Though it seemed the days of cramming Alexa into every imaginable form factor had passed, Amazon has built yet another new body for its voice assistant. The Echo Pop smart speaker puts Alexa even closer in reach with a modern, compact design that should fit in almost every corner of a home.
With its fabric swathed face propped up on a circular wedge, the Echo Pop looks like an Amazon Echo Dot that’s been sliced in half on a diagonal. But it’s not half the price — the Echo Pop is $39.99, or only $10 less than the Echo Dot. Then, you might be wondering, why would you not just get an Echo Dot?
Amazon has tried making Alexa speakers that don’t look like Alexa speakers before. I have a soft spot for the Echo Flex, a voice-activated plug-in device with support for modular accessories such as a night light. (I reached out to Amazon asking whether the product has been discontinued, since I can no longer find it on Amazon.com. A representative said it's out of stock.)
There are a number of smart home devices that offer Alexa for ambient IoT automations. Amazon has promoted the ideal of a frictionless smart home experience for many years, and based on what I’ve heard about Echo Pop, the product is meant to fill those final places outside of your voice speaker’s reach.
Amazon Echo Pop vs. Echo Dot
As someone who has tried dozens of Alexa compatible devices, I think I’m at liberty to say there’s very few smart home scenarios that can’t be achieved with the infamous Echo Dot. Between the orb-shaped speaker’s sound quality, built-in home sensors and eero support, it’s the best smart speaker for the price.
For $10 more, the Echo Dot with Clock offers a useful display. But for $10 less, you lose the temperature sensor, the speaker size and the beautiful glowing base with the Echo Pop. Sure, you might get the choice of fun new colors like Lavender Bloom and Midnight Teal. I'm not sure that's enough, though.
I haven't listened to the audio quality of the Echo Pop, so I can't say how the front-facing directional speaker sounds compared to the Echo Dot. I also might not be appreciating that with Matter support, the Echo Pop may appeal to those who are newly embracing the smart home protocol. (It also works as an Eero mesh router satellite.)
Still, I can't help but feel the Echo Pop should be even more accessible in price, if having Alexa more accessible is truly the goal. Half the price of the Echo Dot would be fitting. At least deals events like Amazon Prime Day are likely to bring discounts to the latest Alexa speaker.