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The Amazon Echo Amazon Echo Review and Giveaway Amazon Echo Review and Giveaway Amazon’s Echo offers a unique integration between voice recognition, personal assistant, home automation controls, and audio playback features for $179.99. Does the Echo break into new ground or can you do better elsewhere? Read More is amazing. Inside lies the artificial intelligence, Alexa. It can respond to your voice. For example, check out these awesome commands, which include a bartender assistant and mortgage calculator. However, if the Echo seems too large, the Amazon Echo Dot provides Alexa in a smaller form factor.

The Amazon Echo Dot is a less expensive version. While normally it’s only available for order using an Echo How to Order an Echo Dot Without an Amazon Echo How to Order an Echo Dot Without an Amazon Echo The new Echo Dot by Amazon is pretty awesome, but you can only order it if you already have an Echo... unless you use this workaround. Read More , there’s a bit of a workaround. However, the Amazon Echo ranks among the most well-known smart speakers. Still, there are many alternatives to pick from. Check out these five Amazon Echo alternatives with better features.

6 Amazon Echo (Dot) Alternatives With Better Features

1. Google Home ($114)

google home speaker hero

Google Home Google Home Review Google Home Review Google Home is a personal assistant smart speaker, and comes from a company that literally knows everything. The $130 Google device answers questions, controls your smart home, and plays music. Should you buy one? Read More is a powerful Amazon Echo competitor. Because it is entrenched in the Google ecosystem, Google Home brings Chromecast compatibility for media streaming. Similarly, you will find loads of music choices including YouTube, Google Play Music, and Spotify. You can stream music, set alarms, and benefit from a comprehensive voice assistant. Google Home appears more streamlined and almost looks like a lamp with its muted white color and small stature. On the downside, like the Echo, there’s limited smart home control. Currently, the Google Home works with devices like the Philips Hue, Nest, and SmartThings devices.

Unfortunately, smart home control is pretty sparse. You’re limited to basic integration such as Philips Hue and Nest compatibility. Moreover, Google Home oddly can only link to a single Google account. Unlike the Amazon Echo, Google Home lacks Bluetooth for streaming. But its form factor and music streaming options posit it as a true Amazon Echo killer. An article on CIO explains that Google Home delivers better machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities. This manifests in its better smart home experience and music playing. Chromecast integration circumvents the lack of Bluetooth, as you can simply cast to compatible devices. Because of its enhanced AI functionality, beefy music streaming library, and Chromecast options, Google Home is an excellent Amazon echo alternative.

Pros

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  • Chromecast integration
  • Excellent music streaming functionality
  • More advanced smart home features

Cons

  • Limited smart device compatibility
  • No Bluetooth
  • Links to a single Google account

2. ivee Voice ($99)

ivee Voice is a sleek voice-controlled hub. Like the Amazon Echo, ivee Voice links with various services. As mentioned on its Indiegogo page, the ivee voice-activated assistant controls the likes of Nest, Uber, and Spotify.

While the Amazon Echo is an excellent device, ivee Voice can boast of several improvements. Primarily, ivee Voice sports a smaller form factor. It almost looks like a mini toilet plunger, albeit much more refined and elegant. With its round base and protruding shaft, ivee Voice blends seamlessly into any environment. Additionally, ivee Voice clocks in at a mere $99. That’s half the price of an Amazon Echo.

In its review, Slant appreciated the open ecosystem. ivee Voice offers a completely open API for excellent community development support. There’s fantastic third-party support. Integrations include Lowe’s Iris, Honeywell devices, Logitech Harmony gadgets, Nest, Fitbit, and more. Further, ivee Voice supports several accents and voices and even supports emergency services. Unfortunately, it’s not out yet though it’s available for pre-order. Plus, since ivee Voice hasn’t been released, third-party development remains slim. But ivee Voice, with its extensive array of integration, open hardware, and low price is poised as a spectacular Amazon Echo alternative.

Pros

  • Open hardware
  • Low price
  • Native third-party app integration
  • Low-profile form factor

Cons

  • Unreleased (as of this writing)
  • Sparse third-party app development (probably because it’s unreleased)

3. Triby ($200)

Invoxia-Triby
Image Credit: Amazon

Invoxia’s Triby is a smart portable speaker sporting voice control. Although the Amazon Echo touts Alexa voice services, Triby also employs Alexa. Onboard you’ll find music playback, Wikipedia integration, news features, alarms, Uber requests, and smart home device control.

