Echo review: How does this Alexa-based smart hub help automate your home?

Amazon Echo (4th Gen) Review

In an age of same-day shipping for online purchases and pre-order options for most stores, it’s no surprise that smart home devices are gaining popularity. However, many people wonder if a smart speaker worth it and which one is best for their home.

The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is a smart speaker with a long list of features, including voice control, a built-in Zigbee smart home hub, and privacy protection. Whether you’re hosting a dance party, asking a confusing question, or creating a calendar event, Alexa will be happy to help. As a bonus, the packaging is made from 98% recycled sources and the device goes into low-power mode when not in use to reduce energy consumption.

To determine if the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) worth it and meets expectations, we put it to the test. Here’s what we found.

Amazon Echo (4th Gen) review

To understand how Amazon Echo (4th Gen) works in the real world, we tested it for several weeks in a home environment. We took advantage of every feature, like asking Alexa to play music or connecting it to a smart plug to manage lights. Our tester has experience using a comparable smart home hub and high quality speakers.

What is the Amazon Echo (4th Generation)?

The Amazon Echo (4th) Generation is a smart speaker and digital assistant capable of checking sports scores, making calls, and turning on your favorite song using only voice commands. Whether you have low mobility and rely on a smart home hub to help your home run smoothly or just need it to set a timer, there are plenty of useful uses for the Amazon Echo.

This model is the fourth generation of Amazon Echo devices. The design is the most obvious change, going from a cylindrical shape to a spherical shape with a fabric covering. There are also improvements in sound quality and internal connectivity from the third to the fourth generation.

Price and where to buy Amazon Echo (4th generation)

The Amazon Echo (4th generation) is available on Amazon for $59.99.

How to Use Amazon Echo (4th Generation)

Although the Echo comes with an instruction guide for setup, it took a while to go through the process. For example, you need to download the Amazon Alexa app and add a new device to your Wi-Fi network. However, it took us a few tries to successfully connect to Wi-Fi, which was quite tedious. After solving this problem, the rest of the process was simple. We also liked being able to name our device and the room it’s in, making it easy to identify if you have multiple devices.

Here are some of the features of Amazon Echo (4th Generation):

  • High-end sound: Since it’s primarily a smart speaker, sound is one of the most critical aspects of the Echo, which automatically adapts to the sound of any room. It has powerful speakers with clear highs and deep bass, and it offers multi-room music to sync all Echo devices in every room. If you pair your Echo with a Fire TV device, the speaker also creates a home theater.
  • Voice command: By saying “Alexa” or “Hey Alexa,” you can ask the fourth-gen Echo almost any command, like stream songs from Spotify, set a timer, or the answer to your homework question.
  • Smart home hub: Without the capabilities of the smart home hub, the Amazon Echo is just a smart speaker. However, this feature allows you to voice control compatible locks and configure compatible Zigbee devices.
  • Hands-free call: You can call other friends who have an Echo device or the Alexa app or connect to other devices to tell the house that dinner is ready.
  • Privacy Controls: Previous models had privacy issues and users had concerns because the smart speaker was always listening. However, the fourth-gen Echo has a mic mute button, the ability to delete your voice recordings, and wake word technology.
  • Alexa Guard: This feature sends you a mobile alert if your Amazon Echo detects the sound of breaking glass or a smoke detector while you’re away.

Advantages of Amazon Echo (4th Generation)

Our first thought after opening our twilight blue Amazon Echo was how contemporary it looked and how well it fit into our interior decor. Even with our connectivity issues, the instructions were helpful and clearly outlined every step of the setup. We also received smart plugs to run our lights, which were simple to use and worked perfectly.

Regarding the sound, we feel that the quality is clear at low volume, but it cannot compete with the bass of a high quality Bluetooth speaker. However, it is perfect for everyday listening and fills the room. When we used the hands-free calling feature, we heard the person we were talking to loudly, and they thought our voice was clear as long as there was no background noise.

Overall, we appreciate the convenience that Amazon Echo (4th Gen) brings to our lives. In addition to playing music or telling us the weather, we often used voice commands when guests were around to lower the volume of the music or control the lights.

Disadvantages of Amazon Echo (4th Gen)

There were a few features that worked well most of the time, but we found them lacking at other times. For example, while saying, “Hey Alexa” worked fine most of the time, there were instances where our Echo device didn’t recognize our command. Also, it understood us when we wanted to send a text message using voice command to a friend with a simple name but did not recognize complex names in our contact list.

Although we appreciate the quality and volume of the sound when we are alone, we would have liked it to be louder to accommodate a large number of guests. Also, we couldn’t use hands-free calling when there was background noise or the person we were talking to couldn’t understand us.

Should you buy the Amazon Echo (4th Gen)?

Overall, we think the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) up to his expectations. The smart speaker has decent voice recognition and makes life much more manageable with voice control and smart home hub capabilities. In our experience, this smart speaker is a handy addition to any home familiar with Amazon products, including a Firestick or other Amazon-enabled smart home devices. We recommend the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) to anyone who wants more comfort at home.

Consider other products

Sonos One

Sonos One

With voice assistant, you can stream music, audiobooks, and radio using Wi-Fi. Plus, you can mix and match multiple Sonos speakers to create immersive home theater sound.

Sold by His bone and Amazon

Google Nest Audio smart speaker

Google Nest Audio smart speaker

By saying “Hey Google”, you can instantly know the local weather, set an alarm or listen to music. It’s also compatible with smart lights and smart thermostats, so you can control everything in your home without lifting a finger.

Sold by Kohls and Home deposit

Amazon Echo Studio

Amazon Echo Studio

If you like the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) but want better sound, the Echo Studio is a step up. It still offers many of the same features as the fourth-gen Echo, including voice control, privacy protection and a built-in smart home hub.

Sold by Amazon and Kohls

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Bre Richey written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.

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