Amazon Echo Input vs. Amazon Echo Dot: Which should you buy?

Amazon Echo Input vs Amazon Echo Dot
Amazon Echo Input vs Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Input

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

Excellent value
Low profile
Bluetooth and Aux out
Multi-room audio
Intermittent connectivity issues

Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen

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

Great sound for the price
Bluetooth and Aux out
Multi-room audio
Bulkier form factor

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.

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CategoryAmazon Echo InputAmazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen
Dimensions80 mm x 13.8 mm78g99 mm x 99 mm x 43 mm300g
SpeakerNone1.6-inch speaker
Microphone4 far-field voice recognition4 far-field voice recognition
Power5W through Micro-USB cable15W through power adapter
ConnectivityBluetooth, 3.5mm outBluetooth, 3.5mm out
WiFi802.11 a/b/g/n/ac802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Microphone muteButton on topButton 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.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

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.