Smart Portable Speaker with screen compatible with Amazon Alexa, Grey Smart Portable Speaker with screen compatible with Amazon Alexa, Grey Triby features voice control with Amazon Alexa and is a smart portable speaker, Internet radio, hands-free speakerphone, and connected message board all rolled into one! Buy Now At Amazon £153.39
While a major selling point of the Amazon Echo is its music playback, the Triby beats the Echo in portability. Triby includes both built-in speakers and a battery. 3D algorithms manage these delivering a robust audio profile. There’s Bluetooth, an e-paper screen, and sleek front grille. With its looks, features, and magnets, the Triby is a solid smart kitchen device Create a Futuristic Kitchen With These 7 Smart Devices Create a Futuristic Kitchen With These 7 Smart Devices It's hard to know where to draw the line between useful and gimmick when discussing smart home devices for the kitchen, but these devices are sure to impress! Read More .

PC Mag praised the Invoxia Triby for its Amazon Alexa voice assistant functionality. Additionally, PC Mag noted its e-ink screen, free VoIP calling, and utilitarian, magnetic design. But its sound is occasionally underwhelming. Despite its Alexa functionality, certain Alexa features are absent. You’ll also notice rapid battery depletion with Alexa configured for passive listening. Still, the Invoxia Triby is a useful, aesthetically pleasing smart device. It’s a decent speaker, though you may not prefer it as your daily driver.

Pros

  • Decent speaker
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • E-paper screen
  • Amazon Alexa voice assistant
  • Free VoIP calling to Triby members

Cons

  • Lacks some Alexa functionality
  • Battery life is subpar with Alexa enabled
  • Sound profile underpowered

4. Mycroft (Free or $99)

Mycroft is an open-source voice assistant. Notably, Mycroft runs essentially everywhere. It’s this uber-versatility which makes Mycroft a viable Amazon Echo competitor. The Mark 1 (which looks a bit like Wally) retails for $99. As it’s built on a Raspberry Pi 2, it’s fairly open. Mycroft can perform functions like posting to Facebook, Roomba control, and even starting a 3D printer. There’s even Netflix, Plex, Spotify, and YouTube support.

If you’ve got some skills, you can install Mycroft on your desktop or laptop, Raspberry Pi, or Arduino. It’s this that makes Mycroft such a strong Amazon Alexa alternative. You can build your own easily. But even the Mark 1 is reasonably priced.

Pros

  • Lots of integrations
  • Open-source
  • Can make your own

Cons

  • DIY version is added work

5. Zettaly Avy Smart Speaker

Zettaly Avy Portable Bluetooth 4.0 HiFi Smart Speaker (White), WiFi Internet Radio Powered By Android 4.4 Kitkat with Built-in 7 Inch Quad Core Tablet and Google Play Zettaly Avy Portable Bluetooth 4.0 HiFi Smart Speaker (White), WiFi Internet Radio Powered By Android 4.4 Kitkat with Built-in 7 Inch Quad Core Tablet and Google Play Powerful 10-watt wireless speakers, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0; 7" capacitive multi-touch screen with a resolution of 1024x600 pixels Buy Now At Amazon
Zettaly-Avy-Smart-Speaker
Image Credit: Amazon

Most smart hubs and voice-controlled speakers feature, well, speakers. However, most lack a screen. Invoxia’s Triby remains a notable example with its e-ink display. Enter the Zetally Avy wireless smart speaker. This neat gadget might at first glance appear as a tablet. Front and center, sandwiched between two speakers is a 7-inch touchscreen. The Zettaly Avy is Android-powered. You’ll find a quad-core processor and Android 4.4 KitKat onboard. At its rear, the Avy includes an HDMI output, Micro-USB port, and microSD card slot. There’s also a line out port. While the Avy may seem like a simple tablet, it’s more a music box. Yet with its microSD card slot and HDMI port, it’s a well-endowed media player.

Android Authority gushed over the Zettaly Avy’s multimedia capabilities. For voice control, the Zettaly Avy employs Google Now. Unlike the Amazon Echo, the Avy isn’t a dedicated voice assistant. It’s a media hub that serves as a voice-control device. Using Google Now, you can automate How to Use Google Now to Automate Your Home and Life How to Use Google Now to Automate Your Home and Life Google Now can serve as voice control for your smart home gadgets, posting to your favorite social media accounts, and even tracking your health. Read More your home. It’s not as smooth or native as the Echo’s integration. But Google Now smart home control is nonetheless feasible. Moreover, KitKat is almost four years old. Don’t expect an update to Lollipop, much less Marshmallow or Nougat. If you’re looking for a media player first, and smart assistant second, the Avy is fantastic. Zettaly’s Avy affords an incredible audio experience. With its HDMI output, it’s a surprisingly competent set top box.

