The Amazon Echo family of smart speakers has first brought Alexa into our homes, but there are now far more options how to communicate with the intelligent personal assistant developed by Amazon. Depending on which third-party smart speakers with Alexa you choose, you can get a better sound quality than what Echo speakers offer, and you can sometimes even enjoy extra features without paying more.
Best Smart Speakers with Alexa
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With the Amazon Echo Plus, you can use Alexa to easily discover and add compatible smart home devices, such as smart lights, thermostats, locks, garage doors, and sprinklers, and control them with your voice. Unlike most other smart speakers with a built-in smart hub, Amazon Echo Plus doesn’t require any manual setup to communicate with other smart gadgets and electronics in your home. Instead, you just say, “Alexa, discover my devices,” and the Echo Plus will automatically discover and set up compatible smart home devices for you.
Apart from smart home device control and automation, the Amazon Echo Plus has all the features that you may already be used to from the older version. Thanks to a pair of 360-degree speakers, it can fill your room with clear music from Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, or other streaming services, or it can play you an audiobook from Audible, among many other things. The Amazon Echo Plus relies on an array of seven beamforming microphones to accurately capture your voice, allowing you to compose text messages hands-free, without any tapping.
Amazon asks $149.99 for the Echo Plus, and you can choose between three colors: black, silver, and white.
The MK Alexa Wireless Bluetooth Speaker is a portable smart speaker with built-in Alexa, destined the star of every picnic or backyard party. It has a built-in Li-Ion rechargeable battery with 2,200 mAh capacity and up to 6 hours of continuous playtime. Despite its large capacity, the battery recharges in just 3 to 4 hours with the included microUSB cable.
Thanks to Amazon Alexa, you can use the MK Alexa Wireless Bluetooth Speaker to play music, check the weather, listen to the news, control your smart home devices, order a pizza, and much more. Ask Alexa just about any question you want and don’t be too surprised when Alexa gives you a much better answer than your know-it-all mother-in-law because, unlike your mother-in-law, Alexa relies on advanced machine learning algorithms to acquire new information, becoming smarter every day.
If you get lucky and stumble upon the MK Alexa Wireless Bluetooth Speaker while it’s on sale, you can get it for just $129.00.
People like the Amazon Echo speakers for many different reasons, but listening to music usually isn’t among them. Don’t get us wrong, the Echo isn’t a bad speaker; it’s just a little underwhelming if you’re used to listening to music through high-end headphones or large home theater speakers. Unlike the Echo, the Sonos One has music in its blood.
It has all the smart home automation and control that the Echo has, but it features much larger speaker drivers backed by a pair of Class-D amplifiers, meticulously tuned to the speaker’s unique acoustic architecture. What’s more, you can pair two Sonos Ones together in the same room for instant stereo sound or add a dedicated subwoofer for deeper bass. Pair two Sonos Ones with the Sonos Playbar or Playbase, and you get epic home theater surround sound.
The Sonos One is more expensive than the Amazon Echo Plus, costing $199.99, but the price difference is proportionate to the difference in sound quality.
Do you have Alexa at home and think that it would be great to also use Alexa to stream music playlists and podcasts, play audio books, check the weather, listen to the news, sports stats, or traffic updates while driving your car? In that case, the Garmin Speak has you covered. This compact smart speaker with Amazon Alexa does everything the Amazon Echo and other Alexa-enabled smart speakers do, but it also features a round display for turn-by-turn navigation.
The Garmin Speak is designed to work with the audio system in your vehicle, which allows it deliver clear, audible sound even when driving on the highway close to the speed limit. The Garmin Speak has a built-in GPS module that precisely tracks your current location, helping you reach your destination.
The Garmin Speak costs $149.99, which is a bit pricey for what’s essentially a car-ready version of the much less expensive Echo Dot smart speaker. But if you would like to have Alexa in your car, the Garmin Speak is by far the best option how to achieve your goal.
If the Amazon Echo reminds you of a tin can, the chances are that you will like the FABRIQ Chorus smart speaker with Amazon Alexa more. The FABRIQ Chorus is covered with soft fabric with an orient-inspired texture, and it hides two 8-watt precision speaker drivers that offer crisp sound and solid bass at any volume. It’s possible to connect up to 10 FABRIQ speakers together for a multiroom sound experience and either play music synchronously through your home or chose different songs for different rooms.
Just like the aforementioned MK Alexa Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, the FABRIQ Chorus is portable and has up to 8 hours of playback time. Every FABRIQ Chorus is a stand-alone Alexa device, which means that you can take advantage of the same voice-control features as you can with the Amazon Echo.
Even though the FABRIQ Chorus is in many ways a more refined version of the Amazon Echo, it costs exactly the same, $99.99.