Tech Guide

Don't buy the Eufy Genie, an Amazon Echo Dot copycat

Todd Haselton | CNBC
Key Points
  • The Eufy Genie is like an Amazon Echo Dot, serving as a smart speaker with Alexa built-in
  • It doesn't offer all the functions of an Echo, however
  • At $35, it's affordable, but we recommend you spend the extra $15 and buy an Echo Dot instead

The Eufy Genie is a copycat of the Amazon Echo Dot that ships with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, and costs just $35.

Amazon supports the products and others like it, since it wants to get Alexa in as many places as possible — even if this technically competes with Amazon hardware. It's a weird strategy.

The Eufy Genie was announced earlier this week, so I called one in to see if it's any good, and whether or not it's worth buying over the $50 Amazon Echo Dot.

Simple design

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The design is simple and puck-like, just like the Echo Dot. There are volume controls on the top, and a light ring that circles blue when you call up Alexa. It functions exactly like the Amazon Echo Dot.

You need the Eufy Home app

Todd Haselton | CNBC

While it acts like an Echo, you can't sync it with Amazon's Alexa application. Instead, you'l need to download EufyHome, a separate app. That makes things a bit more annoying if you own other Echo units, since you'll need to switch between apps for management. The setup took about 5 minutes or so, after some trouble getting it to connect to my Wi-Fi.

Alexa works well

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Alexa works well on the Genie, and the microphone worked well in my office. It was still able to hear me, even when I walked about 10 feet away and asked the weather. Music gets decently loud — enough to fill a small room — but the sound isn't great. It's hollow and lacking bass, right on a par with the Echo Dot. There's a 3.5mm headphone jack in case you want to plug in nicer speakers, though.

It lacks other Echo features

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Here's the big bummer. It lacks features that Amazon Echo devices offer, like messaging and calling other Echo units. That's not great news, since it suggests that new features that will roll out to Amazon Echo products (I can't wait for multi-room audio, which I hope is coming soon), probably won't come to this one.

It's an Alexa speaker, not an Echo

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The Eufy Genie boils down to this: it's an Alexa speaker but not an Echo. That means that it's basically a $35 product you can buy to talk to Alexa, order goods from Amazon, and listen to music.

That said, you miss out on other features that the Echo Dot offers, like calling other Echos (which I like). I also think it's worth the extra $15 to buy an Echo that will continue to get updates from Amazon, and will sync with the Amazon app.

Final answer: Buy an Echo Dot instead.