What’s the Best Alexa Speaker?- Tech Advisor


Whether you already have an Amazon Echo and want additional units for other rooms or you’re trying to decide which model should be your first smart speaker, you’ll find the information you need right here. 

Amazon is leading the way with its Echo range with Alexa voice assistant. The range now stretches to almost a dozen different models and combined, they hold around 80% of the UK smart speaker market, according to a YouGov survey. 

Most of them are speakers, but some also have screens. These are devices suited to indoor home use that respond to voice commands when connected to Wi-Fi.

You can say something simple like “Alexa, what’s the time?” as well as more advanced stuff such as “Alexa, turn on the lights in the kitchen” – the latter if you have set up a compatible product.

This is the cool thing about Alexa products. You can use them as simply or as intricately as you like.

Some people will benefit from the screens of the Echo Show range. They can show extra information as well as play videos from various streaming services, and also news headlines from BBC, Sky and more.

If you think you want a voice assistant smart speaker, one of these Echo devices is going to fit the bill.

Each device in this list can do basic things like answer web searches, play music and radio (except the Flex, which can play music but the speaker is designed for voice only) and even call other Echos or phones. Read on to see what they all do differently, but also check out these great accessories for the various Echo devices including the Wall Clock and Echo Connect.

Best Amazon Echo 2020

1. Amazon Echo Studio

This is the Amazon Echo to buy if you care about sound quality. You still need to subscribe to a music streaming service that offers ‘HD’ music and, not coincidentally, Amazon’s own is the current one to go for.

The Studio doesn’t only do hi-res audio: it also supports so-called 3D audio. Currently it can play Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio, which can be both music and video soundtracks.

Best of all, it’s way cheaper than rivals from Apple and Google. It also sounds even better when paired with the Echo Sub, but do be warned that the sub only works with streamed music, not via Bluetooth from your phone.

Read our full Amazon Echo Studio review

2. Amazon Echo Dot (3rd-gen)

This latest Echo Dot sounds a lot better, looks a lot better and is great value at this price. You can even pair two Dots for stereo sound.

It’s a great entry into the world of Alexa to listen to radio, podcast and music as well as ask queries. You can have one, or put several about the house. 

Read our full Amazon Echo Dot (3rd-gen) review

3. Amazon Echo Show 8

It may not have the Zigbee hub that’s built into the more expensive – and larger – Echo Show, but this model offers the best compromise of features, screen size and audio quality.

And at this price, those aren’t compromises you’ll ever regret making: Alexa is just as capable here as she is on the most expensive Echo Show, able to show the video feed from compatible cameras, show you lyrics for many songs from Amazon Music and more.

Read our full Amazon Echo Show 8 review

4. Amazon Echo Dot with Clock

The Echo Dot with Clock is a great alternative to the regular Echo Dot, especially if you plan to use it on your bedside table / nightstand. It’s a relatively minor addition but it’s genuinely helpful to be able to see the time and how long is left on a timer. 

So if those are two features you like the sound of, and you definitely don’t want a screen as the Echo Show 5 has, the Dot with Clock is a solid choice.

Read our full Amazon Echo Dot with Clock review

5. Amazon Echo Show 5

The Echo Show 5 costs less than the third-gen Echo, yet has a five-inch screen and camera for video calls. It’s a little small for watching videos from Amazon Prime (or any other source), but it’s a great size for a bedside table.

Sound quality isn’t as good as the Echo, or the Echo Show 8, which is the only real drawback. 

Read our full Amazon Echo Show 5 review

6. Amazon Echo (3rd Gen)

The Amazon Echo 3 is a great improvement on the Echo 2 not only in terms of design but audio output too. It’s very similar to the second-gen Echo Plus, featuring the same 3in subwoofer and 0.8in tweeter that provides crisp vocals and booming bass, but you miss out on the smart hub and thermometer functionality.

Still, for the price, it’s a great-sounding smart speaker. 

Read our full Amazon Echo (3rd-gen) review

7. Amazon Echo Flex

The Flex is a different type of smart speaker: it’s a utility device, not one for listening to music or the radio, and is designed to plug directly into a wall socket in your hallway, garage or other area where you just need basic audio.

It’s brilliant for asking Alexa for information, and controlling your lights, switches and plugs. You can plug in a motion sensor (or night light) to make it even more useful.

Read our full Amazon Echo Flex review

8. Amazon Echo Show (2nd-gen)

It’s expensive, but the 2nd-gen Echo Show is a good upgrade on the original. If you want Alexa with a screen this is a good option. It lets you call other people with Alexa devices, look up stuff online and watch Amazon Prime video. Just remember that it needs to be plugged in, it’s not a tablet.

Audio is great and the screen is a good size but unless you really want the visual element or ability to call other Shows, you’d be better off with the Echo or the Echo Plus. And if you do want a screen but a more affordable price, look to the Echo Show 5.

Read our full Amazon Echo Show (2nd-gen) review

9. Amazon Echo Auto

The Auto is an unusual Echo because it is the only option – from Amazon’s range – for putting Alexa in your car. This means you can’t really compare it to other Echo models.

There are alternatives if you’re considering a device that adds Alexa to your car such as the Roav Viva (which is around the same price) and a dashcam from Nextbase’s latest range.

The Echo Auto is the easiest to set up of these options, but the Viva is the more discreet option as it plugs directly into your car’s 12V socket.

10. Amazon Echo Plus (2nd-gen)

The second-gen Echo Plus is shorter, louder and nicer-looking than the original speaker while still boasting an integrated smart hub to control ZigBee smart home tech (along with Alexa-supported devices). 

Sound quality is good: vocals are clear and it has strong bass. Thanks to Dolby Play 360 audio support, it does a great job at filling a room with music. 

If you’ve got ZigBee-supported smart home tech, the Echo Plus is the ideal option. If not, save your money and get a third-gen Echo.

Read our full Amazon Echo Plus (2nd-gen) review

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