Best Alexa speaker 2021 | Android Central


Amazon first introduced Alexa to us through its original Echo smart speaker in late 2014. To this day, if you’re looking for the best Alexa speaker, you’re probably going to look first at the company’s Echo line of smart speakers. Amazon recently announced updates to its entire Echo product line, including the Echo 15 that’s designed to be hung on your wall, and we will be covering and reviewing each of these new speakers shortly. Many great Alexa-enabled speakers are made by other companies such as Bose, Sonos, and Ultimate Ears that you may wish to consider. This guide will help you make the best purchase decision as you consider the best Alexa speaker for your household.

Best Alexa Speaker from Amazon

Best third-party Alexa speaker

Amazon Echo 4th Gen And Echo Dot 4th GenSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

What is the best Alexa speaker you can buy today?

Amazon produces most Alexa speakers in the Echo line of smart speakers and smart screen devices like the Echo Show. However, there are several impressive third-party options that you may wish to consider (some of which are compatible with more than one smart voice assistant).

Our top pick is the Amazon Echo (4th Gen). The standard-bearer for the Echo line, the fourth generation, has been completely redesigned with even better speakers, a rounded look, and a built-in Zigbee smart hub to become the goldilocks of Echo smart speakers. It also happens to be just the right size to fill most rooms with great sound without standing out too much or looking like just another piece of techno-junk.

Amazon also has a popular line of smart screen Alexa speakers known as the Echo Show devices. Out of these, our favorite is the middle-child Echo Show 8. It has the benefits of a reasonably large screen, loudspeakers, and built-in privacy controls. It is both more affordable and easier to accommodate for smaller spaces than the larger Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen).

As for the best third-party Alexa speaker, our favorite right now is the Sonos One (Gen 2). The size and form factor is close to what you’d get in an Amazon Echo (3rd Gen) with a more traditional speaker look. The sound quality surpasses most Echo speakers, and it can also work with other smart voice assistants.

Without further ado, here is our detailed list of the best Alexa speakers that you can buy.

Best Alexa speaker from Amazon

Amazon Echo 4th Gen

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

1. Amazon Echo (4th Gen): Best overall Alexa speaker

Bottom line: The fourth generation of this smart speaker does a great job carrying the banner of its original Echo namesake. This redesigned version offers much better sound quality than the more ubiquitous Echo Dot at a price less than half of the Echo Studio or even the Sonos One. It also has a soft, spherical, inviting design available in multiple colors, including our favorite, Twilight Blue.

CategoryAmazon Echo (4th Gen)
Dimensions5.7 x 5.7 x 5.2 inches
Weight34.2 oz
Speakersdual front-firing 8-inch tweeters and 3-inch woofer
Portable🚫
Weather-resistance🚫
Privacy featuresPhysical mute button with red LED indicator light

Pros

  • An extra tweeter for improved sound over previous versions
  • All-new spherical design
  • Made with recycled materials
  • Built-in Zigbee hub
  • AZ1 Neural Edge processor
  • Maintains classic UI elements

Cons

  • No display
  • Inconsistent button response

The Amazon Echo is the smart speaker that started it all. This is the fourth iteration of Amazon’s classic smart speaker, and according to our Amazon Echo (4th Gen) review, generation four is far and away the best we’ve ever seen.

The biggest change that most people will notice is that Amazon has done away with the traditional cylindrical design and morphed the new generation of Echos into a spherical shape. Pick whatever metaphor you wish β€” shotput, bowling ball, astronaut helmet, all apply equally here. However, combined with the new placement of the light ring at the bottom of the device, this looks like an objet d’art rather than a typical piece of tech.

Amazon seriously upgraded the sound quality for this model as well, with the Echo delivering 360-degree audio that’s powered by Dolby. It added a second 0.8-inch front-firing tweeter to its already-capable array of a tweeter and a 3-inch woofer, which makes so much of a difference. It now truly competes on a level playing field with speakers twice as expensive, such as the Sonos One (also on our list below). As with previous generations, you can fine-tune the audio with the available EQ settings from the Alexa app. You can also pair two Echo speakers together for stereo sound or connect them to a Fire TV.

