High fidelity audio

Apple HomePod

Affordable and flexible

Amazon Echo (4th Gen)

If you're fully invested in Apple's ecosystem, the HomePod is a fantastic smart speaker with superior audio quality. It's designed mostly for music, so if you subscribe to Apple Music, the native integration with that allows you to listen to anything in high fidelity. You can also get access to your Podcasts natively, give Siri commands, and even AirPlay other forms of media to the smart speaker.

$299 at Apple

Pros

  • High-fidelity audio quality
  • Built-in Apple Music integration
  • Compatible with HomeKit
  • Ambient Siri for digital assistant
  • Apple's focus on privacy

Cons

  • No Bluetooth compatibility for playing audio
  • Need to AirPlay other music streaming services
  • Only compatible with Apple devices
  • No Alexa or Google Assistant

Amazon Echo is a highly affordable smart speaker, more so than the HomePod. It has pretty good sound quality with clear highs, dynamic mids, deep bass, and Dolby audio support, and Alexa is a pretty capable digital assistant. However, since this is an Amazon product, it integrates seamlessly with your Amazon account, but Apple services require some tinkering with skills. Also, there may be privacy concerns with Amazon Alexa when compared with Apple.

$100 at Amazon

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Alexa voice commands integrate with your Amazon account
  • Works with Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, etc. with Skills
  • Built-in smart home hub with Zigbee
  • Compatible with iOS and Android

Cons

  • Audio quality is not as good compared to HomePod
  • Apple services are not built-in
  • Privacy concerns

When it comes to Apple HomePod vs Amazon Echo, it depends on which ecosystem you're more into. Apple designed the HomePod to be perfect for audiophiles who truly love their music. The high fidelity audio you get from the HomePod is one of the best on the market, and the smart ambient Siri integration is just icing on the cake, that is, if you prefer to use Siri. However, Amazon's 4th Gen Echo is a good speaker for most people when it comes to all sources of audio, and the built-in smart hub with Zigbee lets you control more smart home devices in the "Works with Alexa" ecosystem.

HomePod vs Amazon Echo: Do you want high-quality music or an all-in-one speaker?

Two white homepods sitting on a television standSource: Rene Ritchie / iMore

The choice between Apple HomePod vs Amazon Echo boils down to what you want in a home speaker. If you are looking for a great smart speaker to play a lot of music on, then you're going to want something with high fidelity sound, and that's the HomePod. For those who aren't audiophiles and just want a decent little smart speaker with a lot of compatibility and features with non-Apple services, then Amazon's 4th generation Echo is the way to go.

Apple HomePod Amazon 4th Gen Echo
Price $299 $100
Digital Assistant Siri Alexa
Audio quality Apple-engineered audio technology and advanced software 3.0" woofer and dual front-firing 0.8" tweeters with Dolby audio
Bluetooth No Yes
Apple Music Built-in Requires Skill
Other music streaming services Through AirPlay only Yes
AirPlay 2 Yes No
Smart Home compatible HomeKit and Home app only "Works with Alexa"
Privacy-focused Yes Yes, according to Amazon
Platform compatibility Apple only iOS and Android

While Apple's HomePod seems mighty expensive (which it is), it is one of the best sounding speakers on the market. This one is definitely built more for audiophiles who choose to use Apple Music, which is built into the HomePod. If you're already invested in the Apple ecosystem, HomePod is great because of the ambient Siri that's integrated. With HomePod, you can ask Siri to do things such as make calls, send messages, add a reminder, set alarms, and timers, turn on your HomeKit-compatible devices, and more.

Apple Music is also a pretty good music streaming service, and it's integrated seamlessly into HomePod. You'll have access to your iCloud Music Library, everything that's streamable on Apple Music, and even access to radio stations like Apple Music radio. Siri will also be able to pretty much pull up anything that you'll feel like listening to without breaking a sweat. However, if you aren't an Apple Music subscriber but still want to use HomePod for music—it's still a viable option. You'll just need to AirPlay your music streaming service from your iOS device to the HomePod instead. It's not as convenient as built-in integration, but it works well.

The HomePod is for people who want a high-fidelity speaker. The Echo is a nifty little speaker with more features.

Siri is a decent digital assistant, but there's always the issue of her misunderstanding what you said. In the past, I've often had issues with Siri not understanding what I want her to do, but Apple made a lot of improvements since I last used it. However, I usually don't have issues with Amazon Alexa, but your mileage may vary here. Both digital assistants are capable of doing the same things, so the one you pick ends up coming down to personal preference and how invested you are into either Apple or Amazon's ecosystem. However, keep in mind that HomePod and Siri will only be able to control your smart home devices only if they're HomeKit compatible, whereas Alexa works with anything that has the "Works with Alexa" tag.

4th Gen Amazon Echo on table with lampSource: Amazon

If you're not a big audiophile but still want an all-around smart speaker that can play some music here and there, then Amazon Echo is for you (and most people). It's a much more mature system with a lot of compatibility with smart home devices (like controlling your smart lights), music streaming services, is highly customizable with hundreds of skills available, and is fully integrated with your Amazon account. The only drawback is that there are some privacy concerns with Alexa that seem to hit the news.

Overall, when it comes down to HomePod vs Amazon Echo, if you are all-in on the Apple ecosystem and need high fidelity audio, then go with the HomePod, that is if you can afford it (look for those rare deals). If you don't care about superior audio quality and want a better smart speaker overall with compatibility with more devices and features, then go with the Amazon Echo.

Our pick

Apple HomePod in White and Black

Apple HomePod

Superior high fidelity audio

The HomePod is the speaker for any music aficionados who use Apple Music and want incredible sound quality. It also has ambient Siri integration, so you can give commands to Siri from anywhere in the room, and she will hear you. You can also use HomePod to control your HomeKit enabled smart devices around the house.

Great overall smart speaker

Amazon Echo 4th Generation Cropped

Amazon Echo (4th gen)

Affordable and functional

The Amazon 4th Generation Echo is a great smart speaker for most people. The audio quality is pretty good (definitely not HomePod-quality but not bad), and it's fully integrated with your Amazon account. You can use Alexa and tell her to play music from a variety of streaming services, including Apple Music and Amazon Music, add items to your shopping list, tell her to turn on your smart home devices, and more. There are hundreds of Skills available to customize Alexa to do what you want.

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