Tuesday, 19 September 2017
Reviews

Eufy Genie review


The Eufy Genie is a cheaper version of Amazon’s Echo Dot smart speaker that claims to offer better audio quality. It’s available only in the US for now, but is coming soon to the UK. (At which point we presume Alexa on the Genie will be able to use a British accent.) 

Pros

• Alexa is built-in, so Genie has much the same skillset as Echo Dot and will work with any Alexa-compatible devices

• Cheaper than Echo Dot – significantly so if you plan to buy multiple devices

• Enhanced audio quality and volume over Echo Dot, but still just a 2W speaker

• Will be compatible with all future Eufy smart home hardware

Cons

• Does not support Bluetooth

• Does not currently support Alexa calls and messaging (said to be coming later)

• Must be configured through separate EufyHome app as well as Amazon Alexa app

• Available only in the US for now

(Also see our Amazon Echo review and Amazon Echo Dot review.)

Eufy is the smart home sub-brand of Anker, which is better known for its power banks and other charging accessories. The Genie will be compatible with all future Eufy smart home hardware, such as its upcoming smart wall plugs, smart bulbs and even an Alexa-enabled RoboVac, which we expect to be similarly affordable. In time Eufy may offer the cheapest way to make your whole home smart.

Available on Amazon tomorrow (16 August) at just $35, the Genie is $15 cheaper than Amazon’s already affordable Echo Dot. But when you consider that you might want one of these devices in every room of the house, price could become a significant factor and that $15 saving could make all the difference.

The Genie will offer the cheapest way for consumers to jump on the smart speaker bandwagon. Amazon’s Echo family is the current market leader for this new type of device, a group which includes Google’s Home and Apple’s upcoming HomePod.

Smart speakers are in essence always-on speakers with a built-in voice assistant. With a simple command you can ask them to stream music from Amazon, Spotify or TuneIn, check the weather, play games, read Audible audiobooks, set a timer or alarm, tell you the news or even a joke. And integration with smart home devices makes them the remote control for your high-tech home.

Alexa stands out in the market for its ever-growing database of ’Skills’, add-ons that let you bolt on new functionality. There are more than 15,000 Skills in the database, and you’ll find everything from news briefings to fun apps that can hurl insults at you.

The Echo Dot and Eufy Genie are practically the same device, save for some small differences in specification and design.

In essence both are slimmed-down versions of the Amazon Echo – each has all the same skills, but less audio musclepower. The Genie does not currently offer Alexa calls and messaging, though that will arrive later.

And both are small black puc-shaped devices with volume controls and mute/multipurpose buttons on top. 

These miniature Alexa speakers have a small built-in speaker but are designed to be hooked up to a portable speaker, which could mean you end up with better audio quality than from the Echo itself.

Unfortunately, while the Dot can connect to a speaker over Bluetooth or AUX, the Genie supports only the latter. (A $40 version with Bluetooth is said to be in the works.)

That’s something of a strange concept, given that these are always-on devices and portable speakers typically are not. So unless you leave your speaker powered-on and connected, neither can offer as seamless a solution as Echo.

If you’re not going to hook up an external speaker than Eufy claims to offer the better audio hardware, with an aluminium-alloy driver, advanced sound processor and vertical audio configuration. But don’t be fooled here – the driver might be twice as loud as the Dot’s and offer extra bass, but it’s still just a 2W speaker.

Setup is reasonably straightforward, but if you opt for the Genie over the Dot you’ll have an additional step. You must first set up a Eufy account and connect the Eufy to your home network using the EufyHome app, and then switch to the Amazon Alexa app for adding and managing Skills.



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