Amazon Echo (4th Gen) review: The circular speaker that won my heart

Supply: Joe Maring / Android Central

The Amazon Echo wants no introduction at this level. What began off as an experimental invite-only gadget again in late 2014 has since turn into the most well-liked household of good audio system in the marketplace, with Amazon crushing competitors from Google and Apple with out breaking a sweat.

It is turn into a practice that we get new Echo {hardware} yearly, with one of many newest entries within the sequence being the Amazon Echo (4th Gen). It is the brand new center youngster in between the Echo Dot and Echo Studio, and with a retail worth of simply $100, it is packing a ton of worth.

There’s nothing concerning the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) that’ll make you an Alexa convert in the event you nonetheless don’t love how the digital helper works in comparison with one thing like Google Assistant, however for present Alexa followers or anybody that is been desirous to lastly soar on the bandwagon, this is without doubt one of the finest audio system you should purchase proper now.

At a look

Amazon Echo 4th Gen Blue Official Render

Amazon Echo (4th Gen)

Backside line: The brand new 4th-gen Amazon Echo is essentially the most radical redesign we have ever seen for the good speaker, and the danger Amazon took paid off in spades. This newest Echo sounds significantly higher than previous generations, the brand new spherical aesthetic is kind of pleasing, and it has the entire similar Alexa options you’ve got come to know and love at this level. You get all of this for a similar $100 asking worth we have had because the 2016 mannequin, making it a must-buy whether or not you are trying to broaden or begin your Alexa family.

The Good

  • Pretty new design
  • Critically spectacular audio
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Constructed-in Zigbee good hub
  • Nice worth

The Unhealthy

  • Inconsistent button response

Amazon Echo (4th Gen) Value and availability

The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) was introduced in late September 2020 and have become accessible for buy on October 22, 2020. The speaker prices $100 and is on the market in three colours: Charcoal, Glacier White, and Twilight Blue. That is the identical worth because the Echo (third Gen) that got here out earlier than it, which is nice to see when you think about the entire upgrades provided with this newest mannequin.

Along with shopping for the Echo by itself, Amazon additionally gives just a few totally different bundles that can assist you save a bit of money. If you wish to purchase two Echos in a single transaction, getting into the code ECHO2PK at checkout will prevent $20 off the unique pricing — bringing it down to simply $180 for each items.

There are additionally choices to bundle the Echo (4th Gen) with a sensible plug, two Echo Dots (4th Gen), or a wall mount.

Amazon Echo (4th Gen) What I like

Amazon Echo 4th Gen

Supply: Joe Maring / Android Central

The design of the Echo (4th Gen) is the elephant within the room for this assessment, so let’s begin there. All previous Echo audio system up till this one have featured a tall, cylindrical form that modified ever-so-slightly with every new launch. The 2nd Gen mannequin added material for the primary time, the third Gen rounded out the form a bit extra, and the brand new 4th Gen Echo we have now now has gone full circle.

It is a stark distinction in comparison with all of Amazon’s previous Echo {hardware}, and personally, I am very right here for it. There is a exhausting plastic base on the underside half of the Echo, however the prime portion that you simply see when it is sitting on a desk or desk is fully material. It is heat, inviting, and permits for a brand new speaker array that I am going to discuss extra beneath. The unit I’ve is Amazon’s Glacier White shade, however you may as well get the Echo (4th Gen) in Charcoal and Twilight Blue.

Amazon Echo 4th Gen

Supply: Joe Maring / Android Central

There are 4 playback buttons on the highest of the Echo (all of that are very clicky), a rubberized base retains it safe on no matter floor you place it on, and you will find a 3.5mm audio jack subsequent to the facility output for enjoying your audio to a different speaker or listening to music from an exterior supply. You additionally get a 1/4″ thread mount on the underside, making it straightforward to put the Echo on a speaker stand for simpler placement round your property. Options like that and the three.5mm jack is likely to be insignificant to some buyers, however I’ve all the time appreciated the additional utility Amazon provides to its audio system in comparison with one thing just like the Google Nest Audio.

