$129 (approx. `8,250), store.google.com
While many features stay the same between them, your choice of a smart ecosystem can make a big difference to your day to day. Case in point, Google Assistant – available on the Home and Home Mini, as well as some other speakers coming soon – is the only way to control a Chromecast vocally, and it’s much more adept at using natural language than its competitor. While it had more trouble with our accent than Alexa did (and, on the Home, struggled more to hear its wake word) there’s also proper multiuser support built in, with voice recognition for everyone in your family and their personal Google accounts.
The unit itself is small and apes the styling of many of Google's home devices, with a flat slanted top, a hidden ring of RGB LEDs in said slice, and a cloth grille for its speaker. Not the sort of thing that’s hard to tuck away, but not overly obtrusive either. It throws out a bouncy sound when streaming via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, although the Home isn’t strong enough to replace your proper stereo by any means, particularly as it lacks any form of physical output.
The best way to access Google Assistant in the home right now, but extended support in 2018 could send it packing.
T3 BEST FOR EASE OF USE