Apple HomePod vs Amazon Echo: Which should you buy?

Two white homepods sitting on a television stand
Two white homepods sitting on a television stand (Image credit: iMore)

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?

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.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Apple HomePodAmazon 4th Gen Echo
Digital AssistantSiriAlexa
Audio qualityApple-engineered audio technology and advanced software3.0" woofer and dual front-firing 0.8" tweeters with Dolby audio
Apple MusicBuilt-inRequires Skill
Other music streaming servicesThrough AirPlay onlyYes
AirPlay 2YesNo
Smart Home compatibleHomeKit and Home app only"Works with Alexa"
Privacy-focusedYesYes, according to Amazon
Platform compatibilityApple onlyiOS 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 lamp

4th Gen Amazon Echo on table with lamp (Image credit: 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.

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.