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How to Choose the Best Home Assistant For You

Posted on April 26, 2022 in Tech

The world of smart speakers has burst into life since its inception in 2014. Amazon led the world into something different and something new. The Echo was seen as revolutionary and whilst it began life as a speaker that could play music via voice control it soon morphed into something much more complex.

As artificial intelligence tec developed, the capabilities of these speakers rapidly increased. You could do your shopping, you could control your heating, you could turn appliances on or off. Your home had an assistant and you had a new way to complete things around the house thanks to it.

How do you know which one is right for you and your household though?

What is a home assistant?

A home assistant is a device that connects to your broadband at home and carries out tasks, answers questions, or entertains. Working on voice recognition the device picks up your wake word (such as “Hey Google” or “Alexa”) and responds to what you then ask it. The capabilities of these devices are constantly evolving so things it may not have been able to understand yesterday, it may well be able to today.

You can place your weekly shop, set alarms, control your heating, or simply listen to music with a home assistant. It doesn’t end there though as you can request traffic info, get a weather report, or maybe ask it to tell you a joke.

What are the different types of home assistant?

The market for these has grown at an incredible rate over the past few years with several brands claiming a piece of the action. The most popular remain the Amazon Echo and the Google Nest. Available as speakers or visual displays, the different types all have their benefits.

Home assistant compatibility

When looking for a home assistant device, you should consider what other items you may already own. You may have several products within your household that can integrate with smart hubs such as an Amazon Echo or a Google Nest. If for example, you have a home automation device that is compatible with a Google Nest, you want to be able to control the device via your home assistant. Therefore, a Google Nest could be the preferred option.

Decide what you want the home assistant for

Whilst today most home assistant devices do the same thing, some have different strengths to each other. You may want to control the home with it, you may just be wanting to listen to music.  Below are a few of the pros and cons of the main two home assistants:

Amazon Echo with Alexa

Alexa is currently the market leader in the UK smart speakers market and it isn’t a surprise when you consider what it can do. Alexa can pair with almost all 3rd party devices such as lights, thermostats, and your TV. A perfect synergy if looking for a device to control your whole home.

In addition to this Alexa can read you books, keep you up to date with news, and do your food shop. Further to these fantastic assets, Alexa can pick up your voice command from more distance than other home assistants allowing you to request something without having to be in the same room.

However, Alexa can often mishear what you say causing you to find yourself needing to ask again and again to get the right response. Alexa also needs each instruction asked separately. You couldn’t for example, say, “Alexa turn on the lights and turn off the heating” They would have to be separate.

Amazon boast a variety of home assistant devices with the Echo Dot being a small but powerful home speaker, the Echo Show, a home assistant that embraces everything Alexa with the added addition of a high-quality touch screen and the Echo, the original Amazon home assistant device.

Google Nest with Google Assistant

A huge plus of having a Google Nest device is that if you have an android phone, you are already fully aware of how it works. The same way you voice control your smartphone is the same way you control your Google Nest.

With Google being the largest search engine in the world, the ability to answer questions is second to none. The Nest devices can tell you pretty much anything! Compared to Alexa that sounds almost robot-like, the Google devices have also been praised for sounding more human.

Again, thanks to the capabilities of Google itself, you can book tickets, ask for translations, and get accurate directions. Like Alexa, it also helps with household tasks but cannot place your shopping order.

On the downside, despite the vast array of knowledge available on Google, the home assistants do not appear to be as intelligent as the Alexa devices and do not have the same range meaning you will need to be closer to it to get a response. They are fantastic devices but due to the android connection, the same command you use for your home assistant could also trigger your phone or your tablet.

Google has launched several devices since they invested in the home assistant market with the Nest being like the Amazon Echo, the Nest Mini similar to the Echo Dot, and the Nest Hub like the Echo Show.

Which home assistant should you choose?

Overall, it is a tough call. The Amazon range certainly seems to be the most popular.  With its compatibility with so many home appliances, its link to your Amazon account, and its ever-increasing range of skills, it can be hard to look past it.

With the Google devices, you have connectivity with your Google account that is linked to your phone, tablet, and laptop. You also have the resources from the largest search engine around making information easily obtainable.  The screen size of the Echo Show is bigger than the Google Nest Hub allowing you to watch shows in better quality, whilst the sound provided by Google devices can go louder than its Amazon counterparts.

That being said, many say that despite it being louder, its overall sound quality is inferior to the Amazon range.

In conclusion, though, we are going with the range from Amazon, the skills, the home appliances and the shopping options make it a winner for us. Just…..

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