Consumers now have 3 strong choices for voice-controlled devices in their home, so we will give you a taste of each and where their strengths lie. Essentially these devices perform functions that include Voice assistant, i.e. answering questions, instructing smart home devices such as lighting, HVAC, security and controlling music. We will discuss each of those, avoiding the way each device looks as that is a personal preference.

Voice assistant

Amazon Echo has Alexa as the assistant. It is capable of understanding simple commands, or even a series of commands, but they’re less conversational in that you’ll have to engage the full question each time (there’s no follow-on pronoun understanding at present). Alexa updates through the cloud automatically and learns all the time. The more you use the Echo, the more Alexa will adapt to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences.

Google Home will let you ask Google anything, thanks to its Google Assistant AI and can converse (recognize pronouns) and answer complex questions as well. It can also read the relevant part of webpages back to you. Google Assistant on Google Home is the same as Assistant on Android phones.

Apple’s HomePod utilizes the Siri assistant, the very same as in its iPhones, iPads and Mac. In addition to answering your questions, the assistant learns your personal preferences from hundreds of genres and moods, across tens of thousands of playlists from Apple Music. You can send a message, set a timer, play a podcast, check the news, traffic, and weather. Apple’s SiriKit also enables third-party app support.

Smart home

Amazon Echo can respond to your voice commands and control any Alexa-enabled products, such as lights, switches, thermostats, and more. Some products work directly with Alexa and other smart home ecosystems require a compatible hub or “middle man” app, though the Echo Plus device gets rid of the hub or middle man app requirement.

Google Home can be a control centre for your entire home, because it has access to Google Assistant. Not only will this let you do the basics like set alarms and timers and manage to-do lists and shopping lists, but it will also connect to your smart home devices and it includes support for popular network systems. That means you will be able to control smart lights, switches, doors, and more.

Apple HomePod is the hub to control HomeKit-enabled devices, such as turning on Philips Hue lights, without the need for an iPad or Apple TV to act as the hub Still, being a HomeKit device means HomePod can fit into the same roles as the Amazon Echo or Google Home, controlling other devices.


Amazon Echo is a Bluetooth speaker, so it can play music and be controlled from any device that supports Bluetooth audio streaming. By default it will talk to Amazon Music, but other sources, such as Spotify, are controllable. Echo is a single speaker with one 0.6-inch tweeter and one 2.5-inch woofer so the sound is limited. It is possible to link Echo to a more powerful music system.

Google Home is a Wi-Fi speaker that can stream music directly from the cloud. Google Home doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity, so you’ll need to use apps and services with it that support Google Cast. Home features dual side-facing passive radiators in its compact form so sounds plenty loud with fair sound quality.

Apple’s HomePod, which offers AirPlay 2 from your devices, or the ability to stream from cloud music services like Apple Music (Spotify and others are available, just as they are on iPhone). Unfortunately, there is no Bluetooth, but that’s of no issue with AirPlay 2. HomePod is a far larger speaker with a lot more going on inside, including seven tweeters for 360-degree sound output, and a 4-inch woofer to handle bass, therefore producing a much better sound than Echo and Home.

Source: Pocketlint. Apple HomePod vs Google Home vs Amazon Echo: What’s the difference?
Elyse Betters and Dan Grabham | 6 February 2018.

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