Amazon has revealed a new, limited edition version of its latest Echo smart speaker, with the PRODUCT(RED) model promising a share of the price goes to charity. As with other PRODUCT(RED) launches we’ve seen, sales of the red-finish Echo will include a contribution to the Global Fund to support HIV and AIDS programs in sub-Saharan Africa.
In the case of the PRODUCT(RED) Echo, that means $10 of the $99.99 price tag goes to the charity. In return you get a much brighter smart speaker than the other finishes Amazon has been offering so far: Charcoal, Glacier White, and Twilight Blue.
Inside the red fabric shell, though, it’s the same smart speaker we were so impressed by when we reviewed the 4th Gen Echo. As well as changing the shape of the speaker – from a stubby cylinder to a sphere – Amazon added dual tweeters along with an upward-firing woofer. The result is a noticeable improvement in sound quality, along with more ability to fill a room.
You can wirelessly pair two Echo speakers together and use them as a stereo set, or connect them to a Fire TV set-top box for home theater use. Another new addition in the 4th Gen model was the smart home hub that previously was limited to the Echo Plus. That allows the speaker to connect directly to Zigbee devices like doorbells, cameras, and other security sensors, and have Alexa control them by voice command.
While the PRODUCT(RED) Echo won’t cost you any more than the other finishes, there is one compromise that offsets the Global Fund donation. The standard colors of Echo come, currently, with six months free access to Amazon Music Unlimited. That’s not available, however, on the (RED) Echo.
Still, if you were planning on buying Amazon’s latest smart speaker, the opportunity to make a quick donation in the process seems more than worthwhile. The PRODUCT(RED) Echo is a limited edition, Amazon says, though the retailer isn’t saying quite how long it will be available on its virtual shelves.