Connected homes are becoming increasingly popular for everyday tasks and necessities. Automated personal assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home act as a hub for all of your home tech needs. These devices can manage everything from playing music on command, to changing the temperature of the room, to reading you the latest news instantly.
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Ultimately, these new devices save time and make home life much more convenient. But which is the best one for your home? In this quick technology review, we’ll go through the major players in connected home tech and the pros and cons of each, so that you can make a more informed decision on which one is best for you.
The big names in connected home tech
Amazon Echo: Highly compatible with other devices
Amazon Echo is one of the most popular and successful connected home devices. It features “Alexa,” an automated personal assistant that provides information and services through vocal command. One of the best features of Echo is that it’s highly compatible with the latest technology, such as smart thermostats. Some of the services it works with include LIFX, Nest, Samsung SmartThings and Philips Hue.
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It also features some of the best speakers available on the market. The audio quality is especially good for processing the human voice, so Alexa’s responses and podcasts are a much higher quality than competitors. Amazon Echo is also connected to your Amazon account, so shopping becomes a lot easier. Although, depending on your shopping habits, this could either be a good thing or a bad thing!
Google Home: Superior for all things search-related
Google Home is another major player in the world of connected homes and it offers a ton of features and services. Of course, Google has a lot of prior experience working with search functions, voice command and related technologies, so it is a bit ahead of the game in this respect. As a result, it’s generally more customizable than other home assistants. Generally, you’ll get better and more refined searches when using Google Home.
Similar to Amazon’s setup, Google Home is connected to your Google account and this streamlines a lot of your activities for work and play. One cool feature is that it’s able to tell the difference between users’ voices. Although the speaker setup is impressive, as of now it is not the highest quality speaker on the market. However, if you prefer your music with a lot of bass, you’ll be happy with Google Home. Unfortunately, you won’t see as many third party devices that are compatible as they are with a device like Echo.
Apple HomeKit: The most personable voice assistant
Apple HomeKit is one of the newer connected home devices, and it does offer some nice features. As a voice-activated personal assistant, “Siri” is probably the best and most human-like. Although Apple might be late to the game when it comes to connected home devices, they were one of the first to utilize a digital assistant.
HomeKit can also connect to all of your favorite Apple products, which streamlines a lot of your activities. HomeKit is the best out of all three in terms of security and privacy. Currently, there’s not a ton of compatibility with outside services, although it will likely see increased compatibility in the future.
Smart lighting and thermostat functions
Both Alexa and Google Home work well with the latest technology, like Nest, which includes smoke alarms, thermostat function and security monitoring. They’re also both compatible with most light control technology as well, like LIFX and Philips Hue. Apple HomeKit has the least functionality in these respects of all three, but with the release of Apple HomePod in December 2017, there should be some improvements with external technology.
Language and communication capabilities
In terms of their ability to process human language and interact, Echo is probably the least conversational. Although it can complete a lot of interesting tasks, it falls behind in its ability to process complex and human-like interactions. Google Home is a bit more conversational and has a more responsive conversational system, while Siri is best at using everyday language and personalizing the communication experience.
Which connected home device is best for you?
Essentially, Siri is the best choice if you already have a bunch of Apple products you want to connect with and want to continue with their style and natural communication. Google Home is ideal for keeping organized, as it connects to all of your Google accounts, and it provides the best search options by far. Finally, Amazon Echo is best for entertainment and for its variety of abilities; if you plan on doing a lot of shopping and streaming, this is your best bet.
Which connected home devices do you like the most? Let us know in the comments!