Speakers with Alexa

Speakers with Alexa

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The speakers with the best integration of Alexa have been manufactured by Amazon themselves, however, the range is limited to devices that mostly have an average audio quality but will suffice for most users. If you take your audio more seriously or want a device for a specific purpose that the Amazon offerings cannot supply, then there are plenty of alternatives. Today we are on the hunt for the best speakers with Alexa.

One limitation of the Amazon offerings is that they are mains powered units with no built-in batteries that cannot be used away from the home or in the garden away from a mains socket. There are several third-party devices now available that fill this gap.

Echo Dot (4th generation) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Charcoal
Echo Studio | High-fidelity smart speaker with 3D audio and Alexa
Echo Show 5 (1st Gen, 2019 release) – Smart Display with Alexa – Stay in touch with the help of Alexa – Charcoal
Echo Show 8 (1st Gen, 2019 release) – Smart Display with Alexa – Stay in touch with the help of Alexa – Charcoal
Echo Show 10 (3rd generation) | HD smart display with motion and Alexa, Charcoal Fabric
Sonos One (Gen 2) - The powerful Smart Speaker with Alexa built-in, White
Echo Dot (4th generation) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Charcoal
Echo Studio | High-fidelity smart speaker with 3D audio and Alexa
Echo Show 5 (1st Gen, 2019 release) – Smart Display with Alexa – Stay in touch with the help of Alexa – Charcoal
Echo Show 8 (1st Gen, 2019 release) – Smart Display with Alexa – Stay in touch with the help of Alexa – Charcoal
Echo Show 10 (3rd generation) | HD smart display with motion and Alexa, Charcoal Fabric
Sonos One (Gen 2) - The powerful Smart Speaker with Alexa built-in, White
£34.99
£189.99
Price not available
£64.99
£239.99
£199.00
Echo Dot (4th generation) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Charcoal
Echo Dot (4th generation) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Charcoal
£34.99
Echo Studio | High-fidelity smart speaker with 3D audio and Alexa
Echo Studio | High-fidelity smart speaker with 3D audio and Alexa
£189.99
Echo Show 5 (1st Gen, 2019 release) – Smart Display with Alexa – Stay in touch with the help of Alexa – Charcoal
Echo Show 5 (1st Gen, 2019 release) – Smart Display with Alexa – Stay in touch with the help of Alexa – Charcoal
Price not available
Echo Show 8 (1st Gen, 2019 release) – Smart Display with Alexa – Stay in touch with the help of Alexa – Charcoal
Echo Show 8 (1st Gen, 2019 release) – Smart Display with Alexa – Stay in touch with the help of Alexa – Charcoal
£64.99
Echo Show 10 (3rd generation) | HD smart display with motion and Alexa, Charcoal Fabric
Echo Show 10 (3rd generation) | HD smart display with motion and Alexa, Charcoal Fabric
£239.99
Sonos One (Gen 2) - The powerful Smart Speaker with Alexa built-in, White
Sonos One (Gen 2) - The powerful Smart Speaker with Alexa built-in, White
£199.00

Amazon Devices – Best Speakers with Alexa

Amazon Echo Dot 4th Generation

All-new Echo Dot (4th generation) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Charcoal: Amazon.co.uk: Amazon Devices

Sale
Echo Dot (4th generation) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Charcoal
  • Meet Echo Dot—our most popular smart speaker with Alexa. The sleek, compact design delivers crisp vocals and balanced bass for full sound.
  • Voice control your entertainment—stream songs from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer and more. Play music, audiobooks and podcasts throughout your home with multi-room music.
  • Supports lossless HD audio available on select streaming services such as Amazon Music HD.
  • Ready to help—ask Alexa to tell a joke, play music, answer questions, play the news, check the weather, set alarms and more.
  • Control your smart home—use your voice to turn on lights, adjust thermostats and lock doors with compatible devices.

Almost completely redesigned from previous versions, the fourth-generation echo dot retains its compact dimensions but is now oval and is available in a range of colours including glacier white, charcoal and twilight blue, all of which look respectable. The oval speaker grill is made of a mesh fabric material which can become stained over time, so I would opt for one of the darker colours for longevity. 

