Smart speakers with voice assistants are a relatively new technology, and the first of them was launched in late 2014, the Amazon Echo. Shortly thereafter, the other tech giants set up their own devices, with Google Home in 2016 and Apple HomePod in early 2018.
If you want a new smart speaker and are particularly interested in the Amazon Echo line with the Alexa assistant, keep reading this article where we compare the three versions available in our country.
1. Design and Construction
Let's start our review with the third version of the first of the smart speakers, the new and improved Amazon Echo 3 Generation. This product looks great with top quality materials. Fabric covered in four colors, White, Black, Blue and Gray, 15 cm high and 10 cm in diameter.
However, you cannot change the color of your device at any time, as you could in 2nd Generation. What to buy, permanent. At the top of it there are four buttons: the one to activate Alexa, the volume control and the mute microphone; In addition, it has 6 small holes for the microphone.
This is all within a ring that gives off different lights to identify what you are doing: blue when Alexa is active, orange when waiting to be set, and red when the microphone is muted.
On the back of it, you will find two inputs: the one for the charger (unfortunately it has neither fast charging nor wireless charging) and the good old headphone jack, which has been taken from all the latest electronic devices, wave started by the iPhone 7.
Now let's talk about your younger brother, the Amazon Echo Dot 3 Generation, a very capable but much smaller and cheaper device. It is available in three colors, unlike Echo's four: White, Gray and Black. Also lined by the same high quality fabric.
This new version is shorter and fatter than the previous generation, measuring 4.3 cm in height and 10 cm in diameter. Other than these differences, the rest of the design is exactly the same as its larger brother, with the same buttons, ring and entrances.
Finally, we arrived at Amazon Echo Show 5, the screened version of the smart speakers in the line. It follows the standard of excellent materials and fabric coated, available in two colors only: Black with dark gray fabric or White with light gray fabric.
On the front of it has a 5.5 inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 960 x 480 pixels, plus a low resolution camera with only 1MP but which records video at up to 720p.
Your speakers are on the back, where you will find the same inputs as the other versions, plus a micro USB if you want to connect cable internet and, on top, have the volume control buttons, a button to enable or disable the camera and the microphone together is a camera cover that the user can drag.
Its screen shows by default the clock and the weather and climate, as well as alternating between forecasts, news, and command tips that you can use with the wizard. Dragging down from the top of the screen shows the cones to go to the home screen, open the menu, brightness control and silent mode.
Dragging from left to right of the screen shows a very useful panel showing easy access buttons for tools such as alarms, music, communication, routines, smart home and video. By clicking on them, I open simplified menus so you can access various tools without having to talk to Alexa.
The Alarms tool has a very obvious functionality, that of setting alarms. Routines, in turn, allow the user to enable various automated functions on Amazon Echo Show and connected smart devices; It is also possible to create your own routines through the Alexa app.
Communication allows the user to make video calls over theDrop InBut not for Skype, besides making phone calls. Video shows Amazon Video and all services of the kind you have connected through the Alexa app, also allowing you to select what you want to watch without having to say anything.
Music, unfortunately, is quite a neglected function and shows only the latest songs played on the Amazon Echo Show. Smart Home shows you your most commonly used smart devices and also lets you control multiple devices at once.
2. Sound Quality
Let's start by talking about Amazon Echo again. It offers an impressive sound quality, just like Echo Plus, a version not commercialized in Brazil for now. It has a nice bass, considering the size of the device, but it will certainly not vibrate walls (but maybe do it with small objects).
It has a little bass distortion at very high volumes, but overall excellent. Now, talking about the sound of higher frequencies like guitars or the like, you can't find any flaws in any volume, but the voices aren't as clear as the rest of the sounds.
It has two speakers internally, a 76 mm subwoofer and a 20 mm tweeter, both larger and more powerful than the previous generation, which were 63.5 mm and 16 mm. mm, respectively.
Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation follows the standard of being much better than the previous generation in its audio, however much to be desired compared to Amazon Echo. It has low, unlike its predecessor and the higher frequencies are much clearer.
