Alexa is great, she can control all manner of smart home products, answer any questions you may have and play you music she thinks you'll love. But that last one can pose a problem if you have the Amazon Echo, because it isn't the greatest sounding speaker ever. It's great for voice feedback, but if music is a priority, you're better off looking elsewhere.
Yes, Amazon has recently announced the Echo Plus which aims to combat the not-so-powerful speaker in the regular Echo, but fortunately, several speaker manufacturers have embraced Alexa and installed her in their own devices. This not only gives you a smart assistant that can respond to various commands and control smart home products, but a speaker that sounds great too. Here are some of the best.
KitSound Voice One
See it on Amazon UK
The KitSound Voice One isn't due out for another couple of weeks, but you can pre-order it now. It's been made in collaboration with Amazon, so you get the full Alexa experience, meaning it can answer questions, play music from various sources and control smart home devices. It's capable of hearing you speak from the other side of the room and up to eight Voice One speakers can be connected together for multi-room playback.
The Libratone Zipp is a fantastic sounding portable speaker with interchangeable jackets. Sound is fired out in 360-degrees and the overall profile can be adjust using the companion app. It's recently been updated to support Amazon Alexa too, meaning you can speak commands to it, whether it be to change the music that's playing, or turn your kitchen lights off. The fact it's portable also means you can take Alexa with you wherever you go.
See it on Amazon UK
The Onkyo P3 isn't available until the end of October, but you can pre-order it now. We've been able to see it in the flesh at IFA 2017, although we haven't been able to give it a proper listen. However, with dual full-range drivers, dual passive bass radiators and DSP switching amplification, not to mention the Onkyo name, we have no doubts it will sound great.
Sonos finally revealed the speaker we'd all been hoping for in the form of the One. We thought it would be called Play:1 with Alexa, but instead the company has chosen a new naming structure. The Sonos One has Amazon Alexa built in and can carry out the same functions as the Echo, including controlling smart home products, giving answers to questions and playing music you search for with your voice.
UE Boom 2
The UE Boom 2 is one of our all-time favourite Bluetooth speakers. It offers a sound that belies its size, which just so happens to be perfect for taking with you wherever you go. It's fully waterproof and you can pair it with another UE speaker to create a stereo pair. The addition of Amazon Alexa makes it even more desirable, although you do have to press the Bluetooth button each time, rather than it being in an always on mode.
It's worth noting that you can only adjust music playback settings such as volume and track playing. It can't control your smart home products and it's only supported by Android devices. Sorry iPhone users.
The UE Megaboom offers much of the same experience as the Boom 2, but a much, much bigger sound. You also get a longer battery life and a dedicated Megaboom app that lets you adjust the equalisation settings. As with the Boom 2, you can only control music playback using Alexa and again, you'll need to press the Bluetooth button to activate it.