Amazon Echo review
The Amazon Echo range continues to grow in size and popularity.
These intelligent speakers not only bring music to your living room but also offer the ability to make your home much smarter.
With more of us investing in this technology Amazon has just refreshed, and even added to its range of connected devices and here’s everything that’s new and whether you should really bother investing in these very latest products.
ECHO DOT REVIEW • £49
EXPRESS RATING • 5 out 5
FOR • Great price • Much louder sound • Improved design
AGAINST • Won’t replace your main speaker • Needs extra subscriptions for best experience • Currently sold out
The Echo Dot has always been a brilliant way to experience a smart speaker on a budget.
And now it’s even more appealing with a refreshed design and much louder sound.
There was nothing really wrong with the old Echo Dot but Amazon’s latest update certainly improves things with a more curvaceous look that ditches the plastic for a new fabric case.
It looks really slick and this upgrade offers a much more premium appearance without the price increasing.
Amazon Echo Dot review
There’s little wrong with the Dot with its easy to use controls placed neatly on the top of the speaker and the famous blue light that still glows bright when you summon Alexa.
Along with this striking new look on the outside, there’s also some upgrades under the shell of the Dot.
Amazon has made this smart speaker around 70 percent louder than its predecessor and this audio boost is certainly noticeable.
The Dot will easily fill a small room with sound although it doesn’t pack a huge amount of bass so don’t expect it to replace a premium or larger speaker.
We love the new Dot and seems many agree with us as this speaker has totally sold out before Christmas with Amazon not expected to replenish stock until early next year.
Amazon Echo Plus review
ECHO PLUS • £139.99
EXPRESS RATING • 4 out 5
FOR • Easy smart home set up • Improved sound • New design looks good
AGAINST • £50 more than a standard Echo • Sounds good but won’t replace a premium speaker • Not portable
The Echo Plus was originally launched in 2017 and offers an easier way to connect all of your smart home gadgets such as light bulbs and thermostats.
Amazon has now refreshed the Plus with a more subtle and curvaceous design which is certainly an improvement over its predecessor.
With its in-built Zigbee system, the Plus makes it a breeze to connect other devices to this speaker with a simple, “Alexa, discover my devices”, voice command instantly setting things up.
Along with its smart home capabilities, the Plus also sounds good with its speakers powered by Dolby play 360° audio.
The Plus will easily fill an average room with sound although don’t expect it to be loud enough to power your New Year’s Eve party.
We really like the new Echo Plus but at £139.99 it is £50 more expensive than the standard Echo and should only be on your shopping list if you are desperate to ask Alexa to switch on your lights.
If you’re more interested in listening to some music and radio then we’d recommend the standard Echo over the Plus as it simply offers better value for money.
Amazon Echo Show review
NEW ECHO SHOW • £219
EXPRESS RATING – 4 out 5
FOR • Bigger screen is so much better • Sound is improved • Easy smart home set-up
AGAINST • More viewable content would be nice • Very expensive • You may find you don’t make enough use out of the display
The original Echo Show launched last year and brought a screen to the Alexa speaker family.
Now this updated model brings two huge improvements which includes a much bigger 10-inch display and better audio.
We’ve really enjoyed using the new Echo Show and it has plenty to offer with news alerts, videos, karaoke-style song lyrics and even timers all viewable on the screen.
You can also use this device to make video calls and watch the latest movie trailers plus there’s all the content from Amazon Prime Video.
This means you can ask it to show you things such as The Grand Tour and you can stand in your kitchen and watch as you cook.
Amazon has also recently added some extra content including full recipe ideas from the BBC.
However, although it’s a good device we’ve often found ourselves simply listening to music and the local radio on it and that makes it a very expensive option.
If you really think you’re going to make the most of that display then the Show comes with a strong recommendation.
But if you’re unsure that this visual feature is going to be put to its full potential then you may simply be better buying the much cheaper, no-screen, Echo.
EXPRESS RATING – 4 out 5
FOR • Improves the Echo’s audio
AGAINST • Looks ugly
There’s no question that the Echo is the best smart speaker you can buy but it does have one major issue – it doesn’t sound very good.
If you want a speaker to play the radio and fill an average room with relatively good audio the Echo is perfectly adequate.
But try and get the party started with these devices and you’ll soon find them starting to struggle.
To help boost the audio of its Echo speakers, Amazon has now released its Sub.
This is the first wireless subwoofer for those who want to pump up the bass when listening to music on their existing or new Echo devices.
Amazon Echo Sub review
Amazon Echo Sub review
Amazon says users can connect the Echo Sub to compatible Echo devices to create a 1.1 or 2.1 pairing for stereo sound.
Plus, with the equaliser feature, you can adjust the bass, mid-range, and treble using the Alexa app.
In reality, the speaker works well with it providing plenty of power and volume when listening to your favourite tracks.
However, despite this speaker boosting the sound we do have a niggle with it.
Its chunky design isn’t the most subtle and it’s really hard to find somewhere to place it without ruining the appeal of a room.
Other speakers from likes of Sonos don’t cost that much more than the Sub and offer far more style.
Ultimately, if you can find somewhere to hide it and you love your Echo speakers this is a good addition to the family and will certainly make them sound a whole lot better.