Amazon Echo vs Lenovo Smart Assistant home speaker comparison: We stack up Lenovo’s new Smart Assistant speaker with Amazon’s Echo, to see which of these voice-activated smart home assistants is best for you.
Amazon appears to have started a revolution in the modern home thanks to its Alexa smart assistant. More specifically, the change has come from the Amazon Echo speaker that uses Alexa to understand your voice commands and carry out tasks on your behalf. It was only a matter of time before other companies started copying and putting out their own smart home speakers.
Alternatives have appeared like Google Home, which uses its own smart artificial intelligence, or Harman Kardon’s Microsoft Cortana toting speaker. But Amazon has actually shared its Alexa AI out and now Lenovo has launched its first Smart Assistant speaker which, as the name suggests, uses Alexa to perform tasks.
So is the Amazon Echo still the best Alexa-toting speaker or is the new Lenovo offering ready to rock it off the top spot? Here’s our full Lenovo Smart Assistant vs Amazon Echo comparison, to tell you everything you need to know.
Lenovo Smart Assistant vs Amazon Echo: Voice recognition and mic quality
When it comes to listening to and carrying out your every command, the Lenovo Smart Assistant appears to be more attentive.
While Amazon’s Echo comes with a whopping seven microphones in its 360-degree array, the Smart Assistant has been equipped with eight microphones. These work in a 6 + 2 arrangement which means they can hear anything up to five metres away, perfectly clearly.
Of course, both the Echo and the Smart Assistant use the Alexa artificial intelligence, so once the hardware has reached its limits, that’s what cleans up the message. Ultimately the Echo is near perfect at hearing and understanding speech from anywhere in the room, but the extra mic-toting Smart Assistant should be at least as good if not better.
Lenovo Smart Assistant vs Amazon Echo: Audio quality
While the Amazon Echo sounds good thanks to its 2.5-inch woofer and 2-inch tweeter, Lenovo has gone even further with its Smart Assistant.
The standard Smart Assistant comes with a 100W woofer and a 5W tweeter, to pump out some impressively powerful audio. But you can also pick up an enhanced version packing Harman Kardon speakers. This model features a 2-inch sound cavity that results in a clearer tweeter and deeper bass, or so says Lenovo.
Lenovo Smart Assistant vs Amazon Echo: Mute and volume control
Lenovo Smart Assistant doesn’t have the Amazon Echo’s mute feature, but it does come packing full volume controls
The always-listening nature of the Echo can be a bit creepy for some people, which is why the addition of a physical mute button on the top was a nice idea. This is also probably pretty handy if you’ve got a real-world mate called Alexa, Alexia or Alex coming over for a visit and you don’t want the speaker chiming into your conversations.
Lenovo sadly opted to leave off the mute button on its Smart Assistant. There’s still a physical button to activate listening for commands, like on the Echo. But Lenovo’s speaker also features physical volume controls for quick adjusting of sound, without the need to pause music for voice interactions.
Lenovo Smart Assistant vs Amazon Echo: AI and features
Both the Echo and Lenovo’s Smart Assistant use Amazon’s Alexa AI for full functionality, so these two devices essentially share the same brain and operating system. That means you get the same voice responses to your commands and you have full access to all of the same systems and features.
So in both cases you can say “Alexa…”, issue your command, and have it carried out. For example, “Alexa, play Rolling Stones on Spotify,” will do just that presuming you have a Spotify account linked up. Or, “Alexa, check my commute,” will feedback on traffic, presuming you have set up your work and home locations from the app.
On both speaker options you can control music, adjust smart lights, change home heating settings, check your commute or the weather, take a memo and much more using IFTTT compatibility. That’s some very smart tech which links up your various smart home products, as discussed in our mighty IFTTT explainer feature.
Lenovo has essentially taken the Alexa smartphone app and skinned it to look like its own. As Alexa grows more efficient through machine learning, that will enhance both speakers for more natural interactivity, wider functionality with third-party apps and more – all for free. Whether that extends to updates of the Lenovo app in time with the Alexa app updates remains to be seen.
Lenovo Smart Assistant vs Amazon Echo: UK price and release date
The base model of the Lenovo Smart Assistant is $130, which is about £105 here in the UK, and comes in light grey, black, green, blue and orange. The Amazon Echo is £150 in the UK and only comes in black.
The more advanced audio setup of the Harman Kardon Smart Assistant puts that price up to $180, which is about £145.
The Amazon Echo is available to buy now, with the Lenovo Smart Assistant due on sale in May.