Until a few years ago the voice assistants they were just apps inside smartphones (like Siri on iPhone or Google Assistant on Android), now we can use them every day through convenient smart devices that work independently and are able to interact with any other compatible device in the house.
When it comes to smart speakers and assistants for the home two are the best choices: Google Nest (Nest) with Google Assistant or Amazon Echo with Alexa Assistant. These are very similar devices, both in form and in functions, but with an important difference that concerns the ability of the virtual assistant to answer questions and voice commands.
In the following guide we will perform a comparison between Google Nest and Amazon Echo Dot, showing you what are the merits of both and which are the limits, to be fully understood before making a choice between one or the other.
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In this article let’s compare the Google Nest Mini, on sale on the Google website for 60 Euros, andAmazon Echo Dot 4th generation, on sale on Amazon at 34 Euros.
As you can already see from the difference in shape, the Echo Dot certainly has a more solid construction and a more performing audio. Take into account that the more expensive versions of these smart speakers (the Nest Audio and the Amazon Echo Studio respectively) differ only in the fact that their speakers are bigger and the sound is heard much better, but they all have the same intelligence. artificial (Google Assistant and Alexa respectively).
If we want to start in the world of smart speakers, the Nest Mini and Echo Dot models are to be preferred, so as to try how the chosen speaker and the built-in assistant works without spending too much money. Also both devices can be connected to more powerful audio systems, if you really want to hear loud music.
2) Hardware Features
Similar price and also similar hardware features. On the Echo Dot there are seven microphones, we find Bluetooth audio support and a jack audio 3.5mm for connecting external speakers via cable. On the Google Nest, however, there is no Audio Jack and there are only two microphones, while we also find Bluetooth support on it. Both can be connected to both 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and 5GHz Wi-Fi networks, so they can be placed anywhere within range of your home modem.
From the point of view of shape and aesthetics, the “ball” Amazon Echo Dot has a more convincing shape than the classic Nest Mini (shaped like a flattened disc). From the point of view of audio quality, the Echo Dot proves superior, with a 3 ”subwoofer and two built-in 0.8” tweeters.
The main function of a Smart Speaker is certainly to listen to music and both devices offer the possibility of listen to streaming music, by connecting to proprietary services (YouTube for Nest Mini, Amazon Music for Echo).
Amazon Music is free for subscribers to Amazon Prime, with a selection of songs that we can access without limits; to have access to the entire catalog, simply subscribe to a dedicated subscription Amazon Music Unlimited (heavily discounted if used only on Echo.
On Google Nest, on the other hand, music can be listened to for free using YouTube Music. Both Speakers support popular paid services like Spotify Premium and can broadcast music from Italian radios using theapp TuneIn Radio, already integrated in the voice assistants and therefore provided free of charge on all smart speakers.
Both devices can be used as voice dictators of books (which will be read by the assistant) but from this point of view Alexa is clearly ahead since he has his entire Kindle library, the most fully stocked in the world.
To this we also add support for Amazon audiobooks through Audible service, which in fact transforms the speaker into a perfect companion to listen to a book told by very professional voices.
5) Movies and videos
From this point of view the two competitors are equivalent, since Google Nest can control the playback of videos and TV series on Chromecast devices on the network, while Alexa is able to handle Fire TV Stick and the Amazon streaming service.
Here obviously the choice is dictated by which playback device we are using on the TV: if we have a Chromecast it is better to use a Google Nest to send the streaming contents of Netflix or other apps to the TV, while if we have a Fire TV Stick connected to the TV It is definitely worth using an Amazon Echo.
With Fire TV we can too broadcast the TV audio to the speaker e take advantage of the surround sound with multiple speakers together, features very much appreciated by fans of cinema and TV series.
6) Artificial Intelligence: Alexa vs Google
The comparison between the two voice assistants is certainly a challenge to the death that would require a parallel on every possible question to understand who answers more precisely and also who gives the most interesting and valid information. Generally speaking and with the due premise that with software updates and improvements things can change at any time, we can still notice some relevant differences.
Amazon’s Alexa is, at the moment, more flexible and rich in content, with a more conversational and familiar voice, more pleasant to talk to and also nice. The Google assistant, on the other hand, is capable of answering more complex questions because it can search the internet, which is not possible with Alexa.
Google Assistant is able to better understand mixed syntax and more complex requests.
With Google, you can also group commands into a single sentence. With Alexa you have to give one command at a time, waiting for it to respond before giving it another.
One of the best things the speaker can do with Google Assistant is that the information is shared with the Android smartphone and the whole Google world is connected to it. In fact, if you use Google Gmail, the calendar and other apps, they can be integrated into the Google Nest Mini.
Both systems can automate operations based on precise commands, with the Routine (this feature was recently added to Google Nest) that allow you to set a series of actions with a single voice command.
While the Google assistant we can say that he has a general knowledge of being able to do research on the internet is certainly relevant, Alexa has the ability to expand its functions thanks to so-called Skills, which are a bit like platform apps or browser extensions.
In practice they can be installed new skills on Alexa to be able, for example, to find cooking recipes, to listen to the sounds of nature, to listen to Ansa news, for the TV guide and much more. With Skills, Alexa becomes potentially universal in its capabilities.
7) Home automation control
Thanks to the Skills and the ability of the Echo Dot and Alexa to expand, it becomes an almost universal home automation device manager that works to turn light bulbs on and off with your voice, activate and deactivate electrical sockets, control the thermostat, cameras and others. devices of almost every brand.
Google Assistant also supports numerous home automation devices, but the ease with which it is possible to create them on Alexa has actually created a small “monopoly” of Alexa, at least here in Italy. Fortunately, most smart and home automation devices support both voice assistants, so they can adapt to any type of home.
8) Phone calls and messages
In addition to music, a basic function of every Smart Speaker is to be able to make hands-free phone calls. Both voice assistants, Alexa and Google Assistant, have the ability to call other users’ phones for free, either if they also have a Nest or an Echo, or if they have installed the app, respectively, of Alexa or Google Duo.
In addition, the Amazon Echo also allows you to send free voice messages to other Echo users. Alexa then creates a telephone network similar to that of Skype, where calls and messages are free for registered users. There is also an integration between Skype and Amazon Echo, so you can call Skype contacts directly from the speaker.
The Google assistant, on the other hand, can call for free to all smartphones that have the app installed Google Duo
In this synthetic comparison we can see how Amazon’s Alexa is, for the moment, better at managing Smart Nest devices and Skills, while Google Nest is more informed in answering general questions and various curiosities and allows you to integrate the Android smartphone, Gmail and other Google services in a personalized way.
Alexa also allows you to make free phone calls (now Google does it too) and has the audio jack to connect to external speakers without the need for Bluetooth. For these reasons, if you were undecided about which Smart Speaker to take and did not have particular preferences regarding the brand, the Echo Dot would be the one to prefer because it is more promising and more complete in functionality. those who are particularly linked to Google products, on the other hand, may prefer the Google Nest, in order to integrate it with other apps and devices.
Reading our guides dedicated toAmazon Echo with Alexa and al Google Nest we can also discover other useful functions of both assistants, so as to be able to exploit both to their full potential.
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