The Google Home collection keeps growing – we’ll help you decide which one is best for you
The Google Home series is Google’s answer to the Amazon Echo and, in many ways, it’s far better. Unlike Amazon Echo, Google’s robot butler won’t try to force its parent company’s services down your throat. And, like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant can also be found in other smart devices in your home, from TVs to your phone, meaning you don’t have to buy multiple speakers if you don’t want to. Although you may want to because they work pretty well.
Read on and we’ll talk you through every Google Home device on offer in the UK, including how much they cost, what each device does and the their best uses.
The best Google Home hubs and speakers for you
Google Home Mini: Best for beginners
Price: £49 | Buy from Argos
There are two great reasons to buy the Google Home Mini smart speaker. One is the price and the other is that it does almost everything the regular Google Home can.
Using Google’s server-based AI smarts, the Google Home Mini allows you to ask it questions, play music, control lighting and activate media streaming – all from one place. The device is tiny at only 42mm in height and 98mm in diameter, and comes in four pleasing colours.
As a result, however, it does suffer from pretty weak sound quality. That can be fixed if you have a sound system with Google Chromecast Audio, mind.
Google Home: Best for upgraded sound quality
Price: £89 | Buy from Argos
With a £40 price difference between the Google Home Mini and Google Home, you might be wondering if it’s worth handing over the extra cash. The short answer is yes. If you’re fully committed to making an AI assistant a permanent part of your home, the original Google Home is a great choice.
The difference here isn’t in the functionality but in the quality. Google Home’s sound is far superior to the Google Home Mini, which has a quieter, more tinny sound. Just as if you were to compare cheap headphones to a more moderately priced pair, you’re going to hear a big difference.
As such, it’s visibly different, needing space to fit the audio equipment, and is taller at 143mm high and 96mm in diameter. It also has a high-excursion speaker, with 2in driver and dual 2in passive radiators and comes in slightly different colour options than the Home Mini, with optional customisations if you want it to blend in with your decor.
Google Home Max: Best for audiophiles
Price: £299 | Buy from Argos
Price-wise, the Google Home Max is a huge step up from the Home classic. So what do you actually get for the extra money?
Make no mistake: the Google Home Max is an expensive product, but it does go some way to justifying this high price of entry.
In fact, Home Max goes above and beyond a traditional quality speaker because it uses smart sound. This smart learning function automatically adjusts the equaliser settings to match the acoustics of your room. In theory, this means you should get great sound wherever you put it. You can even buy two for surround sound – although you’d obviously have a £600 hole in your bank account to explain.
Music can be played via aux, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, making the Home Max one of the most adaptable smart devices out there. Once again, the Home Max comes in four colours and, at just 190mm high and 337mm in diameter, it’s also pretty unobtrusive.
Google Nest Hub: Best all-round home helper
Price: £119 | Buy from Argos
If you want more than a smart speaker, the Google Nest Hub (formerly called the Google Home Hub) is a good choice. With a clear 7in display to put pictures and videos alongside the words, this smart device not only plays music and answers questions, it can also read recipes aloud, display a personalised daily calendar and make phone and video calls to UK mobiles for free. The Google Nest Hub doesn’t have a camera, though, so those video calls will be one-sided
The Google Nest Hub has a full-range speaker, which isn’t as good as the Google Home Max but still does the job – and it has a much cheaper price tag. It’s also aesthetically pleasing and comes in the same four colours as the Home Mini.
Google Nest Hub Max: Best for video calls
Due to go on sale from 15 July , the Google Nest Hub Max is Google’s upgrade to the original Nest Hub. It’s packing a larger 10in screen and, unlike its predecessor, will have a camera so that users can finally take part in a two-way video calls.
Read our full Google Nest Hub Max review now.
Want a different Google smart device?
Google Nest Thermostat
Price: £179 | Buy from Amazon
The third-generation Nest Thermostat has been designed not only to look good but to save you money. It’s a learning thermostat, so after a week of use it’ll start programming itself based on how your home heats up. It also controls your hot water tank and you can see how much you’ve saved via the dedicated app.
The device uses less than 1kWh per month and works with the following heating systems:
- Combi boilers
- System and heat-only boilers
- Domestic hot water tanks
- Hydronic underfloor systems
- Air-source and ground-source heat pumps (heating only)
- Zoned systems (one Nest Thermostat per zone)
- Heating systems with OpenTherm technology
Unsurprisingly, Google Nest Thermostat works with Google Home and Google Nest Hub, but also has Alexa support. There’s no Siri support via Apple HomeKit however.
Price: £69 | Buy from Argos
The Chromecast Ultra is an update to the original model, with the biggest difference being the ability to stream in 4K UHD and HDR. It plugs into the back of your TV via HDMI and can be used with iPhones, iPads, Android devices and laptops to stream from any cast-enabled app or website.
Chromecast Ultra can also be paired with any Google Home or Google Nest device, enabling you to control streams using only your voice.