The Amazon Echo started off as a simple device, but now there are more than nine different Echo products out in the wild and on Amazon’s virtual shelves. So what’s the difference between them all, and which one should you buy?
Let’s start with the original products, for comparison’s sake. The first-gen Echo was a wine-bottle-sized speaker, with far-field always-listening microphones that allowed you to talk to it from across the room. It can answer questions, play music, control smarthome devices, and act as an intercom of sorts with other Echos. Many of these new features came as software updates, and if you have an Amazon Echo now, it’ll probably still get some new features in the future. Here’s a roundup of everything you can do with the Echo.
Amazon has stopped selling the original Echo on its website, but you can still get it at Whole Foods while supplies last, as well as grab both the black and white versions refurbished for $130 on amazon.com. We also recommend grabbing them used for cheap—apparently a lot of people are buying them, not using them, and then trying to fence them on Craigslist and OfferUp later on.
The Echo Dot ($50) is a tiny, inexpensive version of the original Echo—it can do everything the original Echo could, without taking up as much space (although it’s missing the nice, big speaker). However, to make up for the lack of speaker, it contains a line out port that lets you hook it up to your stereo or other big, high-quality speakers. (The original Echo did not have this, but all the new Echos do.)
The original Echo Dot contained a volume wheel along the top, just like the regular Echo. However, that was shortly discontinued, and replaced with a cheaper version that contained volume buttons instead.Read More...
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