The Amazon Echo 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, 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 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.
- Chromecast integration
- Excellent music streaming functionality
- More advanced smart home features
- 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.
- Open hardware
- Low price
- Native third-party app integration
- Low-profile form factor
- Unreleased (as of this writing)
- Sparse third-party app development (probably because it’s unreleased)
3. Triby ($200)
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.
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.
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.
- Decent speaker
- Aesthetically pleasing
- E-paper screen
- Amazon Alexa voice assistant
- Free VoIP calling to Triby members
- 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.
- Lots of integrations
- Can make your own
- DIY version is added work
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 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.
- Android media player
- 7-inch touchscreen
- HDMI output
- Robust speakers
- Google Now
- Limited smart home control
- Outdated Android operating system
6. JAM Voice Portable Speaker ($35)
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.
- Alexa inside
- 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. For instance, Apple fans prefer Siri while Alexa is better for those seeking cool concepts.
Which Amazon Echo and Amazon alternatives do you recommend?