Which is the best Amazon Echo to buy?

Last updated: 1 July 2022   By Justin Schamotta

With so many Echo products available now, which one is right for your needs? We delve into the world of Alexa to see which one you should pick.

Amazon have released a stream of Echo variants - the most recent boast everything from studio-quality speakers through to immersive screens and notably powerful processors.

However, our favourite remains the humble Echo, which continues to provide great-sounding audio at an affordable price.

If you're looking for a screen, then the Echo Show 8 is a good call - it combines a clever camera with decent speakers and an 8-inch screen.

amazon echo 4th generation
Source: Amazon

Which Amazon Echo should I choose?

We've included the latest range of Echo devices - there are older devices sculling around, as well as discontinued variants (the Echo Look, Tap and Plus spring to mind).

Overall, the Amazon Echo family can roughly be divided into those with screens and those without. Deciding whether you need a tactile interface (or just something to stare at) can help narrow your choice.

Echo (4th Gen) Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) Echo Dot (4th Gen) Echo Studio Echo Show 15
Price £89.99 £119.99 £39.99 £189.99 £239.99
Speakers 3" woofer and 2x 0.8" tweeters 2x 2" neodymium speakers 1.6" front-firing speaker 1" tweeter, 3x 2" mid-range speakers, and 5.25" woofer 2x 1.6" full-range drivers
Screen No 8" HD (800p) No No 15.6" Full HD (1080p)
Size 14.4 x 14.4 x 13.3cm 20 x 13.5 x 9.9cm 10 x 10 x 8.9 cm 20.6 x 17.5cm 40.2 x 25.2 x 3.5cm
Built-in Zigbee smart home hub? Yes No No Yes No

Verdict: Echo (4th Gen)

The Echo (4th Gen) is Amazon's best all-round Echo device. For less than £100 you get a quality-sounding speaker with plenty of bass and mid-range.

We also like the addition of a built-in hub, making it easy to set up compatible Zigbee devices to voice control everything from smart light bulbs to locks.

Behind the scenes, Amazon's AZ1 processor gives Alexa a more natural-sounding voice and means some commands can be processed even if the internet drops out.

1. Echo (4th Gen)

Best for: Those who want a decent quality all-round smart speaker.

Device Colour Price Speakers Size
(4th gen)
Charcoal £89.99 3" woofer and 2x 0.8" tweeters 14.4 x 14.4 x 13.3cm
(4th gen)
Glacier White £64.99 3" woofer and 2x 0.8" tweeters 14.4 x 14.4 x 13.3cm
(4th gen)
Twilight Blue £64.99 3" woofer and 2x 0.8" tweeters 14.4 x 14.4 x 13.3cm


  • Well-designed and unobtrusive
  • Good value
  • Built-in Zigbee hub


  • Light ring can be difficult to see
  • Echo Studio speaker is better

The modern ball-shaped design is easier on the eye than the towering cylinder of old. More importantly, it also has noticeably better sound quality and a built-in Zigbee hub.

For the price, no other smart speaker can beat it.

amazon echo


The device, which is available in blue, white or black, has its physical control buttons on the top and wired connection ports at the rear of the base.

Amazon say that the speaker fabric is 100% post-consumer recycled fabric, and the aluminium used in the body is 100% recycled die-cast aluminium. However, only half of the plastics used is post-consumer recycled plastic.


As you might expect, Alexa can be asked to play a song, artist or genre through Amazon Music, as well as streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, and Deezer.

Lossless HD audio is available, though only on some services - the main one, of course, being Amazon Music HD.


Talking to Alexa is a little easier than it was before thanks to Amazon's new AZ1 neural edge processor. This chip is designed for machine learning and enables some processing to be done on the device itself rather than sending it off to Amazon's servers.

The bump in response times is helpful - particularly if you plan on making regular use of the built-in smart home hub. The hub enables you to use voice commands to control dozens of smart devices around the home that use Zigbee.

The set-up process is simple - turn on compatible lights, plugs, sensors and locks and say, "Alexa, discover my devices".

Even if you don't use any connected devices, you can use Alexa for day-to-day tasks like setting timers, answering questions, adding items to lists, and creating calendar events.


Amazon say that the Echo is built with "multiple layers of privacy protection", though there have been privacy concerns raised with other Amazon devices.

In any event, there is a physical 'microphone off' button that provides a way of ensuring Alexa isn't listening by electronically disconnecting the microphones.


Weight 970g
Size 14.4 x 14.4 x 13.3cm
Wi-Fi connectivity Dual-band (2.4 and 5 GHz)
Smart home connectivity Built-in ZigBee smart home hub
Audio line in/ out 3.5mm audio line in/out
Dolby technology Dolby audio

2. Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)

Best for: Those who make a lot of video calls.

