The $49 Echo Dot is already a pretty inexpensive way to get Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant into your house, but the Eufy Genie looks to undercut even that low price. Available for just $35, it’s nearly the same size as the Dot, and performs nearly all the same functions. So, is the money you save worth it?
At 3.5 inches across, the Eufy Genie is about the same diameter as the Echo Dot (3.3 inches), but about a third taller—1.9 inches, as opposed to the Dot’s 1.3 inches. The Genie also has beveled sides, so that the base is a bit wider than the top. It’s enveloped by matte black plastic, and is nearly as nondescript as the Dot.
Like the Echo Dot, the Genie has four buttons on its top: two for volume control, one to activate or mute the microphone, and one for setup. The rubbery buttons are harder to press on the Genie than on the Dot, but they’re not ones you use all that often.
Like the Echo Dot, you first connect to the Genie’s Wi-Fi network, and then, through the Eufy Home app, connect it to your home network. Then, you have to connect the Eufy Home to your Amazon account.
Similar to the Dot, the Genie has a light ring that fills in based on how high you have the volume set; on the Dot, the ring wraps around the circumference of the Dot, but on the Genie, it’s inset, just around the Eufy logo in the center.
Compared with the Dot, which has seven microphones to pick up your voice, the Genie has just two. However, it uses technology from Synaptics, which claims that it can match the Dot’s far-field performance. In reality, though, I found the Dot’s microphones to be more sensitive than the Genie.
When neither of these miniature smart speakers were playing music, they both picked up my voice when I was speaking in a conversational tone from about 10 feet away. Once I started playing music, I found I had to raise my voice for the Genie to hear me. With the Dot, I could maintain my conversational volume.
The speaker in the Genie is a marked improvement over that in the Echo Dot, but you’ll still want something more full-fledged, like the Echo or a Bluetooth speaker, if you want to use Alexa to DJ for your next party.
Whereas the Echo Dot sounded like a cheap AM radio, the Genie’s 2-watt speaker could pass for a pretty good clock radio. When I played “Sweet Child of Mine” on both devices, the Dot lacked any sort of bass and was scratchy; on the Genie, bass was a bit fuller, as were higher tones. Still, vocals sounded on the tinny side; John Mellencamp’s voice sounded more strained than usual in “Jack & Diane.”
Once connected to your Alexa account, the Genie can do nearly everything you can do with the Echo Dot, from ordering pizzas to calling a Lyft to checking the weather (here is a list of our favorite Alexa skills).
However, there are a few features missing. At the time of this review, the Genie does not support Alexa calling, so you can’t call other people who have Alexa-enabled devices, nor they you. Eufy said this functionality will be added in the near future, though the company could not specify a date.
Also, unlike the Echo Dot, the Genie we tested does not have Bluetooth, so if you want to connect an external speaker, you’ll have to plug it into the Genie’s 3.5mm audio jack. Fortunately, Eufy includes a fairly long cord. The company will also sell a Bluetooth-enabled Genie for $39, though it has not said when it will be available.
Eufy Home App
The Genie is just one of a few smart-home devices from Eufy, all of which can be controlled through the Eufy Home app.
The Genie is part of Eufy’s advance guard into the smart-home space (it also makes a robot vacuum and a smart bulb), and if this low-cost Alexa device is any indication, it could spell trouble for those with pricier products. While its microphone array isn’t as good as the Dot’s, for $15 less, who cares? I might be inclined to wait for the Bluetooth version, but this Genie is a pretty good bargain already.