Google and Amazon are launching rival gadgets which let you control your smart gadgets with just your voice. Both are wireless speakers, but double up as smart home hubs compatible with devices ranging from smart locks to smart thermostats.
Linking into either Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, the smart home hubs can answer your questions and carry out your commands – even if they’re across the room. Both promise great sound quality as speakers too.
Amazon Echo costs £149.99 and has just launched. Google Home will be available in early October and is expected to sell for around £100.
Not sure if it’s worth making your home a smart one? We’ve weighed up the pros and cons of going smart, and taken an expert look at the different types of smart home systems available.
To see what best suits your lifestyle, home and budget take a look at our smart home products and systems guide.
Amazon Echo and Alexa
Amazon Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service – Amazon’s answer to Apple’s Siri assistant – so you can ask it to do your bidding. Connect it to smart lights, switches, thermostats and locks and you can then switch them on or off through Amazon Echo. You can also connect devices in groups to control them together.
Hive, Honeywell, Netatmo, Tado and Philips Hue devices are among the brands compatible with Amazon Echo. The wireless speaker lets you listen to Amazon’s music services plus it is Bluetooth enabled so you can stream music from other elsewhere such as iTunes from your phone or tablet.
Google Home is also a smart voice-enabled wireless speaker which doubles up as a control centre for your whole home. Using Google Assistant, you can set alarms and timers and control compatible smart home gadgets using voice commands.
Google’s own Nest products, including its smart thermostat, will be compatible with Google Home, as well as any other devices that work with Google Cast. The speakers can stream music directly from the cloud or from your Android or iOS using Google Cast.
If you’d like to make your home smarter, Which? has reviewed smart tech products including Netatmo, Tado and Hive smart thermostats, lighting controls and smart home hubs to help you pick the best.
Smart gadgets are meant to make your like simpler and could help you save money, for example by letting you switch your heating on or off remotely or showing you how much heating you’re using. Our tests found models that are a doddle to set up with simple settings, but also a smart thermostat with few, tricky to use features.
- Read reviews of Samsung, Panasonic and Swann smart home hubs
- Find out about Netatmo, Hive and Tado smart thermostats
- We explain the Internet of Things