Amazon Echo Input vs. Amazon Echo Dot: Which should you buy?
Amazon Echo Input(opens in new tab)
If you're looking to add Alexa to an existing speaker, the Echo Input should be your go-to option. Amazon essentially lobbed off the top half of an Echo Dot, which means you get the same far-field mics as you do on other Echo devices, and the low profile design allows the Echo Input to be tucked away unobtrusively in your speaker cabinet.
Amazon Echo Input
Add Alexa everywhere
Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen(opens in new tab)
The Echo Dot serves the same function as the Echo Input, but it has a built-in speaker that lets you interact with Alexa directly. You can also hook it up to an external speaker and connect over Bluetooth — like the Echo Input. Think of it this way: you're essentially paying $15 more for the Dot for the bundled speaker.
Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen
The whole package
Should you buy the Echo Input or Echo Dot?
There's very little to separate the Echo Input from the Echo Dot 3rd Gen. Both offer the same core set of features, but the main difference is that the Echo Input doesn't include a built-in speaker. You'll only be able to use the device by hooking it up to an external speaker.
As the Echo Input doesn't have a speaker, you won't find any volume buttons on the device itself. Instead, you'll be able to increase or decrease the volume of the connected speaker by issuing commands to Alexa. On the subject of Alexa, the virtual assistant is unchanged across either device, and I had no issues invoking Alexa even with loud music playing via external speakers on the Echo Input.
|Category||Amazon Echo Input||Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen|
|Dimensions||80 mm x 13.8 mm|
|99 mm x 99 mm x 43 mm|
|Microphone||4 far-field voice recognition||4 far-field voice recognition|
|Power||5W through Micro-USB cable||15W through power adapter|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, 3.5mm out||Bluetooth, 3.5mm out|
|WiFi||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac|
|Microphone mute||Button on top||Button on top|
The built-in speaker on the Echo Dot is great when you consider the device costs just $50, but like all speakers constrained by size, you'll notice a decrease in quality as you crank up the volume. If you already have other Alexa-enabled devices in your house, you'll be able to set up multi-room audio with either of these devices. All you need to do is configure a group in the Alexa app by adding the Echo Input or Dot and start playing music to all eligible devices.
Another area where both devices differ is power usage. The Echo Input can be powered by a standard USB port, whereas the Echo Dot needs to be plugged in via its 15W power adapter.
Overall, you're getting a very similar experience with either device. If you want the convenience of a built-in Alexa speaker, then the Echo Dot is the device to get. But if you're just looking to add Alexa to an existing stereo so you can control your smart home products and set up multi-room audio, the Echo Input is a much better option.
Add Alexa everywhere
The easiest way to add Alexa to your existing stereo.
If you're primarily looking to add Alexa to an existing speaker, then the Echo Input is the best option. It can easily be tucked away in your cabinet and runs off of a 5W Micro-USB cable.
The whole package
A great starting point into the Alexa ecosystem.
The Echo Dot is a better choice if you're looking for a standalone speaker with Alexa. It costs just $50 and has the same set of features as the Echo Input. If you decide to add it to an external speaker at a later date, you can always do so.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.