Like the Echo Plus and Echo Studio before it, this fourth-generation Echo has a built-in Zigbee hub to help it better communicate with and control various smart home devices. It’s also powered by Amazon’s new AZ1 Neural Edge processor, which promises speech processing that is twice as fast as before, all while using 85% less memory. The Echo (4th Gen) is one of Amazon’s first Climate Pledge Friendly certified products, made with 50% recycled plastics, 100% recycled fabrics, and 100% recycled die-cast aluminum. Plus, 99% of the packaging is recyclable. It will consume less power than ever with a new low power mode, and a new energy dashboard in the Alexa app can help you monitor your device’s energy usage.

We also love the fabric design, responsive microphones for Alexa voice commands, and playback and mute controls on the top of the device. This is a voice-first product, but it’s good to know there are still tactile and visual cues to help you control this Alexa speaker.


Amazon Echo 4th Gen Blue Official Render

Best overall Alexa speaker:
Echo (4th Gen) smart home hub

Amazon’s new spherical 4th Gen Echo has a more inviting design, improved speakers, and adds the Echo Plus’s Zigbee smart hub and Sidewalk capabilities.

Echo Dot 2

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central

2. Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen): Best value Alexa speaker

Bottom line: The Echo Dot (4th Gen) is Amazon’s most popular Alexa speaker due to its affordable price and the fact that it can do just about everything that the larger, more expensive Echo speakers can do. The only downside is that the audio quality, while improved, doesn’t measure up to the larger device. The upside is that you can purchase two Echo Dots for the price of one Echo, or choose an Echo Dot with Clock.

CategoryAmazon Echo (4th Gen)
Dimensions3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches
Weight12 oz
Speakers1.6-inch front-firing speaker
Portable🚫
Weather-resistance🚫
Privacy featuresPhysical mute button with red LED indicator light
Special featuresLED clock model also available

Pros

  • Most affordable true Echo speaker
  • Multiple color options
  • Most of the benefits of the larger Echo (4th Gen) in a smaller package
  • Front-firing speaker sounds much better than previous generations
  • LED clock model available for $10 more

Cons

  • No display unless you get the Echo Dot with Clock
  • New position of light ring may be harder to see for some
  • Takes up more space than previous dots

There is a reason that the Echo Dot (4th Gen) is the most popular Alexa speaker, and it’s not just about the price. Sure, if you’re just starting with smart speakers and Alexa devices in general, it makes sense to get something relatively inexpensive. However, customers have fallen in love with the Echo Dot because of its simple use and how useful it is in their lives.

The Echo Dot is insanely affordable, and the 4th Gen model we have right now is better than ever. It sounds louder and more clear than any Echo Dot before it, thanks in part to the new rounded shape and front-firing orientation of the 1.6-inch speaker. The new fabric design comes in three great colors (Charcoal, Glacier White, and Twilight Blue), much better than the plain black or white offered in the hard plastic versions of previous generations. You can go for the regular Dot or upgrade to a version with an LED capable of showing the time, temperature, and timers for just $10 more. Its new shape takes cues from the larger Echo (4th Gen), and it also sports the same climate-friendly benefits as its sibling device.

Ultimately, this little speaker is such a great value for the price because it performs all of the same Alexa commands found on the more expensive speakers. You’ve got the same tactile buttons at the top of the device and the same light ring at the bottom as on the Echo (4th Gen); the only things that you sacrifice here is the built-in Zigbee hub on the larger Echo and the overall sound quality (though you can use stereo to pair two Echo Dots together for the same price as the larger Echo).

A pro tip when shopping for Echo Dots is to keep an eye out for bundles. Whether you’re buying more than one Echo Dot at once or pairing it with something like a smart plug or Fire TV Stick, you can usually find some sort of promo to save you a bit of coin.


Amazon Echo Dot 4th Gen Render

Best value Alexa speaker:
Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen 2020)

Amazon’s new Echo Dot is round, has a larger, more powerful speaker than the previous generation, and looks great.

Echo Show 8 2nd Gen Hero 3

Source: Nick Sutrich / Android Central

3. Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen): Best value smart screen Alexa speaker

Bottom line: Amazon was one of the first companies in the smart screen speaker space with the original Echo Show, but the Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) is far and away the best value version so far. Its screen is large, its speaker is loud, and it features physical mute and camera shutters.

