Last week we wrote about the smart speaker revolution (you can read it here) & that 4 million UK homes & 30 million US homes already have at least 1 smart speaker. And the numbers are expected to at least double.

Currently the Amazon Echo range lead the way. Google, Apple and Samsung are not far behind though. With Sony leading the stragglers. But what’s the difference?

Yes that’s right & it’s really quite funny. The only thing they can’t do is help you decide which one is right for you. And we must admit we are pretty confused too. So, if you’re not sure (like us) which smart speaker to buy for your family Christmas present, read our research on the leading bunch.

Apple HomePod smart speaker

Apple entered the smart speaker gun fight in early 2018 with the HomePod.

The main benefit of an Apple HomePod over an Echo or Google Home device is that it’ll play nice with your other Apple products. Meaning if you’re a die-hard Apple raving fan you’ll choose the HomePod.

But even if you are a die hard Apple nut you still should be asking yourself how much of a premium should I pay for owning a device that is optimised only for Apple connectivity?

As a premium speaker Techradar rate the HomePod as excellent, as it boasts incredible sound and a very intuitive set-up. But as a smart home hub they say Siri is only middling in its implementation, and the confines of the Apple ecosystem also rankles.

Best price currently seems to be £299 from John Lewis, or Currys PC World.

Amazon Echo (2nd Gen) smart speaker

If you’re after a smart speaker that’s affordable and sounds good enough to play your favorite tracks, the Amazon Echo is a good bet. Although, due to our Amazon boycott we won’t be buying one.

The newest, 2nd-generation Echo sounds better than the Echo Dot & it’s cheaper than the Echo Plus and Apple’s HomePod. Amazon has also improved the Echo’s styling too. The new fabric finishes will suit most living rooms.

On the downside Techradar mentions that Alexa doesn’t seem quite as intelligent as Google Assistant. At the price, though, it’s a great option that should suit most people’s needs. You can read the full Techradar review here.

Best price currently seems to be £69.99 from John Lewis, or Currys PC World.

Google Home smart speaker

While Google Home excels as a DJ, it’s also a surprisingly intelligent smart home hub. It already hooks into some of the largest platforms now available by including Nest, Philips and Samsung’s SmartThings.

In some ways though it’s disappointing and doesn’t live up to be the coveted center of the smart home Google has marketed it as. Although Google has just released a new Home Hub version, which is believed to be sooo much better.

At the moment the Google Home is a little too rigid in its language comprehension. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of all, it doesn’t have many of Google’s core services built into it. Which we’re sure will be rectified in the new Home Hub.

Hopefully the new Home Hub will compete with Amazon’s Echo, but for now the Google Home is simply a smart novelty with access to YouTube Music, built-in Google Cast and the ability to save you a trip to the light switch.

Hot off the press. Techrader have just released a hands on first impressions review of the new Google home hub, which you can read here.

Best price currently of the Google Home seems to be £101.99 from eBay. And the new Home hub is now available at Currys PC World for £139.

Smart speaker review conclusion

We’ve only covered a small selection of what’s available in a fast growing market & for a full detailed analysis visit Techradar here. But we are really excited about the new Google Home Hub & think it will solve all of the problems of the previous version & may be the perfect device to link to our affordable managed print service for the home. We think it’s going to be this years must have Christmas gift, so you better get yours ordered now. Remember when the teletubbies ran out in 1997?