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Best Alexa speaker 2022

Echo Show 10 Lifestyle 1
(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Amazon first introduced Alexa to us through its original Echo smart speaker in late 2014. To this day, if you're looking for the best Alexa speaker, you're probably going to look first at the company's Echo line of smart speakers. 

Many great Alexa-enabled speakers are also made by other companies such as Bose, Sonos, and Ultimate Ears that you may wish to consider. This guide will help you make the best purchase decision as you consider the best Alexa speaker for your household.

What is the best Alexa speaker you can buy today?

Amazon produces most Alexa speakers in the Echo line of smart speakers, and smart screen devices like the Echo Show. However, there are several impressive third-party options that you may wish to consider (some of which are compatible with more than one smart voice assistant).

Our top pick is the Amazon Echo (4th Gen). The standard-bearer for the Echo line, the fourth generation, has been completely redesigned with even better speakers, a rounded look, and a built-in Zigbee smart hub to become the goldilocks of Echo smart speakers. It also happens to be just the right size to fill most rooms with great sound, without standing out too much or looking like just another piece of techno-junk.

Amazon also has a popular line of smart screen Alexa speakers known as the Echo Show devices. Out of these, our favorite is the middle-child Echo Show 8. It has the benefits of a reasonably large screen, loudspeakers, and built-in privacy controls. It is both more affordable and easier to accommodate for smaller spaces than the larger Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen).

As for the best third-party Alexa speaker, our favorite right now is the Sonos One (Gen 2). The size and form factor is close to what you'd get in an Amazon Echo (3rd Gen) with a more traditional speaker look. The sound quality surpasses most Echo speakers, and it can also work with other smart voice assistants.

Without further ado, here is our detailed list of the best Alexa speakers that you can buy.

Amazon Echo (4th Gen) held in hand

(Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)
Best overall Alexa speaker

Specifications

Dimensions: 5.7 x 5.7 x 5.2 inches
Weight: 34.2 ounces
Speakers: dual front-firing 8-inch tweeters and 3-inch woofer
Portable: 🚫
Weather-resistance: 🚫
Privacy features: Physical mute button with red LED indicator light
Colors: Charcoal, Glacier White, Twilight Blue, Product Red

Reasons to buy

+
An extra tweeter for improved sound over previous versions
+
All-new spherical design
+
Made with recycled materials
+
Built-in Zigbee hub
+
AZ1 Neural Edge processor
+
Maintains classic UI elements

Reasons to avoid

-
No display
-
Inconsistent button response

The Amazon Echo is the smart speaker that started it all. This is the fourth iteration of Amazon's classic smart speaker, and according to our Amazon Echo (4th Gen) review, generation four is far and away the best we've ever seen. With much better sound quality than the more ubiquitous Echo Dot, at a price less than half of the Echo Studio or even the Sonos One, it's an excellent upgrade.

The biggest change that most people will notice is that Amazon has done away with the traditional cylindrical design and morphed the new generation of Echos into a spherical shape. Pick whatever metaphor you wish — shotput, bowling ball, astronaut helmet, all apply equally here. However, combined with the new placement of the light ring at the bottom of the device, this looks like an objet d'art rather than a typical piece of tech.

Amazon seriously upgraded the sound quality for this model as well, with the Echo delivering 360-degree audio that's powered by Dolby. It added a second 0.8-inch front-firing tweeter to its already-capable array of a tweeter and a 3-inch woofer, which makes so much of a difference. 

It now truly competes on a level playing field with speakers twice as expensive. As with previous generations, you can fine-tune the audio with the available EQ settings from the Alexa app. You can also pair two Echo speakers together for stereo sound or connect them to a Fire TV.

Like the Echo Plus and Echo Studio before it, this fourth-generation Echo has a built-in Zigbee hub to help it better communicate with and control various smart home devices. It's also powered by Amazon's new AZ1 Neural Edge processor, which promises speech processing that is twice as fast as before, all while using 85% less memory. 

