If you have any interest in home entertainment, you've surely heard of the Amazon Echo. Once considered nothing more than a gimmick, Alexa now powers a growing number of devices.
Between refreshed models and new offerings, a lot has changed since the Echo launched in 2015. With so many devices out there, it can be hard to know exactly which type of Amazon Echo is best for your home and your needs. To help you make that decision, here's what each Amazon Echo device offers and what you can expect from each.
Echo (2nd Generation) - Smart Speaker with Alexa - Charcoal Fabric Echo (2nd Generation) - Smart Speaker with Alexa - Charcoal Fabric Buy Now on Amazon $69.99
Amazon Echo is the basic reference device to compare the others. In late 2017, Amazon updated the Echo with a lower price, improved sound and microphones, and a sleeker look. The revamped Eco is cheaper than its first generation, making the original obsolete.
The Amazon Echo can process information directly and supports all Alexa Skills on the store page. This means you can pull information from the web, quickly convert units, and connect it to services like Domino's Pizza and Uber.
The Core Echo has a high-quality built-in speaker, so any music you listen to on the device will sound amazing. Additionally, the Echo can connect to other Bluetooth devices like a home stereo system or Bluetooth headphones. Free calls and messages from Amazon also work on the Echo.
Finally, you can also connect your mobile device to your Echo via Bluetooth. This allows you to use the Echo as a Bluetooth speaker to play music or video audio.
The limitations of the Echo are few compared to the other devices. Although this is common to all devices, the Echo won't work with phone calls or notifications if you're using it as a Bluetooth speaker. If you are playing music from your phone and you receive a text message, you will not receive notifications.
Otherwise, you need to keep the Echo plugged into a power outlet for it to work. This means you can't take it with you on trips, and moving it between rooms is a bit of a hassle. Compared to later devices we'll see, the Echo also doesn't have a screen or a camera. So all of your interactions with the Echo come through voice or through the Alexa app.
The Standard Echo is best for a person who wants to have an Alexa-enabled device with a powerful speaker in just one room. A small to medium sized home where you don't need Alexa in more than one room will benefit the most from regular Echo.
This room should be the place where you most often listen to music, get your briefing, and wonder what year a celebrity was born to end a discussion.
Echo Plus with built-in Hub 1st generation - Black Echo Plus with built-in Hub 1st generation - Black Buy now on Amazon
Alongside the revamped Echo, Amazon released a premium Echo Plus in 2017. This device looks nearly identical to the first-generation Echo, but it features one key difference:a built-in ZigBee smart home hub.
While the base Echo does have smart home functionality, it requires a third-party hub to manage them all. The Echo Plus has this built in, cutting out the middle man and making connecting smart devices a breeze. Other than that, its feature set is almost indistinguishable from Echo.
Buy the Echo Plus if you're interested in home automation and want your Echo device to serve as the center of your smart home. Otherwise, you'd better choose another model..
Echo Dot (2nd generation) - Smart speaker with Alexa - Black Echo Dot (2nd generation) - Smart speaker with Alexa - Black Buy now on Amazon
The Echo Dot is Amazon's smallest and most inexpensive echo device. Revamped in 2016, it now offers better microphones, lower cost, and support for using Alexa in multiple rooms.
The Echo Dot is essentially a smaller Echo with inferior speakers, so anything its big brother can do, the Dot can do too. All the out-of-the-box Alexa tricks and new skills from Alexa developers work just fine on the Dot. You can also connect your phone to the Punto to stream audio, although your device's speakers are probably better than the Punto's.
Since the Dot has low-end speakers, you need to connect it to another speaker via Bluetooth. Like the Echo, it offers an auxiliary output port. If you have an older speaker without Bluetooth, just grab a 3.5mm cable and the Echo will output your sound to that one.
With its price and size, Amazon designed the Dot so you can spread multiple devices around your home. To help with this, each Echo device includes a feature where only the closest unit will respond when you say “Alexa.”
You will find the same limitations with the dot as the echo. You must plug it into an outlet for it to work, unless you purchase a battery separately. The point doesn't work with phone calls or notifications, and it doesn't have a screen.
But the biggest drawback of the Dot is its poor audio quality, as mentioned. The built-in speakers will work fine for listening to the weather or a few jokes, but the Dot won't do justice to romantic tunes or a summer barbecue soundtrack.
The point fits in various scenarios. If you're curious about Alexa and just want to try an Echo device at the lowest price, Dot is the way to go. People who already have a great Bluetooth speaker should buy the Dot because it's cheaper than the regular Echo.
And if you have a large house that you want to light up with Alexa, you can buy multiple points and spread them out in different rooms. Those who don't have a lot of space in their homes should also get the Dot, as its slim profile sits well on a coffee table in the corner of a room.
Amazon Tap Alexa-Enabled Portable Bluetooth Speaker. Amazon Tap Alexa-Enabled Portable Bluetooth Speaker. Buy now on Amazon
While the Echo Dot is the Echo without the speaker, the Amazon Tap was meant to be the Echo without the wake feature. At launch, the only way to talk to Alexa was by pressing a button on the speaker. However, Amazon has updated the device to wake up and say:“Alexa” like the others.
Amazon Tap's biggest selling point is its portability. The Tap is smaller than the Echo Plus, but it also doesn't need power from an outlet to work. Instead, it has an internal battery that Amazon says lasts up to nine hours of music playback.
When it's time to charge, you don't have to plug it in, just place it on the included cradle to charge.
You'll also find an audio-in jack on the Amazon Tap. This allows you to connect devices directly to play music if you don't want to use Bluetooth, which also works.
The Amazon Tap has two big limitations. First of all, it doesn't support Alexa calling function. Second, you can't connect the Tap to another Bluetooth device for audio output. This shouldn't be a big deal since the Tap's speakers are great, but it means you can't hook it up to your home sound system.
While not a restriction in and of itself, remember that Alexa requires an internet connection to function properly. Whether you grab a Tap to go to the beach or to a friend's house for a party, without Wi-Fi you won't be able to do much more than stream local music.
Unsurprisingly, the Tap is a good option for someone who wants to move their Echo around a lot. If you're already looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker and have an interest in Alexa, try the Tap for the best of both worlds at a great price.
Those who want an Echo with good sound quality, but often carry it between rooms in the house, should also get the Tap. With the charging stand, you can dock it in a room and use it as a standard echo.
Echo Show - 1st Generation Black Echo Show - 1st Generation Black Buy now on Amazon
The Echo Show is Amazon's first Echo device with a screen. This allows you to interact with your smart device in new ways.
Everything Echo can do works on the Show, but it's enhanced by the screen. For example, if you ask about the weather, you'll see the next forecast on the screen as well as hear it. You can ask Alexa to find an instructional video on YouTube about a new exercise routine. And if you connect a smart wireless video camera, one command lets you view live images on your Show screen.
The Show supports calls to Alexa as described above, but is supplemented by video calls. You can call anyone else with a Show or friends using the Alexa app on Android and iOS. There is also a feature called Drop In, which allows you to specify certain friends who can initiate a video connection to your Show at any time. Amazon says this feature is made for monitoring a baby or elderly relatives.
You plug the Show into the wall to power it. Powerful speakers live in the Echo Show, and can output audio over Bluetooth, as well as play audio from your phone.
The Echo Show doesn't have any specific missing features aside from an auxiliary port, but the device as a whole is a bit of a disappointment. It's a fairly large unit and doesn't have the fanciest aesthetic, which means it won't blend in very well like the revamped Echo or Echo Dot.
Also, app support and screen usage isn't great. Aside from looking for a quick recipe video, you probably don't want to watch TV shows or movies on the screen that impresses you less. Compared to an iPad or other tablet, the Echo Show is wall-mounted and offers a fraction of the apps.
Plus, with the camera included, you'll want to think about potential security risks.
If you want an Echo device with a screen, this is the one for you. It has all the best Alexa audio-only features, plus visual enhancements. If your home has security cameras, or you want to make convenient video calls in a large home, the Show is a good fit for your use case.
However, for most others, it's disappointing and bulky compared to other models, especially for the price.
Echo Spot - Smart Display with Alexa - Black Echo Spot - Smart Display with Alexa - Black Buy Now On Amazon $129.99
Like the Show, the Echo Spot features a screen. However, it is a much smaller device and is a kind of cross between the Echo Dot and the Echo Show.
The Echo Spot is distinguished by its unique round design and 2.5" touchscreen display. It's perfect for a nightstand and even features unique clock faces for that purpose.
You'll find a camera in the Spot as well. This means you can do pretty much everything the Show can do, including viewing media content, making video calls with friends, and the like.
Like the Echo Spot, the Spot doesn't feature powerful speakers. They're okay for talking to Alexa, but you'll want to connect another speaker to play music.
Due to the odd size of the screen, the videos in the Spot will be scaled to fit the available space, which may not always appear correct.
If you're curious about how having a touch screen changes Alexa but don't want the Show or plan to keep your Echo on your nightstand, the Echo Spot is a good option.
But since the Echo Spot is more expensive than the regular Echo despite its lackluster speakers, this isn't the best option if you plan to use it for music regularly.
Echo Look | Hands-free camera and style assistant with Alexa-includes Style Check to get a second opinion on your outfit Echo Look | Hands-free camera and Style Assistant with Alexa includes Style Check to get a second opinion on your outfit Buy Now on Amazon $49.99
Previous Echo devices are pretty similar, but the Echo Look offers a completely different experience. Amazon created this device for you to put in your bedroom so you can get fashion advice.
Amazon's Echo Look has basic Alexa features, but adds a host of new tricks thanks to its integrated hands-free 5MP camera. With a voice command, you can take full photos of yourself. Amazon invites you to use this to preview your outfit of the day.
