There’s a new Amazon Echo speaker on the block, with the Alexa-powered Echo Pop sporting a semi-spherical design and an affordable price tag.
Also announced by Amazon today: an expected revamp of the Echo Show 5, complete with a speedier processor (finally), and a bargain version of the in-ear Echo Buds.
This news story is part of TechHive’s in-depth coverage of the best smart speakers.
The just-announced Echo Pop is something of a surprise, with the $39.99 speaker (available for pre-order now and shipping May 31) boasting a semi-spherical look that roughly resembles an Echo Dot chopped in half.
Available in four colors (Lavender Bloom, Midnight Teal, Charcoal, and Glaciar White), the flat side of the Pop comprises a speaker grille concealing a “custom-designed” 49.55mm forward-facing driver.
The Pop will deliver “full sound” that’s ideal for small spaces like bedrooms and dorms, Amazon says.
Powered by Amazon’s AZ2 Neural Edge processor, the Pop comes with Alexa on board, with Alexa’s thin indicator light moved to the top edge of the speaker.
Like most of Amazon’s other Echo speakers, the Echo Pop will act as a Matter controller, and it also doubles as an Eero extender, boosting the signal of Amazon’s Eero routers by up to 1,000 feet.
Next comes the revamp of the Echo Show 5, which was recently leaked on an Amazon help page.
Now available for pre-order, the third-generation Echo Show 5 costs $89.99 (a price that will surely be discounted in the ensuing weeks and months) and looks virtually identical to its predecessors, including the same 5.5-inch display and a fabric-covered, wedge-shaped design.
More enticing is Amazon’s promise that the AZ2 Neural Edge-powered Echo Show 5 will be 20 percent faster than the first- and second-gen versions, which both ran on Arm-based MediaTek processors.
That aging Arm chip led to increasingly poky performance on the older Echo Show 5 models, so we’re hoping the new Show 5 feels peppier.
Amazon also claims the third-gen Echo Show 5 will sound better, with an “entirely new speaker system” (including a 1.75-inch full-range driver) that’s designed to deliver twice the bass and “even clearer sound” for music. The display also boasts a redesigned microphone array.
The revamped Echo Show 5 will have the same two-megapixel camera as the previous Show 5, complete with a physical privacy shutter.
Also coming over from the previous Echo Show 5 is Matter support, with the third-gen Echo Show 5 acting as a Matter controller for other Matter-enabled devices, same as the new Echo Pop.
An optional USB-C equipped stand for the new Echo Show 5 goes for $26.99.
A “Kids” edition of the Echo Show 5 is also up for pre-order today today, with a “colorful space-themed design,” a two-year warranty (versus one year for the standard Echo Show 5), and a year’s worth of Amazon Kids+, a subscription service that offers thousands of kid-friendly audiobooks, games, videos, and Alexa skills.
The third-gen Echo Show 5 sells for $99.99, a $10 premium over the standard Echo Show 5, but keep in mind that a year’s worth of Kids+ normally costs $49 for Prime members or $79 for non-Prime users.
Moving along, Amazon also announced a new–and cheaper–version of its Echo Buds.
Unlike previous Echo Buds that packed active noise reduction and (later) noise-canceling tech, the latest Buds are semi in-ear models that do without ANC.
Slated to sell for an “introductory” price of $39.99 (the standard price will be $49.99) , the 2023-model Echo Buds have a 12mm dynamic driver in each earbud for “rich sound and balanced bass,” Amazon says.
The Echo Buds are also equipped with dual microphones and a “voice detection accelerometer” that can help keep passersby from drowning out your calls.
The new Buds are rated for up to five hours of music playback on a single charge, or up to 20 hours with help from the included charging case.
Finally, Amazon announced that the second-generation Echo Auto is coming to eight more countries, including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan.
We will have in-depth reviews of the Amazon Echo Pop, the third-gen Echo Show 5, and the new Echo Buds once we test drive some sample units.