Anker, an American accessories manufacturer, has been honing its “anything you can do, I can do cheaper” business model for years, but thus far has limited itself to things like Bluetooth speakers, headphones and portable charging packs with the occasional cell phone case thrown in.
But its recent product announcement, a smart speaker with Alexa integration that looks (and functions) like an Amazon Echo Dot, might take the copycat cake.
Anker’s Amazon-lookalike device is called the Eufy Genie. It’s a small, round device similar to the Amazon Echo Dot that comes with Alexa built-in but sounds better (at least according to Anker) and will cost even less than Amazon’s entry-level smart home device, coming in at just $35 (around £26/AU$45).
Like the Echo Dot, the Eufy Genie’s Alexa is always listening, awaiting commands to control the music, check on the status of smart home appliances and ordering products from Amazon.
The Genie will be available on Anker's website starting on August 16.
It's all in the family
What makes the Genie a good deal is the fact that it can connect to any device the Amazon Echo Dot can thanks to its built-in Alexa support. That list includes devices like the Amazon Fire TV, Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat, Samsung SmartThings Hub, Philips Hue Smart Bulbs and dozens more.
The Genie has one trick up its sleeve that the standard Echo Dot does not, however, and that’s the ability to connect to other Eufy devices – Anker’s homebrew brand of smart devices.
The list of Eufy devices isn’t extraordinarily lengthy, but on it you’ll find products like the Robovac 11 Vacuum Cleaner, BodySense Smart Scale, Humos Air Dehumidifier and, soon, a series of lights and smart outlets.
While the Genie has that almost counterfeit “me-too” feeling about it, Anker’s intentions for the product are genuine:
“Everyone deserves the chance to live in their very own ‘house of the future’; where through one simple platform, they can order pizza, turn their lights on, and direct their robotic vacuum to clean,” said Anker founder, Steven Yang in a statement to Digital Trends.
“What we are trying to do is to turn the smart home concept into something more affordable, accessible and integrated. With less than $600, consumers can experience a Eufy smart home entirely controlled by Genie.”
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Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.