The best Google Assistant devices are bringing the company’s smart voice assistant to the home in a big way, allowing you to take full voice control of the connected devices in and around your home simply by speaking a command to a nearby Google Assistant device or smart speaker.
Like their main rival (which takes the form of the excellent Amazon Alexa range of smart assistant devices), the Google Assistant enabled voice controllers are on hand to help you take hands free control of your connected smart home tech as well as answering any of those tricky questions that only Google has the answer to (we’re looking at you kitchen conversions).
We’ve taken a look at the best Google Assistant devices from dedicated smart speaker systems, through to smart tech with in-built Google Assistant integration to help you integrate an unparalleled level of smart home control and voice activation for controlling everything in your smart home environment.
From voice controlled lighting and temperature control, to finding out the weather for the week ahead and listening to music around your home, the best Google Assistant devices are there to help you get it done.
OK Google, let’s go.
Google Assistant Devices – The Essentials
At the most basic level, Google Assistant is a voice activated control platform that sits at the heart of microphone based voice control systems from Android smart phones through to dedicated smart speakers and even display based smart tech such as smart TVs.
When you hear somebody speak about ‘Google Assistant’ therefore, they’re really talking about the voice control platform that listens for and responds or reacts to your commands or questions.
If a smart home device is Google Assistant compatible on the other hand, it simply means that the device in question has been designed to integrate with Google’s voice control platform, but will ultimately require a stand-alone voice control unit (like the Google Home smart speaker below) before you can start controlling it with your voice.
While tech companies such as Apple are also in the smart assistant game, the major players in the field of smart voice control and smart speakers are still Amazon and Google.
Much like Amazon’s Alexa system of smart speakers and voice control devices such as the Echo, Google have made a significant impact on the smart device voice control scene with their standalone devices as well as those third-party devices which integrate Google Assistant into the design for voice control.
With both of the tech giants effectively looking to dominate the smart voice control market, you’re going to find a lot of compatibility with other smart home devices in both cases, as well as each brand offering smart voice controllers which are both extremely competitive when it comes to price point and which are high in functionality.
If you’re on the fence as to whether to go down the Alexa route or to invest in a Google Assistant device, it’s worth keeping in mind that Google is the last word when it comes to online search and if you’re looking for a smart voice assistant which has access to the company’s AI and search power, both now and in the future which may make a Google Assistant powered device a solid choice if this will represent a primary use of the system in your everyday life.
Getting to Grips with Google – Google Assistant and Google Home
If you’re new to the world of Google Assistant devices, you’ll probably be wondering about the difference between Google Assistant and Google Home pretty quickly.
At the most basic level, the Google Home prefix is the name given to the company’s range of ‘in-house’ smart speaker and voice control devices.
Starting with the company’s first smart speaker device (conveniently enough) called Google Home, the brand has subsequently rolled out a couple of other devices since launch which have looked to scale the original device up and down in the form of the Google Home Max and Google Home Mini.
Much like the Alexa-powered Amazon Echo and family of devices (think Echo Dot and Echo Plus), the Google Home family of devices all utilize the same voice control platform (in this case Google Assistant) at a variety of budgets, sizes, and audio quality outputs to allow you to find the best option for your specific home and device requirements.
While the Google Home devices are all built around the Google Assistant platform, they don’t represent the only option for utilizing the system however.
Third-party devices ranging from (non-Google) smart speakers to smart TV’s are increasingly integrating the Google Assistant platform into their design meaning the choice for Google-powered voice control is now greater than ever.
The Best Google Assistant Devices – The Google Home Family
The range of smart devices built around the Google Assistant platform is greater than ever before and continues to grow with a combination of both dedicated smart speaker voice control systems from Google as well as third-party devices utilizing the system to help you control your smart home, answer questions, and enjoy hands-free entertainment using the power of your voice and the intelligence of Google.
The flagship smart voice controller at the center of the Google Assistant device family is the the original Google Home smart speaker system.
Combining a sympathetic design with the essential elements of a standalone smart speaker system and of course, Google Assistant on-board, the Google Home is the company’s main competition to Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo smart speaker.
Google have always been competitive when it comes to the price of their smart speaker systems and the Google Home is no different in this respect, providing a good balance of a budget-friendly but feature-rich offering which works with a whole load of other smart tech devices out there.
If you’re looking for a smart speaker and voice controller that offers compatibility, functionality, and a low price-point, it’s hard to beat the Google Home.
Sound quality is always a consideration when looking at a smart speaker system and in this respect, as with other dedicated smart voice controllers, if you’re looking for a music-first, assistant-second device, you’re almost always going to be better off going for a dedicated speaker system or device that works the Google Assistant platform into the device as a bonus (more on these below).
With that being said, you’re still going to get a relatively good quality of audio output from the Google Home, so if you’re after a smart voice assistant that can play some music in the kitchen while you cook, this is still going to represent a solid choice for the money.
On the design front, the Google Home device is available in a number of color finishes meaning you’re going to be able to blend it in to most applications in your home or office.
If Google Assistant voice control is your primary goal, then the Google Home Mini is an excellent, low-budget way to make it happen.
If you’re familiar with Amazon’s Alexa range of devices, then you will probably notice certain similarities between the Mini and the Echo Dot and much like its Alexa-based competition, the Google Home Mini is effectively a compact version of it’s larger and more powerful sibling.
What this means on the ground of course is you’re going to lose out somewhere when exchanging a smaller form-factor for a reduction in functionality and this is going to be most noticeable in terms of sound quality and audio output.
With this being said, the Google Home Mini is exceptionally priced given the number of smart control features it packs into its tiny shell and if you’re on the lookout for a miniature smart home device controller which also crams the power of Google into a minimal (and beautifully designed) footprint, you simply won’t find better than the Home Mini.
Consider the Google Home Mini if you’re looking for an entry level Google Assistant option for controlling your smart home devices if audio quality isn’t a consideration or as an extension as part of a voice control relay for controlling your devices wherever you are in the home.
The Google Home Max is the latest and greatest of the smart speakers in the range and features a superior level of audio output that makes it perfect if you’re looking for the best native Google Assistant device for filling a room with high quality sound as well as providing all of the smarts associated with a voice control device.
While coming in at a higher price point than the other devices within the Google Assistant smart speaker family, you do get a lot of bang for your buck with the Google Max, thanks largely to the inclusion of dual 4.5″ woofers for deep bass and custom tweeters for hitting those clear highs.
The audio experience provided by the Google Max is enhanced by the inclusion of what Google calls ‘Smart Sound’, a system which uses machine learning to automatically detect and adjust the equalizer settings based on the acoustics of the room where the device is located resulting in perfect sound playback wherever it’s used.
Wherever you are in the room, far-field voice control means the Google Home Max will be able to hear you when you speak to Google Assistant, even when music is playing.
The Best Google Assistant Devices – Third Party Google Assistant Devices
As the growth of smart speakers as the control focal point of the smart home device ecosystem continues to increase, so to is the number of devices which are looking to build voice control into their core offering.
Because of this, Google Assistant integration is increasingly becoming a part of the fabric of an ever-larger range of devices from speaker systems through to smart television sets and of course, Android smart phones.
What this means is that Google Assistant functionality isn’t the sole preserve of the family of native Google Home devices (see above), and if you’re actually in the market for a high quality wireless speaker or fully-featured smart TV, there are ton of options out there to actually bring Google Assistant into your home in the process.
In this part of our guide to the best Google Assistant devices, we’ve covered the best devices which work a little Google Assistant magic into their offering.
The Link 500 is part of the JBL family of Bluetooth speakers that now comes with Google Assistant included as standard.
Known for the high quality audio output of their speakers, JBL’s wireless audio devices are a mainstay if you’re looking for a solution that’s compact enough for placing on a shelf, but powerful enough to fill an entire room with immersive sound.
Utilizing far-field recognition means that just like the native Google Home devices, the JBL Link 500 can be activated from wherever you are in the room simply by saying the wake word and then asking a question or issuing a command.
If audio quality comes first and Google Assistant capabilities are a secondary requirement, the JBL Link 500 is an excellent choice for working both factors into a solid solution that doesn’t compromise on smart voice control functionality at the expense of awesome sound delivery.Learn More About the JBL Link 500 Bluetooth Speaker With Google Assistant Here