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Amazon Echo vs. Google Home in a virtual standoff

Amazon Echo vs. Google Home in a virtual standoff

For decades, we have seen science fiction movies in which people talk to computers. Dave spoke to HAL. Michael Knight was assisted by KITT. Captain Picard directed "Computer." The computers were smart, personable, and (usually) did what they were told.

When Amazon’s Echo hit the market two years ago, this dream came true – sort of. The Echo was an affordable, futuristic device that responded to voice commands. You could talk directly to "Alexa," ask her questions, and get immediate responses. The Echo is clearly not full-on artificial intelligence. But this little black cylinder has wowed customers.

Now there's Google Home, a similar device that rivals the Echo in every way. As these high-tech machines vie for dominance, the natural question is: Which one is better? I've tried both Amazon Echo and Google Home, and I can tell you that there are benefits and drawbacks to each.

Here are some highs and lows about both devices. For more details about the two devices, click here for my handy side-by-side feature comparison chart.

Form factor

Both devices were designed to look sleek and sophisticated, like small modernist sculptures. Their simplicity makes them seem appropriate just about anywhere, but they would probably look best on a Swedish shelving unit.

The Amazon Echo is 9.2 inches tall, and it looks like a small black tower with a blue circle that lights up on top. The device has seven microphones, so it easily picks up sound from any direction. It nicely complements the Echo Dot, a separate device that looks like a hockey puck. The Dot is designed to help you deliver voice commands in other locations in your house.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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