To Echo or to Echo Dot?
Credit: Amazon / Mashable Composite

The world is full of rivalries, each side convinced that theirs is the best. In this semi-regular series, we pit two competitors against each other to see how they stack up.

With the advancement of AI and ChatGPT, tech innovations like the Amazon Echo that once seemed groundbreaking now require constant evolution to keep up with consumer demands. Amazon has responded to this by launching new products like the 5th Generation Echo Dot in 2022, along with other additions to its Echo product line.

But with so many choices available, deciding which Echo device to purchase, especially to upgrade your home to a smart home, can be challenging. Whether you’re interested in the sleek swivel screen of the Echo Show 10, the affordability of the Echo Pop, or a special Echo device for kids’ rooms, the decision can be overwhelming.

Transitioning your home to a smart-home status during this technology boom can be challenging. However, smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo devices offer a great starting point. They are budget-friendly, easy to use, and help with various tasks around the house, from playing music to adjusting settings. They utilize voice recognition technology to simplify everyday activities, allowing you to focus on more important matters without disruptions.


These are the best Echo devices to gain hands-free control of your smart home, and more

When deciding between the Echo and the Echo Dot, it’s important to consider the key differences between these two popular Amazon smart speakers. Despite their similarities, such as the 4th Gen Echo being larger than the 5th Gen Echo Dot, the newer Dot boasts technical upgrades that set it apart on paper.

To make an informed decision, it’s crucial to understand the features and functionalities of both the Echo and Echo Dot devices.

The Echo Dot and Echo smart speaker packages stacked on top of each other.
Good things come in colorful packages.
Credit: Stacia Datskovska / Mashable

The basics

Amazon Echo (4th Gen)

The 4th Gen Amazon Echo in a special red color, over a white background.

Credit: Amazon
Amazon Echo (4th Gen)

$99.99 at Amazon

The Echo weighs 34.2 ounces and has dimensions of 5.7 x 5.7 x 5.2 inches. Its features include an action button, volume buttons, a mic-off button, a light-up ring, a power port, and a 3.5-millimeter audio output. Available in three color options, this device under $100 seamlessly fits into any home decor.

Setting up the Echo is quick and easy. The package contains the device, a power adapter, and two guides. The visual setup guide simplifies the process. You can start using the Echo within minutes by downloading the Alexa app, signing in, and connecting it to your home WiFi network. The device offers various functionalities, such as playing music, providing news updates, making calls, and controlling room settings.

Once set up, the Echo becomes your personal assistant, handling tasks like playing music, waking you up, and providing information without interruptions.

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen)

Amazon's 5th Gen Echo Dot in a black color with a turned-on light ring at the bottom

Credit: Amazon
Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2022 release)

$49.99 at Amazon

The Echo Dot, being lighter and smaller than the Echo, offers features like new motion sensors for touch control, a front-firing speaker, and Eero mesh network support. Setup is quick and involves plugging it into a wall outlet, opening the Alexa app, and following on-screen instructions to personalize the device to your liking.

The Amazon Echo Dot resting on a table alongside its cord and two instruction manuals for use
What you get when you order an Amazon Echo Dot.
Credit: Stacia Datskovska / Mashable

Smarter, easier living features


The Amazon Echo doubles as your personal assistant and entertainer. With its smart speaker capabilities, you can control music, make purchases, play games like Jeopardy!, and more using voice commands. The setup process includes customized voice recognition, advanced sound technology, and hands-free communication.

A screenshot of the Alexa app's grocery list feature with images of grocery staples.
You can tell Alexa exactly what to put on your grocery list and manage the items on your Alexa app.
Credit: Screenshot: Amazon

Prompt response: The Echo’s voice commands are supported by advanced technology like beamforming, noise-cancelation, and seven microphones for accurate and swift responses. The device offers various customization options, including setting a preferred “wake word” and enabling features like Adaptive Listening for better interaction.

Beats master: Equipped with Dolby premium sound, the Echo provides an immersive audio experience for music and more. Additionally, you can link multiple Echo devices to enjoy enhanced sound quality throughout your space. The Echo also allows you to set default music streaming preferences and customize your audio experience.

Hands-free communication: Use the Echo to communicate with others via phone or text, make announcements at home, and connect with family members across Amazon Echo devices. You can easily control smart devices using voice commands and set up routines for automated tasks.

Control smart devices: With Echo’s Zigbee smart home hub, you can manage a variety of smart home devices such as lights, thermostats, and appliances via voice commands. The device simplifies home automation and provides accessibility features like sound detection routines for visual reminders.

The 4th Gen Amazon Echo glowing with a blue color on the bottom while resting on a shelf
The Echo can double as a night light
Credit: Stacia Datskovska / Mashable

Echo Dot

The Echo Dot provides affordable smart speaker benefits, allowing voice control for various tasks like reminders, entertainment, and assistance with daily activities. Its front-firing speaker, motion sensors, and support for Eero mesh network enhance its functionality.

Listening companion: Enjoy room-filling audio and streaming media through voice commands. The Dot offers features like playing music, listening to podcasts, and creating personalized routines for everyday tasks.

Task help: Utilize voice control for setting timers, playing news updates, and managing your daily schedule. The Dot offers a wide range of functionalities that can be explored through voice commands.


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