CategoryAmazon Echo Show (2nd Gen)
Dimensions7.9 x 5.4 x 3.9 inches
Weight36.6 oz
Speakers2×2-inch @ 10W per channel
Portable🚫
Weather-resistance🚫
Camera13MP auto-adjust
Privacy featuresPhysical camera cover and mute button with red LED indicator light

Pros

  • Perfect size for countertop viewing
  • Physical cover/off switch to turn off microphones and camera
  • Similar screen and speaker specs to larger Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)
  • Much improved camera that can pan/zoom digitally

Cons

  • Display doesn’t rotate
  • If you want to adjust the viewing angle, you’ll need to purchase a stand accessory

Sitting in between the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) and Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) is the Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) Alexa speaker with a smart screen. This is Amazon’s middle-of-the-road smart display, and for some buyers, it just may be the perfect one.

The Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) comes equipped with an 8-inch display with a crisp 1280×800 resolution matching the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) and besting it with a higher PPI resolution. You get two 2-inch speakers that kick out 10W of power per channel (only slightly smaller than the twin 2.2-inch speakers in the larger Show), along with a massive upgrade in the 13MP camera for video chats. That camera is also able to digitally pan and zoom to keep you in the frame better. When you want some added privacy, there’s a physical shutter that goes over the camera β€” as things should be.

For the price, the Show 8 is pretty great. When you pit the Echo Show 8 vs. the Echo Show 5, you see that it is larger and sounds better than the Show 5, but is considerably more affordable than the flagship Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen). This device won’t hog all of your desktop or kitchen counter space but will be a valuable visual/voice assistant.


Amazon Echo Show 8

Best value smart screen Alexa speaker:
Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen 2021)

We love the Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen). The display looks great, it sounds pretty good, and the price is perfect. What’s not to like?

Echo Show 10 Lifestyle 2

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central

4. Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen): Best premium smart screen Alexa speaker

Bottom line: Amazon has once again raised the bar in smart speaker/smart screen innovation with the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen). It features a silent, moving screen, dynamic speakers, security features, and the best camera ever on a smart screen device.

CategoryAmazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)
Dimensions9.9 x 9 x 6.7 inches
Weight90.3 oz
Speakers2×1-inch tweeters and 1×3-inch woofer
Portable🚫
Weather-resistance🚫
Unique featuresSilent, rotating screen
Privacy featuresPhysical camera cover and mute button with red LED indicator light

Pros

  • Advanced privacy and security features
  • Best camera ever on an Echo Show device
  • Impressive sound quality
  • Screen moves to keep you in view, so you don’t miss anything

Cons

  • Most expensive Echo ever
  • Large and heavy
  • The moving camera may be a turn off for some

Amazon’s first Echo Show screened speaker was a large device with a seven-inch screen, and by the second generation, the company had managed to squeeze in a much larger 10.1-inch screen into a similarly-sized device. It introduced the smaller Echo Show 5 and the aforementioned Echo Show 8, while the Echo Show (2nd Gen) didn’t see any updates for over two years. That is, until fall 2020 when Amazon debuted the impressive Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen).

This new, large, and premium Echo Show device is truly the top-of-the-line in the Echo food chain. It has the biggest and best screen, the best camera by a factor of 3x, and what we called arguably the best-sounding speakers on an Echo in our Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) review.

Along with the technical improvements we already mentioned, the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) also comes with Amazon’s new AZ1 Neural Engine, which helps power all of the on-device processing its new features require. The screen actually pivots (silently) to allow you to see that recipe you need to follow while prancing around the kitchen or keep your kids in the frame when Zooming with the grandparents. You can also use the device as another home security camera and monitor your space while you’re away!


Amazon Echo Show 10 Render

Best premium smart screen Alexa speaker:
Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) | HD smart display with motion and Alexa

The Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is the premier Alexa speaker to get if you want the best of everything Amazon offers.

Amazon Echo Studio

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

5. Amazon Echo Studio: Best sounding Alexa speaker

Bottom line: The Echo Studio is Amazon’s answer to the audiophile’s dream Alexa speaker. It can fill a room with dynamic sound and be paired with a second Studio or Fire TV for real surround sound. It also comes equipped with a Zigbee hub.