Pros

  • Android media player
  • 7-inch touchscreen
  • HDMI output
  • Robust speakers
  • Google Now

Cons

  • Limited smart home control
  • Outdated Android operating system

6. JAM Voice Portable Speaker ($35)

Jam-Voice-Speaker
Image Credit: Best Buy

The JAM Voice portable speaker is a true Amazon Echo competitor on its price alone. With a sub-$50 price tag, the JAM Voice offers Alexa in an on-the-go package. Tom’s Guide deemed the JAM Voice a solid Amazon Echo alternative with its rapid Alexa command response. While the Echo lacks a battery, and Dot is plagued by poor sound quality, the JAM Voice remedies these weaknesses. Because it’s inexpensive, boasts Alexa, and yields portability with decent sound quality, the JAM Voice is an exceptional device.

However, Tom’s Guide noted that sound quality isn’t spectacular. Though better than the Dot, it’s not great. Unlike the Amazon Echo, the JAM Voice lacks hands-free operation. Additionally, battery life is pretty poor. Still, there’s a battery which allows for portability. At less than $50, it’s tough to criticize the JAM Voice. With its reasonable price, you get an average speaker with Alexa. You may consider the similarly priced Fabriq. It’s got better bass, battery life, and maintains Alexa. There’s still no voice-control. But the Fabriq is fashionable and functional.

Pros

  • Battery
  • Speaker
  • Alexa inside
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Average sound quality
  • Short battery life
  • No hands-free operation

Amazon Echo (Dot) Alternatives: Final Thoughts

Ultimately, whichever Amazon Echo or Amazon Dot alternative with better features you select depends on your needs. If you value open-source hardware and development, the Mycroft and ivee are excellent choices. Media lovers may opt for the Zettaly Avy or JAM Voice. Plus, the Fabriq is a gorgeous Amazon Echo and Dot competitor.

Many non-Amazon devices employ Alexa like the JAM Voice, Fabriq, and Triby. But your decision relies on your demands: if you need smart home integration, there are plenty of choices. Yet plenty of Amazon Echo and Dot alternatives such as the Avy or even the DIY Jasper lack automation features while offering such components as enhanced sound quality or lower prices. But Alexa isn’t the only personal assistant, and some reviewers find it, well, stupid Let's Face It: Amazon Echo's Alexa Is Stupid Let's Face It: Amazon Echo's Alexa Is Stupid There's no doubt voice-controlled assistants are the future, but is Alexa the solution? Perhaps not. In this article, I'm going to argue Alexa is actually rather stupid. Read More . For instance, Apple fans prefer Siri while Alexa is better for those seeking cool concepts Siri vs. Alexa: Which Personal Assistant Is Better? Siri vs. Alexa: Which Personal Assistant Is Better? The answer to "Alexa or Siri?" is likely going to depend a lot on your personal needs and opinions. We've come up with a head-to-head comparison in the areas that matter. Read More .

Which Amazon Echo and Amazon alternatives do you recommend?

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  1. Mark Nicholls
    May 18, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    I live in shared housing so am a little limited as to what I can use Alexa for. Must admit, in general, I'm extremely impressed so far. My main use of the echo dot is playing music and by having Alexa hooked up to a small boombar in my room I'm able to select and play music with ease as well as tuning into various radio stations, scheduling alarms etc. I accept that Alexa sometimes misheard me which can be either frustrating or amusing depending on circumstances but I've been assured that she will learn my speech more over time. I've only had her for a short while and know that I'm not using her to the max but I'm more than happy in my new relationship. Lol

  2. likefunbutnot
    May 18, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Support for Music Services is a huge argument in favor of Echo devices. This review doesn't really discuss that aspect. I don't really care about Spotify and Pandora will work with anything, so the only real issue I see is which of the major music stores is supported. I'd rather have Amazon's because I've been buying music from Amazon (well, or CDNow, which Amazon acquired at around the turn of the century) for 20 years. The Dot is inexpensive enough to put everywhere I might want one and frankly the new Message service that was just added to the Echo is kind of a killer app; it's easy enough to use that my essentially technophobic mother discovered it before I did.

  3. Xavier R
    May 18, 2017 at 3:27 am

    I think Alexa is still the best choice right now, I listen to music all the time so for me it is the best.

  4. Daniel
    May 17, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Google Home supports more than just the few home automation services you mentioned: http://www.androidcentral.com/these-products-and-services-work-google-home. I use it to control my lights though my Wink Hub. It has also supported multiple accounts for almost a month now: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-add-multiple-accounts-to-google-home/