The Echo (4th Gen) is one of Amazon's first Climate Pledge Friendly certified products, made with 50% recycled plastics, 100% recycled fabrics, and 100% recycled die-cast aluminum. Plus, 99% of the packaging is recyclable. It will consume less power than ever with a new low power mode, and a new energy dashboard in the Alexa app can help you monitor your device's energy usage.

We also love the fabric design, responsive microphones for Alexa voice commands, and playback and mute controls on the top of the device. This is a voice-first product, but it's good to know there are still tactile and visual cues to help you control this Alexa speaker.

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) on nightstand

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)
Best value Alexa speaker

Specifications

Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches
Weight: 12 ounces
Speakers: 1.6-inch front-firing speaker
Portable: 🚫
Weather-resistance: 🚫
Privacy features: Physical mute button with red LED indicator light
Colors: Charcoal, Glacier White, Twilight Blue
Special features: LED clock model also available

Reasons to buy

+
Most affordable true Echo speaker
+
Multiple color options
+
Most of the benefits of the larger Echo (4th Gen) in a smaller package
+
Front-firing speaker sounds much better than previous generations
+
LED clock model available for $10 more

Reasons to avoid

-
No display unless you get the Echo Dot with Clock
-
New position of light ring may be harder to see for some
-
Takes up more space than previous dots

The Echo Dot (4th Gen) is the most popular Alexa speaker, and not just because of the insanely affordable price: It's because of its simple utility, small footprint, outsized audio quality for its size, and the option to pair it with another Dot for stereo sound.

While the 3rd Gen model is still on sale, the Echo Dot (4th Gen) is clearly superior to its predecessor. During our review of the smart speaker, we found that it sounds louder and more clear than any Echo Dot before it, thanks in part to the new rounded shape and front-firing orientation of the 1.6-inch speaker. 

The audio quality certainly won't live up to the Echo (4th Gen), which has room to pack in more speakers; but you can buy two Echo Dots for the same price and pair their sound together for a rich sound that arguably matches the larger model in quality.

The new fabric design comes in three great colors (Charcoal, Glacier White, and Twilight Blue), much better than the plain black or white offered in the hard plastic versions of previous generations. You can go for the regular Dot or upgrade to a version with an LED capable of showing the time, temperature, and timers for just $10 more. Its new shape takes cues from the larger Echo (4th Gen), and it also sports the same climate-friendly benefits as its sibling device.

Ultimately, this little speaker is such a great value for the price because it performs all of the same Alexa commands found on the more expensive speakers. You've got the same tactile buttons at the top of the device and the same light ring at the bottom as on the Echo (4th Gen); the only things that you sacrifice here are the built-in Zigbee hub on the larger Echo, and the overall sound quality (though you can use the stereo pair feature to use two Echo Dots together for the same price as the larger Echo).

A video call on the Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)

(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)
Best value smart screen Alexa speaker

Specifications

Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.4 x 3.9 inches
Weight: 36.6 ounces
Speakers: 2x2-inch @ 10W per channel
Portable: 🚫
Weather-resistance: 🚫
Privacy features: Physical camera cover and mute button with red LED indicator light
Colors: Charcoal, Glacier White
Camera: 13MP auto-adjust

Reasons to buy

+
Perfect size for countertop viewing
+
Physical cover/off switch to turn off microphones and camera
+
Similar screen and speaker specs to larger Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)
+
Much improved camera that can pan/zoom digitally

Reasons to avoid

-
Display doesn't rotate
-
If you want to adjust the viewing angle, you'll need to purchase a stand accessory

The Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) is the "Goldilocks" smart display: It sits between the pricey Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) and budget Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen), and Amazon's middle-of-the-road smart display has all the essentials most buyers need. And don't let its generation fool you; it actually launched the year after the Echo Show 10.

Its 8-inch display has a crisp 1280x800 resolution that matches the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) for a better pixel-per-inch ratio. It also matches its 13MP camera for video chats that can digitally pan and zoom to keep you in the frame, and its two 2-inch speakers are only slightly smaller than the 2.2-inch Echo Show 10 speakers. It can't physically track you around a room like the 10-inch model, but many people won't want that feature, which requires a lot more table space to work and can be a bit off-putting. And it's much more affordable, making it the better option in our minds.

Compared to the other Alexa speakers on this list, any Echo smart display just won't quite match up in sound quality, as the form factor doesn't lend itself to forward-firing sound. But in our Echo Show 8 review, we noted it will "pleasantly surprise" you with loud rear-firing speakers that "preserve the highs quite well while not losing or getting drowned out by the thumping bass." It's well-suited as the main audio source for a smaller space like an office or kitchen, even if it's not a proper living room speaker.

Overall, the Echo Show 8 focuses more on Alexa access than being a true speaker, but the option to use a touchscreen to tap options, watch videos, display photos, and perform other tasks without having to vocalize everything is a major perk.

The Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) homescreen

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)
Best premium smart screen Alexa speaker

Specifications

Dimensions: 9.9 x 9 x 6.7 inches
Weight: 90.3 ounces
Speakers: 2x1-inch tweeters and 1x3-inch woofer
Portable: 🚫
Weather-resistance: 🚫
Privacy features: Physical camera cover and mute button with red LED indicator light
Special features: Silent, rotation screen
Colors: Charcoal, Glacier White
Camera: 13MP auto-adjust

Reasons to buy

+
Advanced privacy and security features
+
Best camera ever on an Echo Show device
+
Impressive sound quality
+
Screen moves to keep you in view, so you don't miss anything

Reasons to avoid

-
Most expensive Echo ever
-
Large and heavy
-
The moving camera may be a turn off for some

The Amazon Echo 10 (3rd Gen) raises the bar for smart displays with a silent, moving screen that tracks movement around a room so you can see information easily wherever you go, along with directional audio that also focuses in the same direction as the screen. It may not rise much above the Echo Show 8 in raw specs, but its innovative design is what makes it a properly premium upgrade.

You may be concerned by the idea of a smart display tracking your footsteps. But as our Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) review makes clear, visual processing is all done on-device so no video ever transmits to Amazon's cloud, and it automatically converts what it sees into "abstracted blurbs" so you're nothing but a "pixellated blob." Plus, you can disable the motion and simply enjoy the large display, or activate the physical camera shutter if you're concerned.

You'll also be happy to note that the audio quality was the "best sounding" Alexa speaker we'd tested at that time, with two 1-inch tweeters and a 3-inch woofer for rich, directional sound. The Echo (4th Gen) has since supplanted it, but again, this gives you the joy of a touchscreen interface and visual tools that an audio-only Alexa speaker can't offer.

Amazon Echo Studio sitting on table next to plant

(Image credit: Android Central)
Best sounding Alexa speaker

Specifications

Dimensions: 8.1 x 6.9 inches
Weight: 7.7 pounds
Speakers: 1-inch tweeter, 3 2-inch speakers, and a 5.25-inch woofer
Portable: 🚫
Weather-resistance: 🚫
Privacy features: Physical mute button with red LED indicator light
Colors: Charcoal

Reasons to buy

+
Amazing HD-quality audio
+
Dynamic and room-filling sound
+
Built-in Zigbee smart home hub
+
Physical microphone mute switch
+
Can be paired with another Studio or Fire TV for surround sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Most expensive Amazon Alexa speaker
-
3D music and Dolby Atmos support may not be to everyone's liking

The Echo Studio is Amazon's answer to the audiophile's dream Alexa speaker. It can fill a room with dynamic sound and be paired with a second Studio or Fire TV for real surround sound. It also comes equipped with a Zigbee hub.

