Hey Siri, which smart device is right for me?
Smart voice-controlled speakers are on trend for 2018, with each option looking to increase efficiency and enjoyment in your daily life. There are currently three popular choices dominating the market, but it’s important to understand their difference before making a purchase. Keep reading to determine which smart home speaker to add to your Progress Residential® home.
Size and Color Options: 5.8” high x 3.4” wide, Charcoal, Heather Gray, Oak Finish, Sandstone, Walnut
Features: You can ask Alexa to play music on on your favorite apps, order products on Amazon Prime (a big deal if you are a frequent Prime user), make phone calls and control smart home devices. However, the Echo’s common critique is that there are more specific phrases and syntax you need to use when asking Alexa to do things. There is a long list of “Alexa Skills” that you can familiarize yourself with to get the most out of the Echo: play games, hear recipes, review news headlines, etc.
Customer Review: “I love my Echo. Since I’ve had it, I use it for News, weather, music, and pretty much everything. I really like using the shopping and to do list features (convenient) no more paper. Saves in the Echo app and when I go to the store, I just open the app. I often wake up and forget to turn my TV on for the news because Echo is more convenient. It’s like having my own personal assistant. I like the timing device, comes in handy when I’m exercising and I need to keep time. I do use the alarm clock, just wish there were more wake-up options. When I’m away, I find myself asking Echo for the weather or time only to realize it’s not there. Echo has become my companion.” – LB Jazz Singer, from Hampton, VA
Size and Color Options: 5.62” high x 3.79” wide, White with Gray speaker but interchangeable bases in Coral, Mango, Marine or Violet
Features: Some argue that the Google Assistant is easier to use and understands more phrases than Alexa. Reviews also state that Google Home has better speakers, and therefore, has a better sound than the Echo. The Google assistant, as you’d expect, will allow you to “google” questions and topics, which is always helpful. You can also simply say “Hey Google,” and request to make calls, check what time the grocery store closes, hear what the weather will be like, ask to hear a music playlist and more.
Customer Review: “I own very good Bluetooth speakers (a pair of UE BOOM 1s). The sound may be slightly better on an individual UE BOOM, but the Google Home bass is surprisingly good and in general the sound quality is excellent. That said, you can’t ask a dedicated Bluetooth speaker who the president of Montenegro is, or what the square root of 11 is, or to tell you a joke, or whatever else strikes you while, say, slicing vegetables at the kitchen counter. With Google Home, you say “OK Google”, ask the random question, and you get an answer most of the time. Or you say, “Play the Scorpions’ ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane'” and (assuming you have a Google Play Music, YouTube Red or Spotify Premium account, which I do), a pleasant voice repeats the artist/song title and within a couple of seconds starts cranking it. You can’t tell a standard Bluetooth speaker “OK Google Volume 3” to turn it down, or ask about the weather, or whatever, either. This is a different product category, and a very interesting one. It opens up the vast knowledge of Google on-demand — that’s the real juice.” – Aging Gracelessly, from Denver, CO
Size and Color Options: 6.8” high x 5.6” wide, Space Gray or White
Features: Siri is often recognized as the first smart assistant and Apple users will enjoy being able to use the same type of functionality with the HomePod. The HomePod automatically detects any of your iOS devices. You can do things like make calls, hear your text messages, ask to play any song via Apple Music (also learns the type of music you like) or propose the variety of questions or requests you’d normally ask of Siri.Apple boasts about the A8 chip that is in each HomePod, the same chip as the new iPhones, as well as the custom amplifier and high-excursion woofer that are built-in. The HomePod is also able to automatically detect the acoustics of the room it is placed in and adjust accordingly.
Customer Review: “Despite what the critics (who say the same of every Apple product) say, the HomePod is excellent, and a wonderful addition to the Apple ecosystem. Granted, if you use another ecosystem or a variety of tech from different companies, the HomePod is not for you. But for someone who uses Apple exclusively and wants a killer speaker that works seamlessly with other Apple products, it is a home run! Siri answers anything I ask appropriately, and the sound quality is superb. Other than for music, I love the ease of pairing it to my Apple TV and filling the room with audio when I’m watching movies. Five stars!” – Justin Beckar
Amazon Echo: The Echo is very compatible with other smart home devices. If you have smart lightbulbs, a smart TV, smart door locks and a smart thermostat, you will likely be able to control all of them with the Echo. However, you can’t use competing systems from Google, like Chromecast, with Echo; you can only use the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Google Home:Google reports that there are more than 1,000 smart home devices from 150 brands that the Google Home is compatible with. However, like with the Echo, there are limitations for competing products. For example, you cannot use the Amazon Fire TV Stick with Google Home; you will have to use Google’s Chromecast if you are hoping to control turning on your favorite TV shows with your voice.
Apple HomePod: Apple is stricter about which devices are compatible with the HomePod, so there are far fewer third party products that you will be able to connect to. For example, Nest thermostats are only compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, not Siri. However, you can connect the HomePod to any HomeKit compatible devices (AppleTV, security cameras, light switches, etc.).
Overall, the Amazon Echo and Google Home are very similar in functionality and offer a wide variety of device capability. However, if you’re an Apple fan who is all about the quality of the speakers and how your music sounds, the HomePod is a great fit for you.
Let us know in the comments below if you own one of these devices and what you think of it! And if you’re looking for the perfect home to place your smart home speaker in, click here for the available rental homes in your area from Progress Residential®.