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Amazon is giving its voice-controlled assistant Alexa a new look with new Amazon Echo models in the fourth generation and is expanding the Echo Show family with the flagship Echo Show 10. Amazon is setting fresh accents in the design in particular. The smart all-rounders for the home area also surprise with technical innovations that offer you new possibilities.
We show you how the models differ from each other and which Amazon Echo is right for you. The main focus is on the smart home functions and the sound. You can also find out which music streaming subscription you need with an Amazon Echo Studio for the perfect sound and which special products are available in addition to the smart speakers.
- Except for the entry-level Flex and Dot, all devices in the Echo family can now control your ZigBee smarthome devices directly through Alexa
- The Echo 4 now allows you to create mesh networks with Bluetooth devices and the sound adjusts to the room conditions
- Amazon offers new options for video calls and room monitoring with a rotating display on the Echo Show 10
The Best Amazon Echo: Our Picks
Buying and evaluation criteria for the Amazon Echo
In order to find the right Echo for you, we have put together a series of buying criteria for you to consider when making your purchase. The criteria are intended to make it easier to compare the individual models. They show you how the Echos differ, but also in which points the smart speakers are similar.
The criteria that you can use to compare the Amazon Echo models with each other include:
Do you want Alexa to not only respond to you by voice, but also give you visual feedback? Then one of the Echo Show models with a display is your Echo. With it, you can also make video calls, stream series, films or news programmes and have your recipes displayed step-by-step when cooking.
The additional smarthome functions offered by the display are practical. For example, if you want, you can display images from the security cameras connected to the Echo Show.
With the Alexa skill Amazon Photos, you can personalise the Echo Show and turn it into a picture frame. You can also keep an eye on your to-do lists, the weather, road traffic and your calendar with an Amazon Echo Show.
When it comes to sound, the differences between the models cannot be ignored. Due to its design, an Echo Flex is practically not suitable for playing music. All Echo Dot, Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 have a single speaker membrane. This means that no room-filling sound can be produced.
The sound only becomes interesting with Amazon Echo 4, which unfolds its full potential in combination with a second identical device and the Echo Sub (internal link)
As a standalone solution, the Echo Studio with its complex speaker system is the best choice. For even more surround sound, you can also connect this Smart Speaker with a second Echo Studio. Do you want your Echo to have a large display and a convincing sound? Then the new Echo Studio 10 is your Echo. It has a sound quality that easily matches that of the Echo 4.
From the small Echo Flex to the compact, spherical Echo Dot to the Echo Studio and Sub equipped with large woofers – the Echos take up different amounts of space and cannot be placed indiscriminately depending on the area of application.
The Echo Show 10 in its third generation looks almost bulky on a small bedside table and exceeds even the dimensions of an Echo Sub with its 10.1-inch HD display and speaker stand. You should definitely pay attention to this beforehand, especially if you want to replace or expand your home cinema with several connected Alexa speakers.
With the fourth generation of Echo and Echo Dot, the previous tube- or puk-shaped design has given way to a new spherical design. The new models are available in anthracite, blue-grey, red and white. The larger Echo Sub and Studio speakers are clearly recognisable as such in black with their design as smart speakers.
At the base of Echo Studio, a permeable slot is noticeable, which serves as a bass opening so that the low frequencies can be shown to their maximum advantage.
The design of the new Echo Show 10 differs from all previous Echos with a display. This is mainly due to the new, high-quality speaker system, which also serves as a stand. This gives the new “Motor Show” a stable, very valuable impression. In contrast, the speakers of all previous Show models are integrated into the back of the display.
All models presented here except for Echo Sub have the Alexa voice assistant integrated. The Alexa AI essentially determines the functions of your Amazon Echo. The only difference is the way Alexa presents the information to you. This depends primarily on whether your device has a display or not.
The functions you want to use are determined by so-called skills that you can set up via the Alexa app.
When you communicate with Alexa, the Alexa AI uses these skills, which are, in simple terms, special services for Amazon Echo. Some skills, such as Netflix or Amazon Photos, can only be used on Echos with a display, but most skills support all Echo smart speakers.
If you value the smarthome functions, there are models from the Echo family that have a wireless module, also called a hub, built in. With these Echo models, you can control smarthome devices directly via Alexa, which normally require an additional ZigBee radio module. This is particularly practical if you already have ZigBee devices such as Philips Hue and Osram Lightify.
The ZigBee radio module is already integrated in the Echo (4th generation), Echo Studio, Echo Plus, Echo Show (from the 2nd generation) and the Echo Show 10 (3rd generation).
Guide: Frequently asked questions about the Amazon Echo answered in detail
What is an Amazon Echo?
For whom is an Amazon Echo suitable?
What types of Amazon Echo are there?
Currently available is Echo Auto, an Alexa variant that is paired with the car’s infotainment system via Bluetooth or a 3.5 mm jack. Echo Auto obtains the data from the Alexa app via the smartphone. Also worth mentioning is the Echo Wall Clock, an analogue wall clock that needs to be paired with a compatible Echo to operate and that you can then use as a timer and for your time management.
How much does an Amazon Echo cost?
|Price range||Available products|
|Low-priced (29,99 € – 69,99 €)||Echo Flex, Echo Dot (4th generation), Echo Dot with clock (4th generation)|
|Medium-priced (99,99 € – 149,99 €)||Echo (4th generation), Echo Sub, Echo Show 5, Echo Show 8|
|High-priced (€149.99 – €249.99)||Echo Show 10 (3rd generation), Echo Studio|
Is it difficult to install an Amazon Echo?
- Connect the Amazon Echo to the mains
- Download and start the Alexa app (Android | iOS)
- Follow the installation instructions from Alexa. Have the password for the WLAN network ready
- Prompt Alexa with the voice command “Alexa, search for my devices”
What is the difference between Alexa and an Amazon Echo?
Can I use the Amazon Echo Sub separately?
Can I connect my Amazon Echos together?
You can create a Smart Home group this way and use the Echos as an intercom system in the house, for example. With the Multiroom function, you can play the same music on multiple Alexa devices in the same Wi-Fi network in multiple rooms.
All Amazon Echos, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Spot, Echo Plus and Echo Studio are compatible with these functions.
If you want to connect two identical Echos together as a stereo sound system, you can also do this via the device groups with the Alexa app. To do this, you need an Echo Plus, an Echo Dot from the 3rd generation or an Echo from the 2nd generation. You can connect all Echo Smart Speakers with or without a display to the Echo Sub.
With its Echo models, Amazon offers its own voice-controlled smart speakers like its competitor Apple, but is significantly cheaper and offers the larger product portfolio.
The Echos with and without display include special features in different price ranges. If you don’t want an Echo, that’s not a problem; there are also Alexa smart speakers from other manufacturers, such as the Teufel Holist S, which, however, does not offer Apple Music.
The use of the Alexa voice assistant is free of charge, you only need a customer account with Amazon. Note, however, that the devices do not have mass storage on board. If you want to listen to certain music or play movies with Echo Show, you need a subscription to a streaming service.
Image source: Anete Lusina / Pexels