CategoryAmazon Echo (4th Gen)
Dimensions8.1 x 6.9 inches
Weight7.7 lbs
Speakers1-inch tweeter, 3 2-inch speakers, and a 5.25-inch woofer
Portable🚫
Weather-resistance🚫
Privacy featuresPhysical mute button with red LED indicator light

Pros

  • Amazing HD-quality audio
  • Dynamic and room-filling sound
  • Built-in Zigbee smart home hub
  • Physical microphone mute switch
  • Can be paired with another Studio or Fire TV for surround sound

Cons

  • Most expensive Amazon Alexa speaker
  • 3D music and Dolby Atmos support may not be to everyone’s liking

If you want an Echo speaker that’ll make your music sound as good as can be, this premium Alexa speaker fits the bill perfectly, at least according to our Echo Studio review. This is Amazon’s premier Echo speaker regarding sound quality, featuring an array of five speakers that kick out impressive bass, midrange, and highs.

Dolby’s Atmos technology is included to round out the listening experience, along with a feature that allows the Studio to sense the room it’s in and adapt its speakers accordingly for the best experience.

The Echo Studio also has smarts over some of its siblings, thanks to the built-in Zigbee hub that allows supported smart home devices to connect directly to the Studio rather than another hub you need to place somewhere in your home.


Amazon Echo Studio

Best sounding Alexa speaker:
Amazon Echo Studio (2019)

Amazon’s Echo Studio sounds phenomenal. It has five speakers, Dolby Atmos support, and more for incredibly sounding tunes.

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th Gen)

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

6. Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th Gen): Best Alexa speaker for kids

Bottom line: An Alexa speaker can be a great addition to any kid’s room, but before you give your child a smart speaker, you’ll want to make sure it’s safe and appropriate for them. The Echo Dot Kids Edition comes in fun kid designs and colors with built-in parent controls, as well as age-appropriate content.

CategoryAmazon Echo (4th Gen)
Dimensions3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches
Weight12 oz
Speakers1.6-inch front-firing speaker
Portable🚫
Weather-resistance🚫
Privacy featuresPhysical mute button with red LED indicator light
Special featuresKid-friendly design with 1-year of Amazon Kids+ subscription included

Pros

  • Fun, kid-friendly colors and animal designs
  • Two-year worry-free guarantee
  • One-year subscription to Amazon Kids+
  • Strong parental controls

Cons

  • More expensive than regular Echo Dot
  • Amazon Kids+ can be purchased for any Amazon Alexa Speaker
  • Kids may quickly grow out of the need for this speaker

Amazon has an Echo Dot that is made especially for kids. It was most recently updated on the fourth-generation Echo Dot with its better-sounding front-firing speaker and spherical design. In our Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th Gen) review, we couldn’t help but gush over how cute the panda and tiger editions are. Plus, each unit comes with one year of Amazon Kids+.

That’s the part that justifies its price tag, which is a bit more than the Echo Dot at retail. Amazon Kids+ gives you (and your kid) access to a whole bunch of kid-friendly content, including books, music, audiobooks, podcasts, games, and more.

Plus, parents get access to the Amazon Parent Dashboard, which lets you set how long the kid can use any of this newfangled tech. It’ll also block non-kid-friendly content, shut off the Echo Dot at bedtime, and teach your kids to remember to say please and thank you to not-quite-sentient tech (we have a feeling that’ll be more important than we realize).

While the Echo Dot Kids Edition has been in the product lineup for several years now, Amazon recently announced that it is releasing the first Echo Show device for kids: the Echo Show 5 Kids. Once we’ve had a chance to try it out for ourselves, we’ll consider updating this list accordingly.


Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition 4th Gen

Best Alexa speaker for kids:
Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th Gen)

Amazon’s new Echo Dot is round, has a larger, more powerful speaker than the previous generation, and just generally looks great in its animal prints.

