Okay, before we get on with this article, you must first know what Amazon Alexa is. If you are not already familiar, Amazon Alexa is a voice. Like Siri, the woman who speaks to us on all our iPhones, Alexa is a voice service that answers questions and helps us. Amazon’s website says, “Alexa powers Amazon Echo, and provides skills that enable customers to interact with devices in a more intuitive way. It can play music, answer general questions, set an alarm, and do much more. Alexa is built in the cloud, so it is always getting smarter. The more customers use Alexa, the more she adapts to speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences.”
Alexa sounds pretty cool, but of course, with any great technology, it is expensive at $180. So, let’s look at some alternatives, shall we?
Google Home is every bit as great at Amazon Alexa and Echo. It’s also fifty bucks cheaper, which is easier on all of our wallets. Google Home has an awesome voice recognition tool, and all of the features that Alexa does, such as playing music, setting timers, and setting alarms. Something besides the price that I find preferable about Google Home, is its design. It’s small and blends in with typical home decor. It looks like a decoration you’d place on a coffee table in the living room, whereas Alexa is a somewhat odd looking tube that would not blend in very well. Of course, most of us don’t care much about what our tech looks like as long as it works well, and let me tell you, both Google Home and Alexa are great, it’s just all about the price.
FABRIQ Portable Smart Speaker
FABRIQ is amazing because it can do everything Alexa do, but for a fraction of the price. At only $50, it’s an incredible deal. And guess what? It’s powered by Alexa, so it’s basically the same thing. Honestly, the only downside is the fact that this device is a bit loud, but that’s hardly a price to pay considering how affordable and high-quality FABRIQ is. Also, side note, look how aesthetically pleasing this little speaker is. You can choose from different appearance options as well, to really put your own personality into it.
Samsung SmartThings Hub, 2nd Generation
Samsung SmartThings Hub, like Google Home and Amazon Echo, is a smart home hub. It uses Amazon Alexa, much like other devices on this list, and has many great features. Connect all kinds of devices to it, and soon enough, you’ll have a smart home. The price is great, at only $99. I think it’s a fantastic alternative to Amazon Alexa, and you don’t even have to say goodbye to Alexa, as it’s a part of this device.
Amazon Echo Dot
As you can probably tell by the name, this device is a smaller version of Amazon Echo. It has many of the same features. It can control your home in many ways, such as controlling lights, doors, locks, and sprinklers. It will also stream music, Audible files, and you can set alarms. It has everything you could need from a smart home device, for an affordable price of $50.
Sonos Play:1 is not a smart home device. It won’t control nearly every aspect of your home like some other services, but it can stream music, and that’s about it. If that’s all you want or need, than this is a great option. It will stream Spotify, Pandora, and almost any online radio station. This basic device is a neat little tool that will be useful for any radio or music lover. Sono Play:1 seems a bit expensive to me, as it is about $120, and for something that doesn’t have many of the features as other devices, it’s up to you whether or not you’re willing to spend the money.
JAM Portable Speaker
JAM is comparable to Amazon’s Echo Dot, but it’s even more affordable. For anyone who likes affordability, this is a fantastic option.
LG Hub Robot
This thing is seriously adorable, but it’s not for sale. At least, not yet. It uses Alexa, and it has facial recognition as well as voice recognition. I wish it was actually on sale, because it’s a great looking little device, but there’s a chance it might not actually ever be for sale. It’s in the prototype stage right now, so let’s hope it continues, because I can see the LG Hub Robot being very successful someday.
Mycroft is open-source, which means that it can be added to over time by anyone. It’s built upon Raspberry Pi and Arduino, rather than using hardware like Alexa to power it. Something cool about Mycroft, is that it will integrate with other Smart Home devices, if you own any. Since Mycroft is open-source, its abilities will likely increase over time, as people develop it and eventually perfect it. I love this aspect of Mycroft, and for me, that makes it one of the most desirable devices on the list, even if it’s not one of the cheapest, considering its relatively steep price.
Lenovo Smart Assistant
Lenovo Smart Assistant is extremely similar to Amazon Echo. It even looks the same, with many of the same features. One of the ways in which is outperforms Echo, however, is its better quality sound.
Triby Smart Speaker
To me, this device screams cute, which may or may not be your style depending on who you are. Even its name sounds cute, not to mention its design. But, with all that aside, Triby is a solid device. It can be used as a portable Bluetooth speaker and it can be mounted on your refrigerator and if you download the app to go along with it, Triby has many more features.