Amazon Echo 2020 Review


Amazon Echo 4th Gen

Amazon Echo 2020 Review

The release of the Amazon Echo smart speaker was expected to compete with other smart speakers’ from Apple and Google. Especially with the updates that were added to fix the issues with Apple’s HomePod.

Amazon took the leap and released the 4th Gen Echo which introduced the best design and sound quality since the launch of the first Amazon Echo back in 2014. The price for the 4th Gen Echo is the same as its predecessor, $99.99; which is also the same as the Nest Audio and HomePod mini.

The Design

The new design is something else, and has nothing to do with the old cylindrical shape. The 4th Gen Echo comes in a sphere with a flat side at the bottom to prevent the 5-inch ball from rolling off the table. Amazon says part of the reason behind the melon-like shape for the 4th Gen Echo is to enhance the speaker’s acoustic properties and help in creating flexibility with placing the drivers inside of the speakers.

The spherical shape of the speakers does a very good job in providing a fuller cavity behind the woofer for a better bass response. The depth of the 4th Gen Echo allowed Amazon to use two 0.8-inch tweeters and a 3-inch woofer with the needed space for producing bass inside the speaker.

The speakers’ top half is covered in fabric and come in 3 colors; dark grey, light grey, and light blue. At the top of the speakers, you can find four buttons, the volume up and volume down buttons, the mute button, and the action button, which allows you to put the speakers on listening mode without saying “Alexa.” You can find the power port and a 3.5mm jack to connect the speakers to larger sound systems, at the back of the sphere.

The new design also comes with the new signature LED light ring which is located at the bottom of the speakers. This feature allows you to know when Alexa is listening, when it’s muted, when there’s a notification, and what the volume level of the speaker is. For the woofer, it’s very different to previous designs.

It’s not made to distribute the sound in all directions of a room. Instead, it is pointed towards the front with a 45 degree angle. And the tweeters are below the woofer facing slightly left and slightly right.

Sound Quality

Thanks to its size and shape, these speakers deliver higher volume levels and better quality than most speakers sold at the same price. What’s new about the 4th Gen Echo is its use of built-in mics that listen to the surrounding room environment and measure its size and shape.

This allows the speakers to control and optimize their audio output. The speakers are designed to provide full sound for larger rooms, typically, it is recommended by Amazon to sit ten feet away, and not closer than 6 feet from the speakers, to get the best experience from the new Echo.


Overall, the Echo’s wide soundstage features provide deeper bass than competitor speakers at comparable prices, and the amazing stereo separation that comes from the two tweeters included in the design. The Echo works very well in letting each instrument in a music mix shine separately, which was not featured very well in previous generations.

This feature used to distort the vocals and mids in a way that drowned them with bass in the older Echo’s. You can pair two Echo speakers into a stereo configuration to produce an impressive wall of sound, which usually requires larger or more expensive speakers. Generally speaking, the new Echo Gen 4 is perfect for spoken-word audio and most music genres, especially ones with loud bass. They serve flexible features for a wide variety of uses.

Alexa

The Echo 4th Gen provides all the features and capabilities common to smart speakers. Alexa is a voice command feature with its own application that lets you ask to control smart home gadgets, set timers, give weather reports, and manage and add things to a shopping list.

Alexa’s features and commands are constantly updated, and the speakers have never failed to perform any of these tasks (given to Alexa), perfectly. When it comes to calling Alexa, it is very simple and responsive and you don’t have to raise your voice for it to hear you, even while music is playing.

For the new Echo, Amazon used its new and enhanced AZ1 Neutral Edge processor which helps in speeding up voice recognition. This makes the new Alexa respond faster than the Nest Audio from Google. However, in comparison, the HomePod Siri responds relatively quicker than both Alexa, and the Google assistant in the Nest Audio.

Amazon raised the bar for the competitors by adding a full smart home hub to its new 4th Gen Echo that provides multiple cool features. This lets users connect Zigbee devices like lightbulbs and door sensors, directly into the new Echo without needing a secondary hub.

Once connected, you can manage and control these devices through voice commands or via the Alexa smartphone application. The speakers even come with a temperature sensor that notifies Alexa to activate certain tasks like turning on the fans or the air conditioning systems.  

Verdict

For this price, the 4th Gen Echo is surprisingly at the top of the list for smart speakers that work with voice commands. The amount of work put into the Echo is noticeable through the years considering Amazon started with can-shaped speakers that provided less than half the quality we get nowadays.

The transition then took them to the cylindrical speakers that had comparable features to those in the market and then to these astonishing, reasonably pricedsmart spheres. Generally, they are considered as great sounding speakers that provide even cooler features than playing music.


Related Reviews

Most Viewed

Recently Viewed

Updated 4 months ago