The Apple HomePod is going the way of the dodo, as the tech giant recently announced that it plans to discontinue the four-year-old product to instead focus on the smaller, more wallet-friendly HomePod Mini. The original HomePod sounded great, but was hamstrung by its hefty price tag and comparatively limited smart assistant, Siri, which doesn't offer the tremendous compatibility that standouts like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa boast. Now that it has one foot out the door, you may be looking for a solid replacement. Never fear, as we've pulled out some great picks that can (for the most part) replace the original HomePod without skipping a beat. Here are our picks for the best alternatives to Apple's stellar-sounding smart speaker. The HomePod Mini comes loaded with Apple's smart assistant, Siri.
For the last four weeks, I've been living in an Orwellian nightmare. One in which I have to watch every word I say because "they" are always listening. And by "they", I mean Alexa, Siri and Google. It seemed like a good idea - get seven smart speakers and test them in a real house to see how they affected our listening habits and daily routine. At times, they've been pretty helpful.
When Amazon first debuted the Echo Show last year, plenty of people, us included, mocked its unusual design. More than that, we wondered if adding a display to a smart speaker makes sense, or if it was just another one of Amazon's gimmicks. It turns out, however, that being able to see the result of your queries is actually quite helpful; it's easier to glance at your entire shopping list than it is to have Alexa read it line by line. Amazon later followed up with the Echo Spot bedside clock, which offers the same features in a smaller design. But even though the Show and the Spot came out in 2017, it was in 2018 that smart displays came into their own.
Your message has been sent. There was an error emailing this page. You don't need to live in a smart home to benefit from a Wi-Fi-connected smart speaker. Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, and other digital assistants can help you in dozens of ways, and you don't have to lift a finger to summon them--just speak their names. If you already know you want a smart speaker, scroll down for our top recommendations.
Getting a review unit late, as is the case with the Google Home Max, gives me the benefit of reading a lot of people's opinions of a product before I formulate my own. And reviewing a lot of similar speakers before I evaluate the one at hand gives me a broad base of experience upon which to formulate mine. Based on those two fronts, the Google Home Max has been praised just a wee bit overenthusiastically.