The sound ends up sounding very compressed, with the voices standing out much more than they should from the instruments. However, it is probably good enough for most users. If not, simply connect a better speaker through the input at the rear.
It has only one 40mm speaker, which is responsible for all frequencies, which ultimately results in poor but acceptable sound quality and certainly better than the Google Home Mini, but far worse than the Apple HomePod.
Finally, we come to Amazon Echo Show 5, the only version of Amazon's smart-screen speakers that is sold in Brazil, which is also the smallest. Its sound is the worst of all on this list, almost completely without bass.
Music that does not require lower frequencies does not sound so bad, no matter how perfectly performed. If the user intends to use his smart speaker to listen to music, this option is worse, even if he has a speaker similar to Dot, also 40 mm.
Since only this one has video, we will address this in this section. Its screen has a 5.5-inch display, with a relatively low resolution of just 480p, but that's colorful enough to watch the most basic things. If you want to watch a movie with good cinematography, however, your experience will be quite bad.
This is the main point in common for all smart speakers on this list: which voice assistant they use, having access to all the tools it offers.
On Amazon Echo devices you can perform many more basic functions, such as setting alarms, asking general questions, and controlling every smart device you have in your home. To do that, just sayAlexa (or any of the other words to call it, which can be changed by the app) and give the command.
The user can ask any kind of question to the device that his artificial intelligence tries to answer appropriately; Examples of questions include weather, game scores, unit conversions, and even more specific curiosities such as the height of the famous.
Unfortunately, as good as this assistant is, he has one big problem, that the difficulty in understanding different accents; In many tests, Alexa was consistently the worst in this regard.
If you want to listen to music, the Amazon Echo helper has access to a variety of platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer; As much as most of the more common ones are not supported, you can turn your smart speaker into a wireless speaker by connecting your mobile phone via bluetooth. If you don't know what the best music apps are, we have comparisons of Spotify vs Apple Music and Spotify vs Deezer.
In addition, the user can have control over thousands of smart devices such as lamps, sockets, locks, thermostats, among many others. You can schedule complex tasks or control many of them with just one command, such as when you want to turn off all the lights and lock all the doors by saying good night Alexa.
A major problem with this assistant is the difficulty of being understood by her, as she requires the user to speak in a much more specific way than competitors from Google and Apple. Also, have problems and follow on a topic when several questions are asked.
A very cool and useful thing is Alexa's ability to make calls to any number you want, just using voice commands, without having to type anything.
In addition to all these features, the user who has an Amazon Echo Show 5 can still make video calls through a native tool calledDrop In, available only on the Alexa app on other Echo, or via Skype to connect it with the Alexa app.
You can also view both your calendar and email, as well as your G Suite account (which, for some reason, Google Assistant can't); ask Alexa to open a browser so that the user can use the internet; view any cameras you have installed in your home.
And if you want to watch movies, you can do that through Amazon Video or via bluetooth on your phone. Unfortunately, YouTube and Netflix apps, among others, are not available on this platform.
All three smart speakers in the Amazon Echo line are very strong competitors, with various pros and cons, especially considering their respective price ranges. Here we will list the main strengths and weaknesses of each.
The Amazon Echo 3 Generation has as its biggest positive point its sound quality, compared to the other two. Their microphones are excellent and capture audio in very large rooms. His cons are mainly the lack of any screen or clock and that Alexa is not that good.
Amazon Echo Dot 3 Generation has excellent speakers, considering that it costs half the price of the previous one. It is extremely beautiful and has very good microphones. Its main cons are, again, the lack of displays, the problems of Alexa and, in addition, the WiFi antenna is not so good.
Finally, Amazon Echo Show 5 has as its only real advantage over the other two the presence of a touchscreen with various configurations and the ability to lock the camera if you wish. However, if you lose a lot of sound quality in return, it may not be worth it.
And what do you think about our comparison of Amazon Echo line devices?
Tell us your feedback and if we help you choose which one to pick. Remember that there are several other smart speakers available, so the choices are not limited to these. If you want an excellent assistant, remember that Google's is undoubtedly the best right now.