Amazon Echo 4th Gen Speaker Layout

Amazon Echo 3rd Gen Speaker LayoutSupply: AmazonAmazon Echo (4th Gen) speaker array in comparison with the Echo (third Gen)

Going again to the speaker array I prefaced above, Amazon made positive to take full benefit of the Echo’s new round housing. Contained in the Echo (4th Gen) is a 3″ woofer and two front-firing 0.8″ tweeters. The woofer is identical dimension because the Echo (third Gen), with the massive profit being that you simply now get two tweeters as an alternative of only one. In addition they change to a front-facing array as an alternative of the upward placement of final 12 months, and the tip results of all that is rattling spectacular sound high quality.

The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) sounds approach higher than it ought to for being a $100 speaker.

It doesn’t matter what I take heed to on the Amazon Echo (4th Gen), I am always impressed with the way it handles all of my music. The Echo kicks out a ton of bass, however it by no means will get to the purpose the place it sounds too muddy. You get a pleasant thump on the low finish, however the mid and excessive finish nonetheless sounds good to my ears. If the out-of-the-box listening expertise is just too bass-heavy in your liking, you’ll be able to all the time open the Alexa app and alter EQ settings for bass, midrange, and treble.

Songs like Colours by Beck are particularly spectacular on the Echo (4th Gen), with the speaker doing justice to the fixed bass all through the music. It is a punch I used to be not anticipating for a $100 speaker, and like I discussed above, it manages to do that whereas nonetheless maintaining different elements of the music clear and gratifying. The violin from the opening of Someday Round Midnight comes by means of superbly, Ashe’s vocals in Save Myself are great. It is all great things.

I used to depend on the Sonos One as my workplace speaker for listening to music all through the day, and coming to the Echo (4th Gen) from that, it is spectacular simply how properly the Echo holds as much as it. I might argue that Sonos nonetheless delivers audio that is extra well-rounded, however we’re speaking a few speaker that prices twice as a lot because the Echo. For $100, the Echo (4th Gen) knocks it out of the park.

Amazon Echo 4th Gen

Supply: Joe Maring / Android Central

With reference to how the Echo performs as a sensible machine, there is a ton on supply. Identical to we noticed within the now-discontinued Echo Plus, the Echo (4th Gen) can act as a sensible hub for Zigbee-enabled units — akin to Philips Hue bulbs and Yale good locks. Once they’re accessible, you may additionally be capable to use the Echo as a hub for Ring Good Lighting units.

The place Google Assistant can really feel a bit stagnant, Alexa is consistently enhancing.

The Alexa expertise provided right here is rather like it’s on another Echo machine, which is to say you are able to do a lot with it. Ask concerning the climate, management music playback, or arrange Alexa Guard to maintain your property secure when you’re away. I additionally put the microphones to the check by saying “Alexa” with music taking part in at a blistering quantity, and the Echo managed to listen to me with out a drawback.

It has been some time since I’ve had an Alexa speaker in my residence, however utilizing it over my Google Assistant machine has been a wonderfully seamless expertise. I nonetheless favor the best way Google handles sure questions and the mixing it has with my Google account, however Alexa would not really feel noticeably crippled in its performance. It is encouraging to see Amazon nonetheless increasing on Alexa to this very day with options like Alexa Care Hub, Guard Plus, and extra pure language processing.

The Echo (4th Gen) can be one of many first audio system to make use of Amazon’s AZ1 Neural Edge processor, which touts as much as 2x sooner speech processing and decrease reminiscence utilization by as much as 85%. These are improvements we aren’t seeing sufficient of from Google, and it paints a promising future for Alexa a few years down the street.

Amazon Echo (4th Gen) What I do not like

Amazon Echo 4th Gen

Supply: Joe Maring / Android Central

Throughout my time with the Amazon Echo, I discovered that the playback buttons aren’t all the time essentially the most responsive. They really feel nice to press and have an exquisite click on to them, however they do not all the time carry out the motion that they need to. Greater than as soon as, I discovered myself urgent the amount or mute buttons and them not doing something. Including a bit extra power does the trick, however does take away from the general expertise just a bit bit. I additionally would have most popular contact gestures for the controls, because the bodily buttons interrupt the in any other case seamless design.

