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 2nd Gen Echo is a decent speaker for all sources of audio, and the more mature "Works with Alexa" ecosystem gives you more control over your smart home devices.
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 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 2nd generation Echo is the way to go.
|Apple HomePod||Amazon 2nd Gen Echo|
|Audio quality||Apple-engineered audio technology and advanced software||360° audio with Dolby|
|Apple Music||Built-in||Requires Skill|
|Other music streaming services||Through AirPlay only||Yes|
|Smart Home compatible||HomeKit||Yes|
|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-in to the HomePod. And if you're already invested in the Apple ecosystem, HomePod is great because of the ambient Siri that's integrated. With HomePod, you can have Siri do things like 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 Beats 1. 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 itself is a decent digital assistant, but there is always the issue where she doesn't understand what you said. In the past, I've often had issues with Siri not understanding what I want her to do, but Apple has made a lot of improvements to Siri since I last used it. However, I often never 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.
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 the 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, 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 (watch for 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.
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
Affordable and functional
The Amazon 2nd Generation Echo is a great smart speaker for most people. The audio quality is fairly decent (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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