At a surprise event in Seattle today, Amazon announced multiple new Echo models—some similar to the original Echo, and others very, very different. Here’s every Echo you can buy right now, and what the difference between them all is.
Before we dive into the new stuff, let’s remember the current lineup of Echo products, starting with the original Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and Amazon Tap. (If you want to skip right to the new line of products, scroll down to “The Echo, Generation Two”.)
The Original Echo: Voice Control with a Beefy Speaker
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 hopefully 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. But we 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 later on.
The Echo Dot: Small, Compact, and Works with Your Stereo
The Echo Dot ($50) is a tiny 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.
The Amazon Tap: A Battery-Powered Bluetooth Speaker with Alexa
While not officially part of the “Echo” line, the Amazon Tap ($130) is basically a battery-powered Amazon Echo. It’s designed to be more of a travel Bluetooth speaker with Alexa built in, but now that it has always-on listening, there are almost no other differences between it and the original Echo beyond its slightly smaller size. In fact, it was probably a better deal than a regular Echo anyway—at least until the launch of the second generation Echo (more on that in a moment).
The Echo Show: Echo with Video
The Echo Show ($230), released earlier this year, can do everything the original Echo can—but it contains a touch screen that can show the information as well as say it. You can also watch videos on it, see a feed from your security cameras, video chat with other Echo owners, and do a few other things that require a screen.
The Echo, Generation Two: Smaller and Cheaper
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