(Pocket-lint) - Amazon has a blistering array of Echo speakers, suiting a full range of prices and uses. From the compact up to larger speakers for a fuller music experience, there's something for everybody. Plus, there's also a selection of devices with displays.

There's also a burgeoning ecosystem of other Amazon smart devices that work in some way with Alexa - such as the Amazon Echo Wall Clock. We're detailing what they all do, what the differences are and highlighting the best prices to keep track of all the deals and sales. 

Which is the best Amazon Echo for you?

Pocket-lint

Amazon Echo (fourth gen)

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  • Dimensions: 144 x 144 x 133mm, 970g
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth (A2DP), 3.5mm audio in/out, Zigbee, Sidewalk
  • Audio: 3.0-inch woofer and 2x 0.8-inch tweeter
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

Amazon's latest Echo changes the shape to a sphere rather than a cylinder like previous models. The new design gives the Echo the chance to boost its audio credentials, taking the 3.0-inch woofer from the previous Echo and doubling the 0.8-inch tweeters. That means the speaker can offer stereo without pairing, powered by Dolby and automatically adapting the sound to suit the room you put it in.

On top of that it's smarter, with a Zigbee controller and Amazon Sidewalk, meaning it will be a better hub than previous Echos at this level, rivalling and surpassing the skills of the old Echo Plus. Like other Echos, it can be paired and grouped, and also works with the Echo Sub.

Pocket-lint

Amazon Echo (third gen)

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  • Dimensions: 148 x 99 x 99mm, 780g
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth (A2DP), 3.5mm audio in/out
  • Audio: 3.0-inch woofer and 0.8-inch tweeter
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The 2019 Echo takes the quality of the 2018 Echo Plus with the same speaker configuration and design, introducing a new colour, but otherwise offering a higher-quality design and sound than the second-gen Echo. It doesn't have the Zigbee controller that you'll find on the Echo Plus, but that's a minor omission.

The Amazon Echo has been replaced by the 2020 Echo (fourth gen), which sounds a little better, has greater connectivity. In many places, Amazon no longer sells the older Echo model.

Pocket-lint

Amazon Echo Plus (second gen)

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  • Dimensions: 148 x 99 x 99mm, 780g
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth (A2DP), 3.5mm audio in/out, Zigbee
  • Audio: 3.0-inch woofer and 0.8-inch tweeter
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The second-generation version of the Echo Plus appeared in 2018 and takes a shorter, wider stance, with a cloth-covered exterior. The design is essentially exactly the same as the third-gen Echo - as are the speakers inside.

The Echo Plus 2 offers all the Alexa functions that all other Echo devices will offer you, but has a built-in Zigbee controller (like largest Echo Show and the fourth-gen Echo), meaning you can directly connect to and control compatible smart home devices. It's a great all-rounder, but given that the performance is now matched by the new Echo, you have to really need that Zigbee controller to justify the extra price.

Pocket-lint

Amazon Echo Studio

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  • Dimensions: 206 x 175 x 175mm, 3.5kg
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth (A2DP), 3.5mm audio in/out, Zigbee
  • Audio: 3x 2.0-inch midrange, 1.0-inch tweeter, 5.25-inch woofer, Dolby Atmos, MPEG-H
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The Echo Studio is top dog for audio in the Echo range, expanding into a bigger unit designed to give much richer sound. It supports the new Amazon Music HD service, as well as offering support for Dolby Atmos and 3D formats from MPEG-H, like Sony 360 Reality Audio. Not only is this a music master, but it can also handle your TV audio too, compatible with wireless connections to Fire TV devices. It can also be stereo paired.

But at its heart, this is still an Alexa device, capable of all the features that Alexa brings, as well as offering a Zigbee controller so it can natively connect to smart home devices and control them. It's great value for money for such a high-performing speaker.

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Amazon Echo Dot (fourth gen)

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  • Dimensions: 100 x 100 x 89mm, 328g
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth, 3.5mm audio out
  • Audio: 1.6-inch speaker
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The 2020 Echo Dot follows the new Echo in moving to a spherical shape and moving on from the puck of the previous few years. It sticks to the same speaker, however, so we'd expect the audio performance to be similar. It also offers all the same functions, with the only real changes being the addition of greater Wi-Fi bands.

There are neat character designs for kids, and a newly-refreshed version of the Echo Dot with Clock.

