Though there is a huge difference in the price and target audience of the two smart speakers, it still makes sense to compare Apple Homepod 2 vs Alexa Echo Gen 4.
Jan 2023 came as a surprise for Apple fans, as the company revived the HomePod with the HomePod 2, a refined version of its original smart speaker. While the original HomePod (released back in Feb 2018) was popular among Apple devotees, it failed to make much of a splash in the smart speaker market.
The HomePod 2 is designed to be more powerful and versatile than its predecessor, offering improved sound quality and plenty of smart features. However, Apple has made little changes to the overall look and feel of its flagship home speakers.
This could be considered Apple’s first whole-hearted attempt to penetrate the smart speakers market and is an essential link in its grand vision of an interlinked ecosystem of devices.
However, the top spot in this particular market is not up for grabs without challenge. Here, Amazon Alexa Echo devices, with their long-term presence and consistently updated features, have been reigning supreme for some time now. The latest addition to the Alexa Echo lineup is the 4th generation.
This Apple Homepod 2 vs Alexa Echo 4 comparison is pertinent to anyone considering their next purchase of a smart home speaker, and sitting on the fence.
Disclaimer: This comparison will be updated as soon as we get hands-on experience with the Homepod 2.
General Comparison Table:
|Apple HomePod 2||Alexa Echo Gen 4|
|Pricing||Around $300||Around $100|
|Dimensions||6.6 inches tall, 5.6 inches Wide||5.2 inches tall and 5.7 inches wide|
|Weight||5.16 pounds (2.3 kg)||1 kg|
|Woofer||4-inch high-excursion woofer||single 76mm neodymium woofer.|
|Speakers||5-array horn-loaded tweeters||two 20mm tweeters|
|Spatial Audio Dolby Atmos||Yes||Yes|
|Stereo pairing (only w/ same speaker and gen)||Yes||Yes|
|Real-time tuning||Advanced computational audio with system sensing for real-time tuning||No|
|Auto bass correction||Yes||No|
|Voice Assistant||Yes (HomeKit + Siri)||Yes (Alexa)|
|Connectivity||Wifi: 802.11n, Bluetooth 5.0||Wifi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth BLE|
|Chip||S7||AZ1 Neural Edge|
|Temperature and humidity sensor||Yes||Only Temperature Sensor|
Price & Availability:
Amazon Echo 4 is first and foremost a voice assistant, and as such, it is available at a much lower price than the HomePod 2. The Echo 4 retails for around $99.99, compared to the HomePod 2’s $300 price tag.
Apple’s main focus is on the audio quality of its HomePod 2 and features like spatial audio, real-time sensing, and deeper integration with other Apple products. These speakers are positioned to get you a home theater-like sound quality experience. These features if delivered as promised are worth the hefty price, but it will require a bit more out of your wallet.
As far as the availability is concerned, Apple Homepod 2 would not be available until Feb 2023. You can preorder the speakers right now, but the shipment will start on Feb 3. The Echo 4, on the other hand, is available to purchase online at Amazon.
Keep in mind that Amazon Echo and the latest Echo Dot devices are lookalikes but the former offers more features, and cost almost double. Here we are discussing the larger sibling.
Winner: Amazon Alexa Echo 4
Design & Build Quality:
Apple Homepod 2 comes with a classic Apple design that is meant to blend into your home interior. A cylindrical shape with fabric mesh covering the speaker, and a capacitive surface on the top with a backlight to add a touch of style.
The 360-degree design ensures that the sound waves travel in all directions. To give you a general idea of the size, let’s take into account the dimensions and weight. The smart speaker measures 6.6 inches tall and 5.6 inches in diameter, and weighs around 2.3 kg.
On the other hand, Echo Gen 4 has an orb-like design, measures 5.2 inches tall and 5.7 inches wide, and weighs around 1 kg. This design concept resembles Homepod Mini.
You can use the four buttons on top of the Echo Gen 4 to control volume, skip songs and wake up Alexa. But unlike HomePod 2, you don’t get any touch-sensitive control.
The light ring at the base can change colors based on the commands you give to Alexa. Whereas, the speaker itself is available in black, blue, or white colors. Apple offers only two choices: White and Midnight.
No offense to the Echo Gen 4, but the HomePod 2 has a more sophisticated design and could blend better into your home decor.
Winner: Homepod Mini 2
While we have to wait until Feb 2023 to hear the HomePod 2’s sound quality, we can safely assume that it will deliver top-notch audio performance.
Comparing the hardware specs of the two speakers further pushes us towards HomePod 2. It comes with an array of 5 horn-loaded tweeters and a single 4-inch high-excursion woofer. Additionally, it supports spatial audio and Dolby Atmos for immersive sound. Amazon Echo offers two 20mm tweeters and a single 76mm neodymium woofer.
Amazon Echo 4th generation as tested in multiple audio tests seems to offer decent sound quality, but it still falls short in comparison to even the original Homepod. All the latest Homepod 2 has to do is to reinstate its performance and keep the promise of better sound quality.
Winner: Homepod Mini 2
HomePod 2 is integrated with Siri, and of course, the Echo Gen 4 comes with Alexa. On both devices, you can summon the respective assistants with a voice command to do various tasks like playing music, creating reminders, or setting alarms.
However, third-party Alexa skills are much more robust than Siri, and the overall library of compatible devices and services is much bigger.
The premium Apple demands are well justified by the bells and whistles that come with HomePod 2. Spatial audio and advanced real-time sensing are two such features that set it apart from its competitors.
Whereas the new temperature and humidity sensors allow the device to monitor the environment and inform the user of any hazard. These speakers can detect smoke and carbon monoxide as well as subtle noises thanks to their sophisticated array of mics.
Amazon Alexa Guard is also capable of detecting the same sounds and in fact the pioneer of this feature. Whereas you will also find a temperature sensor on Echo Gen 4, but the device cannot track humidity.
Both Amazon Echo and Apple’s Homepod 2 now support ‘Matter’ which will allow them to connect with other compatible smart home devices in the future for greater convenience.
Winner: Apple Homepod 2
The price difference between the Apple HomePod 2 and Echo Gen 4 may not help in making a decision, as it is so large to make a fair comparison.
The HomePod 2 is more expensive than Echo Gen 4 because of its superior audio and hardware specs, coupled with advanced features like spatial audio, room sensing, and far-field detection.
On the other hand, Echo Gen 4 has an affordable price tag and a handful of third-party integrations that could be useful. If we take sound quality out of the equation, then Echo Gen 4 is a more sensible choice as it offers a lot of similar features at a lower price.