The Amazon Echo range is best known as Alexa speakers. But a growing number of third-parties including Sonos and Ultimate Ears have the best sound offerings. 

GadgetGuy spent a lot of time with Alexa. You can read Alexa 101 here.

It describes what Alexa can do, setup, privacy and all the things you should know before choosing it or Google Assistant.

Echo Dot

  • .6” speaker upwards firing mono
  • Seven microphones
  • 5mm line out
  • Bluetooth out
  • 32 mm x 84 mm x 84 mm, 163 g
  • USB Power-pack that is too big for a standard power board spacing
Alexa speakers

Its key use is to add Alexa voice control. Cost is $49.99.

It would be unkind to expect a .6” speaker to do anything but voice and its fine for that.

Alexa speakers

It has no bass, limited mid-range and no treble. The best description for a music signature is ‘painful’ with fairly high levels of distortion at a maximum volume of 75dB.

Echo

  • 2.5” woofer and .6” tweeter – 360° firing
  • 3.5mm line Out
  • Bluetooth out
  • 148 mm x 88 mm x 88 mm, 821 g
  • USB Power-pack that is too big for a standard power board spacing
  • Cost is $119
Alexa speakers

Echo also has no real bass despite having a 2.5” woofer. Some bass sneaks in at 100Hz but only becomes serious between 300-500Hz (upper bass). Mid-range is good to 5K but then the treble dives off a high cliff.

Alexa speakers

If it had a little more lower bass, it would be a ‘warm and sweet’ signature for easy listening. Depending on content it verges more on a mid-signature for clear voice. It is not an unpleasant sound, but it is a very long way from audiophile quality.

Maximum volume 80dB with considerable distortion but its more comfortable around 70dB where its clear.

Echo Plus

  • Echo Plus contains a Zigbee based smart home hub.
  • 2.53” woofer and .8” tweeter – 360° firing
  • 3.5mm line Out
  • Bluetooth out
  • 235 mm x 84 mm x 84 mm, 954g
  • USB Power-pack that is too big for a standard power board spacing
  • Cost is $149
Alexa speakers

There were hints of bass at 80Hz building to a solid bass from 150 to 500Hz. Mids were good to 5kHz, and then treble nosedived – although not as seriously as the Echo or Dot.

Alexa speakers

It had a warm and sweet sound signature for easy listening. Maximum volume was 80dB with considerable distortion, but at 70dB (still loud) that disappeared. It provides the best listening experience of the three Echo speakers, but I would not buy it if the music is the object.

Echo Spot

It has a lovely round 2.5” colour LCD screen. It is ‘cute’ and best resembles an alarm clock.

  • 1.4” speaker
  • Front facing camera
  • Can play from Amazon Video (but the 2.5” screen is really too small for that)
  • Wi-Fi N dual band
  • 3.5mm line Out
  • Bluetooth out
  • 104 mm x 97 mm x 91 mm, 419g
  • USB Power-pack
  • Cost is $179
Alexa speakers

For what it is (1.4” speaker) the sound was not too bad. There were hints of bass, good clear mids and even more treble than the Dot or Echo. I suspect it reflects a later design credo.

Alexa speakers

Ultimate Ears Blast (MegaBlast not tested)

Blast is a waterproof 360° speaker

  • 2 x 35mm drivers and two x 81 x 39mm passive radiators
  • Frequency response 90Hz to 20kHz
  • Maximum sound 90dB
  • Wi-Fi N dual band
  • Bluetooth range 45m
  • Wi-Fi N dual band
  • 12-hour rechargeable battery
  • IP67 dust and waterproof
  • Can be used with a charging base
  • USB charger and cable
  • Price is $279.00
Alexa speakers

Now before I comment about treble falling off a cliff (and it does); remember this is a waterproof ‘party’ speaker designed for low distortion and lots of volume at up to 90dB (we achieved 85dB with little distortion).