If you want an Echo speaker that'll make your music sound as good as can be, this premium Alexa speaker fits the bill perfectly, at least according to our Echo Studio review. This is Amazon's premier Echo speaker regarding sound quality, featuring an array of five speakers that kick out impressive bass, midrange, and highs. Our reviewer particularly praised the vocals, with "lush, warm roll-off that feels inviting in almost any genre," and said it offered comparable quality to the Sonos One.

Dolby's Atmos technology is included to round out the listening experience, along with a feature that allows the Studio to sense the room it's in and adapt its speakers accordingly for the best experience.

The Echo Studio also has smarts over some of its siblings, thanks to the built-in Zigbee hub that allows supported smart home devices to connect directly to the Studio rather than another hub you need to place somewhere in your home.

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th Gen)

(Image credit: Android Central)
Best Alexa speaker for kids

Specifications

Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches
Weight: 12 ounces
Speakers: 1.6-inch front-firing speaker
Portable: 🚫
Weather-resistance: 🚫
Privacy features: Physical mute button with red LED indicator light
Special features: Kid-friendly design with 1-year of Amazon Kids+ subscription included
Colors: Tiger, Panda

Reasons to buy

+
Fun, kid-friendly colors and animal designs
+
Two-year worry-free guarantee
+
One-year subscription to Amazon Kids+
+
Strong parental controls

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than regular Echo Dot
-
Amazon Kids+ can be purchased for any Amazon Alexa Speaker
-
Kids may quickly grow out of the need for this speaker

An Alexa speaker can be a great addition to any kid's room, but before you give your child a smart speaker, you'll want to make sure it's safe and appropriate for them. The Echo Dot Kids Edition comes in fun kid designs and colors with built-in parent controls, as well as age-appropriate content.

With the same front-firing speaker, spherical design, and speedier Alexa commands as the standard Echo Dot, the Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th Gen) offers similar quality but with more "adorable" designs and paired back features built for younger users' privacy and safety. It comes with a year of Amazon Kids+, which lets you carefully monitor your kid's activities. 

That's the part that justifies its price tag, which is a bit more than the Echo Dot at retail. Amazon Kids+ gives you (and your kid) access to a whole bunch of kid-friendly content, including books, music, audiobooks, podcasts, games, and more.

Plus, parents get access to the Amazon Parent Dashboard, which lets you set how long the kid can use any of this newfangled tech. It'll also block non-kid-friendly content, shut off the Echo Dot at bedtime, and teach your kids to remember to say please and thank you to not-quite-sentient tech (we have a feeling that'll be more important than we realize).

Amazon Echo Show 15 showing widgets like weather and notes

(Image credit: Chris Wedel / Android Central)
Best Alexa smart screen for content consumption

Specifications

Dimensions: 15.8 x 9.9 x 1.4 inches
Weight: 78.1 ounces
Speakers: 2 x 1.6-inch rear-firing speakers
Portable: 🚫
Weather-resistance: 🚫
Privacy features: Physical camera shutter and mute button with red LED indicator light
Special features: Can be mounted on a wall or sit on a tabletop in either portrait or landscape.
Colors: Black and White

Reasons to buy

+
High-quality, large display
+
Alexa Widgets utilize the screen size well
+
Great for watching videos
+
Flexibility in set up location

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor camera quality
-
Rear-firing speakers are a potential issue
-
Limited widget options

With the addition of the Echo Show 15 to Amazon's lineup of smart speakers, it became the largest smart display option from the company. At 15.6 inches, it provides ample room for the Alexa interface to shine when putting the helpful Alexa Widgets that were announced in summer 2021 up front. These customizable tiles put useful, glanceable information like your shopping list, calendar, weather, and more, front and center. 

As our Echo Show 15 reviewer found, the big screen size is fantastic when you are looking for a bit of entertainment thanks to its support of full-HD streaming from services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon's own Prime Video, and others. It became a staple in the kitchen during our review, as it's a great help for displaying recipes while cooking and listening to music.

The Echo Show 15 can also work for video calls with the built-in camera, which can be disabled with a physical shutter, but its poor quality is a bit of a letdown. While Amazon has opened up the development of widgets to third parties, currently, the only options available on the Echo Show 15 are from Amazon. It's not a deal-breaker, but it's an area that hopefully improves soon.

Amazon designed the Echo Show 15 to look like a photo frame, and it truly looks great when mounted on the wall using the supplied bracket. But not limited to that setup only, the smart display can also rest on your counter using either of the two stands offered separately. Or you can opt for a third option that mounts the Echo Show 15 under your cabinet. However you choose to use this smart display, it is sure to find plenty of use

Sonos One with Funko pops on table

(Image credit: Android Central)
Best third-party Alexa speaker

Specifications

Dimensions: 4.72 x 4.72 x 6.34 inches
Weight: 4.08 pounds
Speakers: Two Class-D digital amps, one tweeter, one mid-woofer
Portable: 🚫
Weather-resistance: 🚫
Privacy features: Microphone mute button
Colors: Black, White

Reasons to buy

+
Better sound profile than most Echo devices
+
Works great with Alexa and the Google Assistant
+
Sonos offers more content partnerships and services than you can get with an Echo device alone

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't support Bluetooth audio
-
More than twice as much as a comparable Echo device

The Sonos One is our favorite third-party Alexa speaker because it looks great, sounds even better, and fits within the well-established and easy-to-use Sonos audio ecosystem. Sonos has earned its reputation as the premier smart speaker manufacturer, with an entire ecosystem of products that work seamlessly with each other for a satisfying home audio experience. But the Sonos One specifically is one of the most affordable Sonos smart speakers around, for those that can't afford an entire sound system.

Our Sonos One review described this device as the Sonos smart speaker for everyone because it has a stylish yet subtle profile that fits in just about anywhere. While you can get most of the functionality and sound in the less expensive Sonos One SL, this is the cheapest Sonos smart speaker that you can control with your voice, including through Alexa or Google Assistant. It also works via Apple's AirPlay 2 wireless protocol.

Once you connect your Sonos One to your Amazon Alexa account, you can control your smart home, play music or audiobooks, and ask Alexa all manner of trivia, just as you would on any of the best Alexa devices. Aside from the sound quality, the main difference to an Echo is the speaker ecosystem you buy into. And while there's nothing wrong with an Echo, a whole lot of folks really love their Sonos setups.

Sonos Move on patio

(Image credit: Android Central)
Best sounding portable, third-party Alexa speaker

Specifications

Dimensions: 9.44 x 6.29 x 4.96 inches
Weight: 6.61 pounds
Speakers: Two Class-D digital amps, one tweeter, one mid-woofer
Portable: ✔️
Weather-resistance: ✔️ IP56
Privacy features: Microphone mute button
Colors: Black, White

Reasons to buy

+
The first truly portable Sonos device
+
Arguably the best sounding portable Alexa speaker
+
Solid 10-hour battery life
+
IP56 water and dust resistance
+
Handles Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the best microphone array
-
Pretty heavy and bulky for a portable
-
Comes in your favorite color, as long as it's black
-
Pricey, especially for a portable

If you want to take your music with you and control your speaker via Alexa, you can't find a better balance of sound, battery life, and water resistance than is available from the Sonos Move.

Amazon hasn't made a portable Alexa speaker since the Amazon Tap, which wasn't hands-free (or very good, for that matter). Other manufacturers have made some of the best Bluetooth speakers with Alexa functionality for years, but we now finally have the one we've been waiting for in the Move from Sonos.

As described in our Sonos Move review, we finally have a Sonos-quality Alexa speaker that is portable yet still works with the Sonos ecosystem. It also makes a great home speaker when you're not on the go, which is more than can be said for some of the other portable Bluetooth Alexa speakers we've seen.

