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Echo Pop review: Accessible smartness with speakers that sound good

The Amazon Echo series of devices have been around for many years. In many a home, they have almost become a part of the furniture, with everyone from toddlers to their grandparents turning to them for quick access to everything from entertainment to information. The best thing about Echo devices is how they are available across price points. On the more affordable end of the spectrum, Amazon now has the Echo Pop with a new front-facing speaker design that blends easily into any part of your house.

The Echo Pop has a round speaker which does not lie flat like in some earlier models, but fires towards the front. There are buttons on the top for volume and mute and a simple cord at the back for power. It is as simple as it can get. Set up was easy using the Alexa app. One update and I was ready to use the latest Echo device.

What really surprised me was the clarity of the speaker. I could hear string instruments very clearly. In fact, they were filling the room as I asked Alexa to play a 1980 Yesudas playlist. The Echo Pop was not even at full volume. At full blast, this one is a little beast.

Echo Pop There are buttons on the top for volume and mute and a simple cord at the back for power (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

While the smaller Echo devices of the past did not focus much on audio playback and were more about being functional, this Echo Pop takes the experience one step up. From heavy vocal numbers like Carnatic classics to JVKE’s Golden Hour, everything sounded pretty decent on these.

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Of course, it does well with the skills too and I realised a 7 am alarm for my son worked best with a playlist of his favourite songs. But the Echo Pop was transferred to my bedside so that I did not have to wear earphones for my daily dose of Peter Frankopan’s Silk Road before going to sleep.

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You can also conjure up the smart abilities of Alexa on the speakers by asking it to control the compatible smart devices in your home or adding more stuff to your Amazon shopping list. But frankly, these are capabilities I keep forgetting to use as these don’t come naturally to an 80s kid like me. But maybe my son, the digital native that he is, will use these more.

Echo Pop You can also conjure up the smart abilities of Alexa on the speakers by asking it to control the compatible smart devices in your home (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

While this is no smartphone, I could not help but notice that the device has a tendency to warm up with a few minutes of use. This is not something I have seen with other Echo speakers.

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At Rs 4,999, the Echo Pop is one of the most accessible smart speakers around, and certainly one of the best-sounding ones at this price point. This is the full Alexa deal in a small package. You can go ahead and get it.

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