- Jenny McGrath, Digital Trends
The Google Home is fun, functional, and should only get better with time.
|Size||9.64 x 14.28 cm (3.8 x 5.6 in)|
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Hoping to cut into Amazon’s hold on the smart speaker market, the Google Home is the full-sized option in Google’s lineup.
At 142.8mm (5.6 inches) tall and weighing 477g (1.1lbs), it’s small enough to sit on a shelf, countertop, or desk without getting in the way. You can’t take it on the go since it requires a power adapter. But the smaller size would make it more than workable for tossing in your luggage if you knew you’d have Wi-Fi and an outlet at your destination.
If you’re looking to personalize your speaker, Google offers interchangeable bases to help match it to your decor. The top of the speaker is sloped and include lights in the Google branding colors that appear when you tap the top.
Inside the speaker, you’ll find a 2-inch driver, twin 2-inch passive radiators, and twin far-field microphones.
Reviewers noted that while the sound quality was balanced and generally pleasing, it wasn’t super loud. If they had to decide based on audio quality alone, most preferred the Amazon Echo instead. Fortunately, you can pair multiple Google Home speakers or pair your Home with additional Bluetooth speakers for multi-room audio or additional oomph.
Thanks to software updates, you can connect an audio source to the Home using Bluetooth or stream audio over Wi-Fi when looking to enjoy your favorite tunes. It also supports any app that allows casting as if it were a Google Chromecast.
If you’re looking to use the smart features on the speaker, you say “Okay Google”, “Hey Google”, or tap the top. Google Assistant chimes in and you speak a command. You can perform a range of tasks -- from checking your calendar or hearing the latest news headlines to performing math problems and playing games -- all with your voice.
For tasks that don’t have native actions, the Google Home integrates with IFTTT to provide further flexibility. Reviewers also noted that compared to the Echo and Alexa, Google Home has fewer commands. But they also felt that more of Google’s commands were useful and that search results and similar questions were more accurate and relevant.
One unique feature of the Home is the ability to sync with multiple Google accounts -- complete with automatically assigning accounts to proper voices. Reviewers found the feature worked well for male voices. However, the speaker sometimes confused similar female voices.
The Home can also place calls using your Google contacts. Simply trigger the speaker and tell it who you want to call.
Overall, reviews for the Google Home are positive. Mobile Syrup said, “Home could easily replace my Echo and probably will given how it matches the functionality Amazon's [smart speaker] is capable of but also features Google Assistant.” Tech Advisor UK called the speaker “the best all-around smart speaker you can get.”
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