If you're a true audiophile and you need something portable, or if you just really love the Sonos ecosystem, the Move is a must-buy. It's big, it's heavy, and it sounds amazing. And with a recent update, you now get 11 hours of battery life before needing to dock it again.

Ultimate Ears Blast lifestyle

(Image credit: Ultimate Ears)

Ultimate Ears BLAST

Best weatherproof third-party Alexa speaker

Specifications

Dimensions: ‎2.68 x 7.4 x 7.4 inches
Weight: 2.49 pounds
Speakers: Two 35mm active drivers and two 81 x 39mm passive radiators
Portable: ✔️
Weather-resistance: ✔️ IP67
Privacy features: Microphone mute button
Colors: Graphite, Blue Steel

Reasons to buy

+
IP67 water and dust resistance
+
Lightweight and portable
+
16-hour battery life
+
Can be paired with up to 8 other Blast or Megablast speakers

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as rich-sounding as the Sonos Move
-
Voice control can be slow
-
Need to purchase recharging base separately

Ultimate Ears is at the forefront of portable, durable, and rugged Bluetooth speakers, and its BLAST line is one of its most popular because it's affordable, sounds great, and has fantastic battery life. That's why the Ultimate Ears BLAST is the ultimate weatherproof Alexa speaker that you'll want to bring with you to your next BBQ event, beach party, or backyard get-together.

You can pair your BLAST speaker with up to eight others and keep the party going all day long with its 12-hour battery life. The speaker has a 360-degree sound that comes across loud and clear. Not only can you pair other devices to it via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, but it comes with Alexa built-in so that whenever you're connected to a hotspot, you can request your favorite party playlist from Alexa.

When you bring your BLAST speaker indoors, it charges on a simple base that keeps it in an upright orientation, though not all configurations ship with this base charger. However, when settled this way, it makes a great Amazon Echo alternative!

Sonos Beam Gen2

(Image credit: Chris Wedel / Android Central)
Best third-party soundbar with an Alexa speaker

Specifications

Dimensions: 25.6 x 2.7 x 3.9 inches
Weight: 6.2 pounds
Speakers: One tweeter, four drivers, five Class-D digital amplifiers
Portable: 🚫
Weather-resistance: 🚫
Privacy features: Microphone mute button
Colors: Black, White

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive sound for a relatively small device
+
Use Alexa to control your TV
+
Super-easy to set up
+
Enhances your TV viewing experience

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey compared to other speaker options
-
Can be a bit sensitive listening for Alexa voice commands

Not everyone who wants an Alexa speaker has the same needs. Some want a small smart speaker that gets out of the way, while others want something with room-filling sound. And some of you don't want another speaker; you'd rather buy a soundbar for your TV that also lets you command Alexa while you stream your favorite shows. Thankfully, soundbars like the Sonos Beam give us fantastic sound, plus Alexa access.

We conducted our Sonos Beam Gen 1 review a couple of years ago, but we've yet to find another smart soundbar that can do what it does while sounding as great as it does. When connected to your TV, it enhances the sound to amplify the highs, mids, and lows that most built-in TV speakers muddle together. 

Since then, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 arrived with some significant improvements: Dolby Atmos support, a faster processor for Alexa commands, and a new dust-resistant design that offers better audio height. But it has the same four mid-woofers, a center tweeter, and three passive radiators as before, so we can still speak to its audio quality from our old review.

The Sonos Beam's Alexa functionality goes beyond just asking the voice assistant trivia or using it to control your smart home. With the Beam, you can use Alexa to control your TV, a wonderful accessibility and convenience feature. Best of all, the Beam is extremely easy to set up, and it still functions as a fabulous Sonos smart speaker. So if you can only get one Alexa speaker for your main TV room, this is probably the one you want to pick up.

