The competition for the best smart home system is a very heated one. With the three major players—Apple, Amazon, and Google—fielding strong contenders, deciding which smart home system is best or you can be tough
Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit are all solid options for people in need of a smart home hub to automate their homes. But which is the best bet when searching for an all-around reliable smart home system? Let's take a look.
Amazon Alexa is by far the most popular and widely used smart home technology. It has held on to this status for several years, and rightly so. One of its most significant selling points as a smart home system is its options of budget smart speakers.
Smart speakers do the job of a smart home hub. They serve as the nerve center for your smart home automation. Smart speakers anchor your smart device ecosystem, enabling your smart devices from different manufacturers to connect and interact with each other.
You'll be hard-pressed to find a smart speaker that offers as much functionality as Amazon's line of Echo speakers.
Voice assistants are an integral part of what makes a smart home system exciting to use. The technology is the brains of a smart home ecosystem. How smart your home can get hinges on the ability of the voice assistant that runs it. Fortunately, Alexa is quite smart.
In terms of a sheer number of skills, Alexa posts great numbers. According to Statista, Alexa boasts more than 100,000 unique skills. Skills are third-party creations that extend Alexa's functionality.MAKEUSEOF VIDEO OF THE DAY
In terms of personalization, Alexa offers a lot of options. It can be trained to recognize up to 10 different voices. This ensures that each user accessing an Alexa unit gets a uniquely tuned smart home experience.
Alexa can also recognize dozens of languages. However, its language coverage is poor when weighed against Siri and Google Assistant.
In terms of online shopping, Alexa offers the most seamless shopping experience. If you fancy shopping from a voice assistant, Alexa is by far your best bet. Alexa also performs considerably well in music and entertainment, with access to dozens of music and video streaming platforms.
Alexa's popularity as a smart home hub is partly propelled by its wide-reaching compatibility. A Statista report shows that Alexa is compatible with around 60,000 smart home devices.
Thanks to Amazon's aggressive collaboration with smart gadget manufacturers, most popular smart home gadgets are compatible with Alexa.
Related: The Best Amazon Alexa-Compatible Gadgets You Can Buy
Google Home is the second most used smart home ecosystem. Although Google Home is relatively young, it's rapidly closing in—and in some areas—eclipsing Amazon Alexa's lead as the preferred smart home system.
Budget smart speakers are at the heart of Google's fight for dominance as the best smart home system. With smart speakers like the Nest Mini and Home Mini, Google keeps the entry barrier for adopting the Google Home ecosystem as low as possible.
With the budget options, you might not get the best in bass and sound quality, but it isn't any less smart. Google's Home ecosystem is backed by a vast array of Google-branded smart devices. The company's open-door policy towards collaboration leaves room for exciting possibilities within your smart home.
Google Assistant is the voice assistant at the center of any Google home ecosystem. Its accuracy and efficiency are symbolic of Google's progress in the field of AI over the years.
One of the drawbacks of using a voice assistant is challenges with language, dialect, and accent. Google Assistant beats both Alexa and Siri in all three metrics. It supports more than 40 languages and several dialects for some of those languages.
It also has a decent ability to deal with commands issued with accents. If you are not a native speaker of any of the supported languages, you'll find Google Home's voice assistant to be more accommodating.
While Alexa and Siri are catching up on this metric, Google's enormous investment in Natural Language Processing means it will likely be ahead of the pack for a few more years.
Also, Google Assistant gives you access to more than 1 million Google Assistant actions (the equivalent of Alexa skills), dwarfing all its competitors put together. However, some of these actions aren't very flattering.
In terms of the ability to understand and answer questions correctly, Google Assistant also leads the pack. In a test conducted by Loup Ventures an investment analysis firm, Google Assistant scored 92.9%, Siri scored 83.1%, and Alexa, 79.8% in questions answered correctly. Our in-house test (using a different questioning line) pitting Alexa against Siri and Google Assistant saw Google Assistant emerge second-best performer.
Google Home's ecosystem trails Alexa in the number of supported devices. However, with support for products from over 5,500 brands, the limitation isn't too concerning. According to Statista, Google Assistant is compatible with more than 50,000 devices made by thousands of manufacturers globally.
Apple's HomeKit offers a secure and privacy-conscious smart home ecosystem. It is the least popular of the three leading smart home ecosystems, but that doesn't make it any less useful.
Apple's HomeKit tilts towards a direction different from what Alexa and Google Home ecosystems offer. It is less concerned with countertop supremacy and wide coverage and more focused on security and reliability. As a result, the HomeKit ecosystem is somewhat limited, reminiscent of Apple's traditional closed-door policy towards innovation.
Apple's signature attention to detail is evident in Siri, but the voice assistant is plagued by a slow pace of innovation.
Only Google Assistant beats Siri when it comes to understanding and responding to queries. Even at that, it's a close race, with Google Assistant enjoying only a slight edge. Don't expect much in terms of sense of humor from Google Assistant or Alexa. For that, you should turn to Apple's humorous Siri.
Apple's closed-garden attitude to partnership strips Siri of the benefits that come with cross-brand collaborations that Google Home and Alexa enjoy.
Siri weighs poorly in the online shopping experience. Shopping features on Siri aren't well defined. In terms of music and entertainment experience, Siri prioritizes Apple's in-house entertainment channels and cuts off most other options.
Although Siri is a robust voice assistant, it doesn't exactly meet the standards we've come to expect from Apple products. However, it gets most of the basic jobs done efficiently.
Apple's HomeKit is quite picky in terms of device compatibility. It is the poorest of the trio with support for around 450 smart devices in contrast to Alexa's and Google Home's thousands. However, HomeKit supports some popular smart home devices you'll most likely need.
Of the three contenders, Alexa posts good results in some of the most important metrics. Alexa wins in countertop dominance and compatibility with other smart home devices. Google Home's voice assistant is the smartest of the trio. Apple HomeKit leads in security and privacy. Both Google Home and Alexa win the price wars, but the three smart speakers are in a very close race in terms of hardware quality.
However, in terms of future outlook, the playing ground is likely to be more level. Google Home is backed by Google's massive arsenal of AI technologies and experts. Apple also has vast experience in hardware manufacturing and AI. This leaves Amazon, who, despite having had a head start, is rapidly being chased down.7 Smart Home Starter Kits That Are Worth the Money Read NextShareTweetShareEmail Related TopicsAbout The AuthorMaxwell Timothy(27 Articles Published)
Hi, I'm Max. I'm very psyched about the Metaverse, Android OS and Big Tech. Loves Game of Thrones, Pizza and tech podcastsMoreFrom Maxwell Timothy
Join our newsletter for tech tips, reviews, free ebooks, and exclusive deals!Click here to subscribe