Google’s $399 Home Max Takes on Apple’s HomePod; Launches in December

Google today bolstered its smart speaker lineup with the release of Google Home Mini and Home Max. The former is the company’s cheapest smart speaker which is aimed at bringing Google Assistant to every living room possible, while the Home Max takes on the likes of HomePod with its speaker setup.

Google Home Max features dual 4.5-inch high-excursion woofers and custom 0.7-inch tweeters which allows it to output sound 20 times louder than the Google Home. The front of the Max is covered with acoustically transparent fabric. Its design allows it to be placed vertically or horizontally, with users having the option of adjusting the magnetic baseplate accordingly.

Google Home Max also features Smart Sound which allows the speaker to automatically tune the sound output using machine learning depending on where it is placed. Since music is the focus with Google Home Max, the speaker features integration with Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, and other popular music streaming services. It goes without saying that the Home Max also features Google Assistant.

As for the Home Mini, it features 360-degree sound output despite its small size. The speaker is primarily made of plastic and custom fabric which is acoustically transparent. If you are not satisfied with the sound output, you can also plug in the Google Home Mini with any Chromecast Audio compatible speaker or device. It will be available for $49 in the U.S. with pre-orders starting from today. It will be available at all major retailers from October 19 in three colors: Chalk, Coral, and Charcoal.

Google Home Max will be available for $399 starting from December in the U.S. As a bonus, Google will also be bundling free 12-month of YouTube Red subscription with Home Max. It will be available in Chalk and Charcoal colors. Google also plans to bring Home Max to other markets of the world early next year.

It is clear that with the Home Max, Google is taking on Apple’s HomePod and Amazon’s Echo Plus. When Apple first unveiled the HomePod at WWDC this year, it laid great emphasis on its sound quality. With the Home Max and HomePod featuring similar price tag and both laying great emphasis on sound quality, it will be interesting to see which one ends up performing better.