The Echo family is hands-down one of the top sellers on Amazon year after year. The device works as a smart speaker, and you can play music from your device via Bluetooth, or through the internet with Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, SiriusXM, Tidal, and other streaming services. All Echo speakers have Alexa built-in, which allows you to control everything from lights and security cameras, to TVs, clocks, and microwaves. While you’re shopping on Amazon, you’ll find handy “Works with Alexa” badges on products to let you know which devices are supported. You can even buy smart-plugs for older lamps that don’t fit traditional light-bulbs, or for coffee makers, or other gadgets you might want to control with Alexa. You have four main options to choose from in the Echo family: the Echo Flex, the Echo Dot, the Echo Plus, and the brand-new Echo Studio. They range in price, and features, but they all do pretty much the same thing.
The Echo Flex: $24 on Amazon
The Echo Flex is the cheapest option on the market, and it’s a simple plug-in that puts Alexa in any room. This is a perfect option for a bathroom, an attic, a garage, or a basement. It was designed for a room that has outlets, but you don’t really have furniture set up, and you don’t spend a lot time listening to music in the room. The Echo Flex gives you Alexa anywhere in your home that has an outlet, but this device wasn’t designed for playing music. The Echo Flex also offers 2 USB ports, so you can charge devices, and the speaker works great for “Drop In” calls, which allows you to talk to someone from another Echo device in the house. For example, if the kids are in the garage and you are upstairs, you can just “drop-in” on the Echo Flex in the garage and tell them to quiet down or come in for dinner.
The Echo Dot: $29 on Amazon
The Echo Dot is the cheapest music-worthy option on the list. It’s small and offers decent sound for a small room. These are popular in bedrooms and dorms, and they fit perfectly on the bedside table. Amazon is up to the 3rd generation of the Echo Dot, and the sound quality has come a long way since the first installment. A new feature with the Gen 3 is Stereo Sound, which allows you to pair two Echo Dots together for better sound quality. We should also mention the Echo Dot Kids Edition, which offers everything the regular Echo Dot has, with optional parental controls, and kid-friendly content. The kid version also come with a two-year worry free guarantee, and they are offer fun colors and designs, not available with the regular Echo Dots. The Echo Dot can do everything that it’s older siblings can do, but the speakers are better on the more expensive models. The Echo Dot shown above is newer, and it’s called the Echo Dot with Clock. Since so many people have Echo Dots by their bed, Amazon put a digital clock display on the front. It’s the same as the basic Echo Dot, but you get the fancy clock display.
The Echo: $99 on Amazon
The Echo is an enhanced Echo Dot, and it’s the standard Echo device in the range. The Echo works the same as the Echo Dot, but the Echo has premium speakers powered by Dolby. The 360-degree shape fills the room with sound, and they work great in larger rooms. The Echo is perfect for a family room or living area, or if you prefer a more robust listening experience.
The Echo Studio: $199 on Amazon
This year Amazon upgraded the Echo experience with the Echo Studio. This Echo device is designed to enhance your media room, and it’s the most expensive Echo device on Amazon. The device offers 5 speakers and features Dolby Atmos technology. Amazon stated that the Echo Studio can analyze the acoustics of your space, then fine-tune itself for optimal sound. The Echo Studio does everything the other Echo devices can do, but this model is designed to become part of your entertainment setup, perfect for movie-night, or when the game is on.
With four options to choose from, there’s an Echo device for every budget. The easiest way to decide, is to think about what you need from Alexa. If you plan on listening to music, audiobooks, or podcasts, then you want to start with the Echo Dot. If you have a larger room, you might want to start with the Echo, and consider the Echo Studio if you plan on integrating the device with your TV or Blu-ray player. Since Alexa works the same way with all four devices, it really comes down to the speaker quality. Again, the Echo Dot has come a long way since its first year, and it can do the job in a small bedroom, kitchen, or dorm. If all you want is Alexa to control your devices, and you’re not planning on listening to podcasts or music, the Echo Flex is a perfect option.
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