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(Pocket-lint) - Here's something we didn't expect: an Amazon Echo that's, well, not an Amazon Echo at all. It's a Lenovo Smart Assistant.

But the Lenovo uses Amazon's Alexa voice assistant and, for all intensive purposes, is functionally identical to Echo. So you can ask questions, receive answers, add to your lists, order Amazon products, and control various smart products using your voice.

So what has Lenovo done that's different? Despite looking similar, the Smart Assistant's design has a texture-covered base - available in grey, orange or green - and a 5W speaker and 10W woofer pairing for supposedly better sound than Amazon's equivalent. There are also eight microphones for supposedly superior voice pick-up.

Pocket-lintlenovo smart assistant preview image 3

It couldn't exactly be called a rival product to Amazon as the purpose is the same and it'll work with your Amazon Prime account too. Interestingly the $129 price point - around £105 by conversion - makes it the more affordable proposition. So perhaps the more sensible one to buy.

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There's also a Harman Kardon all-black edition that costs $179 (£145) if you want even better sound when it comes to your music. Sounds like a top idea. However, we have a soft spot for Alexa proper, in her original skin, even if Lenovo makes an enticing and unexpected propsect. 

Where will Alexa come from next? Is there an, um, echo in here? Amazon's world-dominating plans to be the planet's go-to shopping service seem to be going well.

Writing by Mike Lowe.