Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen vs. 2nd Gen: Should you upgrade?

Echo Dot (3rd Gen)

Echo Dot Plum official render

Whether you already have 2nd Gen Echo Dot or are looking to buy into the Alexa ecosystem for the first time, the Echo Dot (3rd Gen) is a phenomenal product. It looks great, sounds better than ever, and retains the excellent price tag.

Echo Dot (3rd Gen)

Third time's a charm

Vastly improved speakers
Gorgeous fabric design
Still really affordable
New Plum color!
No real difference in functionality compared to 2nd Gen Dot

Echo Dot (2nd Gen)

Echo Dot 2nd Gen official render

The Echo Dot (2nd Gen) still works just fine in 2019, but if you have the means to upgrade, the Echo Dot (3rd Gen) delivers a better all-around experience. Since Amazon no longer sells this device, if you wanted to pick one up you'll have to hit up the reseller market.

Echo Dot (2nd Gen)

Respect your elders

Connects to other speakers
Same great Alexa experience
Sound quality doesn't hold up
Plastic design is boring
No longer available for sale on Amazon

Already have an Echo Dot (2nd Gen)? The new 3rd Gen model works the same, but offers considerably better sound quality and a design that's an improvement every way you look at it. This isn't a necessary upgrade, but it's one we think you'll be happy making if you're due.

Dot com(parison)

These two generations of Echo Dot look quite different, but the share a lot of the same Alexa DNA. Let's see how they compare against each other:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Amazon Echo Dot(3rd Gen)Amazon Echo Dot(2nd Gen)
Weight10.6 oz5.7 oz
Size3.9" x 3.9" x 1.7"1.3" x 3.3" x 3.3"
Mute buttonYesYes
Speakers1 x 1.6"1 x 1.1"
StreamingBluetooth3.5mm audio jackBluetooth3.5mm audio jack
Smart home controlsYesYes
Virtual asssistantAlexaAlexa
Pair multiple for stereo soundYesYes
Audio callsYesYes
FinishesFabric — 4 colorsPlumHeather GrayCharcoalSandstonePlastic — 2 colorsWhiteBlack

The Echo Dot (3rd Gen) is the tiny Alexa speaker to beat

No matter if you're just getting started with Echo devices or have various Alexa speakers throughout your entire home, the Echo Dot line has always done a good job of appealing to both camps. It's cheap enough that first-timers are comfortable with trying it out to see if Alexa is for them, whereas Alexa pros can easily add them to multiple rooms in a house/apartment to ensure that there's an Echo speaker everywhere.

2016's Echo Dot (2nd Gen) has done an admirable job for the last couple of years, but with the Echo Dot (3rd Gen), it's clear which is the better speaker.

Just look at the two side by side, and it's no contest as to which one is prettier. The 2nd Gen Dot's basic plastic build gets the job done, but it's boring, uninspired, and very clearly looks like a piece of technology, On the flip side, the newer 3rd Gen device swaps out the hard plastic in favor of fabric that's available in four different colors (Charcoal, Heather Gray, Sandstone, and a new Plum variant). It bears a striking resemblance to the Nest Mini, and that's not a bad thing at all.

Amazon Echo Dot 2nd Gen

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Going past the design, the Echo Dot (3rd Gen) also takes the lead with vastly improved speakers. The 2nd Gen Echo Dot sounds OK for Alexa responses and playing a podcast or music in the background, but it's never been a speaker that was particularly enjoyable to listen to. Everything sounds flat, tinny, and kind of lifeless.

The Echo Dot (3rd Gen) won't be replacing your Sonos One anytime soon, but it sounds fuller, richer, and doesn't make your favorite songs sound like they're being played through a tin can.

And, no matter which model you choose, you can connect them to a more powerful speaker using a 3.5mm connector.

So should you upgrade?

It's tough to recommend that you throw out a perfectly good working product just because something newer and better has come along. However, the Echo Dot (3rd Gen) is so much better than the second-generation Dot that we can't argue with you if you decide to move on. The fabric design is more fashionable, the speaker is better, and the multiple color options (including a pretty new Plum color) all make this an easy upgrade choice for us. Take those older Echo Dots and move them to a guest room, office, or garage, and feature the Echo Dot (3rd Gen) prominently and proudly in the busiest rooms in you home!

Jeramy Johnson

Jeramy was the Editor-in-Chief of Android Central. He is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand.