Which Amazon Echo Is Right for You? Let’s Find Out!
The massively popular smart speaker now comes in five different variations and this guide will help you pick the right one. Choosing among the original Echo lineup was easy, but now that Amazon has added two more devices to the mix—it just got harder. So if you’ve been meaning to get Alexa as a personal assistant, you need to know which Amazon Echo suits you best.
For the Budget-Conscious: Echo Dot ($49)
You get three for the price of one Amazon Echo; it’s the cheapest ticket to access Alexa’s growing collection of useful skills. And because you can buy the Dot in packs of six or twelve, it may be the most economical option to have Alexa listening to you wherever you may be in the house.
More importantly, the Echo Dot comes with Bluetooth connection and a 3.5 mm audio jack. If you have a powerful audio system or a awesome collection of portable speakers, the Dot is your best bet.
Great voice recognition
No digital audio output
No voice control of audio output besides volume
Line out functionality
For Anyone On-the-Go: Tap ($129.99)
While it was a bit of a letdown during its launch, the addition of a hands-free activation in a recent update made it a more compelling version of the original Echo. With a little tweak of its settings, you can “wake” Alexa up on the Tap without tapping any buttons.
An instantly recognizable feature of this Echo device is its wireless design and cradle. Clearly, it was made with outdoorsy people in mind. Upon closer inspection, you’ll realize that the Echo Tap practically does everything its bigger predecessor would, but with better portability.
Better sound quality than Echo Dot
Doesn’t sound as good as other Bluetooth speakers within the same price range
Hands-free activation of Alexa
Won’t work without Wi-Fi connectivity
Runs on batteries and can charge wirelessly
For the Homebody: Echo ($179)
Not everyone applauds the Amazon Echo’s utilitarian design, but the device’s real value lies beyond aesthetics. It streams podcasts, reads PDF files, gives traffic updates, tells you the weather forecast, plays audiobooks, plays music from connected devices, sets alarms, supplies information in real-time, and, more importantly, controls smarthome devices. It’s a powerful, voice-activated AI that’s housed in a humble vessel.
To use the Echo, you need to have it plugged and connected to Wi-Fi. Otherwise, it will neither respond to your voice commands nor fetch the media content you asked for.
Easy to set up
Poor sound quality compared to other speakers
Good voice recognition technology
Requires connection to the mains for power
Affords user a voice control over smart home devices
For the Fashionista: Echo Look ($199)
Struggling to earn much-needed style points from your OTD? Answering your cries for help is Amazon’s cloud-connected fashion consultant, the Echo Look. It allows you to snap photos or record videos of yourself and uses machine learning algorithm (guided by “fashion experts”) to serve you up recommendations and tips on your chosen outfit.
Beyond its revolutionary “Style Check” fashion feature, the Look also does everything other Echo devices can do. It plays music, checks weather and traffic updates, and so much more so you leave the house totally ready to conquer the catwalk.
Can be mounted on the wall
A bit pricey than other Echo versions
Has all the Alexa smarts and skills
Designed for a very specific customer base
Gives style tips in real-time
Currently available via invitation only
For Video Chat Aficionados: Echo Show ($229.99)
Sure, other Echo variants tell you the information you ask for. The Echo Show, however, doesn’t just say the answers to your queries; it shows them to you. Through its touchscreen display, you’re offered a whole new way to interact with Alexa.
Imagine asking Alexa to play songs and you’re shown lyrics or requesting the Amazon AI to play content from Amazon Video or YouTube. Connect it to a Wi-Fi-enabled security camera and you can now view live video feeds on demand. What’s more, Amazon recently introduced a feature called Drop In that let’s you make video calls any time to friends and family at any time.
Displays requested answers and info
Most expensive Echo device on the roster
Built-in touchscreen display offers a new level of interaction
Unavailable to buyers for now
Complements Amazon’s messaging feature, Drop In
Which Amazon Echo Is Right for You?
The Amazon Echo line has expanded and picking a suitable smart speaker requires you to be familiar with each Echo version.
The Dot is an economical, always-on Alexa hub that doesn’t come with its own speakers. Meanwhile, the travel-friendly Tap ditches the cord, uses a charging cradle, and goes hands-free; all while doing everything the original Echo does. Then there’s the original Amazon Echo, an average, stationary speaker that instantly doubles as an on-demand, personal voice assistant. The Look, meanwhile, is the version of Alexa that dishes out style advice. Finally, the Show is groomed to be the centerpiece of the entire Echo experience.
To be clear, each one of them listens to your voice and performs a wide number of tasks e.g. controlling smart-home devices, looking up info on the Web, streaming music online, and even hailing an Uber. Because their only major difference lies in hardware specs, selecting one boils down to one’s lifestyle and preferences.