There is no shortage of Echo devices on the market. That’s why we’re highlighting the best buys right now in 2022. Grand Gadget Store Recommends the Best Smart Speaker Amazon Echo 4th Generation. Talk about well-rounded. Echo combines premium sound, a built-in Zigbee smart home hub, and a temperature sensor. Powerful speakers deliver clear highs, dynamic mids, and deep bass for a rich, detailed sound that adapts to any room. Just ask Alexa to play music, answer questions, make calls
Since the first-generation Echo was released in 2014, Amazon has released a variety of Echo devices. The smart speaker market has changed significantly over the years, but we believe Alexa still reigns supreme when it comes to smart home integration, thanks to the myriad of Alexa skills out there. There are more ways to bring Alexa into your home than any other digital assistant, and it’s getting harder and harder to keep track of the growing number of Echo devices.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all your Echo devices, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll break down the best Alexa-compatible devices currently available to help you decide which Amazon Echo device is best for you.
Best Echo Speaker: Amazon Echo 4th Gen
There’s no shortage of Echo speakers out there, but we think the Amazon Echo 4th gen is the best option overall. It’s perfect for those who want a solid smart speaker that also sounds good. As we mentioned in our Amazon Echo (4th gen) review, it’s worth the extra cost compared to the Echo Dot for music lovers, as its three-speaker setup offers excellent sound transformation. Its audio output isn’t quite as powerful as the Echo Studio, but there’s still a lot to like about it, especially its size and asking price.
As you can see, the design of the Echo (4th gen) is also quite different from some of the cylindrical Echo speakers that came before it. The new spherical design looks very neat, and the controls at the top are easily accessible. The move to a spherical design means the new Amazon Echo speaker is significantly wider than any of its predecessors, but we think the overall form factor of the Echo (4th gen) is perfect for most setups and rooms.
The Amazon Echo (4th generation) is fully Alexa-enabled, which means you can use your voice to interact with Amazon’s digital voice assistant to play music, get information from the web, control your smart home devices, and more. You just pair it with your Android phone or iPhone via the Alexa app and you’re ready to go. It’s also easy to pair multiple Echo speakers to create a group and play music on all of them at the same time. You can also pair two Echos to create a stereo pair and use it with your TV.
Another interesting thing about the Amazon Echo is that it comes with a built-in Zigbee smart hub. For those unaware, a local Zigbee hub doesn’t require a data connection to connect to compatible devices like Philips Hue lights. Alexa is still great and will work as advertised, but the built-in Zigbee hub makes it more versatile. The Amazon Echo doesn’t have much to complain about, but if we’re picky
Overall, though, the Amazon Echo is an excellent speaker that’s very easy for us to recommend if you’re shopping for a smart speaker and you only have $100 to spare. It may not be the best-sounding Echo speaker out there, but it’ll get the job done for the most part.
Best Echo Speaker for Beginners: Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen)
In a previous edition of this article, we highlighted the Echo Dot (4th Gen) as the best entry-level Echo speaker. We’ve now replaced it with the new Amazon Echo Dot 5th Gen for some very compelling reasons. Aside from the new Deep Ocean Blue color, the new Echo Dot speakers may look identical to the previous-generation model, but they have some solid improvements under the hood. It brings all the changes while maintaining the same form factor and price point we know and love, so we can easily recommend it.
One of the biggest changes this year is in the audio department. The new Echo Dot (5th gen) has a new speaker with slightly larger drivers. In case you were wondering, the new Echo Dot has 1.73-inch front-facing speakers instead of the 1.6-inch drivers in the previous-generation Echo Dot. Amazon says it’s the best-sounding Echo Dot out there, so you can expect improvements from the third or fourth-generation Echo Dot. It’s still not going to sound as good as the regular Echo speaker or the Echo Studio, so keep that in mind.
Another interesting addition to the new Echo Dot (5th gen) is the new sensor. There’s now a temperature sensor that lets the Echo Dot read the temperature of the room it’s in. You can also automate it with some Alexa Routines using temperature readings. For example, you can set a routine to turn on a fan or air conditioner when a room reaches a certain temperature. Additionally, the new Echo Dot speaker has an accelerometer for typing interaction. That means you can now tap to set an alarm or tap to pause music instead of pressing a button or talking to Alexa.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the new Echo Dot speakers can also be part of an Eero network to extend the reach of your existing network in your home. However, this particular feature isn’t exclusive to the 5th-gen Echo Dot speakers, as previous-gen models will also receive this feature via an update in the future. But if you don’t want to wait for this feature to arrive for your existing 4th gen Echo Dot speakers then it might be worth upgrading to the new one.
Even if you ignore the Eero connectivity feature that’s slated to arrive on the last-gen Echo Dot speakers, we think the new ones bring enough upgrades under the hood to pick up over the previous-gen speakers. We don’t necessarily recommend upgrading from the fourth-generation Echo Dot speakers, but you should definitely consider the new ones if you’re coming from a third-generation Echo Dot. First-time users should also consider buying the new Echo Dot speakers to get the best experience. You can save some money by picking the older model over the new Echo Dot speakers though. The last-gen Echo Dot, for instance, is available for just $25 right now, which is an excellent deal for those who don’t necessarily care about experiencing all the latest features and hardware improvements.
Best Echo speaker for kids: Amazon Echo Dot (5th gen) kids
If you decide to buy a smart speaker for your kids at home, we think the Amazon Echo Dot 5th Gen Kids Edition is a great option. It’s $10 more than the regular Echo Dot, but the hardware is basically the same. That means you also get all the new features and improvements compared to the previous-generation Echo Dot. As you can see in the image above, the Kids Edition features a fun owl or dragon print on the fabric, giving it a different look than the regular Echo Dot speakers, which are only solid colors and have no design elements.
To add to the cost, the Echo Dot for Kids comes with the Amazon Parent Dashboard with parental controls. Plus, like the Amazon Fire Kids tablet, you get a two-year warranty. A two-year warranty means that if your child decides to use the Echo Dot as a ball, you can replace it for free. Plus, you can get an annual subscription to Amazon Kids+, which includes a selection of kid-friendly filtered content.
Amazon says it’s working hard to make Alexa more kid-friendly. You may hear some custom responses from Alexa, but the overall experience will be largely the same. Regular Echo speakers don’t really get unfiltered Alexa and are not safe to keep away from children. So don’t expect a big difference here. However, Amazon has disabled some standard Alexa features on the Kids Edition of the Echo Dot. This includes voice purchases so your kids don’t use their voice to randomly order toys and games on Amazon. Explicit lyrics from Amazon Music, Apple Music, or Spotify are also blocked by default, which is nice.
Aside from the perks mentioned above, the Amazon Echo Dot 5th Gen Kids Edition is identical to the regular Echo Dot. This includes all the new features and improvements such as temperature sensors, accelerometer for tap gestures, integration of eero for increased network coverage, and more. The overall audio output of this speaker is great and it also works well with voice commands. In terms of the actual hardware itself, you get the same set of controls on the top, a 3.5mm audio jack at the back, and an LED ring at the bottom towards the base.
Overall, the Echo Dot (5th gen) kids is a great smart speaker for kids. Whether you want your younglings to have a smart speaker in their room is entirely up to you, but if you decide to buy them one right now then let it be the Amazon Echo Dot (5th gen) Kids Edition. You can also pick up the last-gen Echo Dot Kids if you don’t necessarily need all the new improvements and if you happen to find a good deal. The new speakers, however, carry the same launch price as the older models, so it’s easy for us to recommend them to new users.
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