Best third-party Alexa speakers

Sonos One lifestyle

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central

1. Sonos One (Gen 2): Best third-party Alexa speaker

Bottom line: The Sonos One is our favorite third-party Alexa speaker because it looks great, sounds even better, and fits within the well-established and easy-to-use Sonos audio ecosystem. It’s also one of the most affordable Sonos smart speakers around.

CategoryAmazon Echo (4th Gen)
Dimensions4.72 x 4.72 x 6.34 inches
Weight4.08 lbs
SpeakersTwo Class-D digital amps, one tweeter, one mid-woofer
Portable🚫
Weather-resistance🚫
Privacy featuresMicrophone mute button

Pros

  • Better sound profile than most Echo devices
  • Works great with Alexa and the Google Assistant
  • Sonos offers more content partnerships and services than you can get with an Echo device alone

Cons

  • Doesn’t support Bluetooth audio
  • More than twice as much as a comparable Echo device

Sonos has earned its reputation as the premier smart speaker manufacturer. Over the years, the company has built up an entire ecosystem of products that work seamlessly with each other and make for a satisfying home audio experience.

Our Sonos One review described this device as the Sonos smart speaker for everyone because it has a stylish yet subtle profile and fits in just about anywhere. While you can get most of the functionality and sound in the less expensive Sonos One SL, this is the cheapest Sonos smart speaker that you can control with your voice, including through Alexa or Google Assistant. It also works via Apple’s AirPlay 2 wireless protocol.

Once you connect your Sonos One to your Amazon Alexa account, you can control your smart home, play music or audiobooks, and ask Alexa all manner of trivia, just as you would on any of the best Alexa devices. Aside from the sound quality, the main difference to an Echo is the speaker ecosystem you buy into. And while there’s nothing wrong with an Echo, a whole lot of folks really love their Sonos setups.


Sonos One

Best third-party Alexa speaker:
Sonos One (Gen 2) Speaker

The Sonos One is great for pairing and putting all-around your home. It supports every major music service, as well as Alexa and Google Assistant.

Sonos Move standing up outside

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

2. Sonos Move: Best sounding portable third-party Alexa speaker

Bottom line: If you want to take your music with you and control your speaker via Alexa, you can’t find a better balance of sound, battery life, and water resistance than is available from the Sonos Move.

CategoryAmazon Echo (4th Gen)
Dimensions9.44 x 6.29 x 4.96 inches
Weight6.61 lbs
SpeakersTwo Class-D digital amps, one tweeter, one mid-woofer
Portableβœ”οΈ
Weather-resistanceβœ”οΈIP56
Privacy featuresMicrophone mute button

Pros

  • The first truly portable Sonos device
  • Arguably the best sounding portable Alexa speaker
  • Solid 10-hour battery life
  • IP56 water and dust resistance
  • Handles Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Cons

  • Not the best microphone array
  • Pretty heavy and bulk for a portable
  • Comes in your favorite color, as long as it’s black
  • Pricey, especially for a portable

Amazon hasn’t made a portable Alexa speaker since the Amazon Tap, which wasn’t hands-free (or very good, for that matter). Other manufacturers have made some of the best Bluetooth speakers with Alexa functionality for years, but we now finally have the one we’ve been waiting for in the Move from Sonos.

As described in our Sonos Move review, we finally have a Sonos-quality Alexa speaker that is portable yet still works with the Sonos ecosystem. It also makes a great home speaker when you’re not on the go, which is more than can be said for some of the other portable Bluetooth Alexa speakers we’ve seen.

If you’re a true audiophile and you need something portable, or if you just really love the Sonos ecosystem, the Move is a must-buy. It’s big, it’s heavy, and it sounds amazing. And with a recent update, you now get 11 hours of battery life before needing to dock it again.


Sonos Move

Best sounding portable third-party Alexa speaker:
Sonos Move

The Sonos Move is bigger and better sounding than our top overall pick (the Sonos One), and it’s portable and weather-resistant to boot. It just happens to cost nearly twice as much as the One.

UltimateEars Blast Lifestyle

Source: UltimateEars

3. Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST: Best weatherproof third-party Alexa speaker

Bottom line: The Ultimate Ears BLAST is the ultimate weatherproof Alexa speaker that you’ll want to bring with you to your next BBQ event, beach party, or backyard get-together.

