Amazon’s stable of Alexa-enabled Echo speakers has grown significantly over the years. Starting with just a single device in 2014, the current lineup covers a variety of price points, form factors, and use cases to give everyone from first-time smart home owners to veteran early-tech adopters something for their setups. But with so many to choose from, it’s not as straightforward as it used to be to determine which is right for you. Our Echo buying guide walks through all of the benefits for each model.
Without getting too into the weeds on the specifics of how Amazon’s Alexa devices stack up against the likes of Apple or Google, the Echo stable arrives with much more variety than its competitors. While the competing lineups only have a few devices to choose from, Amazon notably stands out with a smart home offering for almost every use case. And to help you get the most value out of the devices, we’re breaking down the pros of each Alexa speaker.
Amazon Echo $100
The perfect center to an Alexa-enabled smart home
Starting things out, the Amazon Echo has been the standard way to get in on the Alexa action for the better part of a decade. While the form factor has gone through quite a few interactions in the time since, it still delivers a well-rounded feature set for the price. The latest fourth-generation iteration launched last fall and arrives with a new, spherical design that sports a fabric-wrapped design.
Alongside Alexa’s smart home prowess, an integrated Zigbee hub allows you to pair connected lights and other accessories right to the Echo speaker. There’s also a more capable internal speaker array that delivers more premium-sounding audio to round out the package on this $99.99 offering. All of these specs make it a notable option for those who want to build out a smart home without having to fuss with additional hubs down the line.
Amazon Echo Dot from $40
Kickstart or fill your smart home with Alexa speakers
On the more affordable side of things of our Echo buying guide, Amazon delivers all of the same design cues with its latest Echo Dot, just without some of the more premium features noted on the standard model. You’re still looking as that distinct spherical design that was released last fall, though you’ll be missing out on the added smart home hub and higher-end speaker array. Those comprises drop the price to $49.99.
Whether you’re looking to just dip your toes into what Alexa has to offer, or you’re looking to expand the voice control capabilities into another room, Echo Dot’s mix of features at the price is hard to pass up.
And for those looking to use the Alexa speaker to help get them out of bed, there’s a slightly more premium Echo Dot with Clock that arrives with a built-in LED display at $59.99. Alongside just being able to tell the time, it can set alarms and even display the current temperature.
As yet another derivation of the Echo Dot, Amazon also has a Kids Edition that gets their children in on the voice control action. There’s much of the same features here, just in a more colorful package that’s better suited to younger Alexa users. Plus, Amazon bundles in some additional kids’ content to justify its $59.99 price tag.
And to round out the lineup, those who are just searching for a more affordable way to bring Alexa into another room will find the previous-generation Echo Dot to be a pretty compelling option. Its $39.99 price tag undercuts all of the other smart speakers, and will still let you summon Amazon’s assistant much the same. It just lacks the refreshed form factor and audio improvements, but is otherwise a worthy addition or gateway into an Alexa-enabled home.
Echo Studio $200
Hi-Fi enthusiasm meets smart home control
Now for the true audio enthusiasts among the smart home owners out there, Amazon steps up the sound fidelity with its Echo Studio. This $199.99 speaker arrives with Alexa just like all the other offerings, but puts hi-fi music playback at the top of its feature set. This one packs five internal speakers and support for Dolby Atmos to really deliver on its target of being geared toward audiophiles.
Echo Studio also lets you get the most out of the companion Echo Sub that can be paired with all of the other Alexa speakers, although the $129.99 add-on likely won’t be paired with some of the more affordable offerings in Amazon’s lineup. And to round out the package, you’ll also be able to count on similar functionality to the standard Echo, including a Zigbee hub.
Echo Auto $50
Let Alexa take the wheel
Differing from all of the other devices in the Alexa speaker lineup we’ve covered up until now, the Echo Auto takes a unique approach in letting you command Amazon’s voice assistant away from home. Clocking in at $49.99, this accessory upgrades your car with the ability to get directions, control smart home devices while on the way back from the store, and adjust music playback, all with your voice. It has the most streamlined Echo lineup and forfeits internal speakers for plugging into your car’s stereo system.
Covering just about every price point and use case, it’s no wonder Amazon Echo speakers are some of the most popular out there. The latest Echo Dot is hands-down going to be the right pick for most first-time smart home owners, as the $50 price point paired with all of the other features makes it the sweet spot for getting in on the perks. But having the variety to mix things up with more high-end or portable solutions is certainly nice for those hoping to personalize their setup.
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