Amazon's ecosystem (Echo-system?) never stops growing. Its newest player has arrived: the Echo Pop, a $40 smart speaker with a half-circle body instead of the fully rounded forms of Amazon's other Echo speakers.
I've been enjoying the Echo Pop as a small desk companion. Its sound is fine enough for its price—though other, similarly priced Amazon speakers will be a better music experience—but the biggest appeal of the Echo Pop is easily the fun colors and interesting form factor it has.
When it's next to the Echo Dot (5th Gen), the Echo Pop looks to be the same size—that is, if you're looking head-on at the Pop's flat, circular face. But when you take a look at the Echo Pop from the side, you can see it's only about two-thirds as deep. Where you really can see the size difference is on the bottom. The Echo Pop's base is nearly a full inch thinner than the Echo Dot, giving it a slim oval base instead of a large rounded one.
That smaller size and base helps make it easier to place into various spots around your home. With its half-moon form and single flat face rather than an entire rounded speaker, it's a good fit for desk corners and small shelves or side tables.
The Pop also has slightly larger front-firing speaker than the fifth-generation Dot—1.95 inches versus 1.73—letting it sound plenty loud from whichever space you've squeezed it into. I placed mine on the corner of my desk and added it to my Alexa app in what felt like seconds. I already had Spotify connected, so I was jamming to Dua Lipa's new song in moments.
The Echo Pop sounded great with pop music (ha!) and electronic lo-fi. But when I turned on sounds with lower bass notes, I found those got lost on this little speaker. When it comes to sound quality, the Echo Dot is a little better and only costs slightly more. You'll get slightly more robust sound thanks to better bass, though neither will compare to a bigger smart speaker like the fourth-generation Echo (8/10, WIRED Recommends).
If you're less worried about fantastic sound and more interested a stylish speaker, this is Amazon's best offering, and maybe the best style choice out of the world of cheaper smart speakers. I have three different smart speakers on my desk, and out of any of the pint-sized offerings from Amazon, Google, and Apple, I'd rather look at the Echo Pop than any of the others.