This unit features the full range of Alexa features including voice control for entertainment services including Amazon Music, Spotify, Deezer and Audible Audiobooks, as well as BBC sounds for podcasts and radio. In addition, it can answer questions, provide weather forecasts, and there is a range of “skills” that can be enabled in the app as well as some games. This unit also allows you to make hands free phone calls or make announcements around the home when you have more than one Alexa device available. Smart home integration is a key feature, and this unit allows you to control lights, thermostats, doorbells, and many other devices with your voice.

Privacy has been enhanced, and this unit has multiple layers of privacy protection and control including a dedicated button to disable the microphones. The unit allows you to set alarms, reminder, and timers, and informs you of any incoming notifications by pulsing the blue light bar at the bottom of the unit. 

It must be noted that with all Alexa devices some of the services on offer will require a separate subscription such as Spotify and even Amazon’s own music service has a limited range of music available without subscribing.

Sound quality on this unit is acceptable and it sounds crisp and clear, especially with spoken audio and audiobooks, however, due to the limitations imposed by its size, music quality suffers from a lack of bass and there is no stereo separation as this unit is a mono speaker.

Amazon Echo Dot 4th Generation with Clock

This model is almost the same as the standard Echo Dot with the inclusion of a clock face on the front of the unit. it features the full range of Alexa functionality including voice control for entertainment services including Amazon Music, Spotify, Deezer and Audible Audiobooks, as well as BBC sounds for podcasts and radio. In addition, it can answer questions, provide weather forecasts, and there is a range of “skills” that can be enabled in the app as well as some games. This unit also allows you to make hands free phone calls or make announcements around the home when you have more than one Alexa device available. Smart home integration is a key feature, and this unit allows you to control lights, thermostats, doorbells, and many other devices with your voice. One thing to note is that this model is only available in glacier white and twilight blue at the time of writing. 

The clock feature allows you to view the time, alarms and timers on the LED display and you can also snooze the alarm by tapping the top of the unit. The price is only slightly higher than the standard Echo Dot. 

Amazon Echo 4th Generation

All-new Echo (4th generation) | With premium sound, smart home hub and Alexa | Charcoal: Amazon.co.uk: Amazon Devices

Sale
Echo (4th generation) | With premium sound, smart home hub and Alexa | Charcoal
  • Premium sound—Echo delivers clear highs, dynamic mids and deep bass for rich, detailed sound that automatically adapts to any room.
  • Voice control your entertainment—stream songs from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer and more. Plus listen to radio stations, podcasts and Audible audiobooks.
  • Supports lossless HD audio available on select streaming services such as Amazon Music HD.
  • Ready to help—ask Alexa to play music, answer questions, play the news, check the weather, set alarms, control compatible smart home devices and more.
  • Smart home made simple—with the built-in hub, easily set up compatible Zigbee devices to voice control lights, locks and sensors.

This unit is larger than the dots and has a more premium sound profile and a built in 3” subwoofer for bass enhancement. It retains the oval shape and colour options of the dot, however there is an additional option of a PRODUCT(RED) colour. 

The Echo delivers clear highs, dynamic mids and deep bass for rich, detailed sound that automatically adapts to any room or environment. This unit features the full range of Alexa features including voice control for entertainment services including Amazon Music, Spotify, Deezer and Audible Audiobooks, as well as BBC sounds for podcasts and radio. In addition, it can answer questions, provide weather forecasts, and there is a range of “skills” that can be enabled in the app as well as some games. This unit also allows you to make hands free phone calls or make announcements around the home when you have more than one Alexa device available. Smart home integration is a key feature, and this unit allows you to control lights, thermostats, doorbells, and many other devices with your voice.

Privacy has been enhanced, and this unit has multiple layers of privacy protection and control including a dedicated button to disable the microphones. The unit allows you to set alarms, reminder, and timers, and informs you of any incoming notifications by pulsing the blue light bar at the bottom of the unit. 

Amazon Echo Studio

Echo Studio | High-fidelity smart speaker with 3D audio and Alexa: Amazon.co.uk: Amazon Devices

Echo Studio | High-fidelity smart speaker with 3D audio and Alexa
  • Immersive sound: 5 speakers produce powerful bass, dynamic midrange and crisp highs. Dolby Atmos technology adds space, clarity and depth.
  • Ready to help: ask Alexa to play music, read the news and answer questions.
  • Voice control your music: stream songs from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer and more. With Amazon Music HD, play 50 million songs in HD plus a growing library of music mastered in 3D.
  • Adapts to any room: automatically senses the acoustics of your space, fine-tuning playback for optimal sound.
  • Built-in smart home hub: ask Alexa to control Zigbee-compatible devices.

