The is increasingly becoming the norm. Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in voice recognition assistants and connected devices to make our busy lives more seamless. With a few speaking commands, we don’t have to lift a finger to play music, stream content, turn off the lights, or pick up the phone to call family members. With these advanced products, we can take the stress out of daily life tasks and have time for things we really enjoy.
With this technology boom though, it can be hard to transition your home from “basic” to “smart-home” status. First, there’s the whole convenience factor, considering some gadgets can be too complicated to use or require advanced Wi-Fi to operate. Plus, smart living doesn’t always come cheap, because you’ll most likely be dropping major bucks to access hands-free control, voice recognition, and other advanced features. Seriously though, who has the budget to replicate the high-tech pad in Disney’s Smart Home movie?
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Establishing a tech-friendly home isn’t always easy, but there is hope. are a great starting step, because they are affordable, require minimal effort to operate, and help you complete small tasks around the house. They take voice-recognition technology to the next level by playing music, finding binge-worthy flicks, reading news, and adjusting room settings. They’ll do the work for you, so you can relax and take care of stuff that actually matters sans interruptions.
There are many smart speakers available for your smart living needs. Amazon, a popular technology leader, has been making moves in the space for quite some time. The company is constantly rethinking how to add technology into people’s day-to-day activities with developments like , its virtual voice assistant that responds to verbal requests.
Amazon currently offers a robust lineup of smart speakers, including the and the . The Echo received a small upgrade earlier this year, while the latest version of the Echo Dot debuted last month. Unlike other smart speakers, the Echo has crisp sound quality, a multi-room music feature, voice recognition technology, and additional Alexa functions. The Echo Dot, a popular voice-controlled speaker, offers similar smart home perks like voice recognition and Alexa-enabled functions, except it has a small shape that’s perfect for compact living spaces.
Even though both smart speakers share a similar purpose —making smart living less of a hassle — both offer different perks for convenience and hands-free control.
Ready to give your home all the tech feels? You’ve come to the right place. Here’s what you need to know if you’re deciding between the Echo and the Echo Dot.
Play your favorite beats and make all the #smartlivinggoals happen with the . This speaker isn’t just your house party companion. It’s a smart speaker with bonafide benefits, including high-quality sound, voice recognition technology, and Alexa for hands-free control.
The Echo weighs 29 ounces and its dimensions are 5.8 x 3.4 x 3.4 inches. It comes with an action button, volume buttons, a microphone off button, a light up ring, a power port, and a 3.5-millimeter audio output. There’s a woofer, tweeter, and 7-microphone array, so it can hear you clearly from across the room. Unlike other smart speakers, the Echo can be customized according to your home decor. There are six different Echo decorative shells to choose from, so the Echo can complement whatever room you place it in.
Setting up the Echo is seamless and you can use it within minutes. First, download the Alexa app and sign in. Plug in the included power adapter into the Echo and then plug the Echo into a wall outlet. The light ring on the Echo will turn blue when it’s on and then orange when Alexa greets you. Next, connect the Echo to your home Wi-Fi network. To get started, simply say the set “wake word”, and the Echo will respond to your request. (For example, say “Alexa, play Red Hot Chili Peppers” or “Alexa, call mom.”) The Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service, so you can play music, make phone calls, or control other smart devices with easy voice commands.
The Echo set comes with an Amazon Echo, a power adapter/cable, a quick start guide, a Things To Try card, and an Echo decorative shell.
Smart speakers can go beyond the basics, and the takes smart living to a new level. This device provides many convenience perks at an affordable price. You can play beats from your favorite music streaming services, make phone calls to loved ones, get help with household reminders, and use voice control for other smart devices at home.
The Echo Dot weighs 10.6 ounces and its dimensions are 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.7 inches. It’s slightly smaller than the Echo, so it can easily fit on countertops or nightstands. It has an action button, a microphone off button, volume buttons, a light ring, a power port, and a 3.5 millimeter audio output. It doesn’t come with a decorative shell, but you’ll save space and still get many smart home perks.
Setup is also a breeze with the Echo Dot. First, plug it into a wall outlet and open the Alexa app to start setup. (You’ll need to download the Alexa app on your smartphone beforehand.) Once you open the app, select “devices” and then select the “+” icon. Follow the instructions to set up the Echo Dot by clicking “Add Device”, then click “Amazon Echo” when it asks what type of device you are setting up. When that’s done, you can start using the Echo Dot for your smart home needs.
When you buy the Echo Dot, you’ll get an Echo Dot, a 15-watt power adapter, and a quick start guide.
Smart living features
Wouldn’t it be great to control tasks with your voice? Well, Amazon is making this a reality with the , a smart speaker that connects to the Alexa Voice Service to make your life easier. Just ask Alexa to help you play music, make phone calls, set timers, and do other small tasks at home. Advanced sound technology helps the Echo immediately respond to you and recognize your voice.
Prompt response: Beamforming technology, noise cancellation, and seven microphones will enable the Echo to hear you from your nearby location. Just speak the “wake word” and ask questions like “Alexa, find a Pandora playlist,” or “Alexa, call dad” for immediate assistance.
Beats master: Of course the Echo can play music, but it’s not your typical smart speaker. It comes with Dolby processing that provides great bass response, crisp vocals, and 360-degree omnidirectional audio, so you can hear your favorite songs without muffled sound.
Play music indoors: You can play music from your preferred music streaming services, including Amazon Music, Pandora, and Spotify for customizable listening. And that’s not all. There’s a multi-room music feature where you can tell Alexa to play across other Amazon Echo devices at home. You can hear techo in the bathroom, jazz in the kitchen, and country in the living room at the same time.
