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.

comprehension

While voice recognition technology improves, most users are painfully aware that it still has a long way to go.

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.

Music

If you exclusively use Apple Music Siri is a great assistant to play music at any time. You can ask Siri to play a specific song, playlist, station, or use any of the playback controls (like «next», «pause», «skip», etc.). Siri can also tell you what song it’s currently playing, as well as detect which songs are playing on other devices.

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.

Siri (using Apple HomeKit to get the most out of it) currently works with the following product systems: Ecobee, Philips, Anova, First Alert OneLink, Canary, Elgato, Lutero, Scalage, Flir, Logi, iDevices, Withings, iGrill, and Chamberlain .

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.

Alexa, on the other hand, is currently compatible with: Samsung, Philips, Wemo, Insteon, Wink, Lutron, Triby, Caseta, Lifx, Haiku, GE, TP-Link, Levitron, iHome, Nest, Ecobee, Sensi, Honeywell, and lyrics. Alexa can also communicate with IFTTT, which can bridge other unsupported smart home devices and systems.

Obviously, some of Alexa’s compatibility (*cough* Nest *cough*) is a huge advantage over Siri. In general, since third-party developers much it’s easier to create Alexa compatible software, you’ll have a much wider selection of gadgets to choose from.

When it comes to your smart home, which assistant is better really depends on the products you already own and plan to buy.

In car

One clear win for Apple? Siri integration in mainstream vehicles via CarPlay.

Solving multiple problems in one, CarPlay Siri integration allows drivers to stay connected while preventing dangerous distractions from sending text messages or operating a mobile phone on the road. Instead, voice commands allow drivers to send texts and make calls while staying safe!

Unfortunately, Alexa cannot go on the road with you. It’s closest is through a third-party auto connected car adapter that’s compatible with an echo device that provides you with information about your car’s condition, gas level, driving history, and location. Turn on Alex’s «Automatic» skill and you can ask her questions like «What’s my fuel level?» And «Where’s my car?»

While Siri can’t answer these questions for you, the rest of Automatic’s features are also available on the iOS/Android apps that seamlessly integrate with IFTTT.

Safety

Security is a huge consideration for smart home owners and should not be taken lightly. Any device connected to the Internet is a security risk. and recent cyberattacks have highlighted the importance of being careful with the products you choose to install.

Apple’s HomeKit system is widely regarded as the most secure smart home system on the market due to its end-to-end encryption and stringent requirements for any compatible devices. However, even if it is more secure than other systems on the market, it is still not perfect.

Siri vs Alex: which personal assistant is better?  august smart lock 670x500

Amazon chose one of the security options to ensure Alexa can’t be used to open smart locks or doors — something that Siri maybe done by entering your PIN or fingerprint.

The closest you can get to this functionality with Alexa is using August’s smart lock. This lock allows you to ask Alex «Is my door locked?» And get an answer. Alexa may not let you change your lock state, but at least she can give you some peace of mind.

Where Alexa shines

One of the biggest benefits for Alexa? She is so funny! A whole world of «skills» that can be applied to Alexa in seconds gives her functionality that Siri can only dream of.

This is where the fun begins. Use Alexa to order a pizza, tell you facts about dogs, or start your workout with a 7-minute workout. Not enough for you? It can also play soothing thunder noises for you, give you warning signs of a heart attack, and access news briefings from various reputable sources.

The freedom for third-party developers to create their own Alexa skills (the exact opposite of Apple’s stance on the subject) creates a world of opportunity for Amazon users. The full list of Alexa’s skills can be found here.

Where Siri shines

Like Alexa, she’s stuck in a top hat on your living room table. Siri? On your Apple Watch, iPad, iPhone or Macbook, she is always there for you. The portability of Siri allows it to become a permanent part of your lifestyle. offering you similar features at work, with friends, and in every room in your home.

It’s also important to note that as long as you use apps in the Apple ecosystem (such as iCal and Apple Music), Siri usually allows you to do much more complex tasks than Alexa. For example, both Siri and Alexa can schedule appointments, but only Siri can then go back and edit that appointment, rescheduling it for another date. Siri is also a much more reliable choice for communicating with others through text messages, email, or social media.

Which assistant is right for you?

As I said at the beginning, there is no «universal» answer to this question.

You’ll probably prefer Siri if… you’re a die-hard Apple that relies heavily on its own iOS apps for day-to-day operations. You are more interested in the «assistant» of the virtual assistant than in cool tricks, and you want to have a voice recognition function throughout the day. Security is very important to you and you already have HomeKit compatible products.

You will probably prefer Alexa if… you care more about cool new concepts than brand loyalty and are always interested in pushing the boundaries of your smart home. You need a universal approach to creating new technologies, and several people in your home are interested in using voice control.

Of course, this market doesn’t stay the same for long, and there are rumors that Apple is hard at work creating a direct competitor for the Amazon Echo.

Siri or Alexa: which virtual assistant comes out ahead? Tell me about your experience in the comments!

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