Amazon offers an abundance of Alexa-enabled speakers, and the 3rd Generation Echo Dot and 2nd Generation Echo are among its most popular.The Echo Dot is a puck-shaped device that can fit in anywhere in your house, particularly if paired with a wall mount. The multiple customized finishes and improved sound of the full-size Echo make it a real statement piece.
So, which Echo is right for you? We at Android Central are enthusiastic Echo experts who are happy to help you select the perfect smart speaker for your home.
What separates these two?
Since both devices are first-party Amazon products, they share a lot of Alexa DNA. That being said, there are some significant differences between the two. Let's start by looking at how they are alike and the features they share.
Both devices show off a similar design language with a four-button array and an LED light ring indicator at the top. They also offer you a choice of several colors of fabric finishes on the body, including charcoal and sandstone. You can use Alexa on either device to control your smart home, play music, and get updates and notifications. Both Echos work with Amazon's new security feature called Alexa Guard, and each can serve as an intercom or messaging device. You can also group several Echos - mix and match style - to create multi-device and multi-room sound systems.
Pictured: Echo Dot 3rd Generation
|Echo Dot (3rd Gen)||Echo (2nd Gen)|
|Weight||10.6 oz||29 oz|
|Speakers||1.6" speaker||2.5" woofer and .6" tweeter|
|Line-out with 3.5 mm cable or Bluetooth||Yes||Yes|
|Smart Home Controls||Yes||Yes|
|Pair Multiple for Stereo Sound||Yes||Yes|
|Free audio calls to the US, Mexico, and Canada||Yes||Yes|
|Finishes||Fabric (3 colors - charcoal, heather gray, sandstone)||Fabric (2 colors - charcoal, sandstone) and wood veneer (walnut) with additional decorative shell options|
Pictured: Echo 2nd Generation
While these Echo siblings have a lot in common, there are some important differences to note as well. Probably the most significant difference between these two Echos is the price, as the full-size Echo retails for twice as much as the Echo Dot. While both Echos frequently go on sale throughout the year, the Echo Dot is usually more steeply discounted. The Dot is also often bundled with other smart devices like smart plugs or lightbulbs, and usually at a price that is still cheaper than the full-size Echo.
The full-size Echo is noticeably larger and heavier than the Echo Dot. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as most people don't move their Echo devices around the house very often... but it's something worth noting. While the smaller Echo Dot has vastly improved sound quality from previous generations, the full-size Echo is one of the best-sounding smart speakers you can get for the money. It includes a woofer, tweeter, and support for Dolby Audio. Can you find better speakers? Sure; just look at some of the options from Sonos. However, you're not likely to find one this good for under $100.
The Echo Dot is small and unobtrusive, and can almost be overlooked in the home, while the full-size Echo could be seen as more of a statement piece. The full-size Echo can also be configured with customizable first-party shells allowing you to change up its color or texture. The Echo Dot, on the other hand, is only available in three colored fabric options.
The one to get
While the full-size Echo has several advantages over the Echo Dot, we think the Echo Dot is the better buy for most people. For starters, you can purchase two Echo Dots for the price of one Echo and really get your smart home going. Plus, the Echo Dot has many of the same features as its larger sibling, so you are not losing any functionality by choosing it over the Echo. While we do feel the full-size Echo is an amazing smart speaker for the price unless you really care about better sound quality, you should go with the Dot.
Most of the features for less money
The Echo Dot (3rd Gen) is a great value smart speaker, offering full Alexa functionality at half the price of other devices. This iteration has an improved design and speakers but lacks the room-filling sound of larger Echo devices.
Solid sounding speaker without splurging
The regular-sized Echo is a great value and offers excellent sound quality for much less than more premium smart speakers.
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