Amazon Echo Input vs. Amazon Echo Dot: Which should you buy?

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Virtual assistants like Alexa have fundamentally altered how we interact with smart home products. Here at Android Central, we've tested every Echo device launched so far, and are here to help you choose the right one for your needs.

Amazon Echo Input


Add Alexa everywhere



$35 at Amazon

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Low profile
  • Bluetooth and Aux out
  • Multi-room audio
Cons

  • Intermittent connectivity issues

If you're looking to add Alexa to an existing speaker, the Echo Input should be your go-to option. Amazon essentially lobbed off the top half of an Echo Dot, which means you get the same far-field mics as you do on other Echo devices, and the low profile design allows the Echo Input to be tucked away unobtrusively in your speaker cabinet.

Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen


The whole package



$50 at Amazon

Pros

  • Great sound for the price
  • Bluetooth and Aux out
  • Multi-room audio
Cons

  • Bulkier form factor

The Echo Dot serves the same function as the Echo Input, but it has a built-in speaker that lets you interact with Alexa directly. You can also hook it up to an external speaker and connect over Bluetooth — like the Echo Input. Think of it this way: you're essentially paying $15 more for the Dot for the bundled speaker.

Should you buy the Echo Input or Echo Dot?




There's very little to separate the Echo Input from the Echo Dot 3rd Gen. Both offer the same core set of features, but the main difference is that the Echo Input doesn't include a built-in speaker. You'll only be able to use the device by hooking it up to an external speaker.

As the Echo Input doesn't have a speaker, you won't find any volume buttons on the device itself. Instead, you'll be able to increase or decrease the volume of the connected speaker by issuing commands to Alexa. On the subject of Alexa, the virtual assistant is unchanged across either device, and I had no issues invoking Alexa even with loud music playing via external speakers on the Echo Input.

Category Amazon Echo Input Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen
Dimensions 80 mm x 13.8 mm
78g 99 mm x 99 mm x 43 mm
300g
Speaker None 1.6-inch speaker
Microphone 4 far-field voice recognition 4 far-field voice recognition
Power 5W through Micro-USB cable 15W through power adapter
Connectivity Bluetooth, 3.5mm out Bluetooth, 3.5mm out
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Microphone mute Button on top Button on top

The built-in speaker on the Echo Dot is great when you consider the device costs just $50, but like all speakers constrained by size, you'll notice a decrease in quality as you crank up the volume. If you already have other Alexa-enabled devices in your house, you'll be able to set up multi-room audio with either of these devices. All you need to do is configure a group in the Alexa app by adding the Echo Input or Dot and start playing music to all eligible devices.

Another area where both devices differ is power usage. The Echo Input can be powered by a standard USB port, whereas the Echo Dot needs to be plugged in via its 15W power adapter.

Overall, you're getting a very similar experience with either device. If you want the convenience of a built-in speaker, then the Echo Dot is the device to get. But if you're just looking to add Alexa to an existing stereo so you can control your smart home products and set up multi-room audio, the Echo Input is a much better option.

Amazon Echo Input


Add Alexa everywhere



$35 at Amazon

The easiest way to add Alexa to your existing stereo.

If you're primarily looking to add Alexa to an existing speaker, then the Echo Input is the best option. It can easily be tucked away in your cabinet and runs off of a 5W Micro-USB cable.

Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen


The whole package



A great starting point into the Alexa ecosystem.

$50 at Amazon

The Echo Dot is a better choice if you're looking for a standalone speaker with Alexa. It costs just $50 and has the same set of features as the Echo Input. If you decide to add it to an external speaker at a later date, you can always do so.



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