Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple HomePod? Without letting yourself be carried away by the love you feel for any of these manufacturers, it is important that you know objectively what they have the most useful horn for your needs. Therefore, we then carefully compare all the features of Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod.
Of course, in the end the decision is only yours!
Amazon started the trend, first placed its Alexa assistant on Amazon Echo, then Show, Echo Plus, Dot, Tap and Spot, and allowed third-party device manufacturers like Sonos to access them.
Google Home was next, followed by the Google Home Mini and Max, all of which have Google Assistant, making great advances in the market for voice assistants. They remain behind Alexa in some areas, but dominate in others.
And it was Apple's turn, with HomePod, which is actually more of a good horn that lacks the intelligence it needs to compete. The HomePod can execute basic commands related to obtaining addresses, setting alarms and can even implement a chain of events, known as “scene”. However, when it comes to smart speakers, the HomePod is not up to par. We compare them all in terms of design, features and prices.
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Although tall, majestic and available in black or white, the Amazon Echo looks a bit like the Pringles container. The Tap is a bit tougher, but similar in style, while the Dot is a small device. A ring at the top lights up when Alexa is listening, and there is a silence button at the top for when you want privacy. You can adjust the volume of the Echo by turning a ring or using the traditional volume button set. And a touch sensitive top with LED lights that indicate when the device is working.
The Home device also has a modular base, so you can change the default base to one that best suits your space and your home. The mute button is located on the back of the home screen, and the top is touch sensitive, so you can adjust the volume by sliding your finger on it.
On the other hand, the HomePod looks a bit like the Home, but without the sloping top. And like the Google device, the HomePod has a touch-sensitive upper part, which shines with a purplish blue color when active. Judging by the aesthetics, be in your hands the decision of which device best suits your decoration.
Winner: Amazon Echo.
Prices and availability
The new Amazon Echo costs $ 99 dollars, while the Dot costs $ 50 dollars. Amazon's other devices are more expensive.
For its part, the Google Home is worth $ 129 dollars, while the popular Mini costs only $ 49 dollars. Google Home Max costs $ 399 dollars, while Apple HomePod, which goes on sale in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia on February 9, cost $ 349 dollars.
Winner (for now): Amazon Echo
Like the Echo, but unlike the Amazon Tap, the Home and HomePod must be plugged in to work. This means that you will have to consider your location in your home. The first time we tried an Echo, we noticed that, although not winning the heart of any melmano, it is a complete speaker with a respectable amount of bass. It is also strong enough to fill a fairly large room.
On the other hand, Apple believes that its HomePod has enough power to defeat the competition. It also has an A8 chip that offers spatial awareness, which means that it adjusts and directs the sound depending on the room in which it is located. And although we still have not been able to prove it well, the room reading technology is very similar to what Sonos now offers.
With Google Home, for example, you can use other speakers through a Wi-Fi connection and Google Cast. However, the Echo can also be synchronized with Amazon Tap or Dot to provide greater flexibility (and portability).
It seems that Google prefers, however, that the owners synchronize their Home and Cast devices, or that they use several Home devices to fulfill the same role as the Echo, Dot and Tap. By using Google Home in unison with compatible devices, you can play music in several rooms in your home and make very specific requests. This makes Google Home similar to Sonos speaker systems, with the additional benefit of voice command technology.
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It also shares similar functionality with Chromecast devices, allowing you to play YouTube videos on your TV by saying “OK, Google, play the preview of The Last Jedi In the living room". Even in a house full of Google Home devices, the company claims that only the nearest unit responds.
Apple also wants you to use its HomePods in tndem; For example, using two devices in the same room will further improve the sound. HomePod is also compatible with AirPlay 2, the next audio solution for several Apple rooms. AirPlay 2 is also compatible with many other devices, including Bang & Olufsen, Bose, Denon, McIntosh and Bowers & Wilkins. And, presumably, it acts similarly to Home, allowing Siri to play songs on the Bose speakers in your living room or dining room. But if you are looking to stream Spotify on a HomePod, forget it. For now, only Apple Music is compatible.
However, you will have more flexibility with Echo and Home devices, which are compatible with Spotify, Pandora and most other major services. Both the Echo and the Home also use microphones with far-field technology. Google says it has incorporated hundreds of thousands of different audio environments to ensure that the home can isolate speech even in an environment with added ambient sounds. Similarly, the HomePod has six microphones and Apple says they are designed to listen to you, even about music.
