Amazon is committed to getting Alexa in as many houses as possible, which means figuring out ways to make the best Alexa speakers even cheaper than they are. That thinking has led to the $39 Echo Pop, which is currently the least expensive smart speaker offered by the company. To get here, Amazon has had to remove some features from the already-cheap Echo Dot, but otherwise, it’s essentially the same device. Are those tradeoffs worth it? You’ll have to read the rest of our Amazon Echo Pop review to find out.
Amazon Echo Pop review: Price and availability
The Amazon Echo Pop went on sale in May 2023. It costs $39, and comes in four colors: black white, lavender, and teal. The Pop is $10 less than the Amazon Echo Dot, and is currently the cheapest Amazon smart speaker.
Amazon Echo Pop review: Design
If you were to take a knife and slice off the front of the Echo Dot or Echo Dot with Clock, you’d end up with the Echo Pop. It’s more or less the same size as the Dot, with the exception that the front face of the Pop is flat, whereas the Dot is a sphere. At the top of the Pop are three buttons — two to adjust the volume, and one to turn off the Pop’s microphone. The Echo Dot, by contrast, also has a button to summon Alexa.
Rather than a circular ring of LEDs around the bottom (as with the Echo Dot), the Pop has a small light bar at the top to indicate when Alexa is listening to you. Around back is the port for the Pop’s proprietary power plug. You would think that Amazon could shave a few bucks by switching to USB, but I digress.
To snooze an alarm, simply tap the top of the Echo Pop. However, this only works when the microphone isn't muted.
Amazon Echo Pop vs. Amazon Echo Dot
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Amazon Echo Pop||Amazon Echo Dot|
|Colors||black white, lavender, and teal||Black, blue, white|
|Size||3.9 x 3.3 x 3.6”||3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5”|
|Speaker||1.95” front-firing speaker||1.73" front-firing speaker|
|Wi-Fi||802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5 GHz) networks||802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5 GHz)|
|Smart home||Wifi, Bluetooth Low Energy Mesh, and Matter. Eero support||WiFi, Bluetooth Low Energy Mesh, and Matter. Eero support|
|Temperature, motion sensors||No||Yes|
So, what are the tradeoffs when you cut $10 from the price of the Amazon Echo Dot? Mainly some smart home features. The Echo Dot has both temperature and motion sensors built in, so you can use them as part of your Alexa smart home routines, making it a more full-featured smart speaker.
Other than that, you’re not sacrificing much — and gaining a few color options, to boot.
Amazon Echo Pop review: Performance
Like the Echo Dot, the Echo Pop delivers good audio for its size. It’s not going to replace larger speakers such as the Echo, but it’s great for smaller spaces or when you’re listening to music alone.
I played a variety of tracks on both the Echo Pop and the Echo Dot, and was hard-pressed to find much of a difference between the two, despite the Pop having a slightly larger speaker.
Tom Petty’s “American Girl” and “Uptown Funk” with Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars both sounded lively and peppy on the Echo Pop. Although the bass notes weren’t as booming as on the full-size Echo (to say nothing of more expensive smart speakers), it’s more than adequate for its purposes.
The guitar strumming and individual voices in “Look at us now” by Daisy Jones and the Six sounded wonderful, but things became more compressed as the song increased in volume. I also found that higher tones, such as cymbals, were a bit muddy and distorted. But, for a $40 speaker, it punches above its weight.
Amazon Echo Pop review: Verdict
I was pretty skeptical when Amazon first announced the Echo Pop; it seemed like the company was really trying to squeeze out as much as they could from the smart speaker market, which admittedly is slowing down. By stripping out some features that not many people are likely to use, Amazon was able to slice $10 — and the front — off the Echo Dot.
If the speaker is going to live by your bedside, we still recommend the $59 Echo Dot with Clock — that little display goes a long way. However, if all you need is a cheap smart speaker that can play pretty good music, the Echo Pop is worth a shot.