Amazon Echo vs Amazon Tap vs Echo Dot: Gadgets Explained

By on March 15, 2016


Confused about all the new voice assistant gadgets that seem to be super popular on Amazon? Don’t worry, we can help you figure out which device will be best for you. Here’s a quick overview before we jump into the gritty details:

  • Amazon now has 3 Alexa voice assistant devices called the Echo, the Tap and the Echo Dot. The Echo sells for $180, the Tap for $130 and the Dot for $90.
  • The Echo is the flagship product in the line and the largest at 9.25 inches tall. It’s a great stationary device (requires wall outlet) and standalone speaker.
  • The Tap is designed for people that want portability (9 hour battery life) and don’t mind sacrificing voice activation (replaced by touch activation).
  • The Dot is designed for people that want voice activation, but have a secondary speaker system for playing music. It’s also stationary (requires wall outlet).

What can the Alexa voice assistant do?

The core selling point for all three devices is that each is tied into Amazon’s voice assistant called Alexa. Alexa offers a bevy of functions including, but not limited to:

  • Playing music from Amazon Prime Music as well as streaming services like Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio. It also streams music from your mobile device.
  • Ties into smart devices in the home to control lighting, change the temperature, turn devices on and off, etc…
  • Provides detailed weather and traffic reports as well as updates on the national news and sports scores.
  • Answers questions similar to using a Google search, create to-do lists and add items to shopping lists.
  • Allows you to place orders on Amazon for products that have been previously ordered.
  • Ties into third-party companies like Uber and Dominos in order to place orders for specific products or services.

Amazon Alexa doesn’t cost anything to access. There are no monthly subscription fees. You only have to pay for an Alexa-enabled device up front, which is as cheap at $90 at this point.

Should I Buy the Amazon Echo?

The Amazon Echo is a great device if you have multiple people in your family and want to put it in a central point in the home so everyone can use it. However, it’s a stationary device and will require a wall outlet. The speaker offers 360 degree sound sporting a 2.5 inch woofer and 2.0 inch tweeter. It can connect over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Should I Buy the Amazon Tap?

The Amazon Tap is ideal if you need portability, ideal for taking it out into the backyard or on vacation. It’s about half the weight of the Echo and smaller at just 6.2 inches tall. However, the speakers are smaller as well; dual 1.5-inch drivers. If offers up to nine hours of playback on the full charge (three week standby time).

You won’t have access to voice activation though. To access Alexa, you will need to tap the microphone button on the front before issuing a command. It comes in six difference colors and comes with a charging cradle.

Should I Buy the Amazon Echo Dot?

The Amazon Echo Dot will be useful for people that have invested in existing speaker systems, but want the Alexa voice assistant capabilities. The cheaper cost could be useful for anyone that wants to expand Alexa coverage into multiple rooms of a home.

It’s stationary (requires wall outlet) and connects to your speakers over wireless or a wired 3.5 mm audio cable. If the device isn’t connected to speakers, there’s a small speaker in the device to provide Alexa voice feedback.

Will These Devices Help Me Get Deals?

Possibly. Amazon has been aggressive on rolling out Prime exclusive prices to customers over the last 12-months, thus it’s not out of the range of possibility that Amazon will run promotions on orders places using the Alexa voice assistant. Watch the Ben’s deal feed for announcements as those deals pop up.

Check Price of Echo, Tap, Dot on Amazon

About Mike Flacy

Editor-in-Chief for The CheckOut. During my free time, I love to write about pop culture, home theater, digital photography, social media, mobile technology and cool gadgets!


  1. Tap Amazon

    May 22, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    Awesome Amazon Tap, portable bluetooth Speaker ..
    Thank for information , Great

  2. Gabrielle

    March 29, 2016 at 7:23 am

    Is the voice recognition capability better in Echo than Dot?

    • Mike Flacy

      March 29, 2016 at 8:37 am

      I can’t imagine why it would be, unless Amazon is using a different microphone in the Dot. That’s probably unlikely.

  3. N.A.Crawford

    March 20, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Thank you for this. I was trying to find the differences between the Echo and Tap and now I know.

    • Mike Flacy

      March 20, 2016 at 11:15 am

      Yeah, Amazon didn’t really try to make it easy to understand.

      • Nandi Crawford

        March 20, 2016 at 4:51 pm

        No they didn’t

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