Any Amazon Echo Pop review will have to start by saying that this is by no means the best smart speaker around, but if you want to have access to the Alexa voice assistant in every room, then this could be an affordable answer.
The Amazon Echo Pop won’t be an eyesore up on the shelf or a bedside table because it's as small as the tiniest portable speakers. You'll hardly even notice it's there. Despite that, the Echo Pop has crisp sound, albeit modest, and will do just about everything you could need an Alexa speaker to do.
What's great about the Echo Pop is that you can have it match almost any décor, even a colourful kid’s bedroom. The device comes in a few more colours than Amazon's other speakers, and you can also buy a Made For Amazon Sleeve to transform it into an even more funky piece of kit.
Amazon Echo Pop review: what’s new?
The Amazon Echo Pop is the tech giant’s most compact smart speaker to date, and it looks a little different to the rest of the lineup too not only because of its semi-spherical shape but because it comes in a selection of fun colours like Lavender Bloom and Midnight Teal as well as the more standard Charcoal and Glacier White. This tiny smart speaker is designed for smaller spaces, to be tucked away in the corner of a room or on the edge of a side table.
Amazon Echo Pop review: price and availability
As well as being the smallest Echo speaker, the Amazon Echo Pop is among the cheapest. You can buy it at Amazon for £44.99 in the UK, $49.99 in the US and $79 in Australia. Keep an eye out though because this smart speaker is regularly discounted particularly around sales events like Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday. We've seen it cost as little as £18 before!
Amazon Echo Pop review: design and setup
The Amazon Echo Pop has a cool and unique design. It’s semi-spherical so will sit discreetly in a corner and you can buy it in some interesting colours including Lavender and Teal as well as Charcoal Black and Glacier White. You can even get an optional coloured silicone sleeve to jazz it up. So if you’re looking to match your tech to the room it’s in, this one has a better chance than some of the other Alexa devices.
Measuring only 91 x 99 x 83mm and weighing less than 200g, the Amazon Echo Pop is tiny, making it a great choice for small bedrooms, the hallway or to be used in a home office.
Instead of the usual ring, there’s a small bar of light letting you know when Alexa is listening, when the microphones are muted or when the speaker is in setup mode. There are three buttons across the top, including two to adjust the volume and one to mute the microphones, you won’t find the usual Alexa button on the Echo Pop. Placed around the buttons, you’ll find three microphones.
In the box, the speaker comes with a wire to plug it into a wall socket. I found that the cable had plenty of length so could stretch up to a low shelf or table, although there is always the option of buying an extension cable if it isn’t long enough for you.
Setting up the Amazon Echo Pop is as easy as any other Echo device. All you need to do is plug it into power and wait for the orange light to appear. Then, open up the Amazon Alexa app, tap Add Device and the app will do the rest for you. It took me about 3 minutes from start to finish.
Amazon Echo Pop review: performance and features
Given its size and price, you can’t expect to be knocked off your feet by the Echo Pop's sound quality.
While you won’t have any problems with clarity, the Echo Pop isn’t particularly powerful meaning it won’t be able to cut through a noisy room. As well as that, at times the low-end can feel a little distorted and there is some occasional muddiness. Having said that, if you just want to listen to music as you get ready in the morning or to a podcast while you get some work done, it’ll do a perfectly good job.
The flat face directs sound in one direction, unlike the Echo Dot which projects sound all around the room. That means the audio changes slightly depending on where you stand, so this speaker will be best placed in a corner.
The Amazon Echo Pop is loaded with features, and because it’s powered by Amazon’s new AZ2 Neural Edge processor, it responds faster than a lot of the older Echo devices. There are three microphones on the device, which work well to pick up your voice every time you say the wake word, in my experience it never missed commands.
Like any Alexa smart speaker, you can use the Echo Pop to set alarms and timers, ask random questions, create shopping lists or find out the weather. You can use it to control your smart home too, for example, you can ask Alexa to turn on the lights in the kitchen, adjust the colour of your bedroom lamp or turn off the music in the living room.
One downside is that it won’t double up as a Zigbee hub to manage those smart home devices directly, although for most people that won’t matter too much as long as you already have one in the house. It’s also worth noting that unlike some other recent Alexa devices (the latest 5th Generation Echo Dot included), the Echo Pop doesn’t have motion detection nor does it have a temperature sensor. Although those are unlikely to be features you’d make that much use of with this little piece of kit anyway.
One pretty significant perk of the Echo Pop versus some older Alexa-powered speakers is that you can use it to extend your Amazon Eero mesh Wi-Fi network, giving you up to 1,000 square feet of additional coverage. That will be a massive help if you struggle to get a connection in some of the furthest corners of your home.
Amazon Echo Pop review: verdict
The Amazon Echo Pop ticks a few boxes: it’s inexpensive, it’s small, it’s stylish and it’s packed full of handy features including all of Alexa’s smarts and Eero mesh connectivity.
You’ll get the best from it in a small bedroom or office because you’ll be more likely to use it for listening to music on your own. That’s not to say the sound is bad, it’s actually very clear and crisp, but it’s not going to deliver perfectly balanced or powerful sound either.
All in all, the Amazon Echo Pop is fantastic value for money. However, if you were to spend a little more, you could get a lot more from the Amazon Echo Dot.
Amazon Echo Pop review: alternatives to consider
If you don’t intend to use this as a speaker at all, but more as a way to get Alexa in every room, then an even smaller and cheaper option to consider is the Amazon Echo Flex. It’s a tiny Alexa plug that can listen and respond to Alexa commands, its speaker just won’t be good enough for listening to music or any other audio content.
The Amazon Echo Dot will also be very well suited to smaller areas like bedrooms, hallways and offices. It’s slightly more expensive than this and will take up a little more space on the shelf but you will get a more 360-degree sound from it that will come across similarly no matter where you stand in the room.
In need of something more powerful? The Amazon Echo Studio is a home speaker that will be perfect for entertaining if you're willing to splash out a little.