Computer Active (UK) - - Reviews -

At the time of writ­ing, Ama­zon’s Echo Dot is the he only di­rect ri­val to the Google oogle Home Mini, but that will change in the run-up to Christ­mas.

Ama­zon is li­cens­ing its s Alexa voice as­sis­tant to other man­u­fac­tur­ers, in­clud­ingng Sony and Sonos, who will buildild ac­cess tto it into their own home speak­ers.

Au­dio qual­ity will be one sell­ing point, along with mi­cro­phone re­cep­tion: Ama­zon’s and Google’s larger units can pick up your voice more re­li­ably from fur­ther away, even with back­ground noise, which avoids hav­ing to re­peat your­self. Ama­zon has re­cently cut the price of its full-size Echo to £90 and in­tro­duced the £140 Echo Plus, which prom­ises even bet­ter sound and sms­martes­marter op­er­a­tion. Google has also aan­nounced a pricier Home Max. We’ll be test­ing them soon.

So far, one dif­fer­ence be­twbe­tween Alexa and Google As­sis­tas­sis­tant is that more third­par­ty­pa­party ser­vices and ac­ces­sories sup­port Alexa, mean­ing it can in­tein­te­grateat a widewider range of ‘smart’ stuff, like con­trol­ling light­bulbs or un­lock­ing your front door.

We’d ex­pect Google to try to catch up, and they’ll both have more com­pe­ti­tion soon. Ap­ple’s Siri will be avail­able in the com­pany’s Home­pod be­fore Christ­mas, but at an ex­pected £349 we can’t see it prov­ing very pop­u­lar. Mi­crosoft’s Cor­tana will also make its de­but in a box de­signed by speaker maker Harman Kar­don.

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