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Amazon Overhauls the Echo Family With a Ballsy New Design

An Amazon Echo Dot 4th Generation on a shelf

It’s been a while since Amazon’s Echo speakers and displays got an overhaul, and even the last iteration was just that—barely a change. Well, that’s the case anymore. Amazon overhauled the Echo family entirely, with a new spherical design for the speakers and a display that can move. And to help support your connected home, Amazon has two new Wi-Fi 6 powered Eero systems too.
Starting with the Echo Devices, Amazon overhauled the entire line from Dot to Plus (the latter is gone, but more on that in a moment).

All New Echo Design

An Echo shaped as a sphere.

Beyond the new sphere shape, the biggest change might be to Echo and Echo Plus. Namely, you don’t have to choose anymore. The standard $99 Echo now includes a ZigBee Radio. Bluetooth LE, and Amazon Sidewalk. And bonus points, you still pay the same price as the old standard Echo.

You get better sound, thanks to a 3.0-inch woofer, dual-firing tweeters, and Dolby processing. And like the Echo Studio, the Echo will adjust its sound to best suit the room’s acoustics. If its speakers aren’t good enough, Amazon included a headphone jack you can use to beef up the sound. You can preorder the new Echo now, and it ships on October 22.

The Echo 4th Generation

Echo (4th Gen) | With premium sound, smart home hub, and Alexa | Twilight Blue

Featuring a new spherical design, the latest Echo also acts as a smart home hub and sounds better than ever.

An Echo dot in sphere form.

The Echo Dot also goes spherical and comes in two editions: $50 standard and $60 clock. Like the previous Echo Dot, spending the extra $10 adds a set of LEDs that can display time.

The Echo dot looks a little larger than the previous Dot, but you get a 1.6-inch, front-firing speaker that should good enough for voice commands and some music. If you need better sound, you can use the device’s headphone jack to plug in your speakers.

You can order the Echo Dot today, and it will ship on October 22.

The 4th Generation Echo Dot

Echo Dot (4th Gen, 2020 release) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Charcoal

Featuring a new spherical design, the Echo dot is still fairly compact and includes a headphone jack so you can provide your own speakers.

Two Echo Dots with a Tiger and Panda cover.

And Amazon didn’t forget about kids either. Like previous Echo Kids, the new hardware is an Echo Dot with a fancy case. But this time it’s an adorable tiger or panda. You still get a year of FreeTime unlimited included with your purchase. The Echo Kids Edition is $60, you can preorder today, and it will ship October 22.

An Echo for Kids

Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids | Designed for kids, with parental controls | Tiger

The Echo Kids Edition is essentially an Echo Dot, but with a cute tiger or panda covering. It also includes a year off FreeTime unlimited.

An Echo Show 10 on a kitchen table

If you prefer something with a display, the new $250 Echo Show 10 should catch your eye. While it doesn’t take on a sphere design like the Echo speakers, it does have a trick or two up its sleeve.
Namely, it swivels its display to follow you around the room so you can always see it clearly. Like the new Echo, the Echo Show 10 has ZigBee, Bluetooth LE, and Amazon Sidewalk, so it can almost act as a smart home hub.

You can’t preorder the Echo Show 10 yet, but you can signup for notifications when it releases.

Alexa Improvements

To boost Alexa’s capabilities, Amazon showed off some new work its doing with the digital assistant. Soon you’ll be able to create new commands with your voice. You say the command you have in mind, and when it doesn’t understand, you use a different command it knows. That’ll teach it what you mean.

Amazon’s also working on making Alexa better at conversation, which will require the wake work less and allow more than one person to talk to the digital assistant at a time.

Amazon also introduced two new subscriptions, Guard Plus and Care Plus, each for $5 a month. Guard Plus extends on the existing Alexa Guard and listens for additional sounds, push alerts and play sirens. Care Plus helps you monitor another family member’s home, such as an aging parent.

New Eero With Wi-Fi 6

Two Eero 6 routers

Alongside the new Echo offerings, Amazon announced two new Eero mesh kits. The new mesh kits have Wi-Fi 6 built-in, for future-proofing technology, and ZigBee radios to act as smart hubs. You can get a single router for $129, or a router plus extender for $199. You can preorder the Eero 6 today, and it will arrive on November 2.

A Mesh Kit With Wi-Fi 6
Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson is the Editor in Chief of Review Geek and is responsible for the site's content direction. He has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smart home enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »