We can no longer fight it, smart assistants are taking over! There are growing number of options out there, but Amazon’s Echo series remains one of the best options. The company currently has seven different Echo smart speakers that it offers to customers, and each of them serves a bit of a different purpose.

So here’s the big question: which one should you buy? That’s what we aim to answer in this comparison of the Amazon Echo vs Dot, Show and the rest. 


Amazon Echo (2nd gen)

Recently Amazon introduced a 2nd generation Echo that replaces the original. The first thing you’ll notice is that the new version is much smaller. You’ll also notice that Amazon has ditched its all plastic design in favor of a removable cloth shell setup that seems to draw inspiration from the Google Home. Looks aren’t the only thing the new Echo has going for it, as Amazon has introduced several improvements that should further enhance sound quality.

The 2nd-gen Echo has a 2.5″ woofer and 0.6″ tweeter,improved microphones for better voice recognition at a distance, and a dedicated bass speaker. There’s even Dolby Audio support. While the speakers here are a jump forward for Amazon, if you have a super high-end pair of speakers, Amazon also brings you the option of hooking them up via Bluetooth or a built-in 3.5mm jack — something that wasn’t offered with the original Echo.

All of this sounds like a big upgrade, but shockingly the new model is cheaper than its predecessor at $99. Although the 2nd-generation model probably isn’t a big enough change to justify buying if you have the original, those new to the Echo game should certainly consider picking one up. 

Reasons to Buy

  • Great audio quality
  • Loud and responsive

Reasons to Pass

  • You like the idea of a smart assistant with a display
  • You want a device that also can act as a true smart hub
 

Amazon Echo Plus

Another member of the latest crop of Echos, the Amazon Echo Plus looks a lot like the original Echo but it’s more than just a speaker. This time around, Amazon has brought as a smart speaker that doubles as a smart home hub. In addition to all the new audio features of the second generation Amazon Echo, the Plus can directly link with other Zigbee devices, including Hue lights. In fact, the Echo Plus comes with a Philips Hue White bulb, in order to give owners an idea of how the speaker can be used to directly control smart devices in the house.

If you are looking for an all-in one device to control everything in the home, the Echo Plus is perfect for that job, and at $150 it’s not too much more expensive than the standard Echo. 

Reasons to Buy

  • Great audio quality
  • Smart hub functionality

Reasons to Pass

  • You’d rather get a more full-fledged smart hub than an all-in-one solution

 


Amazon Echo Spot

The Amazon Echo Show is no longer the only display-equipped Echo, at least once the Echo Spot actually arrives. The Echo Spot is shaped a bit like a hockey puck and is billed as a smart alarm clock of sorts. You’ll find a 2.5-inch display that can do many of the same things as the Show like show song lyrics, news videos, and even home security camera feeds. Of course all the Echo features are also present here. Sound quality is likely not as good as some of the other Echo members (except the Dot, of course), but we’ll reserve judgment until we get more hands on time with it. 

While Amazon has begun taking preorders for the Echo Spot, be aware that shipments of this device won’t start until mid December 2017. The Amazon Echo Spot will set users back $130.

Reasons to Buy

  • Unique design that replaces traditional alarm clocks

Reasons to Pass

  • You’d rather spring for the Show
  • It’s a little bit pricey

Amazon Echo Dot

When it comes to the Amazon Echo vs Dot I have long been a proponent of the little guy due to its cheap pricing and the inclusion of Bluetooth and a 3.5mm jack for adding on better speakers. However, recently Amazon changed my mind with the introduction of the 2nd gen Echo. Sure, it’s double the price but you get better speakers and can still use existing speakers with it if you prefer. 

Still, if you are just getting started with the smart speaker game, the Echo Dot makes for a perfect introductory device at just $50. The Dot does everything that the Echo can as far as voice functionality, smart home control, and other functions are concerned. So what’s the difference? Sound.  Unlike the new Amazon Echo, the Dot has a tiny little speaker inside that really isn’t good enough for music, though it’s “okay” for just asking the Dot questions. 

At a fraction of the price of its bigger brother, the Dot does everything that the Echo can do.

Of course, if you already have a good pair of Bluetooth or wired speakers, the Dot is still an excellent choice. It’s also a great choice if you already have a higher end Echo device and are simply looking to bring the experience into more rooms. At the end of the day, for $50, the Dot Echo delivers all the functionality of the original minus built-in sound and so it is no wonder that it is one of the most popular members of the Echo family.

