This $50 speaker turns your Amazon Echo Dot into a poor man's Sonos Play:1

There's nothing particularly exciting about the Amazon Echo Dot when it comes to audio, at least not with the speaker itself. Sure, it can play music, but it sounds horrible. You know that when you bought it, of course, and the Echo Dot helpfully has a a 3.5mm line-out jack, and the ability to hit up other speakers via Bluetooth.

VAUX cordless speaker for Echo Dot

That's a clunky solution, though, and more often than not one that leads to you needing even more cables running all over the place.

This VAUX speaker, however, looks slick. The Echo Dot fits down inside it and looks almost like a Sonos Play:1, if you squint at it just right. It's got an internal 2500mAh battery that'll power the Echo Dot and its own Micro-USB and audio cables hidden inside, too.

In other words, it's a portable speaker for the Echo Dot.

And, yeah, it looks decent. The sound, however, is lacking. Talk of "Dual 52mm Drivers and a passive radiator for impressive sound and bass" is just that — talk. What little bass you can actually hear doesn't show up until you crank the volume, and even then it's not what I'd call "impressive."

One other thing to know is that while this speaker gives you a not-quite-a-full-size-echo sort of experience, you can use it with Amazon's $3.99/month Amazon Music Unlimited Echo plan. (That plan is limited to a single device, however. So if you've got a full Echo or Echo Show, you're better of using that instead.)

So what you've got at this point is a fairly impressive-looking $50 speaker that sounds better than the Echo Dot itself. But it's not so much improved that you wouldn't be better off just buying a refurbished first-generation Echo for $129 instead. That extra money is going to go a long way.

But this is the sort of thing that I could potentially leave on my porch and not feel too bad about. My Sonos Play:1? That doesn't need to be left laying around where anyone could walk away with it. It's an OK Bluetooth speaker for $50, with the ability to take Alexa outside the confines of home, but not much more than that.

Phil Nickinson