This is Amazon’s flagship speaker and is larger than the standard echo. It retains a more traditional cylindrical shape with top mounted controls and retains the ability to mute the microphone for privacy. Inside the unit are five separate speaker units, including a subwoofer which helps it to produce powerful bass, dynamic midrange, and crisp highs. Dolby Atmos technology adds space, clarity, and depth. This unit adapts to its environment and automatically senses the acoustics of your space and finely tunes playback for optimal sound.

The standout feature with this model is its ability to play 3D music, which is a recent technology whereby some tracks have been remastered to produce a more spatial sound with clearer instrument separation and placement. In order to benefit from this feature, you will need to pay for an Amazon Music HD subscription. The effect is more noticeable on more recent tracks – some of the older material has been remastered to provide the 3D effect but the results are not always very convincing. The jury is out as to whether this technology will take on or whether it will suffer the same fate as 3D TV, however Deezer has also recently started supporting the technology so we will need to wait and see. 

In addition to the enhancements detailed above, this unit offers all the features and services seen on the Echo and Echo Dot devices and has a built-in smart hub to control compatible Zigbee devices. You can also link two of these units together for a stereo sound if required.

Echo Show 5

Echo Show 5 – Stay in touch with the help of Alexa, Black: Amazon.co.uk: Amazon Devices

Echo Show 5 (1st Gen, 2019 release) – Smart Display with Alexa – Stay in touch with the help of Alexa – Charcoal
  • Compact 5.5" smart display with Alexa, ready to help.
  • Voice or video call friends and family with compatible Echo devices or the Alexa app.
  • Manage calendar, make to-do lists, get weather and traffic updates and cook with step-by-step recipes.
  • Watch films, news and TV programmes. Listen to songs, radio stations and audiobooks.
  • Voice control compatible devices or manage them using the display.

Echo Show 8

Echo Show 8 | Stay in touch with the help of Alexa, Charcoal fabric: Amazon.co.uk: Amazon Devices

Sale
Echo Show 8 (1st Gen, 2019 release) – Smart Display with Alexa – Stay in touch with the help of Alexa – Charcoal
  • Alexa can show you more: with an 8" HD screen and stereo sound, Alexa can help you manage your day at a glance.
  • Connect with video calling and messaging: call friends and family who have the Alexa app or an Echo device with a screen. Make announcements to other devices in your home.
  • Be entertained: ask Alexa to show you TV programmes, films or the news. Listen to radio stations, podcasts and audiobooks.
  • Control your smart home: voice control compatible devices, or manage them on the easy-to-use display. Ask Alexa to show you security cameras, control lights and adjust thermostats.
  • Make it yours: display your Amazon photo albums and customise your Home screen. Create morning routines to start your day.

Echo Show 10

All-new Echo Show 10 (3rd generation) | HD smart display with motion and Alexa, Charcoal Fabric: Amazon.co.uk: Amazon Devices

Echo Show 10 (3rd generation) | HD smart display with motion and Alexa, Charcoal Fabric
  • Designed to move with you—with a 10.1" HD screen that moves automatically, video calls, recipes and series are always in view. The speakers deliver premium, directional sound.
  • Stay in frame—video call friends and family or take a picture while the 13 MP camera with auto-framing and motion keeps you front and centre.
  • Smart home made simple—set up compatible Zigbee devices without the need for a separate hub. Ask Alexa to show you security cameras, control lights and adjust thermostats.
  • Take a look around when you’re away—securely access the built-in camera to remotely monitor your home at any time with the Alexa app or other Echo Show devices.
  • So much entertainment—ask Alexa to play your favourite TV series, music and podcasts from Prime Video, Netflix, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify and more.

Amazon also offers three units with built in displays of varying sizes, with the name of the device indicating the screen size in inches and each unit being available in a couple of colour schemes. These units have all the features of the echo dot devices, improved sound quality (especially bass output), and a built-in screen which can be used for a multitude of uses including viewing recipes, viewing certain websites, weather forecasts, and video playback from Amazon Prime Video and some compatibility with Netflix. You can also make video calls and each unit has a built-in camera, although there is a cover you can slide over the camera to protect your privacy when required. You can use Amazon Photos or photos from Facebook to turn your Home screen into a digital frame that uses adaptive colour to make your favourite pictures look great in any light. With the built-in camera you can easily add to your photo album by saying “Alexa, take a selfie”. Prime members get unlimited photo storage.