Reasons to buy

  • Super affordable price tag
  • Small design makes it pretty easy to move around your home, if needed
  • You can connect it to your existing sound setup via wires or Bluetooth

Reasons to pass

  • The built-in sound really doesn’t do the job, so 3rd party speakers are a must
  • When it comes to Amazon Echo vs Dot, the price gap just got much smaller making the Dot a bit less interesting

Amazon Echo Tap

All the power of Alexa, but on the go. Like the Echo Dot, the Tap can do all the same things that you can with the full-fledged Echo including smart home control, music playback, 3rd party skills, and the list goes on.

Originally, it did have one big limitation: it ditched the always-on capabilities of its other two brothers, trading this functionality for portability. The good news is a recent update now makes the Amazon Tap work just like its brothers, with full voice control.

As for the sound tech inside? The 6.2-inch-tall speaker offers a seven microphone array, 36o-degree sound via dual 1.5-inch drivers and dual passive radiators, and features a built-in battery that make it the perfect way to listen to your tunes on the go with battery life of about 9 hours on a full charge.

If you want a great speaker that doesn’t require you to bring along your phone, the Echo Tap is a great option — just remember you still need to have a Wi-Fi network though.

Reasons to buy

  • All the key functionality of the Echo, but on the go

Reasons to pass

  • Arguably a bit expensive at $130

Amazon Echo Show ($229.99)

The Amazon Echo Show is a huge departure from the original Echo family. Instead of a device shaped like a cylinder, the Amazon Echo Show is shaped more like a box. More importantly, the speaker also includes a 7-inch touchscreen, which adds a bunch of different functions.

While the overall look of the Echo Show may resemble an old-fashioned television set, it has all of the functions of the previous Echo speakers. You can use voice commands to play music, add calendar events, listen to news and weather updates and more. With the addition of the touchscreen, you can also use voice commands to bring up YouTube videos, engage in video chats with others who use the Echo Show, or the Alexa smartphone app, and more. It can even link up to a large number of smart home devices you might own, so you can use it to check out what’s on your security cameras, have it turn off the lights, or turn up the thermostat.

Just like the regular Echo, the Echo Show has eight microphones, along with beam-forming technology and noise cancellation features so that it will be able to listen and respond to your voice, no matter where you might be in the room. The speaker also includes a feature called ” Drop-in” which is designed to help keep track of close family members and friends by checking in on them.

There are two color choices (black and white) to choose from when you purchase the Amazon Echo Show. It’s currently priced at $229.99, making it the most expensive member of the Echo family. However, you can save $100 off the total price if you buy two with the promo code SHOW2PACK.

Reasons to Buy

  • Touchscreen adds way to make video calls, watch videos and more
  • Smart home integration is a nice touch
  • Can also do anything the other Echo speakers can do

Reasons to Pass

  • It’s the most expensive member of the Echo product line
  • The design is not sleek at all, and it’s not particularly attractive either

Amazon Echo Look ($199.99)

Though the Echo Look hasn’t been released publicly quite yet, it is set to be in the near future. The Look is a different kind of Echo, maintaining a lot of the original functionality while serving another purpose entirely. The Echo Look is almost entirely a camera, and is made to give style assessments based on machine learning algorithms. You can save outfits for viewing later, and can take images from every angle to make sure you have an accurate representation of your style.

Amazon is clearly going after the fashion-centric users with this device, and is hoping that people will help contribute to its machine learning capabilities by using the system themselves. We wouldn’t recommend getting this Echo if you’re purely looking to use it for casual use or to play music from, but for those that want to create the best outfits possible, it is quite an interesting pickup.

Reasons to Buy

  • If you’re looking to get more stylish
  • If you want to remember all your favorite outfits

Reasons to Pass

  • Not as useful as most Echo devices
  • Only one primary use
 
 

So that wraps up this comparison Amazon Echo vs Dot, Show, Spot, and the others. Ultimately, all Amazon Echo speakers are worthy of your consideration, though the right one for you largely depends on what kind of experience you are aiming for. Which Amazon Echo model do you prefer, and why? Let us know in the comments. Conversely, if you don’t think any of these models gets it right, be sure to check out the rest of the smart speakers on the market that run on Assistant, Cortana, and others. 

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