Amazon Echo Pop preorders lead cnnu

There’s a new Amazon Echo in town — and it looks a little different than what we’re used to. The Amazon Echo Pop is a bite-size take on the company’s ubiquitous smart speaker, promising big sound and all the usual Alexa tricks within a fresh design built to fit into small spaces.

Available for preorder now and launching on May 31, the $40 Echo Pop is looking like an enticing and affordable entry point into Amazon’s smart home ecosystem, which now also includes a refreshed $90 Echo Show 5 display. But will it be the right Echo speaker for you? We broke down all the details — and chatted directly with Amazon for a deeper dive — to help you decide.

The Amazon Echo Pop has a unique semisphere and bold new colors that are designed to complement small rooms.

The latest Echo Show 5 packs faster speeds and better audio into Amazon's compact smart display that makes for an ideal nightstand companion.

The Echo Pop delivers all of the Alexa smarts in a smaller size

Amazon Echo Pop colors cnnu

The Echo Pop kind of looks like what would happen if you sliced a regular Amazon Echo in half, and not in a bad way. Its compact, semispherical design features a front-facing speaker (as opposed to the omnidirectional sound you get from a standard Echo or Echo Dot), which the company says is ideal for settings such as dorm rooms and apartments where you may not have a ton of free space.

But the Pop really stands out with its color options — particularly the eye-catching Lavender Bloom and Midnight Teal that make for a refreshing change from the more subdued Echo devices we’re used to. And if you are an old-school Echo purist (or just don’t like fun), the speaker will also be available in Amazon’s usual Charcoal and Glacier White.

Despite its sliced-down design, the Echo Pop does just about everything a full-fledged Echo can do, including the thousands upon thousands of Alexa voice skills that allow you to do everything from check the weather to control your entire smart home without lifting a finger. You’ll also get Eero built-in functionality that allows the Pop to double as a Wi-Fi extender, as well as support for Matter — the latest smart home standard that allows gadgets from different brands to play nice together. The Pop is powered by the same AZ2 Neural Edge processor as the latest fifth-generation Echo Dot (our current favorite budget smart speaker), so we’re expecting a similarly speedy experience when using Alexa.

The Echo Show 5 gets a boost

Amazon Echo Show 5 (2023) cnnu

In addition to launching the Echo Pop, Amazon is also refreshing its Echo Show 5 smart display with better performance and audio quality. The new version of the $90 Echo Show 5 — which combines an Alexa speaker with a 5-inch touchscreen for things like video calls and shopping lists — claims to be 20% faster than before, and packs a revamped speaker system that promises deeper bass and richer overall sound. We found the previous Echo Show 5 to be an excellent nightstand companion, thanks to its useful display, crisp camera and solid audio quality, which should get even better this time around. As with older models, there will also be a $100 Echo Show 5 Kids Edition, complete with a new space-themed design and the usual two-year warranty and one year of Amazon Kids+ for a constant stream of kid-friendly content.

The takeaway

The Echo Pop is looking like a more affordable, extra-stylish addition to the Echo lineup, which already takes up a few spots on our best smart speaker rankings. You’ll likely be sacrificing overall sound quality compared to the Echo Dot, but you’re also saving $10 — and getting a uniquely slick design that’s ideal for small spaces.

Meanwhile, if you’ve yet to pick up an Echo Show 5 and like the idea of a small, Alexa-powered smart screen as your bedside companion, the 2023 model is looking like an even better version of a product we already recommend. We look forward to putting all of the latest Echo devices through their full paces, so stay tuned for our reviews.