The largest unit, the Echo Show 10, has recently been updated and now includes a powered rotating base so that the screen follows you as you move around, something that may be useful when viewing recipes while preparing ingredients for example. All units have Bluetooth connectivity so content can be streamed from a phone or tablet.

One thing to note is that these units constantly display information when not being used for anything else, such as news updates, stories, and weather forecasts. There is some degree of customisation, however in general Amazon decides what to show and some users may find this intrusive. The displays do dim when no one is in the room to preserve power, however.

Other Devices

Sonos One

Sonos One (Gen 2) – The powerful Smart Speaker with Alexa built-in, White: Amazon.co.uk: Hi-Fi & Speakers

Sonos One (Gen 2) - The powerful Smart Speaker with Alexa built-in, White
  • Start and control your music with your voice and Alexa is built right in
  • Combine voice with the Sonos app to easily manage all your streaming services
  • Connect wirelessly to other Sonos speakers to enjoy clear sound in any or every room
  • Enjoy surprisingly rich sound from a compact speaker
  • Second generation Sonos ONE with increased memory and updated processor

The Sonos One delivers exceptional sound in a compact, yet powerful package and you can pair two units together for true stereo sound, and group multiple devices together for whole-home audio. The sound quality is a cut above the Amazon offerings, albeit at a much higher price and without some of the seamless home integration features. One of the nice things about Sonos speakers is that you can tune them to the acoustic properties of the room you are in, but what also makes the Sonos One great is its ability to stream audio from hundreds of sources across the company’s library: Not just Spotify and TuneIn, but SiriusXM, MLB, and much, much more. You can control it all using Alexa but if you tire of Amazon, you can also switch the Sonos One to use Google Assistant, which makes this speaker even more versatile. The one caveat is that the Sonos One lacks two of Alexa’s features: The ability to use Drop-In and make phone calls.

The speaker is wrapped in a metal grille; the Sonos logo is subtly displayed on the top inch of the front. On top are touch controls to play and pause tracks, change the volume, and mute and unmute the microphone. A small LED by the microphone button lights up when you say “Alexa”; unlike the Echo and Echo Dot, which have bright-blue indicator lights, it is hard to see the Sonos One’s light from across a room. However, there is an audio cue when Alexa has heard you.  On the back of the speaker is a port for its power cord, and an Ethernet port, however it lacks any sort of inputs so unless you have a Sonos Connect device (at substantial additional cost) you are stuck with just Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. 

There are a couple more caveats with this unit: It is designed to be implemented into a whole home set-up and connected with other Sonos devices; however, the company has a reputation for removing compatibility and not providing firmware updates on older devices which can sometimes mean that even when you are heavily invested in their product range you can be left with older devices that do not function as advertised. These units also leave rubber residue marks on furniture so you will need to put something underneath them.

Ultimate Ears Megablast

If you are looking for a portable device with a built-in battery, the UE Megablast has a range of compelling features including a 16-hour battery life and a rugged and waterproof design. It can link to the Alexa app on your phone and has an astonishing 150ft range from any connected devices. As with most third-party speakers, the Megablast has almost all of Alexa’s capabilities, but Amazon reserves some features, such as drop-in, messaging, and calls, for its own devices.

This model is available in a large range of colours, from a standard black unit to one that is bright yellow. The unit includes minimal controls: There are power and Bluetooth-pairing buttons on the top of the device, and volume controls on the side. If you are using Alexa, the limited controls are not a problem, but if you are playing via Bluetooth, you may want a way to pause a song or skip to the next track without using your mobile device. Nor is there a way to mute the microphone from the speaker; you must use the app for that. Under a protective plastic ring on the bottom, you will find the micro-USB port for charging the battery. The charging port’s placement can be a problem if you want always-on access to Alexa; you cannot have it plugged in and have it stand upright; you will need to lay it on its side. The Megablast is rated IPX67, meaning it can withstand being submerged in water for up to 30 minutes, making it ideal for use at the beach or pool. 

The Megablast delivers crisp treble, detailed bass, and full vocals — hitting all the marks that you want when listening to music. It sounds slightly better than UE’s Megaboom and much better than any Amazon speaker. Among speakers that integrate Alexa, only the Sonos One bests the Megablast, and the Sonos is not portable.

If you enjoyed this article on the best speakers with Alexa you might also like to read this Sony GTX XB7 review.

Amy Green

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