Amazon Echo Pop with light bar

At the heart of any smart home is a smart speaker. Technically, you need at least one but things get really interesting when you have smart speakers in every room. But not all rooms are equal. For example, do you really need a high-end smart speaker in your laundry room? If you’re looking to build a smart home on a budget, this review is for you. 

I’m reviewing the Amazon Echo Pop. This is the most affordable Alexa-powered smart speaker currently available. Now smart home owners can bring Alexa to every part of their home. At this budget price, is it any good or should you consider an Echo Dot instead? These are the questions I hope to answer in this review. 

Design of the Amazon Echo Pop

The Echo Pop looks like an Echo Dot sliced in half. It has a spherical, compact shape and measures approximately 4”x3.5”x3” (WHD) and weighs 200 grams. It comes in a variety of colours to match any space or preference. The fabric that covers the speaker grille is made from 100% post consumer recycled polyester yarn. It’s also made from 80% recycled aluminum.

On the top front is a LED light bar. It turns blue when someone says the wake word, “Alexa”. This lets users know the Echo Pop is listening. Privacy was also incorporated into the design. On the back is a mic button with a volume button on each side. Pressing the mic off activates a red light on the mic button. This lets users know the mic is muted.

Amazon Echo Pop Back profile

Setting up the Amazon Echo Pop

The one thing I like about Amazon devices is the easy pairing to a home network. The Echo Pop is no exception. Once you plug it in, the Echo Pop goes into pairing mode. This is indicated by the orange light on top. I opened the Alexa app on my smartphone and clicked the plus symbol on the top right corner. A menu pops up asking to add a device and I selected “Echo”. The app then connects to the Echo Pop through a Bluetooth connection. Since I already have Alexa devices installed, the entire setup process was quick and easy. If this is your first Echo speaker, you’ll have to enter your Wi-Fi password to complete the setup.

Amazon Echo Pop Bottom Profile

Using the Amazon Echo Pop

The Echo Pop looks like a stripped down version of the Echo Dot. The difference is a lack of an LED display. You won’t visually see the time, but you can always ask Alexa. Finding the buttons is a little tough. They are not on the top, but instead on the back at a slight angle. I wish they were closer to the top. Still, this is not a deal breaker. I rarely mute the mic or manually change the volume on the speaker. I just ask Alexa to change the volume.

If you’ve used an Echo speaker before, you’ll have no issue with the Echo Pop. Alexa is Alexa, no matter what kind of Echo speaker you use. I used Alexa to set a timer while I write. This is to remind me to take a break after 45 minutes of writing. Alexa also told me the forecast tomorrow and played my Spotify playlists. I never had an Echo speaker sit on my work desk before. I find it quite handy to have a voice assistant on stand-by.

Amazon Echo Pop side profile

Sound quality of the Amazon Echo Pop 

While the Echo Pop is small, the sound it produces is impressive. It doesn’t sound as powerful as the Echo Dot but it’s surprisingly loud. At my desk, I’m keeping the volume low as I work. This makes it a great little speaker for listening to podcasts and audiobooks. For music, I took it outside to see how loud it could get. It surprised me, it gets loud. In addition, the mic was able to pick up the “Alexa” wake word. Even over 30 feet away, the microphone on the Echo Pop picked up the wake work at full volume. My voice is low so that probably helped.

The Echo Pop has a front-facing speaker, this makes the sound directional. Speaker placement is key for both the sound quality and loudness. It’s much louder when the sound is directly facing you. This can be good or bad, depending on your preference. For example, it’s a great speaker to use on my desk. I can work and listen to music at a low comfortable level without wearing headphones. However, if I turn the speaker away from me, the loudness significantly decreases. Therefore, if you want to fill a space with sound, I recommend placing it in the corner of the room.   

Who is the Amazon Echo Pop for?

There are two groups of people who may benefit from the Amazon Echo Pop. The first is people looking for a budget-friendly smart speaker. Getting access to Alexa is more affordable than ever. As such, it’s a great entry-level smart speaker for anyone interested in building a smart home. You can connect the Echo Pop to smart plugs and smart lights and control devices through voice. Plus it’s great for listening to music and podcasts.

The second group is current smart home owners looking to expand Alexa throughout the home. You don’t need a high-end smart speaker in the laundry room. But wouldn’t it be nice to listen to your favourite podcast while you do laundry? The Echo Pop is perfect for sheds, garages, laundry rooms, and bathrooms. With Alexa in every room, your entire house can be controlled by voice. The next time you think of something in the shower, set a reminder with Alexa so you don’t forget. 

Amazon Echo Pop Close Up

Final thoughts on the Amazon Echo Pop

The bedrock of any smart home are smart speakers. Having voice assistants in every room changes the way we control devices and consume content. Imagine hosting a party and having the same music play in multiple rooms. Best of all, it’s all controlled by voice. The Amazon Echo Pop is made for Alexa-powered smart homes. It’s the most affordable way to add Alexa to any room. Conversely, it’s an excellent starter smart speaker. At this price point, everyone can have a voice assistant. If you’re looking for an affordable smart speaker that won’t break the bank, I highly recommend you check out the Amazon Echo Pop

Andy Baryer
Andy Baryer aka “Handy Andy” is a technology journalist, gadget reviewer, and DIY/how-to content creator. Known as the handyman of tech, Andy enjoys fixing poor wireless networks, building smart homes, and cooking with the latest kitchen gadgets. He’s a competitive whistler, a budding woodworker, and loves gardening in his home-built smart garden.