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November 8, 2016

Alexa vs Siri vs Cortana – which personal assistant should you choose?

CBR looks at the best virtual assistants on the market, looking at features, cost and capabilities.

By Hannah Williams

If Gartner’s prediction is right, by 2018 30% of human interaction with technology will be through conversations with smart machines.

Whilst the Internet of Things continues to soar, smart products have surged in the consumer market with virtual assisstants growing in popularity.

CBR compares the Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana to identify which product takes the win as the best digital personal assistant.



The Amazon Alexa, which includes built in far-field voice recognition, provides further resolution voice recognition capabilities than that of Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana.

The use of AVS intelligent cloud service and API includes a new hands-free speech recognition and cloud endpointing feature that automatically detects end-of-user speech in the cloud.

Apple’s Siri shows slightly different features as it is embedded into Apple devices and following consistent updates from changes in iOS.

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The communication between the user and Siri enables the personal assistant to respond to all questions asked. It is even able to do things on the phone without the user having to do anything.

Lastly is Cortana, which is Microsoft’s introduction of its personal digital assistant. Its voice interface features enable users to put it into use when using their smartphone or other devices to control or interact with other connected computing devices.

Cortana is automatically embedded with Microsoft Windows 10.



Amazon Alexa is a smart home device, which is embedded into Amazon’s Echo speaker. It plays music, allows hands-free voice control, controls lights and switches within the house and can also report news of weather, traffic and so on.

Siri, as mentioned previously, is included in the many features of Apple devices, such as the iPhone and iPad. Also being able to report news, such as traffic and weathers makes it a useful assistant. But a more advanced skill that Siri has is its time efficiency, based on traffic Siri is able to inform you of the best time to leave to make a scheduled appointment for example.

As for Cortana, the voice assistant allows users to set reminders, possibly from a Lumia 950 device, which will essentially show up across all of you Windows 10 devices at the right time. This helps in keeping organised.

The function also shows benefits of interacting with your phone as it can also play music, switch on toggle switches and open requested apps- all at the activation of the users voice.



The Amazon Echo weighs 1064 grams, and is 235 mm in height. Making it efficient and suitable to be placed anywhere around the house.

Amazon Echo Dot, the latest version, weighs 163 grams and 32 mm in height. Therefore it is smaller than the Amazon Echo.

It includes a 2.5 inch woofer and 2.0 inch tweeter also.

Apple Siri does not have a particular size, as it is installed from the manufacturing of Apple devices from IPhone 4S. However, it has been predicted that the voice assistant may use up to 30MB of data a month.

Cortana can take up to 26 MB of RAM. For Windows 10, at least 1GB of RAM is needed.



Amazon Echo is available to buy in various UK retail stores, as well as online. There are no necessary devices or software’s needed before being able to make use of the smart home product.

Siri is available on all Apple devices starting from iPhone 4S, being the first device it was introduced to in 2011. The dictation powered by Siri was then added to the third generation of iPad in 2012.

Cortana is available of Microsoft devices, Lumina 950 and 950 XL and all laptops and tablets with Windows 10.



Amazon Echo is sold on Amazon for £149.99. Its prices may vary from other retailers.

Both Siri and Cortana are free with the provided devices. Cortana can be installed on android and iPhone also for free.

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