12 reasons why the Amazon Echo is better than Apple’s HomePod mini

Given the huge choice of smart speakers on the market today, it can be a daunting task to compare their many features and benefits. If you’ve settled on the Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod mini, you’re probably looking for reasons to buy one or the other.

We’ll show you why the Amazon Echo should be your first choice.

1. Amazon regularly offers discounts on the Echo

Apple is notorious for rarely offering discounts on its devices. The company believes that premium pricing reflects a premium product. But if you look beyond this marketing tactic, you’ll find that many competitors perform just as well or even better, such as the Amazon Echo.

While the HomePod mini and the Amazon Echo both normally cost $99, we found that the Echo was discounted a whopping 14 times on Amazon’s website in the past year. On two occasions, notably Black Friday and Prime Day, Amazon lowered prices to $59.99. They also regularly gave discounts of $20-$30.

Meanwhile, you’d be hard pressed to ever find out Apple is discounting the HomePod mini 20 percent, let alone 40 percent.

2. The echo has physical checks

While some may enjoy the HomePod mini’s touch interface, many of us prefer the physical feedback buttons given to us. The controls on the top of the Amazon Echo are self-explanatory: volume up or down, microphone mute, and action button.

Meanwhile, the 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

If you’re looking to buy a HomePod mini, you may need to reconsider your chosen streaming service, 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 this means you can’t use voice control or Spotify Connect when listening to your favorite songs. The Echo offers both features.

4. The echo is compatible with more services

The total number of services that the HomePod mini can integrate with is a far cry from the compatibility of the Echo. The HomePod can currently play natively:

  • Apple Music
  • Apple Podcasts
  • Pandora
  • Deezer
  • TuneIn Radio
  • iHeart radio

The Echo can be linked to any service mentioned above, plus:

  • Spotify
  • Amazon music
  • Tide
  • Sirius XM

And more, depending on your location. The Echo is also linked to TV services, such as Fire TV, Philips Smart TV, and Roku, among many others. Alexa can even add items to list apps like Todoist, Anylist, and Bring! shopping list.

5. No Apple Device Required

To set up the HomePod mini, you need an iPhone or iPad. You cannot go through the installation without an iPhone or iPad. You can technically use a HomePod mini without an Apple device, but it significantly limits how much you can use the HomePod. If your Android device supports AirPlay, you can use it as a smart speaker. But any feature that requires an iOS device is off limits.

With the Echo, all you need is 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 adjust your settings.

6. The Alexa app has more functions than the Home app

But if you do have a smartphone, you probably use the Alexa app (available for iOS and android). Apple has its central Home app, available for iOS, for controlling every device in its ecosystem. But overall, the features pale in comparison to the Alexa app.

For example, within the Alexa app, you can browse third-party skills, set up a Flash briefing, view your conversation history with Alexa, send announcements to your Echo, and more. The Home app does not provide this functionality.

7. The Echo has an AUX input/output and Bluetooth connectivity

The Amazon Echo offers both Bluetooth connectivity and AUX in/out support. With Bluetooth, you can quickly connect a smart device or even another Bluetooth speaker to enjoy music.

Thanks to AUX in/out support, you can connect another wired device to use the Echo as a speaker. You can also route the Echo audio to a larger, wired speaker.

However, the HomePod Mini only supports AirPlay and has no functional Bluetooth connectivity.

8. You can shop with your voice with Alexa

Being an Amazon product, the Echo is linked directly to your Amazon account to enable Alexa Voice Shopping. This means you can add items to your Amazon 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, the HomePod can’t do any kind of voice shopping.

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 there is no platform for developers to release functionality-extending third-party apps on the HomePod mini.

It’s even weirder when you consider that Amazon gave developers that exact ability, leading to the creation of over 100,000 Alexa Skills. These skills range from offering a simple birthday countdown and trivia quiz to complex interactive stories and AI-based translations, while the HomePod has only Apple-designed features.

Check out the 25 Greatest Alexa Skills of All Time to learn about some of these awesome third-party skills.

10. The Echo is Better for Families

Amazon Kids is a free to use service available on all Amazon devices, not just smart speakers. Parents create profiles for their kids through Amazon Kids and can set time limits on when and how long they interact with Alexa. There’s even the option to pause the interaction altogether and block explicit lyrics when listening to music.

The HomePod mini, on the other hand, can block explicit texts and prevent personalized Siri requests, but that’s about it. There is no easy way to set up a child profile or control access, unlike Alexa.

11. Alexa Together and Alexa Guard Can Save Lives

Amazon has led Apple in introducing new features that could be critical to our well-being. Alexa Together is a premium subscription service designed to be used by seniors and their families/carers to provide remote support. It has features such as fall detection, 24/7 urgent response and alerts if your beloved Alexa has not been used for a period of time.

Alexa Guard is free and allows Alexa to send notifications if it detects smoke detectors or breaking glass, and allows you to replay the sound or Drop In to hear what’s happening in real time. With the premium subscription version, Guard Plus, you can call the 24/7 emergency helpline hands-free and be notified of activity around your Echo when you’re not at home.

Both features can potentially be life-saving and are a valuable investment for the well-being of you and your family. The HomePod mini offers nothing that comes close to these capabilities.

12. You can change your wake word

Finally, a minor but frustrating problem with the HomePod mini is that you can’t change the “Hey Siri” activation word. However, you can with an Amazon Echo. You can even change the “Alexa” activation word to Amazon, Computer, Echo, or Ziggy. While it’s not a deal breaker for many people, don’t underestimate how annoying it can be to use a wake word you don’t like.

Amazon Echo surpasses the HomePod mini

Despite Apple’s leadership in the smartphone market, the company is clearly underperforming when it comes to smart speakers. Some reviews say the HomePod mini has better sound than the Echo. While this may be true, the Echo is a standout winner when it comes to features, integrations, and accessibility.

We recommend waiting for one of Amazon’s many sales (especially if Black Friday or Prime Day is just around the corner) to pick up the Amazon Echo at a discount. You will not be disappointed.

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