Best smart speakers 2021: The best hands-free speakers

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Best-value smart speaker for music


  • Improved sound
  • Same price as the previous model
  • Zigbee hub
  • Looks fantastic


  • Zigbee hub not compatible with all devices

The 2020 Amazon Echo (4th Generation) isn’t just an iterative update. It features a new design, better audio and an integrated Zigbee smart home hub. Impressively, the new model costs the same as the old one.

With a new, funky spherical design, this Echo finally looks as though it’s been designed to sit in your home. With a bit more room inside, Amazon has managed to squeeze in an extra tweeter for two 0.8in tweeters and a 3in woofer. It gives audio that little boost and makes the Echo (4th Generation) a decent choice for music: you have to spend considerably more to get better audio.

This model also has the Zigbee hub, which used to command a £50 premium for the Plus model. It lets you connect some devices directly to the Echo without using a hub, such as Philips Hue bulbs. Not all Zigbee devices are compatible and you sometimes get fewer features, but this hub is there if you want it.

Pound-for-pound, then, the Amazon Echo (4th Generation) is the best smart speaker that you can get.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full Review: Amazon Echo (4th Gen)

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