Amazon Echo (Echo, Echo Dot)

Amazon now offers the Echo and Echo Dot, two personal assistants that will make your life easier. Both devices utilize the Alexa software and the fact they are hands-free, allow the user the freedom to multi-task just about anything.

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Amazon Echo and Echo Dot

Online retailer Amazon offers you a chance to fill your room with music, news, knowledge, and so much more in their Amazon Echo device. A hands-free speaker operating on the "Alexa" software, this hands-free speaker that you control with your voice is a personal assistant for your everyday life. Amazon offers two versions of the device, the Echo and Echo Dot. Both versions of the device utilize the same software and features, so this article will describe information relative to both the Echo and Echo Dot.

Here is What Echo and Echo Dot Can Do

  • Play music from your favorite providers and streaming services
  • Call and message your friends through the Alexa App
  • Answer questions, read news, report traffic and weather, as well as so much more
  • Control your smart home appliances and features
  • Utilize "skills" or third party apps for even more features
Dimensions 9.3" x 3.3" x 3.3"
Weight 37.5 oz
Wireless Network Compatibility 802.11a/b/g/n
Speaker 2.5 inch woofer and 2.0 inch tweeter
Operating Systems Supported Android 5.0 or higher, iOS 9.0 or higher, Fire OS 3.0 or higher

Echo and Echo Dot Comparison/Contrast

At their core, the software and features on the devices are both the same. However, the Echo is larger, and thus comes equipped with a significantly improved speaker. While smaller, the Echo Dot has a built in speaker that will satisfy some users, but those planning to use the device for extensive music playing may be disappointed. However, the Echo Dot offers the ability to connect to a speaker via bluetooth or an aux cable, allowing the sound to be enhanced with the help of a third party speaker.


Echo, equipped with the Alexa Voice Service, offers anyone the opportunity to transform their home and change the way they see technology. All you need to do to use Echo is say the word "Alexa" for immediate hands-free response.  With Echo, you can get answers to questions when you think of them, but simply ask out loud. As shown in Amazon’s product demonstration video, this can be particularly useful when doing an activity such as cooking that prevents you from accessing your phone. You can also send messages and place calls in this fashion, but only with users who have Amazon Alexa app installed on their phones. All the information you need to get your day started is also just a question away. By setting up Echo with the Alexa app on your phone, you can receive personalized information. This includes things like news from your favorite providers, your commute time, or area weather. Echo truly does help you stay connected to all of the things happening in your busy life.       

Dimensions 1.3" x 3.3" x 3.3"
Weight 5.7 oz
Wireless Network Compatibility 802.11a/b/g/n
Speaker Amazon does not provide specifics, but rather simply refers to it as a "built-in speaker"
Operating Systems Supported Android 5.0 or higher, iOS 9.0 or higher, Fire OS 3.0 or higher


At the heart of everything Echo does is its Far-Field Voice Recognition features. With a total reliance on voice commands, Amazon packed the device with seven microphones to ensure it could hear you even in noisy rooms.  The large speaker in Echo also works to play music from many popular providers, including Amazon music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify, and many more.

The majority of Echo’s features rely on the devices "skills" which are basically apps the device uses after being set up on the Alexa app. Amazon maintains a library of skills on their website that sorts them by category as well as providing helpful ratings from other users. These range anywhere from news and games to obscure things like assistance in finding an insurance provider.   

While Echo would be helpful even in a home without smart home features, this is where the device truly excels. For this, Amazon also maintains a page with listings on what home devices are compatible with Alexa. And, for those who are interested in purchasing smart home devices, Amazon makes it easy to identify compatibility for Echo while shopping on their site. Turning on lights, or locking a door is now only a few commands away when using Alexa enabled devices.    


"Will my Amazon Prime membership provide me any benefits?" An Amazon Prime membership will allow you to play from a cloud library of over two million songs. To access even more songs, tens of millions in total, you will need additional Amazon Music Unlimited subscriptions. 
"Do you need to own an Echo for the Echo Dot to work?" It is not necessary to own an Echo for the less expensive Echo Dot to function. Both products work independently, and to their full abilities, without being paired together. Pairing multiple Echo or Echo Dot devices together is possible, and allows for you to utilize Echo in multiple rooms without the need to move the device, however it is not a requirement. 
"How can I update my Echo?" Because the device is always connected to the internet (when connected to power and wifi), Echo has updates delivered automatically. But the Alexa software is always improving as well. According to Amazon, "the more you use Echo, the more it adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preference." Thus, Echo will adapt more to you the longer you use it.

Offers and Promos - Echo

  • MSRP $179.99
  • Amazon $179.99
  • Best Buy $179.99
  • Target $179.99

Offers and Promos - Echo Dot

  • MSRP $49.99
  • Amazon $49.99 (Receive $20 off if buying three)
  • Best Buy $49.99
  • Target $49.99

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