CategoryAmazon Echo (4th Gen)
Dimensionsβ€Ž2.68 x 7.4 x 7.4 inches
Weight2.49 lbs
SpeakersTwo 35mm active drivers and two 81 x 39mm passive radiators
Portableβœ”οΈ
Weather-resistanceβœ”οΈ IP67
Privacy featuresMicrophone mute button

Pros

  • IP67 water and dust resistance
  • Lightweight and portable
  • 16-hour battery life
  • Can be paired with up to 8 other Blast or Megablast speakers

Cons

  • Not as rich-sounding as the Sonos Move
  • Voice control can be slow
  • Need to purchase recharging base separately

Ultimate Ears is at the forefront of portable, durable, and rugged Bluetooth speakers. The BLAST line is one of its most popular because it’s affordable, sounds great, and has fantastic battery life.

You can pair your BLAST speaker with up to eight others and keep the party going all day long with its 12-hour battery life. The speaker has a 360-degree sound that comes across loud and clear. Not only can you pair other devices to it via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, but it comes with Alexa built-in so that whenever you’re connected to a hotspot, you can request your favorite party playlist from Alexa.

When you bring your BLAST speaker indoors, it charges on a simple base that keeps it in an upright orientation, though not all configurations ship with this base charger. However, when settled this way, it makes a great Amazon Echo alternative!


Ultimateears Blast Reco

Best weatherproof third-party Alexa speaker:
Ultimate Ears BLAST

If you’re going to be outside in the elements all day but still want Alexa access, the Ultimate Ears BLAST is the speaker you want with you.

$150 at Amazon

Sonos Beam

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

4. Sonos Beam: Best third-party soundbar with an Alexa speaker

Bottom line: Sometimes, the best Alexa speaker option is multifunctional. The Sonos Beam gives you built-in Alexa access and smart home controls in a package built to enhance your TV viewing and listening experience.

CategoryAmazon Echo (4th Gen)
Dimensions2.70 x 25.625 x 3.94 inches
Weight6.2 lbs
SpeakersOne tweeter, three passive radiator, five Class-D digital amplifiers
Portable🚫
Weather-resistance🚫
Privacy featuresMicrophone mute button

Pros

  • Impressive sound for a relatively small device
  • Use Alexa to control your TV
  • Super-easy to set up
  • Enhances your TV viewing experience

Cons

  • Pricey compared to other speaker options
  • Can be a bit sensitive listening for Alexa voice commands

Not everyone who wants an Alexa speaker has the same needs. Some want a small smart speaker that gets out of the way, while others want something with room-filling sound. Some want a grab-and-go speaker to take with them for hours at a time, while others are more anchored to a particular space. But one thing that most of us desire is better sound from our televisions. Thankfully, soundbars like the Sonos Beam give us this plus Alexa access.

We conducted our Sonos Beam review a couple of years ago, but we’ve yet to find another smart soundbar that can do what it does while sounding as great as it does. When connected to your TV, it enhances the sound to amplify the highs, mids, and lows that most built-in TV speakers muddle together.

The Alexa functionality goes beyond just asking the voice assistant trivia or using it to control your smart home. With the Sonos Beam, you can use Alexa to control your TV, a wonderful accessibility and convenience feature. Best of all, the Beam is extremely easy to set up, and it still functions as a fabulous Sonos smart speaker. So if you can only get one Alexa speaker for your main TV room, this is probably the one you want to pick up.


Sonos Beam

Best third-party soundbar with an Alexa speaker:
Sonos Beam

The Sonos Beam is a compact, powerful smart speaker that also happens to be a great TV soundbar.

Bose Home Speaker 500

Source: Bose

5. Bose home speaker 500: Best third-party Alexa speaker with a mini screen

Bottom line: The Bose Home Speaker 500 is the speaker giant’s answer to the Amazon Echo Studio or the Sonos Five. It’s a room-filling Alexa speaker with a small screen.

