Eufy Genie Review: How does it compare to the Echo Dot?
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Anker’s home brand — Eufy — is getting into the smart speaker game with the Eufy Genie, powered by Alexa. So how does it compare to the Amazon Echo Dot?
Note: Please refer to the bottom of this article for new feature updates since the original review.
The speaker on the Eufy Genie is better than the Echo Dot’s speaker, but not as good as the original Amazon Echo. The Eufy Genie’s speaker is clearer and louder than the Dot, but is lacking bass and gets tinny at high volumes. However, it is acceptable for listening to music at medium to low volumes, just don’t expect Bose quality sound.
If you’re not happy with the sound, the Eufy Genie comes with an 3.5mm audio cable and can be connected to an external speaker or stereo system. When connected to an external speaker, you will still need to speak into the microphone on the Eufy Genie. Alexa’s response (and any music) will then come from the external speaker.
The Eufy Genie performs many of the same functions as Amazon’s Echo line of speakers. It can tell you jokes, read you the news, control your smart home gadgets and play music from Amazon, iHeart Radio and paid Spotify subscriptions. You can use the Amazon Alexa app (available for Apple, Android and Kindle tablet devices) to configure the services for the Eufy Genie.
However, some features are not available on the Eufy Genie. The biggest omission I noticed is that Pandora Radio is not supported on the Genie (Update 8/11/2017: Eufy states that Pandora support is coming soon. Update 10/19/2017: Pandora now works on the Eufy Genie). The Eufy Genie is not able to make audio calls to other Echo devices, nor is it able to use the new intercom feature introduced this year (Update 8/9/2018: The Eufy Genie now supports Alexa’s calling features).
I noticed some bugs while using the Eufy Genie. When issuing a command, such as “play iHeart Radio,” Alexa’s response would sometimes be garbled and drop out. However, the music would play as normal. Hopefully, this can be addressed in a future software update to the Eufy.
Official Echo devices have a “smart listening” feature where, if you have multiple Echo devices in your house, it will sense which one is closest to you and the other Echos will not respond if they are within earshot. The Genie does not have such a feature, and I can hear the Genie responding even if I’m on another floor and a closer Echo device has already handled the request.
The Eufy Genie has a small footprint and sits just a bit higher than the Echo Dot. It’s small enough to set on an end table or a shelf. The white “Eufy” logo on the top of the unit lights up when it hears “Alexa” and stays on for about 30 seconds afterwards, which is an important consideration if you plan to place this in a bedroom. A blue LED ring will light up when Alexa hears her name and begins listening. It lights up “red” when Alexa is muted and “orange” when Alexa needs to be configured. The unit is powered by a 5V 2A wall adapter with an integrated Micro USB cable which connects to the Genie.
The microphone does a great job at picking up my voice from across the room. As with the original Echo, Alexa sometimes has a hard time hearing if there is music playing. It helps to shout “Alexa” first and then wait for her to lower the music before giving your command.
The Eufy Genie also feature a mute button for times when you don’t want Alexa to be listening, as well as volume controls and a “Action” button for manually invoking the voice recognition.
Unfortunately, the Eufy Genie cannot be paired with Bluetooth devices. This means that you cannot pair your phone to it to play music, and you cannot pair it to a Bluetooth speaker with better sound quality. However, there is an Aux Out port on the Genie and a cable is included to connect it to an external speaker’s Aux In port. For example, I connected it to my Anker SoundCore speaker and it worked great. Please note that the Eufy Genie will still listen with its built-in microphone and it will not use a microphone on an external speaker.
Interestingly, the Eufy Genie does show up as an AirPlay-compatible speaker on my home network. This allows me to stream music from my iPhone wirelessly to the Genie’s speaker. This is an undocumented feature, but I hope the Eufy team decides to keep it when the Eufy is inevitably updated in the future.
The Eufy Genie gives you most of the features of the Echo Dot with slightly better sound quality. If you don’t care about Bluetooth connectivity or the Echo’s calling features, then the Eufy Genie is a good choice and provides you with most of the features of Alexa while saving you some money over the Amazon Echo Dot.
Important Things to Know When Buying the Eufy Genie
- You do not need to have an existing Alexa/Echo device to use the Eufy Genie. It will work on its own with just a Wifi connection. You will need to have an Amazon account (which is free).
- Amazon Music, iHeart Radio and TuneIn music services are supported. Spotify can be used, but you must cast the music from the Spotify app on your phone. Pandora and Spotify voice-control are expected to be released in the future.
- The Eufy Genie cannot connect via Bluetooth to your phone or another speaker.
- The sound quality of the Eufy Genie is better than the Echo Dot, but not as good as the full-size Amazon Echo.
Firmware and Feature Updates
- Firmware 8/10/2017: The release notes state that this update improves Wifi connectivity and microphone performance.
- 9/30/2017: Spotify voice control has been added
- 10/19/2017: Pandora started working for me on the Eufy Genie, although the Alexa app still shows “App Support Unavailable” which prevents me from selecting a station in the app. However, I’m able to ask Genie to “Play Pandora Radio” and it starts playing.
- 12/9/2017: Today’s firmware update allows the Eufy Genie to play nice with other Amazon Echo speakers you may have. If you give a command where multiple speakers can “hear” you, the Eufy Genie will now only respond if it is the closest speaker.
- July 2018: The Eufy Genie now supports Alexa calling to other Alexa devices and US phone numbers.
The Eufy Genie is about the same size as the Echo Dot and has slightly better sound quality. It'll will save you some money while giving you most of the functionality of Alexa. However, it is lacking some features of the Dot, such as Bluetooth connections intercom calling.
- Slightly better sound quality then the Echo Dot
- Gives you most of Alexa's features
- Music playback from Amazon, iHeartRadio and TuneIn
- No Bluetooth connectivity
- Occasional audio breakups