Best smart speaker to buy at a great price (Amazon Echo 3rd Gen)

Best smart speaker to buy at a great price (Amazon Echo 3rd Gen)

If music is the most important thing for you, then it’s hard to ignore the boosted performance of the new Echo. Past Echo’s had constraints, yet to have an amazingly low cost and satisfying sound quality implies that the new Echo clears those criticisms aside.

when do I say the words “Amazon Echo,” what’s the first image that pops into your head? I bet that despite five years of new products and iterations to existing ones, the iconic Amazon Echo image (or even, dare I say it, that of Alexa herself) is this one below — the original, black, plasticky tube. Heck, I write about Echoes for my job, and this is still the image that pops into my head when I hear that word. Granted, it is probably because that original Echo from five years ago still sits prominently in my living room and still gets used every day.

At Amazon’s hardware launch in Sept 2019, the most up to date cycle of its Echo smart speaker appeared to be practically similar to an afterthought.

The tech experts released a large number of Alexa-enabled gadgets, from earbuds to rings and even eyeglasses. And, as Alexa continues to push the boundaries of what a “smart device” can be, who cares about an incremental upgrade to a plain-old speaker that’s been around since 2014?

Me — I care. This is because, even though Amazon’s voice assistant is now in mirrors, thermostats, cars, phones, computers, and every other device imaginable, the Amazon Echo is what started it all. Of just about 100 Alexa gadgets, the Echo legitimate stays one of the tops of the line and top-selling.

That’s because, amidst the growing cacophony of smart-home devices on the market, the smart speaker remains the center of the smart home. It’s inexpensive, easy to set up, and there’s no question as to its utility: everyone could use a decent speaker.

Echo smart features: All of Alexa

As an Amazon-brand speaker, the Echo advantages by Alexa implanted inside. You can ask the smart assistant to play music, make phone calls, answer common queries and more. It’s also able to carry out commands for controlling a number of the best smart home devices, but there’s a catch.

What separates the Echo from the Echo Plus is its absence of a built-in ZigBee hub. On the off chance that the Echo is one of your first smart gadgets, this isn’t an issue. Yet, if you have a large ecosystem of smart lightssmart locks, and smart plugs, you might want to consider the $50 premium for the second-generation Echo Plus. 

But the Echo has built-in Bluetooth setup compatibility with some brands like Philips Hue lights. So if you’re looking for a smart home entry point with a more fulfilling sound than the Echo Dot or Google Nest Mini, the Echo is a great option.

It is the best smart home gift.

The Echo likewise pairs with other Alexa speakers, permitting you to make a sound system of smart speakers. This is great for enabling Amazon’s two-way radio component, Drop-In.

 

Performance

The audio quality is excellent — significantly better than the 2nd Gen Echo. You will see, specifically, the bass and percussion, which completely boom. While the speaker is roosted on my bedpost through many tracks, I can feel the bass lines vibrating through the things on my bed. 

In Boys Like Girls’ “Real Thing,” a song I’ve been listening to for 10 years, I noticed a booming bass drum that I’d never known existed in the song before. It’s a full, powerful sound — if I’d closed my eyes and you’d told me it was connected to a subwoofer, I would probably believe you.

It’s not the same sound as you’ll get from premium smart speakers, like the $199 Sonos One or Amazon’s $199.99 Echo Studio, particularly where treble and mid-range tones are concerned. But, this speaker delivers, far and away, the best audio of any sub-$100 smart speakers I’ve ever tested.  

If the sound isn’t enough for you, the Echo can be stereo-paired with another 3rd Gen Dot or 2nd Gen Echo Plus. It’s likewise good with Amazon’s Echo Sub subwoofer and can plug into different systems with its 3.5-millimeter sound jack.

Should I buy the Amazon Echo 3rd Gen?

Trying to work out if the Echo was worth buying used to be more difficult: the speaker sounded better than a Dot, but it wasn’t as good as a Plus, despite being cheaper than a Plus. Today, the job is far easier: you get the same decent, mid-range audio here as you do on the Plus, but you save £50.

For that saving, you have to sacrifice the Zigbee hub, although this is unlikely to affect most folk; if you’re not sure if you need this feature, you probably don’t.

The overall result is that the Echo 3rd Gen now feels like something of a bargain. Also, it’s a great starting point for building a better-sounding music system with the help of an additional speaker and the Amazon Echo Sub.

Pros: Stronger audio quality than before, best-offered price, great attractive colors, beautiful outlook

Cons: No smart home hub, no temperature sensor

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