In late November of last year, Amazon launched multiple new Echo devices strengthening the already solid bench.
Whether you’re looking for a simple smart speaker, a smart display for added visuals, or a means of taking digital assistant Alexa everywhere, we’ve got you covered today.
We’ll be highlighting our personal favorites from the Echo line so you can see at a glance which makes the most sense for you.
Without further ado, then, we’ll dive headlong into the cream of Amazon’s Echo range.
5 Best Amazon Echo Devices
We’ll get directly down to business with our reviews. After presenting 5 of the best choices on the market for your home and garden, we’ll walk you through how to focus on getting the most appropriate tool for your needs.
One of the unfortunate things about the majority of smart speakers – and Amazon’s line are no exception – is the fact that audio is often lacking. While it might seem crazy for a smart speaker to disappoint as a speaker, think about their intended use and it makes more sense. Most consumers buy smart speakers and smart displays as a method of voice controlling smart devices so audio understandably takes a hit.
But, at least Amazon has made significant improvements to the Echo in terms of sound. You’ll get a robust and punchy soundscape with heavy bass and lively higher frequencies.
As far as that smart home control goes, you won’t get the Zigbee hub onboard as you do with Echo Plus and Echo Show. You’ll nevertheless be able to take charge of all your compatible connected tech with voice commands.
If you want a cost-effective entry-point to Alexa, the original Echo is more powerful and attractive than ever before.
- Uprated premium speakers for immersive sound
- Highly customizable sound and deceptively powerful
- Alexa baked in for hands-free smart home control and entertainment
- Functions like an intercom allowing you to drop in on other Echo devices
- New layers of privacy built in so turn the mic off when you don’t want Alexa listening
- No Zigbee home hub onboard
So, smart home control is front and center but what else can you do with Echo Plus? Well, you’ll enjoy the same hands-free navigation when it comes to your entertainment. Ask Alexa to stream all your favorite music without lifting a finger.
Sound is punchy and powerful, too. Although now trumped by Echo Studio and not capable of such room-filling sound as Google Home Max, Echo Plus is nevertheless a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
You’ll also be able to use Alexa’s many skills for everything from help organizing your day to ordering an Uber or some pizza.
- Multiple bundles including sensors, smart bulbs, night light, and smart plug
- Integrated Zigbee home hub so save on buying a third-party hub for your connected home
- Pair Echo devices for true stereo sound
- Soundscape is well represented across all frequencies
- Voice control your music from all the major streaming platforms
- Reasonably costly compared to the opposition
With no less than 5 speakers shoehorned inside the fairly compact unit, you’ll enjoy your music at its best. Bass thumps, the mids and highs are well represented and you’ll also benefit from Dolby Atmos for added realism.
As you’d expect, Alexa is on hand to help you in all the usual ways. Joining Echo Plus and Echo Show, Echo Studio packs a Zigbee radio. This turns the device into a de facto home hub and saves you needing to buy a third-party gateway.
For all the advantages of hands-free smart home control and a soundstage you’ll adore, give Echo Studio a shot and you won’t look back.
- Echo’s best sound quality yet with expansive, room-filling audio
- 5 speakers crammed into the housing
- Navigate up to 50 million songs using voice commands
- Reasonably small footprint considering such a soundscape
- Smart home hub baked in with Zigbee radio
- You’ll need to crank Echo Studio up to higher volume to benefit fully
While that larger screen has won Echo Show legions of new fans, Amazon realized a market still exists for a slightly smaller display, hence Echo Show 8 with its 8-inch HD screen ideal for all your music videos.
This device is a neat digital art frame, too. Rack up your Amazon Photos and make sure you never need to stare at a dull, blank screen again. Liven up your décor with some ever-changing artwork.
As with all Echo devices, you’ll enjoy Alexa onboard and hands-free control of multiple applications.
- All of Alexa’s many smarts with the inbuilt kicker of an 8-inch HD display
- Manage your smart devices hands-free and control them with voice commands
- Makes a superb digital art frame using your Amazon Photos
- Outstanding kitchen companion with multiple uses cases as a cooking aid
- Mute mic when you want some privacy and block camera with physical shutter
- Screen is too small for more than music videos or movie previews
The nifty plug-in smart speaker allows you to exercise hands-free control of your compatible connected tech even if the area of the house is not suitable for installing a regular Echo device.
A USB port baked in saves up precious outlets and you can add either a motion sensor or nightlight. We expect Amazon will be working on more accessories, too.
For a great way to ensure there are no Alexa dead spots in your home, give Echo Flex a chance.
- Take Alexa absolutely anywhere in your home from hallways to attics
- USB charging port built in so save valuable outlet space
- Compatible with night light and motion sensor accessories available separately
- Perform basic control of compatible smart devices without getting up off the couch
- Use Echo Flex as a whole-house intercom if you have other Echo devices
- Screen is too small for more than music videos or movie previews
With our reviews put to bed, we’ll round out with some questions you should ask yourself if you’re thinking of investing in a new Echo device.
What to Consider When Buying an Echo Device
The Echo range is impressive but easy enough to navigate.
Focus on the following areas to simplify your buying decision:
- Smart Speaker or Smart Display?
- What’s Your Intended Use?
- What Priority Do You Place on Audio?
- Does Size Matter?
Smart Speaker or Smart Display?
The first issue you need to resolve concerns whether you want an audio-only smart speaker or a smart display.
If your primary focus is smart home control with perhaps the occasional burst of music, a smart speaker is the obvious choice.
For anyone who wants a kitchen companion, a bedside device, or some added visual edge to many applications, a smart display is the way forward.
The Echo smart speaker range includes the following:
- Echo Dot
- Echo Plus
- Echo Studio
- Echo Flex
If you’re after a smart display, choose from the following:
- Echo Show
- Echo Show 5
- Echo Show 8
- Echo Spot (discontinued but still available)
What’s Your Intended Use?
Linked to the above, you should give due consideration to how you want to use your device.
If you’re thinking of introducing your kids to smart tech, there’s a dedicated kid-friendly Echo Dot built to withstand plenty of rough and tumble.
For bedroom use, a smaller Echo is ideal while if you’re planning to use a smart display in the kitchen, it’s worth considering one with a larger screen.
How much music are you planning to listen to? If you intend to give your playlists plenty of airtime, focus on Echo Studio for upscale audio. For those not likely to listen to much music, the base model is adequate.
Time spent analyzing how you’ll use your device at this stage can save you from wasting money on an inappropriate device.
What Priority Do You Place on Audio?
As mentioned above, if music is your first love, there really is no substitute for Echo Studio. While we would hesitate to suggest this is likely to become your primary listening device, you’ll certainly enjoy a robust sound that won’t disappoint.
We understand that many people are not buying Echo devices for the music. If your sole interest is Alexa and the hands-free assistance she can offer, any Echo device will serve a turn.
Does Size Matter?
There are smaller Echo devices like Echo Dot, Echo Spot, and Echo Show 5 that all work well when space is at a premium.
The larger speakers and displays come into their own for the living room or anywhere else that you have ample space.
A Final Word
Well, we hope you now have a clear idea of which Echo device makes most sense for you. Pop back soon if you’re interested in more smart tech as we’re just working on a wide range of equipment right now and we’ll be reporting our findings over the coming weeks.
Bookmark Homendgarden and pop back any time you need some inspiration. We’ve got a very busy content calendar over the coming months so come back soon!