Device Price Screen Speakers Size
Echo Show 8 £119.99 8" HD display 2x 2" neodymium speakers 20 x 13.5 x 9.9cm


  • Good value
  • Great for video calls


  • No Zigbee hub
  • No audio line in or out

The Echo Show 8 is so named for the 8-inch HD touchscreen that is just big enough to make it worth streaming video on.

Add to this a pair of 2" neodymium speakers, and a relatively low price of £119.99, and you have a multi-purpose device that won't break the bank.

amazon echo show 8


With its tilted screen and sloped back, the Show doesn't feel intrusive - though the bezel surrounding the screen is fairly chunky.

If you plan on using the Show for streaming video, you'll probably want to invest in a stand to open up the viewing angles.

The Echo Show 8 has four microphones along its top edge, as well as physical volume up and down buttons. Power is provided by a cable to the bottom at the back.

Note that the Show has no audio line in or out - meaning headphones will need to be Bluetooth enabled.

Like the Echo, it is built using 100% recycled die-cast aluminium and 100% post-consumer recycled fabric. Unlike the Echo it also has a fair amount of plastic in its body, only 30% of which is from recycled plastics.


The Echo Show's 13MP front-facing camera is situated on the top right corner of the device and is better quality than the more expensive Echo Shows with larger screens.

During video calls the camera can automatically pan, zoom and frame so that you needn't remain in the same position for the duration of the call.

When you're not at home, the camera can be used to remotely monitor whichever room the Echo Show is located.

Photos can be displayed on the Show's home screen, effectively turning it into a digital photo frame. The adaptive colour feature blends on-screen colours with the tone and hue of the room environment, so images don't appear gaudy or needlessly dim.


As with other Echo devices, Alexa is on hand to carry out requests for music or video. You can also do the more mundane things like creating alarms and checking the weather.

While it is possible to control connected smart devices from the Show, there is no built in Zigbee hub like in the larger-screened (and pricier) Shows.


If you don't want Alexa listening in, there's a button to turn the microphone off. There's also an additional toggle switch to cover the camera.


Weight 1037g
Size 20 x 13.6 x 9.9cm
Wi-Fi connectivity Dual-band (2.4 and 5 GHz)
Screen 1,280 x 800 pixels
Camera 15MP
Processor MediaTek MT 8183

3. Echo Dot (4th Gen)

Best for: Those on a budget, or for connecting extra rooms.

Device Price Colour Speakers Size
Echo Dot
(4th gen)
£39.99 Charcoal, White, Blue 1.6" front-firing speaker 10 x 10 x 8.9 cm


  • Cheap
  • Compact


  • No Zigbee hub
  • Speaker isn't the best

Coming in at less than £50, it's not difficult to see why the Echo Dot is Amazon's most popular Alexa-enabled smart speaker.

The latest version has a new processor, new shape and is some 30% smaller compared to the 3rd gen Echo.

The speaker is much improved over previous Echo Dots, though it's understandably not as good as the larger Echo devices.

amazon echo dot


The fourth generation Echo Dot no longer resembles a hockey puck and is more aesthetically pleasing than the 2nd gen Echo Dot, mirroring instead its larger brother's new spherical design.

The physical buttons remain at the top of the device, and consist of an action button, a volume up and down button, and a button to turn off the microphone.

The power socket is located at the rear of the base and there's a line out for headphones or a better speaker - Amazon would have you buy an Echo Sub, though hooking up to an existing sound system works just as well.

The body of the Dot is made from 100% recycled aluminium and fabric, though half of the plastic parts aren't from recycled sources.


The Echo Dot has full Alexa functionality, allowing voice control over connected smart devices and a way to find out answers to pressing questions or to simply set a reminder.

As with other Echo devices, you'll want to subscribe to a music streaming service such as Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, or Deezer.


Weight 328g
Size 10 x 10 x 8.9cm
Wi-Fi connectivity Dual-band (2.4 and 5 GHz)
Speaker 1.6"
Audio line in/ out Out
Processor MediaTek MT 8183

4. Echo Studio

Best for: Music-lovers with an existing Amazon ecosystem.

Device Price Speakers Size Zigbee hub
Echo Studio £189.99 1" tweeter, 3x 2" mid-range speakers, and 5.25" woofer 20.6 x 17.5cm Built-in


  • Excellent sound quality
  • Supports Hi-Res and 3D Audio


  • More expensive than other Echo speakers
  • No line out jack

Boasting five built-in speakers and the ability to listen to 3D audio tracks, the Echo Studio will appeal to those who prioritise music in their lives, but who don't want to pay hundreds of pounds for a high-end smart speaker.

amazon echo studio


The Echo Studio is somewhat chunky compared to the other members of the Echo family, weighing in at an impressive 3.5kgs.

There are two small volume buttons on the top, along with a microphone mute and Alexa-wake button.

