The New Personal Assistant
Siri and Alexa are both great examples of the latest in artificial intelligence personal assistants. Sure, when Siri first came out it was a bit of a gimmick. Most of us just asked it stupid questions and tried to stump it. The latest versions of these personal assistants have become quite handy. The two take different approaches though. Since Siri is part of an Apple device you have to purchase an Apple device. The cool thing is, this makes Siri portable. It makes her far more useful in a few ways as you will see. Alexa Is available in the Echo Dot for as little as 49.95 from Amazon. She does stay home, but that makes her useful in other ways. Let’s break down a few categories and show you.
Ease of Use
I am going to give the win to Alexa here. The “hey Siri” function is better with the latest updates, but you still have to be fairly close to the device and she only understands you about 60% of the time. Alexa fails a LOT less and works great from across the room. We speak to ours from 20 feet with no problem. Even when I was editing the video for this post, she kept answering the questions I was asking in the video. She also has far less false alarms than Siri.
Siri wins by default here because of portability. Since Alexa is the stay at home device, she can only give traffic reports and directions. Even though Siri has driven people into lakes in the past, she is pretty good these days.
Siri definitely wins here. With iOs 11 the translation feature is really good. It is also very fast. Alexa uses a “skill” that needs to be opened like an app before you can ask it a question. It makes it cumbersome. That being said, If all you have is Alexa, It is quite helpful.
Alexa Wins hands down here. Apple has the apps to control devices, but you need workarounds to get Siri to recognize them. With Alexa, we can tell Alexa “set the temperature to 75” and our Nest Thermostat just does it. Our Nest Cameras can be controlled and viewed on the Echo Show, the video version of Alexa. (if you have the Ring of Insecurity cameras those work too, we just don’t like them). There are tons of other home automations for Diffusers, lights, air purifiers, and tons of other stuff. It is worth Mentioning that Apple Homepod just came out and can do a lot of this stuff too, however Alexa seems to have a wider range of products available. Apple seems to keep it tighter.
Alexa wins again! Since she is linked to your Amazon account, you can ask her to reorder items from your order history. Since there is a skill for our favorite pizza place, we can just tell Alexa to order pizza for us. There are lots of applications for this. You just have to look through the skills in the Alexa App.
Alexa Wins again! Siri limits you in my opinion because they want you to use Apple Music. Alexa defaults to the free version of Prime Music, but you can also get the subscription, link Sirius XM, Pandora, and others. Even the 49.95 Echo Dot has a line out to the Stereo and is compatible with Bluetooth speakers. Apple’s new Homepod promises to be pretty awesome, but I don’t see it being as flexible with music providers. We will see.
Which One Is Better? Alexa or Siri?
It Depends. Out and about Siri wins. Here navigation and portability make this a given. Around the House though, I have to give it to Alexa. The number of compatible devices is growing every day, and the skill set is growing as well. She understands you better and is better at answering quick questions. Plus, for the price, I don’t know why you don’t have both. I am glad I got one. We will be adding some more home automation soon. Stay tuned.