The best Amazon Echo device

Smart Home

You need to use your device’s wake word before any questions or commands. The standard wake word is "Alexa," but you can change it to an alternative word of your choice.

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What is the best Amazon Echo device?

It’s 2020, and many households are embracing smart technology. An Amazon Echo device helps you control any smart home technology you might have, among other uses.

You can choose from a range of Amazon Echo devices to suit all budgets, from the inexpensive Dot to the high-end Show — but which is right for you?

We’ve carefully researched Amazon Echos to find the best models offered. Read on to find the best Amazon Echo devices of 2020, including a long-standing favorite and two impressive new products.

Echo devices

  1. Amazon Echo: The standard Amazon Echo is on its fourth and latest generation with a new look and new speaker setup. This is a new pick of ours, though we also rated the previous third-gen Echo.
     
  2. Amazon Echo Dot: An inexpensive alternative to the standard Echo that’s perfect if you don’t mind a lower-quality speaker. This returning favorite belongs to the older third-gen, making it less expensive.
     
  3. Amazon Echo Show: With an integrated screen, the Show lets you watch movies or TV and video calls with friends and family. This is another new pick of ours, which we’ve chosen due to the added value the screen brings.

What is an Echo device?

An Amazon Echo device is part smart home device, part speaker, and part virtual assistant. You use voice commands to control your Echo device, which can in turn control other compatible devices. If, for instance, you have a compatible smart thermostat, you can ask your Echo to turn your heating on or set it to come on at a specified time. You can also ask your device questions and receive answers, use the speaker to play music or audiobooks, and set it to remind you about appointments or events.

The Amazon Echo is the base model, which is affordably priced with fairly decent speakers (though you can’t expect high-end audio quality in such a compact device). The Echo Dot is a smaller and less expensive version of the Echo with all the same properties but a smaller size and lower-quality speakers. The Echo Show has a built-in screen for video chats, watching TV, and more. The Echo Studio does everything a base-level Echo can do but has a high-fidelity speaker, which is great if you intend to listen to a lot of music on your Echo device.

Pay attention to the generation of the Echo device you’re considering. When a new generation device comes out, you can still buy models from the previous generation for a time. The older generation devices might not have the latest technology, but they can cost significantly less.

The most inexpensive Echo devices cost around $30, though these won’t feature the latest technology. High-end devices can cost over $200.

Amazon Echo FAQ

Q. Who or what is Alexa and what does it have to do with the Amazon Echo?

A. You’ve probably heard of Alexa, but you might be confused about what it has to do with your new Amazon Echo. Alexa is simply the name given to the software used to run all Amazon Echo devices. While it might not be what you think of when you hear the term artificial intelligence, Alexa is a simple form of AI. Using machine learning, Alexa learns from its mistakes and improves over time.

Q. What music streaming services are compatible with Amazon Echo devices?

A. The majority of popular music streaming services are compatible with Amazon Echo devices. Amazon Music is supported, of course, along with a range of other services, including Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Apple Music.

Best Amazon Echo devices

Best of the best

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

What we like: Decent sound quality. Features a built-in temperature sensor and Zigbee smart home hub. Pair with other Echo devices in your home to play music in every room.

What we dislike: Can sound tiny when the volume’s turned up.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Best bang for your buck

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot

What we like: Compact and affordably priced. Can do practically everything a higher-end Echo device can do. Easy to switch off the mic when needed.

What we dislike: Sound quality isn’t impressive, so it’s not the best choice to use as a primary speaker.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Worth checking out

Amazon Echo Show

Amazon Echo Show

What we like: Thanks to the built-in screen, you can use this device as a mini TV or for video calls. Can display lyrics or album art, as well as weather forecasts and to-do lists.

What we dislike: Some users find the interface a little clunky.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

 

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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