Buy the Echo from Amazon – $60 Buy the Echo Show 5 from Amazon – $40 Buy the Echo Dot from Amazon – $40
You might just think of Amazon’s Echo as a way to bring Alexa into your home, but it’s a powerful speaker, too. We gave it a score of 89 when it was released and it’s still one of our favorite smart speakers. We love its spherical design and bottom light ring that changes colors depending on what you’re doing. Inside the Echo are a 3-inch woofer and 0.8-inch tweeters that work together to help the speaker get incredibly loud and pump up the sound with powerful bass and powerful mid-range frequencies. It does a better job of filling a room with sound from Google Nest Audio or Apple’s HomePod mini, which will be important for those who want to use it as their primary speaker in the living room.
In addition to asking Alexa to play music from various sources like Spotify or Apple Music, the Echo can be used as a Bluetooth speaker if you prefer. It also has a 3.5mm audio jack, which takes both inputs and outputs. Plus, if you buy two speakers, you can pair them together to play audio in stereo mode as well.
The Echo can also act as your main smart home hub thanks to Zigbee’s built-in capabilities. Instead of buying a separate hub or bridge to connect things like smart lights, switches, and more, the Echo can act as a central point in your home. And if you mainly get IoT devices that work with Alexa, you’ll be able to use voice commands to control them as well.
Overall, the Echo is one of the best smart speakers you can get at $100, so it’s a better buy when you can get it for less. If you prefer a device that has a screen for things like weather forecasts and even security camera feeds, the Echo Show 5 is a solid choice. It’s the smallest of Amazon’s smart displays, but that means it works well as a smart alarm clock of sorts. We love the amazing sound quality and the tap to snooze feature, too. For the Echo Dot, it’s the smart speaker to get if you’re on a tight budget or want something that allows you to use Alexa voice commands without taking up too much space.
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