With the huge selection of smart speakers on the market today, comparing their many features and benefits can be a daunting task. If you’ve settled on Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod mini, then you’re probably looking for reasons to buy one or the other.
We’ll show you why Amazon Echo should be your best bet.
1. Amazon often offers discounts on echoes.
Apple is notorious for rarely offering discounts on its devices. The company believes that premium prices reflect a premium product. But if you don’t pay attention to these marketing tactics, you’ll find that many competitors perform just as well or even better, like Amazon Echo.
While the HomePod mini and Amazon Echo typically sell for $99, we found that the Echo was discounted on the Amazon website as many as 14 times last year. On two occasions, notably Black Friday and Prime Day, Amazon dropped prices to $59.99. They also regularly gave discounts of $20-$30.
Meanwhile, you’re unlikely to ever find an Apple discounting the HomePod mini by 20 percent, let alone 40 percent.
2. Echo has physical control
While some may like the HomePod mini’s touch interface, many of us prefer the physical feedback buttons. The controls at the top of the Amazon Echo speak for themselves: volume up or down, microphone mute, and an action button.
Meanwhile, HomePod mini requires multiple taps and long presses for certain functions, which can be incredibly frustrating if you’re trying to control your smart speaker at night.
3. You can control Spotify with your voice
You may need to rethink your streaming service of choice if you’re looking to buy a HomePod mini, as Spotify, the world’s most popular music streaming platform, is largely incompatible. Instead, Apple prefers that you use Apple Music.
You can play Spotify via AirPlay, but that means you can’t use voice control or Spotify Connect while listening to your favorite songs. Echo offers both of these features.
4. Echo is compatible with more services
The total number of services HomePod mini integrates with is far from Echo compatible. HomePod can currently play:
- Apple Music
- Apple Podcasts
- Tune in to the radio
- iHeart Radio
Echo can communicate with all of the above services, plus:
- Amazonian music
- high tide
- Sirius XM
And much more, depending on your location. Echo also connects to TV services such as Fire TV, Philips Smart TV and Roku, among many others. Alexa can even add items to the list of apps like Todoist, Anylist, and Bring! Shopping list.
5. No Apple device required
To set up HomePod mini, you’ll need an iPhone or iPad – you can’t complete the setup without them. Technically, you can use HomePod mini without an Apple device, but this severely limits how you can use HomePod. If your Android device supports AirPlay, you can use it as a smart speaker. But any feature that requires an iOS device will not be available.
With Echo, you only need an internet connection and an Amazon account to use Alexa. Even if you don’t have a smartphone, you can use the Alexa web app to customize settings.
6. The Alexa app has more features than the Home app
But if you have a smartphone, you’ll probably use the Alexa app (available for iOS and Android). Apple has a central Home app available for iOS to control every device in its ecosystem. But overall, its features pale in comparison to the Alexa app.
For example, in the Alexa app, you can view third-party skills, set up Flash Briefing, view your Alexa conversation history, send announcements to your Echo, and more. The Home app does not offer any of these features.
7. Echo has AUX input/output and Bluetooth connectivity.
Amazon Echo supports both Bluetooth and AUX input/output. With Bluetooth, you can quickly connect your smart device or even another Bluetooth speaker to listen to music.
With AUX input/output support, you can connect another wired device to use the Echo as a speaker. You can also feed the Echo sound to a larger wired speaker.
However, HomePod Mini only supports AirPlay and does not have a functional Bluetooth connection.
8. You can shop with your voice using Alexa
As an Amazon product, Echo links directly to your Amazon account to enable Alexa Voice Shopping. This means you can add items to your Amazon shopping cart and checkout using just your voice. Once your order has shipped, you can even track your orders and receive delivery notifications via Alexa.
Unfortunately, HomePod cannot make any voice purchases.
9. Alexa Supports Third Party Skills
Part of what led Apple to become the tech titan it is today was the creation of the App Store, which launched just a year after the first iPhone. It seems strange, then, that developers don’t have a platform to release third-party apps that add functionality to the HomePod mini.
It’s even more bizarre when you consider that Amazon gave developers exactly this ability, resulting in over 100,000 Alexa Skills. These skills range from a simple birthday countdown and quiz to complex interactive stories and AI-based translations, while the HomePod only has Apple-designed features.
To learn more about some of these amazing third-party skills, take a look at the Top 25 Alexa Skills of All Time.
10. Echo is better for families
Amazon Kids is a free service available on all Amazon devices, not just smart speakers. Parents create profiles for their children through Amazon Kids and can set time limits for when and for how long they interact with Alexa. There is even an option to completely pause interaction and block explicit texts while listening to music.
In contrast, HomePod mini can block explicit lyrics and prevent personalized Siri prompts, but that’s about it. There is no easy way to set up a child’s profile or control access, unlike Alexa.
11. Alexa Together and Alexa Guard can save lives
Amazon has been ahead of Apple by introducing new features that could be critical to our well-being. Alexa Together is a premium subscription service designed for use by seniors and their families/carers to provide support from a distance. It has features like fall detection, 24/7 urgent response, and alerts if your loved one hasn’t used Alexa at a certain time.
Alexa Guard is free and allows Alexa to send notifications if it detects smoke detectors or broken glass, and allows you to play a sound or drop in to hear what’s happening in real time. The premium version of the Guard Plus subscription allows you to call the 24/7 emergency service hands-free and will notify you of activity around your Echo when you are not at home.
Both of these features can be potentially life-saving and a worthwhile investment for your well-being and that of your family. HomePod mini doesn’t offer anything like these features.
12. You can change your wake up word
Finally, a small but annoying problem with HomePod mini is that you can’t change the wake word from “Hey Siri”. However, you can with Amazon Echo. In fact, you can change the Alexa wake up word to Amazon, Computer, Echo, or Ziggy. While this isn’t a big deal for many people, don’t underestimate how annoying it can be to use a wake-up word that you don’t like.
Amazon Echo outshines HomePod mini
Despite Apple’s leadership in the smartphone market, the company is clearly lagging behind in the line of smart speakers. Some reviews say the HomePod mini has better sound than the Echo. While that may be true, the Echo is a standout winner when it comes to features, integration, and accessibility.
We recommend waiting for one of Amazon’s many sales (especially if Black Friday or Prime Day is around the corner) to grab a discounted Amazon Echo. You won’t be disappointed.