Over the past few years, the biggest names in the tech world have introduced a personal assistant designed to help you manage every aspect of your life. Apple’s Siri is the oldest of the lot (created in 2011), but it doesn’t have the edge over other virtual assistants (including Google Now in 2012, Microsoft Cortana in 2014, and Amazon Alexa in 2014) that you might expect.
Alexa, in particular, has let Siri compete for her money over the past three years.
The internet is full of examples of two assistants battling it out in parody videos, ridiculous assignments, and rigorous experiments. Despite all this, there is still no obvious answer as to which is better! One article might quickly name the competition in Siri’s favor, while the next hurls insults at Siri while praising Alexa’s efficiency.
As with most things, the answer to the eternal question «Alexa or Siri?» is likely to depend a lot on your personal needs and opinions. We reviewed the evidence and came up with a head-to-head comparison of the two helpers in the areas that matter most.
Most users find that Siri is better than Alexa at recognizing contextual clues around the questions you ask. For example, you can usually ask a question or issue a command in more than one way. Plus, you can often ask an additional question without forgetting to Siri what your first question was.
Technically, however, Alexa takes the lead. Amazon keeps a log of every command you give Alexa and you can go in and flag commands she misunderstands. This process improves her ability to understand you over time.
In addition, Alexa can be used up to 11 feet from an Amazon device, and anyone in your family can access its features at any time. Conversely, Siri-enabled devices need to be very close to you in order to accurately hear your commands, and you are the only one who can control Siri on your device.
On the other hand, if you use literally any other music player to store or stream your music library, you’ll probably prefer Alexa. With Alexa, you can connect directly to several key music databases, including Spotify, Amazon Prime Music, Pandora, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio.
And that’s not all — with IFTTT, you can essentially connect Alexa to any web music service imaginable. Similar to Siri, you can use voice control to select music and control playback, but you won’t be able to identify songs that are playing on another device.
Around the house
Smart Home connectivity is the main source of competition for these two assistants.
This doesn’t mean that your iOS device can’t connect to Samsung or iHome products — it can use the developer’s app. But if you want to use Siri to connect to a device? It must be compatible with HomeKit.