Winner (for now): HomePod
Utility and connectivity
Echo can link to your Amazon Prime account, giving you access to all the music, movies and associated applications. It already works with many smart home devices, and it is quite aggressive when it comes to different brands. The Home, meanwhile, takes advantage of Google's suite of applications, including Google Play. It also integrates with Nest devices, allowing you, for example, to set the temperature to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in specific rooms.
HomePod is linked to Apple Music. Work with the subscription service through the cloud, providing access to 40 million songs, 2 million artists and their own playlists. You can ask him to play an artist's album or a particular song. And, apparently, he is smart enough to know what the main song of May 5, 2016 was.
With Alexa, for example, you just have to ask him to tell the smart lock to lock and so be. Alexa is quite open in terms of smart home devices, and it's quite easy to set up. Simply ask Alexa to discover them, but you'll still have to link your account. The number of devices that work with Alexa now amounts to thousands, and more are on the way.
If you have a lot of HomeKit devices, you'll be glad to know that HomePod acts as a control center. But it is important to keep in mind that, due to Apple's rigorous standards, the list of compatible devices is small, although it is growing, and you will not find important names like Nest or Belkin Wemo, at least for now.
Like Amazon Skills, Google also recently opened the Home to developers with a new service called Actions. So, if you open the application, after clicking on Devices> Settings> Ms> Services yvers Kayak, WebMD, NPR One and a series of services compatible with the Home. Although you have to enable Alexa skills, they are activated by default with Home. However, if you want the Home to call an Uber, you should still link the account.
Alexa can perform a variety of functions that allow you to play music, adjust the volume, skip tracks and perform other hands-free actions. You can also answer questions, set timers and alarms and make shopping lists.
According to Apple, HomePod has a modest list of functions at the beginning: you can read the news, traffic and weather, for example, and set reminders. You can also send text messages to someone through Messages. For those with an iPhone, the speaker use Siri as his assistant.
Meanwhile, the Home makes use of the Google Assistant, a sensible assistant that seems to be the next evolution of personal computer assistants.
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The Google Assistant can, like Alexa, perform a series of personal tasks, from playing music and controlling traffic to scanning your calendar for events. The Google Assistant can also answer questions, and this is where it really shines. Google has rated its personal assistant as "conversational." Not only can you answer the questions and provide the appropriate answer, but you can retain that information and answer the follow-up questions.
But, for now, Amazon's Echo with Alexa has many more skills. And although many are not very useful, the smart speaker does more and more things. Even so, by opening the Home to third-party developers, their number of capabilities is already increasing.
Winner (for now): Amazon Echo for smart home control and skills and Google Home to answer questions.
The Echo and Home devices allow you to configure different profiles so you can change users, which is very useful if you and your friends or family have different musical tastes. Both can also differentiate users based on voice. This means that, if you request your daily schedule, the answer will be different from that of your partner.
However, Alexa really outperforms the rest in terms of calendar, since it supports all G Suite calendars, while Google's device still only supports staff. This means that your work events will not be displayed unless you share them with your personal calendar. In terms of language support, both devices support American and British English, although Alexa can also recognize German.
Both Echo and Google Home devices now have the ability to make phone calls. Both Alexa and Google Assistant allow calling any number in the United States, although the sound quality varies depending on the device.
With the Amazon Echo Show and the Spot, which have screens, you can also use the function of direct access to video chat with other users who have the same device. Both Google Assistant and Alexa have functions that allow you to communicate with other devices in your home so that they work as intercoms. And it doesn't seem that HomePod will launch with a call function, but it could send messages.
Winner (for now): tie between Echo and Google Home
Total winner: Amazon Alexa
We consider the Amazon company as the winner. Keep leading the package in terms of compatibility of devices and skills. That said, Google is catching up quickly, announcing several third-party speakers and smart speakers with the integrated Google assistant, as well as a growing number of skills. It is also important to keep in mind that Amazon does not currently have an answer for the Google Home Max of great sound. However, it may be on purpose, as it allows third-party manufacturers to focus on sound, while Amazon continues to improve Alexa's intelligence.
However, it is still too early to know where to fit Apple HomePod with Echo and Home in the market. The device is definitely a great speaker, but it doesn't have the functionality of Alexa and Google Assistant. Although, when the Home started, we said the same. And look how much it has changed in the last year!
* Article updated by Mara Teresa Lopes on July 15, 2019.