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() – Amazon Alexa is amazing, a voice assistant that can control all kinds of smart home products, answer all your questions and play the music you ask for. But Amazon Echo devices aren’t the only speakers that offer the powerful Alexa assistant — there are a number of third-party options that also include Alexa.
Echo Wireless Speaker
From portable speakers to Alexa-compatible soundbars, we’ve rounded up the best Amazon Echo alternatives. If you’re looking for Google Assistant speakers, we’ve got a feature for those too.
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Sonos has entered the Alexa-enabled speaker market with the Sonos One. In addition to Alexa, it also offers Google Assistant, making it one of the most powerful smart speakers out there. As you’d expect, it sounds great and looks just as good, though not all of Alexa’s skills are there.
But if you want the best-sounding speakers with Sonos’ multi-room capabilities and built-in Alexa, look no further. Sonos also offers a stripped-down version of the Sonos One, the Sonos One SL, which doesn’t have the smart element if you’re not interested.
Bang & Olufsen has improved an already impressive speaker with this update to the small but powerful A1 wireless speaker. One of the major additions is built-in Alexa support, making it smarter than ever.
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Elsewhere, though, you get great sound and a truly distinctive and classic design and build quality that B&O is known for. It’s by no means the best value on this list or the wider market, but if you’re looking for a high-end mini speaker, it’s a great choice.
Ultimate Ears offers the Megablast (and the smaller Blast), both of which offer always-on Alexa voice control that’s always listening for your voice. The only caveat is that you need a Wi-Fi connection, so it can only be used at home.
First of all, the UE Megablast sounds great as a dedicated speaker, and it’s portable and waterproof, so even if Alexa doesn’t work without your Wi-Fi connection, the Megablast brakes offer great portable speaker functionality around the house.
Amazon Echo (white) B01e6ao69u B&h Photo Video
Sonos has made a leap into the future (or the present if you prefer), finally in 2019. releasing a portable speaker at the end, and it’s a very impressive piece of kit. With this manual, the Sonos’ sound balance and great volume even outdoors make it a wonderfully versatile speaker.
But when you’re at home, you can connect the speaker to your home Wi-Fi to make it a really powerful smart speaker with Alexa compatibility, just like the Sonos One. It’s definitely the best of both worlds, even if it comes at a pretty steep price.
The Bose Home Speaker 500 has the familiar Bose design, but with a display on the front that’s quite unique for smart speakers. The Home Speaker 500 has eight microphone arrays to ensure it hears your Alexa commands, and there’s a chance other voice assistants will be added in the future as well.
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The Bose Home Speaker 500 supports Amazon’s multi-room platform, so you can group this speaker with other Alexa speakers, and it sounds great. Will Greenwald Will Greenwald, Principal Analyst, Consumer Electronics. My Experience For over 10 years, I’ve been an expert in home entertainment, covering both TVs and everything you want to connect to them. Over the past decade, I’ve reviewed over a thousand different consumer electronics products, including headphones, speakers, TVs, and all major gaming systems and VR headsets. I’m an ISF-certified TV calibrator and THX-certified home theater professional, and I want to help you understand 4K, HDR, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and even 8K (and make sure you don’t have to worry about 8K for at least a few more years). Read full biography
With surprisingly robust Dolby Atmos-compatible directional sound, the Amazon Echo Studio delivers as much power as smart speakers costing twice the price.
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Amazon Echo Review
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Editor’s Note: This is still the latest version of Echo Studio. Read our original review from 2019 below. November 6
Now that the latest $99.99 Amazon Echo is as powerful as the $149.99 Echo Plus hub, the door is open for a bigger, louder Echo. Echo Studio is the biggest, loudest and most advanced Alexa speaker on Amazon. It features five drivers that offer not only stereo sound but also Dolby Atmos-compatible surround sound in one voice-controlled package. It’s the same size and height as Apple’s HomePod and Google’s Home Max, with more advanced sound processing and better imaging, but at $199.99, it’s much cheaper than both. It’s certainly impressive for its size and price, enough to earn it our Editors’ Choice for smart speakers.
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The Echo Studio is bigger than any other $200 speaker we’ve tested, including the Sonos One. It’s a rounded black cylinder that measures 8.1 inches tall, 6.9 inches in diameter, and weighs 7.7 pounds. It’s not quite the size of a subwoofer, but the open ports for the subwoofer on the bottom give it the impression of a subwoofer. The most direct comparison is the $399 Sonos Move, which is slightly taller and narrower than the Echo Studio and is “portable” in the sense that it has a battery and the Studio must always be plugged in.
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Fabric wraps around the sides of the studio with cutouts in the front and back for two bass ports. At the top is a black plastic ring that houses the far-field microphone array and small buttons for volume up/down, mic mute, and Alexa. Echo’s ring of light shines along the inner edge of the plastic ring, and inside is a fabric mesh panel to protect the upward-firing driver.
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A small recess below the rear bass port houses a plug for the included power adapter, a micro-USB port for service, and a 3.5mm combo auxiliary and optical port. No cables are included, and if you want to use optical, you’ll need a 3.5mm adapter for TOSLink.
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As an Echo speaker, the Studio offers all the same Alexa voice assistant features as its smaller siblings. Just say Alexa (or Amazon, Computer, or Echo if you change the wake word in the Alexa app) and give the speaker a command. Alexa can answer questions about general information like the weather, sports scores, and unit conversions; play music from Amazon Music, Apple Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, SiriusXM, Spotify and Tidal; read audiobooks from Audible; manage smart devices for the home; call multiple North American phone numbers or make voice calls to any Alexa user; and access hundreds of third-party skills, from storytelling to ordering pizza.
Alexa is a very capable voice assistant, and the selection of compatible smart home devices and third-party skills is second to none, but it can be a little difficult to work with. Alexa expects fairly precise syntax, especially when controlling a smart home. Google Assistant is a bit more flexible with natural language, which more than makes up for the slightly smaller home automation compatibility list and fewer third-party features.
The Echo Studio also has a built-in Zigbee home automation hub like the Echo Plus that lets you use the speaker to control compatible devices.
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Hidden behind the Echo Studio’s fabric grille are five individual drivers positioned in different directions for Dolby Atmos-compatible positional sound. A 5.25-inch woofer projects downward just above the bass ports, a one-inch tweeter shoots straight ahead, and three two-inch midrange drivers shoot left, right, and straight up. A woofer provides low end, while a tweeter and three mid-range speakers combine to create a sound field with a more accurate (and vertical) image than a set of stereo speakers. All five drivers are rated at 330 watts.
Echo Studio tries to do some impressive things with five drivers and 3D audio mixing. It doesn’t quite do as well as an Atmos-compatible soundbar or even more expensive Atmos surround sound system, but at that point you’ll be spending several times the price of a studio for the improved sound reproduction. In this situation, the Echo Studio produces a large sound field with modest but surprising directivity.
For the best 3D sound from Echo Studio, subscribe to Amazon Music HD to access the Amazon Ultra HD music format. It’s at the moment
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