Home Max is a powerhouse when it comes to smart features, because of how smart Google Assistant is and all the third-party support that Google allows. It's more flexible than the HomePod, for households who aren't entirely bought into the Apple lifestyle. You can also listen to multiple services easily, including Google Play Music, Spotify, and more.

HomePodGoogle Home Max
Weight5.51 lbs11.68 lbs
Height6.8 inches7.5 inches
Virtual assistantSiriGoogle Assistant
Audio FormatsAAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, MP3, WAV, FLAC, HE-ACCOPUS, Vorbis, WAV, FLAC, HE-AAC, LC-AAC+, MP3,
Bluetooth5.04.2
Streaming ServicesApple MusicGoogle Play Music, Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, YouTube Music, iHeartRadio
Multi-room audioYesYes
AUX PortNoYes

Whether you decided to pick up the HomePod or Google Home Max, you're going to end up with a great smart speaker that will fill your home with music and make your life easier with built-in assistants. It really comes down to what you want out of a smart speaker and which services you already use.

Likely, if you have other Apple products, you're fine with Apple's walled garden approach to its ecosystem, and you won't mind the fact that you can only stream music from Apple Music, and that HomePod will only show up in HomeKit. It's important to mention that the HomePod also has much better sound quality, so if the most important thing to you is sound, HomePod is likely the way to go.

Of course, the HomePod can't quite compare to the versatility that the Google Home Max brings to the table. You'll be able to stream music with more services and devices than its Apple counterpart, and Google Assistant can do more for you than Siri can, especially if you already have some Google-enabled smart home products, like Belkin or Nest. While the sound is great, it doesn't hold a candle to the HomePod.

These are both great smart speakers for what they do. However, HomePod sounds just a little bit better and Google Home Max works with more services and devices.