Amazon Echo Pop review Alexa smart speaker

Amazon Echo Pop review: living colour

It brings a pop of colour to the room, but the little Amazon Echo Pop won’t blow you away.

When it comes to smart speaker options, Amazon offers more choice than all its rivals put together. Between the standard spherical Echo and several models of the Dot, Show and Studio, you’ll find an Alexa-powered Amazon smart speaker to suit every nook and cranny in your home.

The new Amazon Echo Pop is the odd one out because it doesn’t actually fill a gap in the Echo range. It’s roughly the same size, price and sound quality as the Amazon Echo Dot (4th gen) – the 5th gen is more expensive. The Pop’s main claim to fame seems to be that it offers a “pop” of colour, coming in charcoal, white, lavender and teal, as opposed to the Echo Dot (4th gen)’s less glamorous dark grey, blue and white.

Admittedly, that’s unlikely to impress you if you care more about sound quality than style, but look closer and some of the Echo Pop’s optional accessories might help it find a spot in your home.

Viewed from the front, the Amazon Echo Pop is nothin’ but grill.

First impressions

“Cute” and “stylish” might be the words you’d use to describe the Amazon Echo Pop, if you were the kind of reviewer who cared about such things. I don’t, so I won’t, but it is what it is.

The Echo Pop stands around 90 mm tall and 55 mm deep. It’s basically a sphere cut in half, with a little shaved off the bottom so it sits steady on a flat surface. The spartan design features a cloth grill across the front, with a light built into the top edge that is all but invisible unless Alexa is responding to a query or muted. 

Across the top edge are three buttons: volume up and down, with microphone mute in the middle. There’s no fourth action button, with a dot on it, as found on some Echo speakers.

The three buttons are set slightly back from the rim of the speaker, so you can’t see them from the front. This adds to the spartan design, which helps the speakers not look out of place wherever you put them around your home.

Echo Pop smart speaker with Alexa
  • ECHO POP – This compact smart speaker with Alexa features full sound that’s great for bedrooms and small spaces. Small enough to blend in and mighty enough to stand out.
  • CONTROL MUSIC WITH YOUR VOICE – Ask Alexa to play music, audiobooks, and podcasts from your favourite providers like Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, and more. Connect via Bluetooth to stream throughout your space.
  • MAKE ANY SPACE A SMART SPACE – Easily control compatible smart home devices like smart plugs or smart lights with your voice or the Alexa app.

Of course, you still need to get power to the speaker. Amazon supplies a white 1.4-metre power cable with an AC plug that’s thankfully narrower than some older models, so it’s less likely to block adjacent power points. There’s no audio line-in, plus it lacks the ultrasonic and temperature sensors found in many Echos, which can trigger smart home events.

That said, the Echo Pop can act as a Matter and Sidewalk controller as well as an extender for an Amazon Eero mesh Wi-Fi system. That’s about it really, but Amazon offers some interesting optional extras which might increase its appeal.

Firstly, there’s a $27.95 silicone sleeve available in seven different colours, including a glow-in-the-dark sleeve. There’s also a $27.95 shelf wall-mount although, spoilers, if you care enough to mount it on the wall you probably care enough to buy a better-sounding speaker than this.

There is also a $49.95 USB charging hub, which is like a dock for the Echo Pop and adds two USB-A ports and one USB-C port for charging your devices. Finally, there’s a battery base that lets you use the speaker away from a power outlet for up to six hours at a time. It’s an interesting idea, but in terms of sound quality, you’ll get more bang for your buck from something like a portable UE Boom.

Amazon Echo Pop specs

Speaker drivers1 x 1.95-inch front-firing speaker
MicrophoneThree-mic array
Smart assistantAmazon Alexa
Wi-Fi802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5 GHz)
BluetoothAdvanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from mobile devices, or to Bluetooth speakers 
Dimensions99 mm W x 83 mm D x 91 mm H
Weight196 gm
ColoursCharcoal, Glacier White, Lavender Bloom or Midnight Teal + optional silicone sleeves
Price (RRP)$79
Warranty1 year
WebsiteAmazon

Features

What you see is what you get with the Amazon Echo Pop, there’s not really a lot to tell. 

It features a single 1.95-inch front-firing speaker, which tells you straight away that you shouldn’t get too excited about the sound quality. 

You can ask Alexa to play music from a range of streaming services connected to your Alexa account, including Amazon Music Unlimited, Spotify, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Deezer and Vevo. It also plays podcasts, pulling them from Apple Podcasts by default.

Rather than ask Alexa, you can also control the audio via the Amazon Alexa smartphone app. You can’t stream music from the Amazon Music app to the Echo Pop, because Amazon doesn’t have its own equivalent of Apple AirPlay or Google Chromecast streaming. Ironically, the Amazon Music app actually supports these standards, so Amazon’s music app can’t stream to Amazon’s speakers but can stream to its rivals.

You can also link two Amazon Echo Pops as a stereo pair, with the ludicrous option to add the beefy Amazon Sub to the mix.

From the rear, you can see the three buttons and microphone holes, with the power jack at the bottom.

Quality

Fire up your favourite tunes and the Amazon Echo Pop makes an underwhelming first impression even in a small room. Especially if your taste in music favours a full-bodied sound with a sweet, fat low end. 

As you’d expect, the Echo Pop sounds best up close. Really close, like sitting in bed with it next to you on the bedside table close. Move to the other side of the room and it starts to sound flat and a little tinny. Crank it past three-quarter volume and the audio starts to distort.

At a super-close range, it actually has a surprising amount of bass, but it lacks character – it’s certainly not the rich bass many music lovers value. As a result, it doesn’t do a bad job with podcast voices but struggles to really bring music to life. 

If you’re entertaining thoughts of filling even a small room with music, I’d think again. The sound quality is barely an improvement on the old Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen) which you can find for $29 these days. The current Echo Dot is certainly a step up in sound quality from the Pop.

When it comes to talking to Alexa, the Echo Pop’s three-mic array struggles to hear you from the next room with a lot of background noise, even though other Amazon speakers have no trouble in the same scenario. The microphone placement seems partly to blame, as its hearing improves if you turn it to face away from you.

Who is the Amazon Echo Pop for?

The Amazon Echo Pop is more style than substance and only delivers acceptable sound quality if it’s literally within arm’s reach. This might cut it when it comes to chatting to Alexa and listening to podcasts or talk-back radio but, if you want to rock even a very small room, you’ll want to shop further up the Amazon Echo line.

Ultimately, it’s for people who don’t care about music quality and are looking for a small speaker, primarily for conversing with Alexa and listening to spoken word content.

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Amazon Echo Pop
The Amazon Echo Pop might look cute, but its beauty is only skin deep.
Features
7
Value for money
8
Performance
7
Ease of use
9
Design
7
Positives
Affordable
Aesthetically pleasing
Interesting accessories
Negatives
Mediocre sound quality
Mediocre microphone performance
No audio line-in
7.6