Hands-free communication: if you need to message or call loved ones, the Echo has your back. You can use Alexa to communicate with loved ones via phone or text on the Echo, so you don’t have to grab your smartphone. Plus, Alexa can also make household announcements across Amazon Echo devices at home, so your family will know if dinner is ready or guests are arriving. Use the Drop In feature to connect to other Amazon Echo devices and you’re good to go.
Control smart devices: If you have other smart devices that work with Alexa, you can easily control them with the Echo. Just ask Alexa to dim the lights, adjust room temperature, or find content on your HDTV when you pair it with an Amazon streaming media player. This feature is very helpful if you have smart light bulbs, thermostats, and HDTVs at home. You don’t have to press any buttons, because you can use your voice to create the ultimate smart home environment.
Making the smart living switch isn’t always budget-friendly, but the is affordable and provides great voice control features. You can play your favorite tunes, receive reminders, communicate with loved ones, and monitor smart devices with this small, yet powerful device.
Listening companion: We’ve all tried the conventional speaker setup, which typically involves too many outlets and wires. Echo Dot offers the opposite experience for all your listening needs. You can use your voice to play music through streaming services, including Amazon Music, Pandora, and Spotify. Plus, you can hear Audible and other media forms with the Echo Dot. Ask Alexa to find the perfect playlist or podcast, and you’ll have something to listen to when you cook in the kitchen, lounge on the couch, or workout in your living room.
Task help: There are times we wish that we had a personal assistant for little things, including making lists and scheduling calendars. The Echo Dot can help make your everyday routine more seamless with voice control. You can use your voice to ask for reminders, check the weather, and search for local restaurants.
Voice-enabled conversation: Like the Echo, the Echo Dot allows you to send messages, make phone calls, and use other Echo devices as intercoms. Enjoy hands-free communication with loved ones and make announcements via Drop In to keep everyone in touch at home.
Monitor your smart home environment: The Echo Dot also offers the option to monitor smart devices at home. If you have light bulbs, thermostats, or streaming media players that are compatible with Alexa, you can control their activity with the Echo Dot. Just speak to Alexa in your room of choice, and you can easily monitor lighting, temperature, and more with verbal commands.
At $80, the is moderately priced, but it comes with benefits that go beyond other smart speakers. With its high-tech sound features, including Dolby processing, great bass response, and crisp vocals, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite beats at the right volume. When you’re entertaining guests, you can engage the multi-room music feature to turn your pad into a dance floor. In addition to playing music, the Echo allows you to control smart devices and communicate with loved ones via voice control.
For this price, you’ll get an Amazon Echo, a power adapter/cable, a quick start guide, a Things To Try card, and an Echo decorative shell. You can buy the Echo at Amazon.
The Echo comes with a one-year limited warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship. If you would like additional protection, you can by a two-year or three-year extended warranty separately from Amazon.
For those on a technology budget, the delivers all the smart speaker benefits at a fraction of the price. At $50, it’s more affordable than other Amazon Echo devices and still has desirable features like advanced voice recognition, smart device control, and assistance with small tasks via Alexa. It doesn’t have the same sound technology as the Echo, but you’ll still be able to hear your beats well regardless of where you are inside your home.
Each Echo Dot set includes an Echo Dot, a 15-watt power adapter, and a quick start guide. You can buy the Echo Dot at Amazon, Best Buy, and Target.
Unlike the Echo, the Echo Dot only comes with a 90-day limited warranty. It’s applicable to defects in materials and workmanship and you can contact Amazon’s Customer Service for assistance. Even though the Echo Dot has a shorter warranty period, you can also purchase an optional one-year, two-year, or three-year extended warranty for an additional fee.
Amazon customer says:
“I’ve had this refurbished Echo for about a month. I was hesitant to make the purchase, but after having it for awhile I love it! For the music alone, it’s a game changer. Music Unlimited ($4/month) with a free month trial is definitely the way to go. I ask her to play any artist, genre, or premade playlist I want, and she does it. I’ve yet to have her not be able to find a song. Also bought 4 LIFX dusk to dawn smart bulbs for the living room, and made some preset “scenes” with various temperatures and brightness, and they’re awesome. It can really change the atmosphere!”
, another Amazon reviewer, says:
“Sound quality is outstanding, really rich deep sound quality of the speaker. Fills the room extremely well. I had the Dot originally and the sound quality was nowhere near this level. Love all the features, high recommended. I got the walnut finish, it blends with the decor, and does not stand out. If you like great sound in a system that takes up such little room, this is for you!”
, a Best Buy customer, writes:
“I’d say I was the first person which I bought third generation of Amazon Echo Dot in [the] Woodland Hills store, it’s working properly and it’s easy to connect to the smart home system, just updated firmware as soon as connecting to home Wi-Fi.”
And, another Best Buy reviewer, says:
“The sound quality is soooo much better than previous generations, no Earth shattering audio quality but certainly better. Perfect for a nightstand, kitchen counter, or smaller room.”
So which one should you choose?
Upgrade your smart living setup with Amazon’s , a smart speaker that delivers high-quality sound, plays music in your rooms, allows you to engage in hands-free control, and use your voice to communicate with loved ones. Another perk of this device is that it’s customizable, you can choose a decorative shell to compliment your home decor vibe. Even though it’s $80, the Echo provides all the smart speaker perks and more for a high-tech home. Plus, it works with other Amazon Echo devices for the ultimate sound setup whenever you need it.
If you don’t want to fork over a lot of cash for a smart speaker, the is a great device pick. At only $50, it’s a steal compared to other Amazon connected devices and offers most of the same smart speaker benefits. With the Echo Dot, you can use your voice to play music, engage in hands-free conversation with loved ones, receive help with small household tasks, and monitor other smart devices at home. It doesn’t come with the same sound technology as the Echo, but you’ll still be able to hear your favorite tunes well in your key living spaces.