Amazon Echo (4th generation) vs Echo Dot: What’s the difference?

by | Jan 29, 2021 | Smart Home | 0 comments


Amazon’s Echo-smart speakers are now on their fourth generation with a whole new look and the same Alexa voice assistant to play music and control your smart home.

Echo and Echo Dot look identical, but the latter is about 50 percent smaller than the regular Echo, which makes room to include more speaker drivers and therefore offers a better, louder sound.

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However, for $ 50, the Echo Dot is half the price of the full-size Echo, and in some situations, the smaller option may very well be best. We have lived with both models of the fourth generation Echo, and here is how we got it together.

Amazon Echo (4th generation) vs Echo Dot: Design and dimensions

For the first time in Echo’s history, the smaller and larger models are visually identical. We really like Amazon’s spherical design and think it really fits a smart speaker, with the rounded edges and fabric cover that help them blend in with any household environment.

The larger echo is 5.7 inches wide and 5.2 inches high, while weighing a rather significant 34.2 oz. It is available in charcoal, white, blue, and these are connected for a limited period of a (product) red version.

Meanwhile, the more compact Echo Dot is 3.9 inches wide and 3.5 inches high. It weighs 12 oz and is also available in charcoal, white and blue, but there is currently no red example. Both have a 3.5mm audio jack on the back for connecting to another speaker, and both require their own power outlet, as neither can be powered by USB.

Both also have a light ring at their base to indicate when Alexa is active and when it is turned off. A silent microphone button along with volume buttons and a button to call Alexa without saying the assistant’s name are at the top of both speakers.

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Only the larger Echo has a screw hole on the base for connection to a speaker stand. This is because a pair of echoes can be used as a stereo pair and connected to an Amazon Fire streaming TV that replaces your TV’s audio. Echo Dot cannot do this and therefore misses the screw hole.

Amazon Echo Dot (left) and Echo (right)Both share an identical design, just on a different scaleGearBrain

ONEmazon Echo (4th generation) vs Echo Dot: Sound quality

Of course, this is where you will find the biggest differences between Echo and Echo Dot. The smaller of the two has only a single 1.6-inch speaker, while the larger one has a 3.0-inch subwoofer and a pair of 0.8-inch tweeters. This means significantly more bass and a much wider dynamic range than Dot. It also means more volume and less distortion at higher levels.

The echo can certainly be used to fill a room with music, while the Dot struggles to stay calm when the volume is pushed beyond about 70 percent. But once you know its limitations, the Dot is still surprisingly good for its size and price.

As I explained in my recent review of The Dot, I have it sitting on my desk, just inches away from my keyboard, where at low volumes it makes it perfect to play the radio and make Alexa a handy desktop assistant.

The dot is designed to fill the gaps in your smart home rather than being the main event. It is designed for the bedroom, office and studio, not the living room or kitchen.

Meanwhile, the full-size Echo is really quite impressive for a $ 100 speaker. It’s loud, with more bass than ever before, and has a power that was lacking from previous models. It is also capable of Dolby Audio, while the Dot is not.

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Amazon Echo (4th generation) vs Echo Dot: Features and Alexa

Both speakers work with Alexa in an identical way. The intelligence of Amazon’s voice assistant is exactly the same on both speakers, and they connect to the Alexa app – then on to a large number of smart home devices – in the same way.

One key difference, though, is how the larger Echo has support for Zigbee and Amazon’s new Sidewalk system, while the Dot does not. This may not matter to your smart home, especially if each device you own connects to Alexa through the app. But if you own certain Zigbee devices or want to connect them directly to the Echo instead of via their own hub or bridge, then the larger speaker is the one you need.

Otherwise they are the same. And like Echo speakers, they have a set of features that are missing from some third-party Alexa speakers. They can act as an intercom for the home using Drop In, and you can make calls with them to phones and other Echo devices anywhere in the world. They also alert you when Amazon packages are on the way, and they notify you when someone is at the door if you connect them to a Ring doorbell. They also form a home security system using Amazon’s Guard and the new Guard Plus feature.

Amazon Echo Dot (left) and Echo (right)Both speakers work with Alexa in exactly the same wayGearBrain

ONEmazon Echo (4th generation) vs Echo Dot: Price

As I mentioned earlier, Echo is $ 100 and Echo Dot is $ 50. However, both are often subject to discounts and offers, with Amazon regularly lowering their price and / or including extras like smart bulbs for free. Both speakers are still relatively new, but later in the year you can expect to see some decent discounts and deals.

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Not that they do not represent good value in themselves, for I think they absolutely do. Currently, for $ 150, you can buy an Echo with a pair of free Philips Hue smart bulbs plus an Echo Dot, which I think is a great smart starter kit.

Dom

It’s hard to pick a winner here because these speakers, despite their similarities, target different areas of the smart home market. If all you need is an Alexa device to play music, radio or podcasts quietly at your desk or bedtime, then the compact Echo Dot is ideal.

If you want sound with room filling and can accommodate the larger size and price of the regular Echo, choose the one instead. And if you can afford both, buy both. That way, you can unlock additional features from Alexa and have the assistant in multiple locations at once.

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