CategoryAmazon Echo (4th Gen)
Dimensions8.0 x 6.7 x 4.3 inches
Weight4.65 lbs
SpeakersTwo custom drivers
Portable🚫
Weather-resistance🚫
Privacy featuresMicrophone mute button

Color | Vendor
— | —
Black $349 at Walmart
Silver $349 at Walmart

Pros

  • Noise-rejecting eight microphone array
  • Syncs with other Bose smart speakers via SimpleSync
  • Color LCD screen conveys information and album artwork
  • Compact, stylish design

Cons

  • Expensive compared to Echo speakers or Sonos One
  • Doesn’t include a separate manual remote like other Bose models

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is another great option if you’re an audiophile looking for a high-quality sounding Alexa speaker. Bose has earned a reputation for being one of the premier audio companies. If you already have other Bose products or want something different from Amazon’s or Sonos’s devices, this is a great place to start.

This device stands out at first glance because of its small, iPod-sized LCD screen on the front that displays fun and helpful information like album artwork. If you want to know what’s playing at a glance, or if you’re someone who enjoys a bit of visual stimulation to go along with your auditory processing, this device bundles those senses together in an attractive package.

The speaker works over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and is compatible with the Google Assistant and Apple AirPlay 2. It features an array of eight microphones tuned to pick up your voice commands over loud noises in the environment and from the speaker itself. Inside are two custom drivers facing opposite directions to provide fuller sound coverage. In addition to your voice and the Bose app, you can control the speaker with capacitive buttons on the top, including presets for different playlists, services, or internet radio stations.


Bose Home Speaker 500

Best third-party Alexa speaker with a mini screen:
Bose home speaker 500

If you’re looking for an audiophile-level experience but don’t want a Sonos speaker, you’d do yourself a favor to check out the Bose Home Speaker 500.

Facebook Portal

Source: Russell Holly / Android Central

6. Facebook Portal Mini: Best third-party smart screen Alexa speaker

Bottom line: Say what you will about Facebook, but the fact is that much of the world, and most of your family, is probably on it. That makes the Portal line of devices one of the best Alexa speakers for video chatting and staying in touch with loved ones.

CategoryAmazon Echo (4th Gen)
Dimensions5.91 x 8.45 x 5.0 inches
Weight1.68 lbs
SpeakersFront stereo speaker and rear woofer
Portable🚫
Weather-resistance🚫
Privacy featuresPhysical camera cover and mute button with red LED indicator light

Pros

  • Fantastic video chatting experience
  • Fun filters and effects
  • Facial recognition features are useful

Cons

  • Not the best sounding speaker
  • Confusing breakdown of tasks between “Portal” and Alexa
  • Not everyone wants a Facebook camera/microphone on in their homes

Before you get started with your objections, we get it. It’s Facebook. The social media giant hasn’t exactly endeared itself to us or done much to gain our collective trust these past few turbulent years. That’s very true. However, the simple fact remains that many of the people you know, including a fair number of your family members, are probably still active on the platform, and those same people may be resistant to try other platforms, services, or devices for staying in touch. So we bit the bullet for you and evaluated the device with a full Facebook Portal review, and surprise β€” we actually liked it!

The main reason I keep my Facebook account active is that nearly all of my contacts have an account, and I know that I can reach them via Messenger chat, calls, or video whenever I want. That’s powerful, and it’s an advantage Facebook has leaned into with this device. For example, my 90+-year-old grandmother is way more likely to video chat with me on one of these than the proprietary Amazon Echo Show’s video chat platform. She just is.

In addition to being a superior video chatting device to most other smart screen displays, the Facebook Portal has Alexa built-in. It thus is a great smart speaker for controlling your smart home gadgets or listening to Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, or iHeartRadio, among others.


Facebook Portal Mini

Best third-party smart screen Alexa speaker:
Facebook Portal Mini

If you want a great video chatting device that happens to work with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, a Portal may be the answer to your dreams.

$89 at Amazon

Credits β€” The team that worked on this guide

Author:

Jeramy Johnson is proud to help to Keep Austin Weird and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he’s not writing about Amazon products and services, he’s defending his relationship with his side-chick Alexa to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.

Author:

Joe Maring has been talking/writing about Android in one form or another since 2012 and often does so while camping out at the nearest coffee shop.

Author:

Daniel Bader is the former Managing Editor of Android Central. As he’s writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. You can find him contemplating these choices on Twitter.

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