Surprisingly, in order to take advantage of Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant, you don't necessarily have to buy an Amazon Amazon Echo device.
In fact, the Alexa assistant does not have this exclusivity and can also be integrated into devices from other brands, with an important difference that can be seen as a limitation or advantage depending on the point of view. In practice, while Amazon's Echoes are always listening and work to answer questions at any time, the speaker speakers with Alexa can only respond to voice commands with manual activation, for example by pressing a button as with a smartphone.
Those who are concerned about privacy and the fact that the Amazon speaker can always listen to our voice, then may prefer alternative Alexa speaker speakers. In this guide we will show you the best alternative speakers to Amazon Echo with Alexa voice commands.
These speakers work like simple Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speakers, but have a button or remote control to activate Amazon Alexa artificial intelligence with voice commands.
1) Features included in third-party Alexa speakers
If instead of focusing on an Echo we adopt one of the following solutions, we will be able to benefit from some exclusive features or in any case make better use of those that we already find on any Echo.
- Multiroom: by connecting several identical speakers to the same Wi-Fi network, we will be able to play the music in the room, recreating a surround or Dolby effect; if we move to another room, the music will "follow us" and we will be able to continue listening with the speakers present in the new room. We will also be able to play the same music in all the rooms of the cash desk or, alternatively, listen to different music in different rooms, just configure the control apps appropriately.
- DLNA Wi-Fi playback: if we have songs in MP3, OGG or AAC saved on a computer or smartphone connected to the same wireless network as the speaker, we will be able to view the speaker or speakers as DLNA players, then start playback in a simple way by sending the music to the speaker . On Windows just copy and paste the music file on the speaker (available as a network drive), while on Android we can use an app like Hi-Fi Cast - Music Player.
- Wi-Fi / Bluetooth playback: on many speakers we will be able to choose what type of technology to use to listen to music.
- Streaming services playback: without having to configure anything, the speakers will already be compatible with the most famous music streaming services (Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, TuneIn Radio, Tidal etc.), so that we can play all our favorite music.
- Battery: some of the speakers that we are going to recommend have an integrated lithium battery, so you can use them even outside the home or take the speaker with us, without having to depend on the electrical outlet to use them.
- Integration with Alexa: to activate the reception of voice commands, they must be equipped with a built-in microphone and must be able to interface with the services offered by Alexa, by logging in with the Amazon account within the specific app or by making the association directly with the app for Android or iOS (for high-end models, automatically seen by the home automation system developed by Amazon). In order to actually activate the microphone, a physical button is often provided to press for a few seconds: immediately after we can use Alexa as if we were on the Amazon Echo, with the same voice commands.
2) Best speaker with Alexa voice commands
After seeing what features alternative speakers to the Echo can offer, we see in this guide the best products we can buy online. Some products are within the reach of all those who want to try these alternative devices, others have high prices due to their reproduction quality and the relevant specifications with which manufacturers put them on the market: they are mainly designed for technology enthusiasts. and for those who want to equip their home with high-end hi-tech products (with prices over € 200).
One of the cheapest speakers we can try with Alexa voice commands is the Jam Voice. With this speaker we will be able to recreate the multi-room environment for playback in multiple rooms through Alexa voice commands (recalled via a dedicated button), play via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and take advantage of DLNA for playback via the network.
We can view this speaker from here -> Jam Voice (39 €).
Going up a level, a speaker that we can use to try out Alexa's voice commands is the Harman-Kardon. This speaker has a very innovative shape, with a transparent part and dynamic lighting, with a 360-degree sound to fill any space in the room. Really beautiful and elegant, we can also think about it as a design object to put in the living room or bedroom.
We can view this speaker from here -> Harman-Kardon (280 €)
Sonos Play: 1
The best high-end speaker compatible and certified with Alexa is definitely the Sonos Play: 1.
With this speaker we will have a very good sound quality, since inside we can find two speakers, a tweeter and a mid-woofer, with two dedicated digital amplifiers. It can be controlled both by other Echos and independently thanks to native support for Alexa: the speaker will be immediately seen by the app of the same name on any smartphone. Among the advanced features, multiroom and automatic playlists from Spotify also stand out, so you can have your music at your fingertips.
We can view this speaker from here -> Sonos Play: 1 (220 €)
Those who want the best audio quality to listen to music can choose to buy a speaker from Bose, with integrated Alexa. The prices are quite high, but not so prohibitive for those who want the best (see on Amazon)
Best Speakers with integrated Alexa, which are not Amazon Echo