Amazon Echo 4th Gen Review and All Things You Must Know

The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is a solid choice for those who have invested in the Alexa ecosystem. It is perfect if you want a versatile, affordable smart speaker that offers decent sound quality. Also, its unique orb-like design may not be for everyone. But it certainly adds a touch of modernity to any space.

The LED ring on the bottom of the speaker also provides a clear indication of the device’s listening status, which is a handy feature. If you’re looking for an all-in-one smart home hub and decent audio performance, the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is definitely worth considering.

Amazon Echo 4th Gen Review

The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is a testament to the company’s commitment to continuously improving their smart speaker line. Despite being around for six years, the newest addition to the Echo family offers better sound quality and a modern design.

As a smart home centerpiece, it is an affordable option that seamlessly integrates with most compatible smart home devices. In this review, we will delve into our experience with the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) and whether it can truly enhance your smart home experience.

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About Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is a significant departure from its predecessor in terms of design. It has a larger and rounder shape wrapped in an elegant fabric finish. Its unique orb-like shape gives it a distinct look that sets it apart from other smart speakers on the market.

Despite its size, the speaker is lightweight and easy to move around the house. While the circular design may make it difficult to place in certain spaces, it seamlessly blends into the environment once you find the perfect spot for it. The design and build of the Echo (4th Gen) are impressive and will complement any modern home decor.

The company also launched a new Echo Dot which shares the new round design. But it is just a smaller version of the one in this review. Then there’s the Echo Dot with a clock and Echo Dot kids edition in a panda or a tiger design.

Alexa Voice Assistant

The Alexa app is an integral part of using the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) to its fullest potential. While the voice assistant is the main way to interact with the speaker, the app opens up a wealth of additional features and controls. From adjusting the volume and pairing Bluetooth devices to setting up multi-room groups and adding a subwoofer. This app gives you the ability to fine-tune your listening experience.

You can also download new Alexa skills to expand the speaker’s functionality beyond what comes out of the box. So while the Echo (4th Gen) is certainly voice-activated, don’t underestimate the power of the app in getting the most out of this smart speaker.

Big Hint: Enabling Follow-up Mode can definitely make the Alexa experience more seamless and convenient for users. It’s worth noting, though, that some people may prefer to keep this feature turned off for privacy reasons. Well, the device is constantly listening for potential follow-up questions. It’s always important to balance convenience with privacy and security considerations when using smart home devices.

When you connect it to the Alexa app, Alexa can be used to control compatible smart home devices and answer weather-related questions. Music can be played and controlled directly from the speaker using Alexa. But there are also buttons on the top of the speaker for manual playback. For example, the action button, mute button, and two volume buttons.

However, using Google Chromecast or YouTube with the Echo requires skills. This process is even more complex for YouTube and YouTube Music. Luckily, Spotify is compatible with the Echo (4th Gen), which is great for those who prefer it over Amazon Music HD. Additionally, the Echo (4th Gen) supports Apple Music, Vevo, Tidal and many more. You can enjoy Apple Podcasts, Deezer, Pandora, and SiriusXM.

In addition to voice commands, the Echo (4th Gen) offers a convenient alternative for playing music via Spotify Connect. This allows you to stream music directly from the Spotify app without relying on Alexa. Therefore, it is particularly useful when the microphone is muted. Furthermore, the Echo (4th Gen) features Bluetooth 5.0. This allows  it to function as a traditional Bluetooth speaker for devices that are not Wi-Fi-enabled.

Setting Up Amazon Echo 4th Gen

Setting up the Echo (4th Gen) for music playback is a simple process. After unboxing the device and plugging it in, you can connect it to your Wi-Fi network. Follow the instructions in the Alexa app, which is available on both iOS and Android. Once connected, you can start using the Alexa personal assistant.

When you activate Alexa, an LED ring along the bottom of the speaker lights up blue. It indicates that the device has recognized your voice. The speaker features a power input and an aux input located on the back. Also, there is a threaded universal mount on the base. It is useful for integrating the device into an existing speaker setup.

The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is not a portable speaker, despite featuring Bluetooth 5.0. It requires a constant power supply. Also, you must plug it into an outlet at all times via the 30W adapter located on the back of the device. The power cable provided with the speaker is long and all white, making it easy to connect to an outlet.

Connecting Amazon Echo 4th Gen to Home Appliances

Connecting smart home appliances to the Echo (4th Gen) requires a few additional steps. Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Launch the Amazon Alexa app.
  2. Tap on the Devices tab, on the bottom row.
  3. Tap on the “+” icon, (top right corner of the display), and choose “Add Device.”
  4. Choose the type of device that you want to conmanect.
  5. Complete the setup process by following the provided instructions.

Sound Quality

The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) features larger drivers compared to previous generations of Echo speakers, resulting in a significant improvement in sound quality. It has three drivers, including two 20mm tweeters and a 76mm neodymium woofer. The woofer provides a powerful bass that packs a punch and is especially noticeable in the 40-100Hz range. However, this boost in bass comes at the expense of the mids and highs. The mid frequencies have a significant drop-off, making vocals sound less clear than on other speakers like the Google Nest Audio. The highs are also under-emphasized, resulting in cymbals and hi-hats not sounding super clear and lacking the reverb that creates a sense of space. Nonetheless, even at loud volumes, the highs never approach harshness.

Microphone Performance

The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) features excellent microphone performance, even in noisy environments, which enables Alexa to pick up voice commands accurately. The device is compatible with various smart home gadgets, including Philips Hue lights and Amazon’s Firestick. If you need to mute the microphone, you can use the physical mute switch on the device, which will turn off the microphone and cause the LED ring at the base of the speaker to glow red. While the microphone is muted, Alexa won’t be accessible even if you manually press the multifunction button, but you can still stream music from your smartphone to the speaker.

Summary

The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is a great choice for those looking for a smart speaker with good sound quality and access to Alexa-compatible devices. Its affordable price point and frequent promotions make it an even more attractive option.

However, it’s important to keep in mind the potential privacy concerns that come with using smart speakers. Learn everything including the collected and shared data from your smart speaker. As long as you’re aware of the trade-offs and take steps to protect your privacy, the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is a solid choice for a smart speaker.