You can even create a collection of your photos and share them with your friends. Over time, the Look will pick up on your style and start recommending new clothes.
If an image isn't enough, the Look also supports short video clips. To see yourself from all angles, you can turn or do whatever you need, then review the clips with the Echo Look app. And the new Style Check service uses algorithms and inputs from “fashion specialists” to tell you which of the two outfits looks better.
The Echo Look has basic speakers that Amazon says sound like a smartphone, so this device isn't for playing music. You also can't use the Alexa calling and messaging features on the Look. And there are no Bluetooth or auxiliary options for output on another speaker.
Also, the core functionality of Echo Look raises some privacy concerns. Amazon may use information in the photos you take to learn more about you and show you more relevant recommendations. Remember that Amazon loves using their products to get you to buy more from Amazon.
Obviously, those who buy the Look should be interested in its camera capabilities. If you often wonder what to wear and would welcome advice from computer algorithms and fashion experts, get the Look. Fashion fans who want to compile an album of all their past outfits can also use this.
The Look is expensive, best placed in a bedroom, and only has basic speakers for weather, news, and the like. Therefore, it makes a good Alexa companion device. If you already have an echo in your living room or kitchen, you can add a look to your bedroom. You can also move the echo dot that is currently in your room to another room and replace it with a Look.
Fire TV Cube | Hands-free with Alexa and 4K Ultra HD | Streaming Media Player Fire TV Cube | Hands-free with Alexa and 4K Ultra HD | Streaming Media Player Buy now on Amazon
One of Amazon's newest offerings, the Fire TV Cube is essentially an Echo Dot combined with a Fire TV.
Unsurprisingly, the Fire TV can do just about everything an Echo device can do, plus everything the Fire TV does. This means you can control any compatible TV and receiver. Los comandos de voz de Alexa le permiten encontrar programas y películas, pausar la reproducción y similares. Y tiene la capacidad de controlar dispositivos domésticos inteligentes también.
Hemos cubierto el Cubo de TV de Fuego en profundidad si desea más información..
El Fire TV Cube no tiene todos los trucos de Echo. No funciona con las llamadas y mensajes de Alexa, y no admite la música de varias habitaciones.
Tampoco puede conectar el Fire TV Cube a su teléfono a través de Bluetooth. Ya que probablemente querrás reproducir música con él a través de tu sistema de entretenimiento, esto no es una gran pérdida..
Obtendrá más de un Fire TV Cube que de un solo Eco o solo un Fire TV, pero no es para todos. Si tiene un pequeño sistema de entretenimiento, el control de voz con Alexa probablemente no le proporcionará mucha comodidad. Del mismo modo, aquellos que no tienen dispositivos domésticos inteligentes encontrarán este dispositivo excesivo.
El Fire TV Cube es el más adecuado para una persona que todavía no posee un Echo o Fire TV, y que tiene un sistema de entretenimiento de gran tamaño y una configuración inteligente para el hogar. Controlarlos todos a través de un dispositivo es bastante ordenado.
Hemos cubierto todos los dispositivos de Echo de la línea principal, pero hay algunos otros que llevan ese nombre de Echo que queremos mencionar brevemente.
Uno es el Echo Buttons, un accesorio simple. Amazon los vende en un paquete de dos, y puedes usarlos para brindar un nuevo nivel de diversión a los juegos compatibles con Alexa.
Botones de eco (2 botones por paquete):un compañero divertido para su Echo Botones de eco (2 botones por paquete) - Un compañero divertido para su eco Compre Ahora En Amazon $ 14.99
El otro es el Echo Connect. Este dispositivo le permite conectar su teléfono fijo a Alexa para que pueda hacer llamadas con su Echo. Curiosamente, esto requiere un teléfono inteligente para configurar.
Echo Connect:requiere un dispositivo compatible habilitado con Alexa y servicio telefónico residencial Echo Connect - requiere un dispositivo compatible habilitado para Alexa y servicio telefónico residencial Compre Ahora En Amazon $ 24.49
Dado que los teléfonos de línea fija están en declive y muchos de los que todavía usan teléfonos de línea fija no tienen un teléfono inteligente, no podemos imaginar que este dispositivo sea un gran éxito. El dispositivo también ha sufrido una gran cantidad de críticas negativas, por lo que recomendamos evitarlo..
En caso de que aún tenga problemas para decidir, aquí hay un resumen de una oración de los mejores escenarios para cada dispositivo Echo:
Con suerte, esto te ayuda a decidir qué dispositivo Alexa debes obtener. Si bien todos tienen la misma funcionalidad básica de Alexa, cada uno cubre nichos diferentes para diversas necesidades. Cada dispositivo mejorará a medida que Amazon agregue nuevas características, y los desarrolladores astutos desarrollarán nuevas habilidades. Echemos un vistazo a las habilidades más útiles y más tontas de los últimos meses. Read more.