A hand presses buttons on the Bose Home Speaker 500

(Image credit: Bose)

Bose Home Speaker 500

Best third-party Alexa speaker with a mini screen

Specifications

Dimensions: ‎8.0 x 6.7 x 4.3 inches
Weight: 4.65 pounds
Speakers: Two custom drivers
Portable: 🚫
Weather-resistance: 🚫
Privacy features: Microphone mute button
Colors: Black, Silver

Reasons to buy

+
Noise-rejecting eight microphone array
+
Syncs with other Bose smart speakers via SimpleSync
+
Color LCD screen conveys information and album artwork
+
Compact, stylish design

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive compared to Echo speakers or Sonos One
-
Doesn't include a separate manual remote like other Bose models

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is the speaker giant's answer to the Amazon Echo Studio or the Sonos Five, designed for audiophiles that want Alexa and touch controls without compromising on sound. 

Bose has earned a reputation for being one of the premier audio companies. If you already have other Bose products or want something different from Amazon's or Sonos's devices, this is a great place to start.

This device stands out at first glance because of its small, iPod-sized LCD screen on the front that displays fun and helpful information like album artwork. If you want to know what's playing at a glance, or if you're someone who enjoys a bit of visual stimulation to go along with your auditory processing, this device bundles those senses together in an attractive package.

The speaker works over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and is compatible with the Google Assistant and Apple AirPlay 2. It features an array of eight microphones tuned to pick up your voice commands over loud noises in the environment and from the speaker itself. Inside are two custom drivers facing opposite directions to provide fuller sound coverage. 

In addition to your voice and the Bose app, you can control the speaker with capacitive buttons on the top, including presets for different playlists, services, or internet radio stations.

Facebook Portal Plus lifestyle

(Image credit: Chris Wedel / Android Central)
Best third-party smart screen Alexa speaker

Specifications

Dimensions: 5.91 x 8.45 x 5.0 inches
Weight: 1.68 pounds
Speakers: Front stereo speaker and rear woofer
Portable: 🚫
Weather-resistance: 🚫
Privacy features: Physical camera cover and mute button with red LED indicator ligh
Colors: Chalk

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic video chatting experience
+
Fun filters and effects
+
Facial recognition features are useful
+
Excellent sound quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the best sounding speaker
-
Confusing breakdown of tasks between "Portal" and Alexa
-
Not everyone wants a Facebook camera/microphone on in their homes

Formerly known as the Facebook Portal+, the renamed Meta Portal+ still relies on Facebook for many of its core features, which many people will object to thanks to the company's checkered privacy past. 

However, the simple fact remains that many of the people you know, including a fair number of your family members, are probably still active on the platform, and those same people may be resistant to try other platforms, services, or devices for staying in touch. So we bit the bullet for you and evaluated the device with a full Facebook Portal+ (2021) review, and surprise — we actually liked it!

The main reason I keep my Facebook account active is that nearly all of my contacts have an account, and I know that I can reach them via Messenger chat, calls, or video whenever I want. That's powerful, and it's an advantage Facebook has leaned into with this device. For example, my 90+-year-old grandmother is way more likely to video chat with me on one of these than the proprietary Amazon Echo Show's video chat platform. She just is.

In addition to being a superior video chatting device to most other smart screen displays, the Meta Portal+ has Alexa built-in. It thus is a great smart speaker for controlling your smart home gadgets or listening to Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, or iHeartRadio, among others.

Alexa coming in loud and clear

With the number of Alexa speakers available these days, it's clear that the digital assistant has come a long way since the cylindrical speaker that it debuted on in 2014. Even with all of the changes that have come to the products, Amazon's in-house Amazon Echo 4th Gen is the one that gives you the most bang for your buck. 

Thanks to the refined look and excellent sound, the Echo can handle your Alexa needs beautifully. If you prefer a smaller footprint for your smart speaker, the surprisingly powerful Echo Dot can satisfy that qualification wonderfully. Regardless of whether you choose to go with an Alexa speaker from Amazon or a third-party like Sonos, you'll be getting a helpful digital assistant that will sound great.