Just before Christmas, my husband and I bought a Harman Kardon Invoke speaker with Microsoft’s Cortana. For Christmas, we were given an Amazon Echo Dot with Alexa and a Tp-Link smart plug and thus the comparison began! A few months after that, we got a Google Home Mini.
We are teachers, both in tech, and my husband is an audiophile. He is VERY picky about speaker quality. I am picky about ease of use. As a tech trainer, I look for user-friendly tools to recommend. While we both love music, he definitely notices sound quality.
So, here is our review after a few months of use. Overall, Cortana wins and here is why:
Answers questions most accurately? Cortana. We’ve gotten inaccurate results from Alexa and Google doesn’t seem to be able to use Google since we can find answers on the computer using Google that the Google Home Mini couldn’t answer.
Best speaker sound? Cortana, no contest.
Controls other devices? Alexa and Google Home Mini
Cost? Alexa and Google Home Mini were less expensive than the Invoke.
Set up? All were pretty straight-forward, but we purchased a Google Home Mini for older family members and they had no problem setting it up so I’m going to say that one.
Best Listener? Toss up between Invoke and Google Home Mini. Definitely NOT Alexa. We’ve had to yell loudly to turn it off.
We love how Alexa (Amazon Echo) controls the plug. It was perfect for turning Christmas tree lights on and off without reaching behind the tree. Jeopardy is fun to play. It is nice to have access to Amazon Prime Music.
However, it is NOT nice how often it seems to not be able to answer questions and instead of playing music, at times, it wants a subscription. A former student of mine had a new album. Alexa suggested I subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited. Cortana starts playing the album. (Point for Cortana and check out Jessica Andrea‘s album! Yes, shameless plug, but I was her 2nd grade AND her 5th grade teacher!)
Now for Cortana. Cortana definitely has better sound quality, as it should being larger than the Echo with a speaker in mind. Cortana responds quickly and currently we are using it with iHeartRadio. Answers are more accurate (I use Cortana rather than Siri on my iPad.) Music sounds great.
The downsides? Though it hasn’t done it lately, during the first month or so, if we asked for a song that wasn’t on iHeartRadio, it often suggested we sign up for Spotify. No, we do have a paid Spotify subscription so the “commercial” got a little tiring. We aren’t great fans of iHeartRadio and how it plays live radio, at times, and you cannot skip. It also doesn’t control our plug, YET.
Bottom line? Want good sound quality? Get the Harman Kardon Invoke with Cortana. Want more accurate answers when you ask questions? Invoke with Cortana. Want to control devices in your home? Amazon Echo with Alexa or Google Home Mini.
#Cortana #Alexa #Microsoft #Amazon #Echo #GoogleHomeMini #comparison #prosandcons