Pocket-lint

Amazon Echo Dot (third gen)

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  • Dimensions: 43 x 99 x 99mm, 300g
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth, 3.5mm audio out
  • Audio: 1.6-inch speaker 
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The Echo Dot has been amazingly popular and the third generation was redesigned in 2018, ditching the hard plastic to match the Echo. It's a larger diameter than the original model it replaces and that gives space for a 1.6-inch speaker.

The Echo Dot is a great standalone Alexa device, well equipped to converse with you and while it's not really designed as a music device, it will give you great overall sound. It can also be connected to another speaker via 3.5mm cable if you wish.

There's also a version with a LED clock behind the cloth.

Pocket-lint

Amazon Echo Flex

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  • Dimensions: 72 x 67 x 66mm, 166g
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth and dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5GHz), USB-A (7.5W), 3.5mm audio output, 
  • Audio: Built-in speaker for voice feedback
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

Amazon Echo Flex is the smallest way to get Alexa in your home, plugging right into the wall. It has a speaker and microphone to deliver the Alexa experience, but there's also a 3.5mm socket in case you did want to hook it up to existing speakers.

It also has a USB connection on it which can be used to charge a phone but can also accept accessories, including a motion sensor or a night light. It's a versatile little device and an easy addition to any room. Naturally, it's not really designed for playing music due to the small speaker, but if you want voice control or Alexa features without the wires, then the Flex is an interesting choice.

Pocket-lint

Amazon Echo Sub

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  • Dimensions: 210 x 210 x 202mm, 4.2kg
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5GHz)
  • Audio: 6-inch down-firing woofer, 100W Class D amplifier
  • Alexa: No

The Amazon Echo Sub is technically an Echo companion, in that it doesn't offer Alexa in its own right; instead, the Echo Sub acts to boost your Echo set-up by adding a dedicated subwoofer. 

The Echo Sub can be paired with one Echo or Echo Plus, but it's ideally suited to a stereo-paired set of Echos, to create a 2.1 system. The only drawback here is that you'll have to use Echos of the same type, so a pair of Echo Plus, for example.

Essentially, if you're an Echo fan and already have one or two Echos, then the Echo Sub is a great upgrade, meaning you'll have a decent music system - and all with Alexa's great voice control.

Amazon smart displays and video devices

Amazon has also moved into the realm of video too, with several devices that will add a screen to make the Alexa experience more visual. 

Pocket-lint

Amazon Echo Show 5

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  • Dimensions: 148 x 86 x 73mm, 410g
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth, 3.5mm output
  • Display: 5.5-inch touchscreen
  • Audio: 1.65-inch speaker
  • Camera: 1-megapixel sensor
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The Echo Show 5 gets its name from the 5.5-inch display and is essentially just a smaller version of the main Echo Show. However, it's also significantly cheaper and way better value than the main Echo Show. There are some compromises in camera and sound quality, although it provides sound good enough for most small to medium-sized rooms.

It offers a front camera for Alexa Calling, has a single speaker for all your audio and looks like a nicer option for a bedside Echo. Like the Echo Spot, it can also be used as a gradually-brightening alarm clock, while there's a new privacy shutter over the camera, too. Like the other Shows, there's no YouTube support which remains a disappointment. But there is video calling with Skype as well as Ring doorbell integration. 

Pocket-lint

Amazon Echo Show 8

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  • Dimensions: 200.4 x 135.9 x 99.1mm, 1037g
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth, 3.5mm output
  • Display: 8.0-inch touchscreen
  • Audio: 2.0-inch speaker
  • Camera: 1-megapixel sensor
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The Echo Show 8 slots into the gap between the Echo Show (10-inch) and the Echo Show 5. It lacks the Zigbee controller that you'll get in the larger model but offers a little boost over the smaller model.

There's a camera on the front - including a cover - so when you're not using it for calling you can protect your privacy. This is really a larger Show 5, slightly lower power than the 10-inch model.

The Echo Show 8 will be available from 21 November 2019. 

Amazon

Amazon Echo Show 10

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  • Dimensions: 251 x 230 x 172mm, 2560g
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth A2DP, Zigbee, Sidewalk
  • Display: 10.1-inch touchscreen
  • Audio: 3.0-inch woofer, 2x 1.0-inch tweeters
  • Camera: 13-megapixel sensor
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The 2020 Echo Show 10 is thge third-generation of the large Echo Show. The big change in this version is the design, with a more substantial speaker base and the screen that's now on a swivel. That means the display can move, to follow you around the room. That's ideal for those who put it in a larger kitchen for example and don't want to have to physically rotate it or the time, or have to move into a different position.

