The smart speaker or screen is an obvious place to start when it comes to building your smart home, and if Alexa is your voice assistant of choice, you’ll want an Amazon Echo.
The Echo product line debuted in late 2014 with the first generation Echo, followed by the Echo Dot in 2016. As of early 2021, the Echo duo are now in their fourth generation with an all new spherical design and multiple color options.
Meanwhile, other Echo speakers include the Echo Dot With Clock, which is – you guessed it – an Echo Dot with an LED clock that shines behind its fabric faceplate. Then there’s the top of the line Echo Studio with its improved audio quality.
Amazon’s Echo Show lineup includes several sizes of smart displays powered by Alexa, and the voice assistant also appears in Echo Auto, which is suitable for cars.
Here’s a look at Amazon’s Echo line of devices for 2021:
Amazon Echo (4th gen) – $ 100 (often reduced to $ 80)
Amazon Echo Smart Speaker (4th Generation)
The backbone of the Echo line is, and always has been, the classic Echo. Amazon went from a cylindrical design to a bullet for the fourth generation and in doing so, transformed the Echo into a simpler, more user-friendly device.
The latest Echo is available in anthracite, white, red and blue, with all models finished in fabric and with the brand’s Alexa blue light ring at their base. The Echo has buttons to control volume, mute the microphone, and get Alexa’s attention (when you don’t mean her name) on the top, and a 3.5mm audio input next to the jack. power supply at the rear.
The device measures 5.7 x 5.7 x 5.2 inches, weighs 34.2 oz, and packs a 3-inch woofer and two 0.8-inch tweeters. The regular Echo is well suited to most rooms, delivering good sound at a decent volume without distortion.
Read the GearBrain review here
Amazon Echo Dot (4th gen) – $ 50
Amazon Echo Dot (4th generation)
Like the Robin to the Echo’s Batman, the Echo Dot is a smaller but equally intelligent sidekick, with the same Alexa voice assistant and functionality, but with a compact form and less powerful sound.
The Echo Dot is available in the same anthracite, white and blue colors, but does not have the standard red (product) option of the Echo. The Dot is much smaller than the regular Echo, at 3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches and 12 oz. Inside, there’s a single 1.6-inch speaker, while the buttons on top are the same as the Echom’s, along with the power jack and 3.5 audio jack. mm at the back.
The Echo Dot is best suited for small rooms, or placed where it can be heard clearly at low volumes. It can’t be as loud as the normal Echo and the music sound quality is not as good. A useful addition to a home that already has one or more Echo speakers.
Read the GearBrain review here
Amazon Echo Dot (4th gen) with clock – $ 60
Amazon Echo Dot (4th generation) with clock
This is identical to the regular Dot, but as the name suggests, there is an LED illuminated clock that shines through the fabric. Naturally, this is a smart speaker best used on a bedside table. It works like any other Echo, is physically identical to the Dot, and is available in white and blue.
Amazon Echo Studio – $ 200
The $ 200 Echo Studio is Alexa’s flagshipAmazon
The flagship of the Echo line in 2021, and costing twice that of the classic Echo, the Studio is a much better smart speaker. Its intelligence and use of Alexa are the same as ever, but the device is larger and houses a more complex speaker setup.
There is a two-inch midrange speaker firing up at the top, a pair of two-inch midrange speakers below and pulling to the left and right, a one-inch tweeter towards the top. ‘front and a 5.25 inch, down. -firing subwoofer.
The Echo Cylindrical Studio is 8.1 inches high, 6.9 inches wide, and weighs 7.7 lbs. It has the same Alexa control buttons at the top, plus the blue notification light and a 3.5mm audio jack on the back.
The Studio can be enjoyed in larger rooms in your home and can even be connected wirelessly to a Fire TV streamer to create a Dolby Atmos surround sound system.
Amazon Echo Show 5 – $ 90 (or $ 60 when refurbished)
Amazon Echo Show 5Amazon
Now for Amazon’s Echo Show line of smart displays. These work like the speakers above, but include a touchscreen to display information relevant to anything you say to Alexa, as well as the time, date, and video from on-demand services or compatible security cameras and video doorbells.
The Echo Look line starts with 5. It is available in black and anthracite and has a 5.5 inch screen with a resolution of 960 x 480 and a 1 megapixel camera for making video calls. The Echo Look 5 is 5.8 inches wide, 3.4 inches high, 2.9 inches deep, and weighs 14.5 oz. It has control buttons on the top, a pair of microphones and a switch to hide the camera, as well as a 3.5mm audio jack on the back. Audio is provided by a single 1.7 inch speaker.
This show is best suited for small spaces in the home, where information at a glance is useful, but where you’re unlikely to sit and watch video content for long periods of time.
Amazon Echo Show 8 – $ 130
Amazon Echo Show 8Amazon
Next up is the Echo Show 8 – and you guessed it, it has an 8-inch display, this time with 1280 x 800 HD resolution for a sharper Alexa experience and improved video calling. Video calls on Echo Show devices work with Skype and Zoom, as well as Amazon Chime. Music and video services include Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Audible, Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and Food Network. As with the Show 5, there are buttons on the top to control Alexa and volume, and a switch to hide the camera when you don’t want to use it.
The Show 8 produces better sound thanks to a pair of 2.0 inch speakers, while the camera has the same 1 MP resolution as the Show 5. The Show 8 is 7.9 inches wide, 5. 4 inches high, 3.9 inches deep and weighs 36.6 oz.
The Show 8 works well on a kitchen counter, where it can play music and display digital recipes.
Amazon Echo Show 10 – $ 250
Amazon Echo Show 10Amazon
Finally, the Echo Show has a 10.1-inch HD display with a resolution of 1200 x 800. The sound is produced using a pair of 1.0-inch tweeters and a subwoofer of. 3.0 inches, and the webcam is excellent; y is improved over other members of the Echo Show family, thanks to a resolution of 13 megapixels.
The Show 10’s screen rotates using an electric motor to help frame your video calls and can also be tilted up and down to get the right angle. There is no 3.5mm audio jack on this model, but it has the same physical controls and camera shutter switch as other Echo shows. The Show 10 measures 9.9 x 9.0 x 6.7 inches and weighs 90.3 oz.
The Show 10 works best in a larger space, like the kitchen or living room, where you also want to watch videos, listen to music at a high enough volume, and make video calls with friends and family.
Amazon Echo Auto – $ 50
Amazon Echo AutoAmazon
Finally, we have the Echo Auto. This little device is designed to attach to your car’s dashboard and serve as a way to take Alexa on the road. The Echo Auto connects to your smartphone and the Alexa app for an internet connection, then plays its audio output through your car’s audio system.
As with other Alexa devices, there’s the blue status light, plus a button to mute the microphone and one to summon Alexa without saying her name (although the wake word “Alexa” works too).