It's tempting, I know. You want to get an Amazon Echo Dot and see what the fuss is all about. And all it'll cost you is $50 — and quite often you can pick it up for less.
But there's also the newer Eufy Genie. It's pretty much the same thing. Small, with a small speaker, and the ability to be tucked into a corner somewhere, out of the way. And it's $20 less.
So which should you buy? The Amazon Echo Dot, or the Eufy Genie?
Let's break it down.
Echo Dot or Eufy Genie: Price
This one's pretty simple. At current prices, the Echo Dot costs $50. The Eufy Genie is $30. (Note that these fluctuate some time, and the Eufy Genie actually started life at $35.)
Winner: Eufy Genie. But ...
Echo Dot or Eufy Genie: Design
This one's pretty simple, in my book. The Echo Dot is like an oversized hockey puck. You get either matte black, or glossy white, and plastic all over the place (as you'd expect). But it's otherwise pretty shapeless.
The Eufy Genie, however, has some curves to it. It's taller than the Dot but tapers off at the top. That gives it a sense of depth that the Dot just doesn't have.
I think the light ring in the middle of the Genie's top section is a little more subtle, too, and very nicely done. Amazon could learn a thing or two here when it comes to design from this thing.
Winner: Eufy Genie
Echo Dot or Eufy Genie: Performance
OK, so looks aren't everything. How well do these stand up when it comes to actually doing the thing you paid for them to do?
Let's start with the speakers. Neither the Echo Dot nor Eufy Genie is going to win any awards here. They're just too small and too inexpensive, and you get what you pay for. Audio is passable, but far from great. Spoken word is better than music, as you'd expect.
Both the Echo Dot and Eufy Genie allow you to plug in another speaker via a 3.5mm audio cable. So that's cool. But the Echo Dot goes one further by connecting to another speaker over Bluetooth. And fewer wires is almost always better, especially in this case. (You also can connect phones to the Echo Dot the same way, to stream music in that way.) The Eufy Genie just doesn't have Bluetooth at all. So that's a point for the dot.
Talking to you is just one side of the coin, though. These things have to be able to understand you in the first place. And the simple fact is the Echo Dot has more microphones than the Eufy Genie, and in my experience, the Dot understands my voice faster and more accurately than the Genie. And that's important — it's the thing you need it to do right the first time, every time.
For me, this is the whole enchilada.
Winner (by far): Echo Dot
Echo Dot vs. Eufy Genie: Accessories
The Echo Dot is a pretty mature product at this point, having been out for a while. The Eufy Genie? Brand new. And so it should come as no surprise that you're able to buy accessories for the Echo Dot. Start with the basic Echo Dot Case ($10), if you want, which camouflages the look of the Dot a little.
Or bump up to the Vaux speaker ($50), which turns your diminutive Dot into a battery-powered, nearly full-size Echo with a much better speaker.
The Genie? No such accessories yet.
Winner: Echo Dot
Which should you buy? Echo Dot
For my money, I'd buy the Echo Dot. It's a better product, even if it doesn't look quite as nice as the Eufy Genie. The Echo Dot does voice recognition much better, and that's its prime purpose.
If you just can't bring yourself to spend $50 for an Echo Dot, the Genie will work, and it'll work fairly well. Just not as good as the Dot.
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