amazon ecosystem (Echo system?) never stops growing. Its latest hit has arrived: the Echo Pop, a $40 smart speaker with a semi-circle structure instead of the fully rounded shapes of Amazon’s other Echo speakers.
I’ve been enjoying the Echo Pop as a little desk companion. It sounds good enough for its price — though other similarly priced Amazon speakers would be a better music experience — but the Echo Pop’s biggest appeal is the fun colors and easily interesting form factor.
When it’s next to an Echo Dot (5th gen), the Echo Pop appears to be the same size — that is, if you’re looking directly at the Pop’s flat, round face. But when you look at the Echo Pop from the side, you can see that it’s only about two-thirds deep. Where you can really see the size difference is at the bottom. The base of the Echo Pop is about a full inch thinner than the Echo Dot, which gives it a thin oval base rather than a large round one.
This small size and base makes it easy to place in different places around your home. With its half-moon shape and single, flat face rather than an all-round speaker, it’s a perfect fit for desk corners, small shelves, or side tables.
The Pop also has a slightly larger front-facing tweeter than the fifth generation—1.95 inches versus 1.73—which makes it sound pretty loud from wherever you squeeze it. I placed mine on the corner of my desk and added it to my Alexa app in what seemed like seconds. I already have Spotify connected, so I’ve been jamming to Dua Lipa’s new song in moments.
The Echo Pop sounded great with pop (ha!) and lo-fi electronic. But when I played sounds with lower bass notes, I found those sounds wasted on this little speaker. When it comes to sound quality, the Echo Dot is slightly better and costs a little more. You’ll get a little more punchy sound thanks to the better bass, though neither will compare to a larger smart speaker like the fourth-generation Echo (8/10, WIRED recommends).
If you’re less concerned about great sound and more interested in a stylish speaker, this is Amazon’s best offering, and perhaps the best style pick out of the cheaper smart speaker realm. I have three different smart speakers on my desk, and of any of the bite-sized offerings from Amazon, Google, and Apple, I’d rather look at the Echo Pop than any of the others.