Exterior of that, the whole lot else concerning the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) has been incredible.

Amazon Echo (4th Gen) Competitors

Amazon Echo 4th Gen And Echo Dot 4th Gen

Supply: Joe Maring / Android Central

The Echo (4th Gen) is a superb buy, however earlier than you click on that Purchase Now button on Amazon, there are a few options you must first think about — the primary of which is the Echo Dot (4th Gen). It is $50 cheaper than the common Echo, although you get the identical round design and in a smaller kind issue. Audio high quality is not fairly as spectacular by itself, although you’ll be able to pair two Echo Dots collectively and get stereo sound for a similar worth as one common Echo.

When you’ve got a bit extra cash to spend and need to stay within the Alexa ecosystem, it is also price contemplating the Echo Studio. It prices twice as a lot because the Echo (4th Gen), however you are getting even higher sound. Due to its bigger audio system (and extra of them), it nonetheless stays the go-to choose if high-end audio is on the very prime of your buying checklist.

Lastly, in the event you aren’t 100% dedicated to Alexa, it might be price trying out the Nest Audio. That is Google’s newest good speaker providing, and it has most of the similar options because the Echo (4th Gen): nice sound, a glossy design, and dependable microphones. If you happen to like the concept of the Echo (4th Gen) however would relatively speak to the Google Assistant, the Nest Audio is for you.

Amazon Echo (4th Gen) Must you purchase?

Amazon Echo 4th Gen

Supply: Joe Maring / Android Central

You should purchase this if …

You need an reasonably priced speaker that sounds nice

$100 will not be “low cost,” however it’s significantly lower than plenty of different audio system on the market from Sonos and Apple. If you happen to do not need to spend greater than 100 bucks however nonetheless need a speaker that sounds nice, the Echo (4th Gen) strikes that steadiness nearly completely.

You need to broaden or begin your Alexa family

Chances are high you have already got not less than one Alexa machine in your house, and in the event you do, the brand new Echo (4th Gen) will slot in completely. If not, it is an incredible jumping-off level to dive into the platform and get began with it.

You’ve got Zigbee-enabled good units

Whether or not it’s Philips Hue bulbs or a Yale good lock, having the Echo (4th Gen) double as a Zigbee hub means you’ll be able to simplify your good residence setup — one thing we might all use somewhat extra of.

You shouldn’t purchase this if …

You do not like Alexa

This ought to be fairly apparent, however in the event you nonetheless don’t love how Alexa works, nothing concerning the Echo (4th Gen) will change your thoughts. Simply stick along with your Nest Audio or HomePod.

out of 5

I believe one of the simplest ways I can describe the Echo (4th Gen) is that it is only a enjoyable piece of tech. The design is refreshing, it is a pleasure to take heed to music on, and there are just about countless options to broaden its performance. You get all of that for simply $100, making it not possible to disregard for anybody that finds themselves in Camp Alexa.

The core feature-set of the Echo (4th Gen) is not any totally different from the one you get on another previous or current Echo speaker, however its magic lies in having the ability to ship all of these issues and a legitimately nice audio expertise with out breaking the financial institution.

I am personally too invested in Google Assistant units to fully convert my house into an Alexa-powered one, however my time with the Echo (4th Gen) has actually made me compelled to start out paying nearer consideration to what Amazon’s doing within the good speaker house. Whether or not you are shopping for for your self or a member of the family this vacation season, it is exhausting to think about a cause why you should not purchase the brand new Echo (4th Gen). Amazon nailed it with this one.

Amazon Echo 4th Gen Blue Official Render

Amazon Echo (4th Gen)

Backside line: The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) checks all of the containers for an incredible good speaker: Glorious audio, a satisfying design, strong options, and a aggressive worth. Amazon did not essentially reinvent the wheel with this one, however the modifications and enhancements it did make are enormously appreciated.

Overview Changelog, Might 2021

This text was initially printed in October 2020. It was up to date in Might 2021 with the next modifications.

  • Added retail availability.
  • Up to date bundle pricing info within the Value and Availability part.
  • Added changelog.

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