Amazon’s Echo has been the reigning champ of smart speakers for several years running.
But now Apple has entered the fray with its $US350 HomePod, and fans might be wondering: which is worth buying?
While there are two major reasons to choose HomePod, the Echo still wins out. Here are nine reasons to buy the Amazon Echo instead of Apple’s HomePod:
1. The Echo costs less than a third of the price of HomePod.
With its second generation Echo, Amazon slashed the price by $US80, bringing it down to $US100 – less than one-third the price of the $US350 HomePod. And right now, the Echo is on sale for $US85.
2. There are six different colour options for your Echo.
The first generation Echo only came in two colours – black and white, much like HomePod.
But the second generation offers an option to switch things up. You can buy six different decorative shells for your Echo in a variety of finishes, like walnut and fabric. The shells cost $US20-$US30 and are available for two-day shipping.
3. The Echo is smaller and more lightweight.
The Echo is 5.9 inches tall, 3.5 inches wide, and clocks in at less than two pounds. HomePod isn’t much bigger – 6.8 inches by 5.6 inches – but it is a lot heftier at 5.5 pounds.
4. The Echo works with any smartphone.
As long as your phone is able to download the Amazon Alexa app, you can set up an Echo.
When it comes to HomePod, however, Android users are out of luck – the device requires an iOS device to set it up. HomePod also doesn’t have Bluetooth built in, so it won’t connect to Android phones whatsoever.
5. The Echo works with any music streaming service.
While HomePod can play any streaming service using AirPlay, you’ll lose out on the “smart” functionality and voice commands. You won’t be able to say things like, “Hey Siri, skip this song” unless you’re listening through Apple Music.
Echo, on the other hand, works with virtually any streaming service, including Spotify, Pandora, Sirius XM, and Prime Music. You can control music using your phone, or ask Alexa to do it for you.
6. If you have multiple Echo devices, you can play the same music in every room.
The Echo is capable of multi-room music, which means you can stream one song on several Echo devices, or ask each individual device to play a different song.
HomePod doesn’t support multi-room audio, at least not yet. Apple says that feature is coming with the release of AirPlay 2. If you buy a HomePod now, you’ll most likely get the new functionality through an update later this year.
7. The Echo can recognise your voice.
Unlike HomePod, the Echo is capable of voice recognition. If you live in a household with more than one person, you can create voice profiles for each individual. Then, whenever you talk to Alexa, it can recognise your voice and call you by name.
8. Amazon’s powerful smart assistant, Alexa, is built into the Echo.
At this point, Alexa is capable of tens of thousands of different skills, including meditation sessions, games, trivia, white noise, timers, alarms, and more. It can also look things up for you, read you recipes, check your calendar, and control your smart home.
HomePod has Siri, Apple’s digital assistant. But Siri on HomePod is not the same as Siri on the iPhone – its abilities are limited, so it can’t do things like look something up on the internet or call someone for you.
And Siri, in general, is nowhere near as flexible or as comprehensive as Alexa when it comes to connecting to your various smart-home devices and answering questions.
9. You can ask the Echo to buy things for you.
If you have an Amazon Prime subscription, you’ll be able to buy products using your Echo. Just ask Alexa to order something for you, and the Echo will handle everything else – plus, it will ship for free. Once your order ships, you’ll be able to ask Alexa to track it for you, too.