The Echo Dot is a good gadget, however Anker’s Eufy Genie ($35) goals to dethrone it with the similar Alexa-based system and a $15 cheaper price ticket (much more when it’s on sale). However is it value saving a couple of bucks to get a third-party Echo gadget in the first place?
Amazon permits any firm to bake Alexa into their units, and Anker’s Eufy Genie does precisely that. It isn’t the solely direct competitor to the “actual” Echo, however it’s certainly one of the hottest choices, and definitely the most well-reviewed one on Amazon at the moment. And whereas it goals to compete with the Echo Dot, it does have some disadvantages in comparison with Amazon’s personal voice-activated digital assistant.
There’s No Far-Subject Microphone Array
Amazon’s Echo units include an insane seven-microphone setup that permits an Echo to listen to you from throughout the room in any route, making it so that you simply don’t essentially must be proper subsequent to the gadget to be able to say a voice command.
The Eufy Genie doesn’t have this, however it does no less than include a two-microphone setup that Anker claims to nonetheless supply 360-degree voice recognition.
We reckon it nonetheless works fairly nicely in smaller areas the place even Amazon’s seven-mic setup would in all probability be overkill, but when your present Echo typically has hassle listening to you, the Eufy Genie in all probability gained’t be any higher.
It Doesn’t Do Calling, Messaging, or Drop In
Amazon just lately added calling and messaging, in addition to Drop In, to the Echo, which lets you name different Echo units with out the different finish having to reply—primarily utilizing your Echo as an intercom.
All three of those options aren’t supported by the Eufy Genie. This in all probability isn’t an enormous deal for many Alexa customers, since you’ll be able to solely name and message different Alexa units in the first place (relatively than really calling or messaging a telephone quantity), however it’s nonetheless one thing that’s missing with this third-party Echo gadget.
You Can’t Change the Wake Phrase
For those who don’t need to use “Alexa” as the wake phrase to your Echo, you’ll be able to change it to both Amazon, Echo, or Laptop. Nonetheless, the Eufy Genie requires that you simply use “Alexa”.
We’re not precisely certain why that is, however we will positively see this being an enormous draw back for some households, particularly if you understand somebody named Alexa, which might get complicated fairly shortly.
It Doesn’t Help Echo Spatial Notion
Because of a latest firmware replace, Echo units are capable of know which gadget you’re closest to if in case you have a number of Echos in your home. For instance, if two of your Echo units each hear you, they’ll determine which one you’re closest to and get rid of the personal that’s farthest away. That manner they each gained’t reply you and create a complicated mess.
Sadly, the Eufy Genie doesn’t assist this characteristic, so should you’re attempting to speak to your Echo that’s in your kitchen, however your Eufy Genie additionally hears you, it’ll reply it doesn’t matter what.
There’s No Bluetooth Help
Each the Eufy Genie and the Echo Dot comes with a three.5mm audio output jack, permitting you to attach a bigger speaker to the gadget to be able to get higher sound high quality from music. That is nice and all, however the Echo Dot additionally comes with Bluetooth, which helps you to skip the audio cable and join Bluetooth audio system wirelessly.
Bluetooth doesn’t include the Eufy Genie, although, so that you’re caught utilizing an audio cable. I’m certain this was a cost-cutting maneuver to be able to maintain the Genie at a cheaper price than the Echo Dot, however Bluetooth is one characteristic that Echo Dot customers appear to like.
The Genie Might Be Cheaper, however Echo Dots Are Actually Low cost to Purchase Used
After all, even with these downsides, the Eufy Genie can nonetheless do lots of the similar issues that some other Echo gadget can do. It might management your smarthome units and reply to just about any fundamental command.
However in the finish, $35 for the Eufy Genie isn’t that loopy of deal, particularly contemplating it’s lacking some actually good options. Plus, you may get typically the Echo Dot for about the similar value when it’s on sale. So the financial savings are fairly negligible for an objectively weaker gadget.
Right here’s the even larger kicker: Websites like eBay, Craigslist, and OfferUp are littered with new or gently-used Echos and Echo Dots for even much less. It appears lots of people are shopping for these, then not likely realizing what to do with them (trace: smarthome). So that they flip round and promote them for $35 used (or in all probability much less should you negotiate). You’re significantly better off grabbing certainly one of these—it’s the most cost-effective solution to get the finest Alexa expertise.