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Which Amazon Echo speaker is right for you?

Which Amazon Echo speaker is right for you?

Life gets busy fast, and it can be hard to keep track of appointments, and what groceries you need and when. Even with the internet at your fingertips, if you aren't certain if you've ordered more toilet paper, or which Saturday a baby shower is, there's only so much you can do. Getting Alexa, the computer assistant available through Amazon Echo speakers, makes all of that, and therefore your life, much more manageable.

Basically a personal assistant you can set up anywhere in your home, Alexa can make shopping lists for you and attach them to your Amazon account, she can keep track of dates and events, she can answer questions that you ask her, like how many tablespoons are in a cup, and she can play music from Amazon's music library, and audiobooks from your Audible account.

She's a wonderful creation, and can come to you in many ways via the many forms of the Amazon Echo speaker. Each version of the Echo speaker has different priorities, and functionalities, creating a different experience for each to appeal to different consumers.

But is there an overall best Echo speaker to go with? Or is there a best version of the speaker for you specifically? Check out our list of the Echo speakers Amazon currently offers, explaining each of their features and benefits. We've come to a conclusion about which one is best for most people, but read on to see if another fits your own needs and wants better, or if we know exactly what you need.

Echo

The classic Echo is currently on its second generation, coming in six different finishes (four fabric, two wood), and retailing for $99.99 on Amazon right now. About six inches tall, this cylinder comes with a 2.5 inch woofer and 0.6 inch tweeter, creating a great sound that can fill an entire room easily. Sort of the standard model of the Amazon Alexa speakers, the Echo allows you to make calls, control smart home devices, and stream music and audiobooks to your heart's content. And don't forget the pre-programmed games Alexa comes with! At $100, the Echo isn't exactly cheap, but it's a sturdy machine with great sound, if that's what you're looking for.

Echo Dot

The Echo Dot is, for the most part, a smaller version of the Echo. Standing at a little over an inch tall (1.3 inches to be exact), while being only a little less wide than the Echo (3.3 inches vs. 3.5 inches), the Dot is only equipped with a 0.6 inch speaker, so its sound is a little tinnier than the Echo. However, at $49.99, and with a great built in microphone, the Dot allows you to have Alexa in any room in your home for very little money. Plus, the Dot comes with a port for aux cables, and has Bluetooth for connecting to other speakers, in case the tinny sound bothers you. For about half the cost of the Echo, the Dot offers all the same great Alexa features, with more portability and opportunity to have them throughout your home. It's certainly a favorable purchase.

Echo Plus

We went down in size with the Dot -- now let's get bigger. The Echo Plus stands at 9.3 inches tall, allowing it to hold the 2.5 inch woofer from the Echo, but the tweeter gets bigger, going to 0.8 inches, allowing for just slightly better sound. Like the Echo and the Dot, the Echo Plus has all of the great Alexa features, with one big difference. The Echo Plus has a built-in hub for smart home devices. This hub allows for simple setup of these devices, when they're compatible with the Echo Plus, as ZigBee products are. With the Echo Plus, you'll have voice-controlled lights, sensors, locks, plugs, and switches in no time. You do have to pay for the privilege; the Echo Plus typically sells for $149.99, but a current deal has it going for $99.99, the same as the Echo. If you want a smart home, this is the right time to go for it! But if you're not interested in those features, the Echo or the Dot might be your best bets.

Echo Show

So far, we've seen a lot of audio-only devices from the Amazon Alexa speaker line. What about video? The Echo Show changes that with a 7 inch screen that can stream videos from Amazon video, as well as show you flash briefings, music lyrics, feed from security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, your shopping and to-do lists. And it's all available to you hands-free! The Show has large speakers thanks to its size, so it works well in any room. However, with no access to sites like Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube, and with no connection to social media, what the Show can actually show you is limited. On top of that, it's expensive, retailing at $229.99. Even with the current deal bringing it down to $129.99, the screen might not offer that much more than the audio-only versions of the Echo speakers, as Alexa has the same functionality, just with some visible text to go with it. But if you're a more visual person, the Show might be worth it to you.

Echo Spot

Like the idea of the screen, but don't need it to be so big? The Echo Spot is here for you. A little shorter and stouter than its brethren at 4.1 inches tall, and 3.8 x 3.6 inches long and wide, the Echo Spot is essentially the Dot to the Echo Show. The advantages of having the smaller screen? In addition to all the streaming the Show can do, the Spot can make itself look like a clock, making it the ideal alarm clock for you in the morning, as it can also show you the weather for the day, and your to-do list with just a question from you. Sporting a smaller speaker, it has better sound than the Dot, but doesn't measure up to the Echo, the Echo Plus, or the Show. Retailing at $129.99, it's cheaper than the Show, and might be a more convenient size on end tables or night stands. But again, you have to ask yourself how much the visual aspect improves your Alexa experience, since Alexa was designed to be audio only. It might make more sense for you than the Echo Show, but not quite as much sense as the cheaper Echo, or the much cheaper Echo Dot.

Echo Look

Rounding out our list of Amazon Echo speakers, we return to the land of no screens, but add a new, interesting element -- a camera. The Echo Look is an Alexa speaker that has all of the Alexa functionality you'd expect, and adds a hands-free, voice activated camera that can take pictures, or record video, even sending live video straight to your phone. Now, of course, the Echo Look is still designed to sit in one place in your house. Why have the camera? Well, the camera is designed for you to check out your outfit for the day; you get an easy way to take a full-body shot, without getting your phone in the shot from using a mirror, and the Look stores the picture as part of your "Look Book," something you can use to browse through your closet anywhere, like when you're out shopping. Additionally, the Look comes with a function called Style Check, giving advice on what's most flattering when you can't decide between outfits based on machine learning, and tips from fashion experts. The Look is for a very niche audience, but one it seems to at least understand, even if it retails for $199.99. If you're a fashionista with money who dreams of having a computer like Cher in Clueless, the Amazon Look is for you. Otherwise, it might be best to look elsewhere for your Alexa speaker.

Verdict

While each speaker has a wide range of functions and abilities, the Echo Dot is the best Amazon Echo speaker for a majority of consumers. It's cheap, it has all of Alexa's features, and its sound is great, even if it's not entirely perfect. For true audiophiles, you probably own a great speaker the Dot can connect to, and give you the experience you want, while also allowing you to own more Alexa devices, and therefore have access to her in more of your home.

Perhaps another Amazon Echo speaker appeals to you from our descriptions; while we recommend the Dot, any of these speakers would be a wonderful choice, and you know your own needs and wants best. The Dot is a great starter device, if you're on the fence, and you can get more of them, or go up in price to upgrade to any of these other devices. Regardless, an Amazon Echo speaker will help make your home more organized, and full of wonderful -- and helpful -- sounds. Get your favorite from this list today!

List of Alexa commands you're not using but should be

Are you like millions of others who are turning their place into a smart home with Amazon Alexa? Instead of tapping an app to play your music, then another app to put on your lights, and yet another to turn down the thermostat, you can just do all that from a single home hub. But do you know the commands?

Learn these awesome commands and start using them now.  

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