The display is the same size, but the speaker arrangement has also expanded over the previous edition. It's now a 2.1 setup, with a dedicated woofer and a pair of tweeters, which should make for much more robust sound. It also offers Zigbee and Sidewalk support, so can act as a smart home hub for other devices.

Pocket-lint

Amazon Echo Show (second gen)

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  • Dimensions: 246 x 174 x 107mm, 1755g
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11a/b/g/n/c (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth A2DP, Zigbee
  • Display: 10.1-inch touchscreen
  • Audio: 8-microphone array, dual 2-inch stereo speakers
  • Camera: 5-megapixel sensor
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The second-generation of the largest Echo Show expands the display over the original model and moves the speakers to the side. The aim is better audio and visual experience in an improved design, and that's what you get.

You get all the Alexa skills you did previously, including video calling (now boosted with Skype support), as well as the inclusion of a Zigbee controller. Like the Echo Plus, the new Show can set up and control compatible smart home devices without the need for separate hubs or apps.

Pocket-lint

Amazon Echo Spot

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  • Dimensions: 32 x 84 x 84mm, 163g
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5GHz) and Bluetooth (A2DP), 3.5mm audio output
  • Display: 2.5-inch round touchscreen
  • Audio: 1.4-inch speaker
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The Amazon Echo Spot is what you'd get if you cross the Echo Show with the old Echo Dot. It's a compact Echo to sit beside your bed for alarms. It has a small 2.5-inch screen, which can be used for basic tasks and skills, like music, but it does a lot more. Like the Echo Show, it can be used to make video calls, with a front camera.

It basically offers the same functions as the Echo Show, but in a much smaller form factor. It can also connect to your Bluetooth speakers, or via 3.5mm cable.

Alexa Gadgets

Amazon officially announced Alexa Gadgets as a range of innovative devices that take Alexa into a new realm. We've included the Echo Look in this selection, because of its unique set of features. 

Pocket-lint

Amazon Echo Wall Clock

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  • Dimensions: 254 x 254 x 41mm, 380g
  • Connectivity: Connects to your compatible Echo device
  • Display: Er, it's a clock
  • Audio: None
  • Alexa: No, it uses the other device

It's a clock that you initially think makes no sense - it's a pretty dumb smart gadget as it is, to all intents and purposes, a relatively cheap wall clock with some LEDs around the edge. But you know what? We've come to depend on ours. It shows you timers in a visual way, so if you regularly cook with Alexa or use other timers, it's actually pretty useful to see at-a-glance when stuff is finishing. 

Conclusion: Which Echo should you buy?

When it comes to the Echo speakers, the third-gen Echo (or Echo 3 as some might call it) has been the hot speaker to opt for - great sound and great value for money, but that's now changed with the new 2020 Echo (fourth gen). The latest Echo is the smartest and best sounding - and the third-gen Echo isn't widely available any more.

If music is what's important to you, then adding the Echo Sub will boost the experience, adding low range skills - so this is also great as an upgrade option in the future. Stereo pairing then makes for a great 2.1 system.

The Echo Plus is now largely redundant, as the smart home controller is now availalbe on the fourth-gen Echo too. However, it retains that cylindrical design if that's what you prefer.

The Echo Studio is in a whole other league, by far the most ambitious speaker from an audio point of view really boosting the quality - but also offering Dolby Atmos and immersive audio when partnered with your Fire TV. It can also be stereo paired, which is a formidable setup.

Echo Dot is ideal to extend Alexa to other rooms of the house where you don't have an Echo, so if you've set up a voice-controlled smart home, Echo Dot makes it easy to always be in voice range - although the Echo Flex will subtly plug into the wall and offer voice controls - although it's not great for music.

The Echo Show takes things in a different direction. It's more expensive, but it gives you video calling and a display for more interactive returns. If you know someone else with an Echo Show, it's a natural choice to save you from needing to use Skype on your laptop. Echo Show and Show 10 also offers a Zigbee controller, so has all the smart home advantages of new Echo.

Show 5 and Show 8 offer smaller display options, both offering plenty of interactive fun, but not quite as capable as the 10-inch model. We'd pick the Show 5 over the Echo Spot for its better sound and more conventional and useful display, although if it's a bedside companion you want, the Echo Dot with Clock is a great option.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Chris Hall.