Amazon keeps creating new Alexa speakers./ Case in point the new Echo Pop. So what is the Pop for and what sets it apart? It seems to fill a hole for those looking for an affordable Amazon Echo speaker to kickstart their foray into the Alexa ecosystem or to expand an Alexa-powered smart home –and don’t find the $69.99 CAD asking price for the Echo Dot attractive. Selling for $54.99 CAD, the amount of savings you’ll get compared to an Echo Dot is roughly the cost of a pizza. So in this hands-on review I’ll see what you get for the price of that pizza or maybe more importantly what you don’t get. I’ll look at sound quality and any other features that stand out.
Amazon Echo Pop
The Amazon Echo Pop is a lot of utility for a smart speaker given its smaller footprint and price point.
- Wi-Fi extender
- Small footprint
- Decent sound quality for size
- Simplified controls for a voice-controlled speaker
- No visual clock
- No Alexa button
- Temperature/motion sensors not available
What is the Echo Pop?
You could think of Echo Pop as sort of like a 5th generation Echo Dot (aka mini Alexa) cut a bit in half diagonally with the flat side having the speaker grill. Pop weighs just 6.9 ounces or 195 grams, making it about 35% lighter than the Echo Dot. Despite that, Amazon managed to cram a 1.95-inch driver into the speaker body. It also uses the same Neural Edge processor as the current Echo Dot which is actually good because it helps Alexa respond much faster to your voice than older Amazon Echo and Echo Show products (even if they have superior speakers and microphone arrays).
See my hands-on review
The Echo Pop relies on a 15-watt power supply just like the Echo Dot.
A small LED light arc on top of the Pop is your notification bar.
Setting up Echo Pop is as easy as every Echo device I’ve ever tested. Plug it in and when it powers up, open the Alexa app. The app will no doubt see your Pop and start the setup for you, including connecting to any previously known Wi-Fi networks. In about one minute I was ready.
What can you do with Echo Pop?
Echo Pop does almost all the same things as any other Echo audio device. It can play music, podcasts or news. Set timers, alarms and read your calendar to you. It can execute smart home commands like adjusting lighting, thermostats and locking doors when used with compatible smart home accessories. In short, Echo Pop—like Echo Dot, Amazon Echo and Echo Show— is like a digital butler for your home.
What makes the Echo Pop Different than the Echo Dot?
The Echo Dot casts a significant shadow over the Echo Pop because their feature sets differ vastly. If you are torn between these two Amazon Echo prices, I’ll layout both the positives and negatives so you can better decide if the Echo Pop is really worth the small savings.
Perhaps the main feature of the Echo Pop is the fact that you can get them in more fun colours including Lavendar Bloom and Midnight Teal which are colours you won’t find in any other Amazon Echo product at the time of writing. If you prefer to match the Echo Pop with other Echo speakers you might have in your house, you also have the classic Charcoal and Glacier White options. We’ll call this a pro.
While the size of the speaker isn’t as small as some of Amazon’s older Echo Dot speakers, the Echo Pop is still smaller than the Echo Dot making the Pop a worthy choice for small spaces like in the bathroom or a tiny nightstand. For some uses this might also be a pro.
The Echo Pop only has three internal microphones as opposed to the four found in the Echo Dot. This makes the Echo Dot a bit more capable of capturing your voice from a farther distance. The best way to counter this is to simply put the Echo Pop in a smaller room. This also makes the Echo Pop slightly less effective as a device for triggering Alexa Routines based on sound detection. We’ll call this a potential con.
Affordable eero Extender
If you have an eero router, you can configure the Echo Pop as a wireless access point to your home mesh network. This could be useful in corner cases where you might live in a larger house and have spotty wireless signal in some rooms. Another pro
The hardware that makes motion and temperature detection work is completely absent from the Echo Pop making it impossible for the smart speaker to perform actions based on temperature readings or people present in the room. You could view that as a positive though if you are privacy conscious and prefer not to have motion detection. It does at least feature an accelerometer but tap gestures only work for alarms and not for pausing or resuming music. We’ll chalk this up as another downside.
No LED Variant
Unfortunately Amazon didn’t add any LED display to the Echo Pop which makes the Echo Dot your sole option for displaying the time, weather, or song playing if you don’t want to spend extra on any of Amazon’s Echo Show products. There’s only the small coloured light bar to let you know when you have a notification.
No Amazon Action Button
The Echo Dot has a physical button for evoking Alexa in case you don’t want to use your voice. With the Echo Pop, all you get are volume controls and microphone on/off button. I’ve never used the Alexa action button on any Echo device so I won’t mark this as a con despite it being missing.
The Echo Pop features a slightly larger driver than the one found in the Echo Dot, and I was surprised at how good the audio was for a speaker this small. The clarity is quite good and the overall sound is much better than I was expecting if I’m being honest. There’s noticeably weaker bass, but that’s par for the course on smaller speakers like these. I wouldn’t worry about this too much though if you primarily plan on using this speaker for listening to news updates, podcasts and audiobooks.
Overall Review: Amazon Echo Pop
Justifying the purchase of an Amazon Echo Pop is really all about finding your personal dealbreakers.
Honestly, at this price point, it’s hard to be harsh about what it doesn’t have, particularly when compared to what it does have… and there’s even a few things the Dot doesn’t.
Let’s hit the pros: It’s got a Wi-Fi extender, smaller footprint, and still-decent sound quality for its size. Plus with simplified controls it still performs admirably as a voice controlled speaker. And that’s even without one of the potential cons; the one extra microphone for hearing you call it.
Downsides? I actually really appreciate having the clock that comes with the Echo Dot with Clock; both where I use it in the bathroom to keep an eye on the time while getting ready, and as an alarm clock, this is actually a big omission as far as I am concerned. The other missing features like the Alexa button or temperature and motion sensors doesn’t ring any alarms for me.
In short, the beauty of the Echo Pop is that it’s a fun and surprisingly capable small space Echo device, and I can recommend it to you.
Echo Pop sells for about $54.99 CAD/$39.99USD and you can get one from Amazon.
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