Amazon Echo (4th Gen) review
In an era of same-day shipping for online purchases and order-ahead options for most stores, it’s no surprise that smart home devices are soaring in popularity. However, many people wonder whether a smart speaker is worth it and which one is best for their home.
The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is a smart speaker touting a lengthy list of features, including voice control, a built-in Zigbee smart home hub and privacy protection. Whether you’re throwing a dance party, asking a puzzling question or creating a calendar event, Alexa is happy to help. As a bonus, the packaging is made from 98% recycled sources, and the device enters low-power mode when it’s not in use to reduce energy consumption.
To determine whether the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is worth it and lives up to expectations, we put it to the test. Here’s what we found.
Testing the Amazon Echo (4th Gen)
To figure out how the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) works in the real world, we tested it out for several weeks in a home environment. We took advantage of every feature, such as 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 Gen)?
The Amazon Echo (4th) Gen 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 experience 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 many helpful uses for the Amazon Echo.
This model is the fourth generation of Amazon Echo devices. The design is the most obvious change, moving from a cylindrical to a spherical shape with a fabric coating. There are also upgrades in sound quality and internal connectivity from the third to the fourth generations.
Amazon Echo (4th Gen) price and where to buy
The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is available at Amazon for $59.99.
How to use Amazon Echo (4th Gen)
While the Echo came with an instructional guide for setup, it still took some time to run through the process. For instance, you must download the Amazon Alexa app and add a new device to your Wi-Fi network. However, it took a few tries for us to successfully connect to Wi-Fi, which was quite tedious. After troubleshooting this issue, the rest of the process was straightforward. We also appreciated that we could name our device and the room it’s in, making it convenient to identify if you have multiple devices.
Here are some of the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) features:
- Premium sound: Since it’s primarily a smart speaker, the sound is one of the most critical aspects of the Echo, which automatically adapts to the sound in any room. It has powerful speakers with clear highs and deep bass, and it features multi-room music to synchronize all Echo devices in each room. If you pair your Echo with a Fire TV device, the speaker also creates a home theater.
- Voice control: By saying “Alexa” or “Hey Alexa,” you can ask the Fourth Generation Echo almost any command, such as streaming songs from Spotify, setting 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 set up compatible Zigbee devices.
- Hands-free calling: 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: Earlier models had some privacy issues and users had concerns since the smart speaker was always listening. However, the Fourth Generation Echo has a mic-off 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 glass breaking or a smoke alarm while you’re away.
Amazon Echo (4th Gen) benefits
Our first thought after opening our twilight blue Amazon Echo was how contemporary it looked and that it seamlessly fit in with our home decor. Even with our connectivity issues, the instructions were helpful and clearly outlined every step of setup. We also received smart plugs to operate our lights, which were simple to use and performed flawlessly.
Regarding the sound, we feel the quality is clear at a low volume, but it can’t compete with the bass of a high-quality Bluetooth speaker. However, it’s perfect for everyday listening and fills the room. When we used the hands-free calling feature, we heard the person we were talking to loud and clear, and they thought our voice sounded clear as long as there wasn’t any background noise.
Overall, we appreciate the convenience the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) brings into our life. In addition to playing music or telling us the weather, we often used voice commands when guests were over to lower the music volume or control the lights.
Amazon Echo (4th Gen) drawbacks
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 well the majority of the time, there were instances when our Echo device didn’t recognize our command. Also, it understood us when we wanted to send a text message using voice control to a friend with a simple name but didn’t recognize complex names in our contact list.
While we appreciate the quality and volume of sound when we’re by ourselves, we wished it was louder to accommodate a large number of guests. Also, we couldn’t use the hands-free calling when there was any background noise or the person we talked to couldn’t understand us.
Should you get the Amazon Echo (4th Gen)?
Overall, we think the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) lives up to its expectations. The smart speaker has decent voice recognition and makes life much more manageable with voice control and smart home hub capabilities. Based on our experience, this smart speaker is a handy addition to any home familiar with Amazon products, including a Firestick or other Amazon-compatible smart home devices. We recommend the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) to anyone who wants more convenience at home.
Consider other products
With voice assistant, you can stream music, audiobooks and radio using Wi-Fi. Plus, you can mix and match several Sonos speakers to create an immersive home theater sound.
Google Nest Audio Smart Speaker
By saying, “Hey Google,” you can instantly find out the local weather, schedule an alarm or play music. It’s also compatible with smart lights and smart thermostats, so you can control everything in your house without lifting a finger.
Sold by Kohl’s and Home Depot
If you appreciate the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) but want better audio, the Echo Studio is a step up. It still offers many of the same features as the fourth generation Echo, including voice control, privacy protection and a built-in smart home hub.
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Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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