Echo (4th Gen)

Bottom Line

We tested this device with Alexa voice assistant and a built-in hub for controlling devices around the house.


Round speaker with great HD sound is available in 3 colors. Works with the Alexa voice assistant to control music, calendar, and smart home devices. Has mute and volume button controls. Easy to set up with an app.


May not always pick up voice recognition. Placement makes light hard to see.


About the product

Is the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) worth it?

Practical smart home technology has been around for over two decades. Since it's built into most products, it's pretty much inescapable. Even if you're a technophobe, chances are you have used it to get things done in your own home. 

To get the most out of your smart technology, however, it's best to have a simple and natural method of central control. Ideally, you want to have one easy-to-use device that listens to you and then communicates with every other gadget to ensure your requests are carried out. You also want something that protects your privacy.

The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is a smart speaker that communicates with you through conversation. BestReviews wanted to see if this device was suitable for the average person who wanted to enhance their smart home experience, so the testing lab evaluated its performance in everyday use, and here are the results.

Testing the Amazon Echo (4th Gen)

The purpose of the BestReviews Testing Lab is to use products in everyday situations to determine if they are worth the purchase. The testing team is assembled using people who are experts mixed in with ones who have never tried the product before. This helps provide an honest evaluation at all levels.

To test the Amazon Echo (4th Gen), BestReviews started from scratch to see how difficult the setup was. After connecting to the internet and testing the speaker quality, the testing lab began assessing what the product could do, how well it could do it and how easy it was to accomplish each task. 

What is the Amazon Echo (4th Gen)?

The Amazon Echo is a contemporary-looking device that slips in with your home decor. BestReviews received the Twilight Blue model, but you can also pick Glacier White or Charcoal. The spherical design really sets it apart from other devices. What is not obvious from online photographs is how nice the cloth texture is. 

A couple other design elements worth pointing out are the modern ring light located at the base and the minimal controls, which keep the device looking unobtrusive and give the impression that it's effortless to operate. The Echo also has a microphone-off button to help protect your privacy.

Some of the crucial elements that you can't see include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, Dolby audio, accessibility features (for vision, hearing, mobility and speech) and free security updates. Alexa, the built-in voice assistant, speaks English and Spanish. Alexa Guard can watch over your home when you're away by alerting you if it detects the sound of a smoke alarm or breaking glass.

The main function of the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is to serve as a simple way to give you voice access to the internet. Anything that the internet knows, you can learn, just by asking. When the Echo is connected to your home network, you can also control all your compatible devices with your voice.

See how the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) compares to other products in its space — check out our reviews for the best Amazon Echo products.

Amazon Echo (4th Gen) price and where to buy

You can purchase the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) for $99.99 on Amazon and Home Depot.

How to use the Amazon Echo (4th Gen)

Setting up the Amazon Echo takes a few steps and a little bit of time. You have to turn the device on, download the app, connect to it and set it up. The good news is you have help and support along the way, so it doesn't feel too intimidating or overwhelming. 

The first thing BestReviews did was test the speakers. The quickest way to adjust the volume is to tap the buttons on the Echo. Alternatively, you can use the slider in the app or simply ask Alexa to raise or lower the volume. For its small size, the sound was impressive. At a low volume, the Echo sounds crisp and clear. Once you turn it up, however, it doesn't have the bottom end that lets you feel the music. It's sufficient for entertaining a small number of people, but with a larger number of guests, the sound just isn't enough.

To get the Amazon Echo to do something, you must call it by name. The testing lab purposely used a variety of inflections and volume levels when saying "Hey, Alexa" and found the device responded best when speaking in a normal voice. After getting the unit's attention, you can then simply ask any question or tell it to do anything you'd like. If Alexa knows how, it will be done. If you've asked something outside the realm of possibility, it will tell you so you can reframe your request. Some of the things the Echo can do include playing music, answering questions, making hands-free calls and controlling the smart devices in your home.

Amazon Echo (4th Gen) benefits

The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) has an appealing aesthetic. While subtle, the ring light at the bottom lets you know at a glance if you're connected or not. For low to moderate volume, the sound is superb. As far as functionality, this device has a scope as broad as the internet itself, so it can help you out with virtually any question or situation that arises. Last, and most important, it gives you an effortless way to control all the compatible smart devices in your home.

Amazon Echo (4th Gen) drawbacks

The biggest consistent complaint with this device is it doesn't always respond to "Hey, Alexa." The bottom end of the audio weakens as the volume increases. Also, while minor, the power cords don't match the Charcoal or Twilight Blue devices.

Should you get the Amazon Echo (4th Gen)?

The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is a top choice for people who like to spend time at home listening to music and enjoy the convenience of having the power of the internet and all of their smart devices just a "Hey, Alexa" away. The Echo is also a great item for anyone with diminished mobility, as they can do what needs to be done just by asking. Since it's such a compact device, it's handy for people who don't have a lot of room, such as a student in a dorm.

Coming Soon.

Product Details
Product Dimensions:
‎5.69 x 5.69 x 5.3 inches
Item Weight:
‎2.14 pounds
Country of Origin:
Item model number:
Date First Available:
‎September 23, 2020
Test Category
12 inches