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HomePod Mini vs. Echo Dot
HomePod has the best audio quality and the Echo works with more smart devices.
We're taking a look at two of the newest smart speakers from Amazon and from Apple: the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) and Apple's brand new HomePod Mini. Both of these devices have a very similar look and excellent speakers. The Echo Dot has better home automation, but Apple fans will love the HomePod Mini.
Amazon.com List Prices (as of 06/21/21 2:10 MST).
The Echo Dot has four physical buttons on the top of the device, and each one is a different shape.. So if it's dark or you're just not looking at the device, you can still feel which button you're pushing.
Apple has gone with a touch display. There are volume up and volume down buttons, and you can tap to play and pause music.
In addition to the controls on the top of the device, you can also use your voice to control both of these devices with their native voice assistant. The Amazon Echo Dot has Alexa, and the Apple HomePod Mini has Siri
When listening for commands, the HomePod is going to glow on the top to let you know that Siri is listening, while the Echo device has a bright blue ring on the bottom that lights up when it’s listening.
Something that you're not going to see on the HomePod Mini is an auxiliary port on the back. This port does, however, come on the Echo Dot. This allows you to plug in an additional speaker or a full-blown sound system to get better audio out of your device.
The HomePod Mini has Apple Music where the Echo dot has Amazon Music. If music is your thing and you are subscribed to either of those music streaming services, we recommend going with the device that is compatible with your service. In addition to their own streaming services, both of these devices work with a lot of the major streaming services like Pandora.
Because the HomePod Mini is a part of the Apple ecosystem, you’ll need an Apple device with iOS to control it.
The HomePod Mini is really easy to control with your iPhone or iPad. Open the Home app and select the HomePod Mini that you want to control. From there, you can select music, control the volume, and even skip tracks, and access other HomePod features.
If either the iPhone or the HomePod Mini is playing music, you can bring the phone closer to the HomePod Mini, and you'll get a notification on the top of your device that says what song is being played. If you tap on that notification, it'll bring up the HomePod Mini settings and features. Or you can transfer music between the phone and the HomePod through AirPlay. These settings work for music, podcasts, or anything else you’re listening to.
The Echo Dot gives you more options for streaming, and that includes Apple Music. Spotify is another big service that works with Amazon devices. It allows you to use voice commands to play your Spotify playlists, and it also lets you use Spotify Connect services. So you can control this device directly through the Spotify app.
If sound quality is a selling point for you, then we would recommend the HomePod Mini. Both devices fill a room nicely with music. Between these two devices, the HomePod Mini had a crisper sound and was a clear winner. With Echo Dot, you have the option to tweak the equalizer settings to dial in your sound preferences. We noticed that at higher volume levels, the Echo Dot was more distorted than the HomePod Mini. Considering the price difference between these two points, we’re actually not that surprised.
Smart home automation
If you value device compatibility, the Echo Dot is the clear winner. Amazon is compatible with over 85,000 devices, which blows Apple's paltry 450+ HomeKit devices out of the water.
If you prioritize privacy, you’ll want to go with the HomePod Mini. Apple’s focus on privacy is a big reason why there are less devices in the Apple HomeKit ecosystem. It is much harder to get a device approved in the Apple ecosystem compared to Amazon, which seems to let anyone in.
Even though Amazon has a lot more devices, it doesn't mean that it's better for you. HomeKit is still compatible with some quality devices. If your devices are on HomeKit, you don’t need to worry about the limited compatibility. But if you haven’t built your smart home yet, you may prefer the ease of Amazon’s ecosystem.
Recap: HomePod Mini vs. Echo Dot
Both the Apple HomePod Mini and the Echo Dot are excellent smart speakers. Consider the automation protocol your smart home uses and which ecosystem works best. If you can go with either protocol, consider the following features:
Price: The Echo Dot is the clear winner here if you’re on a budget. It’s half the price of the HomePod Mini, and it goes on sale frequently. Though the HomePod does offer better quality for the price.
Speakers: The Apple HomePod Mini has the best sound, especially at higher volutions.