There's a slot near the base to "maximise bass output" and, further down, a socket for the power cable and a 3.5mm and mini-optical line in.


The Studio has Dolby Atmos built-in and a total of five audio drivers - three 2" mid-range speakers, a 1" centre tweeter, and a 5.25" bass driver.

These combine to create an impressively rich, room-filling sound - particularly when used in conjunction with Ultra HD sources.

Those with a subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited will be able to try out Amazon's 3D Audio, which features a "growing" library of music mastered in 3D.


Upon activating the Studio, Alexa will fine tune the sound based on the room's acoustics. If you remain unsatisfied, the tone can be manually tweaked via the Alexa app.

Aside from music, Alexa can be tasked with the usual Alexa activities like setting alarms and adding events to a calendar.

Because the Studio contains a built-in Zigbee hub, you can also ask Alexa to manage a network of connected smart home devices.


Weight 3.5kg
Size 20.6 x 17.5cm
Wi-Fi connectivity Dual-band (2.4 and 5 GHz)
Supported audio formats FLAC, MP3, AAC, Opus, Vorbis, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio/MPEG-H; includes support for CD Quality (16-bit) and Hi-Res (24-bit).
Smart home connectivity Built-in Zigbee hub

5. Echo Show 15

Best for: Families already familiar with Alexa.

Device Price Screen Speakers Size
Echo Show 15 £239.99 15.6" Full HD (1080p) 2x 1.6" full-range drivers 40.2 x 25.2 x 3.5cm


  • Large screen enables multitasking
  • Facial recognition for tailored content


  • Relatively expensive
  • Short power lead

The largest Echo of all, the Echo Show 15 is designed to be mounted on a wall and consulted on a regular basis.

Unlike the other Echo devices, the Show 15 can recognise the faces of different people and tailor the content for that person, making it a good option for families or shared residences.

amazon echo show 15


The top of the Echo Show 15 contains the sliding camera cover, a button to turn both the microphone and camera on and off, and buttons to control the volume.

At the rear is the power port and speaker grillage. There's a slot for mounting the device on the wall, though it should be noted that it doesn't sit flush - it's 3.5cm thick and slopes inwards from the screen.

It's also worth noting that the supplied power cord is only 1.5m long, so it needs to be relatively close to a plug socket when mounted. It's possible to sit the device on a table, but you'll need to buy a dedicated stand for it.

The Echo Show 15 has the largest environmental impact of the Shows we've looked at here. While Amazon say that 99% of the metal is made from recycled aluminium, just 35% of the plastics are from recycled sources.


While it does have decent sound, the Echo Show 15 is really all about its 15.6" touchscreen.

When idle, this can be used for displaying sticky notes or a calendar, though most will prefer to make use of the photo frame feature that displays photo albums from Amazon Photos or Facebook.

The Show's larger screen also makes multitasking possible - for example, you can view smart home devices on one central dashboard and add a picture-in-picture live camera feed when the doorbell rings.


The Echo Show 15 benefits from a decent processor - the Amlogic Pop1 octa-core SoC with Amazon AZ2 neural network engine.

This essentially makes Alexa work better, whether that's understanding instructions or voicing answers.

Alexa is also able to recognise faces (as well as voices) of different users and show the right information to the right person, whether that's appointments or a list of recently played music.


Weight 2.215kg
Size 40.2 x 25.5 x 3.5cm
Wi-Fi connectivity Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi
Screen 15.6" with 1920 x 1080 resolution
Audio Dual 1.6" full-range drivers
Camera 5MP
Processor Amlogic Pop1 octa-core SoC with Amazon AZ2 neural network engine

Summary: Which is the best Amazon Echo?

Here's a quick rundown of our favourite Amazon Echo's and why:

  1. Echo: the standout smart speaker with Zigbee hub integration
  2. Echo Show 8: great for video calling
  3. Echo Studio: best for audiophiles
  4. Echo Dot: the cheapest way to try out Alexa
  5. Echo Show 15: best for busy households with quick responses

Since its inception, the Echo has been a standout smart speaker among its similarly priced competitors.

However, the fourth generation - with its extra tweeter, new aesthetic, and added Zigbee hub - has managed to improve on an already great product.

We also really like the Echo Show 8, though for different reasons. Its primary attraction is its 13MP camera that can follow you around a room, making video calls a far more pleasurable experience.

All of the Echo devices have reasonable speakers, but the Echo Studio takes that to the next level offering a chance to experience the nascent 3D audio technology for a relatively low cost.

If price is a concern, the Echo Dot is a good way to try out Alexa without committing much financially. New adopters testing the water should also consider the Amazon Flex - which offers Alexa for under £10.

The daddy of the range is the Echo Show 15, which is designed to be the focal point of a home. It's a good choice for busy households as it can automatically recognise individual users and Alexa is quick on the uptake thanks to the superior processor driving it.


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