Amazon Echo vs. Amazon Tap vs. Echo Dot – Guide & Reviews

Amazon Echo vs. Amazon Tap vs. Echo Dot

Amazon has a lineup of three cylindrical, WiFi-connected devices:  Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap and Echo Dot. When these three devices are next to each other, they could be categorized as small (Echo Dot), medium (Amazon Tap) and large (Amazon Echo), based on their heights. However, the differences among these three devices aren’t limited to height; each device is designed for specific environment – Echo for your home/kitchen, Tap for “on-the-go” uses, and, Dot as an enhancement to your current audio setup.

Amazon released Amazon Echo in 2014 as a cylinder-shaped hands-free speaker that you can control with your voice. It has been a huge success. The new devices, Echo Dot and Amazon Tap, offer slightly different features in Amazon’s effort to reach even more customers.

Amazon’s Echo Dot is essentially the same as Amazon Echo, except that Dot lacks Echo’s full size speaker. Dot can connect to external speakers over Bluetooth or with the included audio cable. Dot also has a small built-in speaker.

Amazon Tap is Amazon’s effort to make Echo portable. Tap is wireless, more portable and more affordable version of Echo.

As you can see Amazon released Dot and Tap to reach audience that was not catered by Echo before. We dive into further details and differences among each of these devices in the reviews below.

Amazon Echo Review

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo is 9.25-inch tall hands free cylinder speaker that you can control with your voice. It responds to the wake word ‘Alexa’. When you want to use Echo, simply say the word “Alexa”. Echo then lights up and immediately responds to your request. This wake word can be changed to either “Amazon” or “Echo”.

When connected via WiFi,  you can use your voice commands to do a lot of things such as playing your music, answering questions, reading audiobooks and the news, weather and traffic reports, sports scores and schedules, and so on.

Echo is bluetooth-enabled. You are able to stream music and video from any other bluetooth enabled devices such as your phone or tablet.

Echo integrates with other apps and services to make your home ‘smarter’. You can control thermostats, switches, lights, etc. simply using your voice.

Echo’s built in array of 7 microphones allow it to hear you from across the room.

It’s has a great speaker that will fill your room with 360 degree multi-direction immersive audio.

Echo is constantly improving by integrating with other apps and adding new ‘skills’. You can discover and choose the skills that you want enabled in the Alexa app. You can then order pizza from Dominos, request a ride from Uber, open your Garage door, and many other things by simply using your voice commands.

Amazon Echo must remain plugged-in all the time for power.

It has received a rating of 4.4 stars  out of 5 from over 33,000 Amazon customers. Click here to read reviews.

It’s on sale sale for around $180.

Amazon Echo Specifications

Check Current Price

Amazon Echo Video Overview

Amazon Echo Specifications

Size 9.25″ x 3.27″ x 3.27″ (235 mm x 83.5 mm x 83.5 mm)
Weight 26.9 oz. (1045 grams) Actual size and weight may vary by manufacturing process
Price $180
Wi-Fi Connectivity Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) lets your stream faster with fewer dropped connections than standard Wi-Fi. Supports 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi networks.
Bluetooth Connectivity Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your mobile device to Amazon Echo and Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) for voice control of connected mobile devices.
Audio 360-degree omni-directional immersive sound. 2.5 inch woofer; 2.0 inch tweeter
System Requirements Comes ready to connect to your home Wi-Fi. The Alexa App is compatible with Fire OS, Android, and iOS devices and also accessible via your web browser.
Power Plugs into a wall outlet
Alexa Always-on, always-listening, voice-activated
Included in the Box Amazon Echo, power adapter/cable (6 ft.), and quick start guide

Amazon Echo App

Go to the app store on your mobile device and search for “Alexa app,” or select a link below:

You can also go to https://alexa.amazon.com from Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Internet Explorer (10 or higher) on your Wi-Fi enabled computer.

Amazon Echo Setup

Amazon Echo Setup

Get Amazon Echo

 

Amazon Tap Review

Amazon Tap

At 6.2 inches, Amazon Tap is slighty smaller than Amazon Echo. Like Echo, Amazon Tap fully integrates with Alexa.

Unlike Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap is not on “Always on standby” mode. You can’t say “Alexa” to wake it up. You need to physically “tap” the microphone button and then ask Alexa – hence the name “Tap”. Other than the tap, it can do everything that Amazon Echo can.

However, the main difference between the Tap and the Echo is that Amazon Tap is wireless, and therefore portable. It’s compact size and weight of a pound makes it easy to take it wherever you go.

A single charge will give you 9 full hours of continuous playback, so you do not have to worry wherever you are. When the battery is low, Alexa will remind you by saying “Just so you know, the battery is currently low.” Recharging is effortless using the including charging cradle.

Amazon Tap was released on March 31, 2016 for (check price). You can order it here .

Amazon Tap Specifications

Check Price of Amazon Tap

Amazon Tap Video Overview

Amazon Tap Specifications

Size Amazon Tap: 6.2″ x 2.6″ x 2.6″ (159 mm x 66 mm x 66 mm); Charging Cradle: 0.6″ x 2.6″ x 2.6″ (15 mm x 66 mm x 66 mm)
Weight Amazon Tap: 16.6 oz. (470 grams); Charging Cradle: 3.8 oz. (109 grams)
Price $130
Battery Life Up to 9 hours of continuous playback.
Wi-Fi Connectivity Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or mobile hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n standard with support for WEP, WPA, and WPA2 security.
Bluetooth Connectivity Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming.  Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) for voice control of connected mobile devices.
Audio 360-degree sound, dual 1.5-inch drivers and dual passive radiators for bass extension
System Requirements Comes ready to connect to your home Wi-Fi. The Alexa App is compatible with Fire OS, Android, and iOS devices and also accessible via your web browser.
Alexa Not always-listening; Must touch mic button to access Alexa
Included in the Box Amazon Tap, Charging Cradle, microUSB cable and adapter, and quick start guide.

Amazon Tap Setup

Amazon Tap Setup Check Price of Amazon Tap

Echo Dot Review

Amazon Echo Dot

At just 1.6 inches, Echo Dot is the smallest of the devices in Amazon Echo series. You can think of it as the topmost part of Amazon Echo (without the large speaker), equally as smart and only half the price.

Like Echo, Dot supports always-on Alexa. So you can use the Alexa Voice Service to play music, get information, control smart devices, and all things Echo. Dot can even hear you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, so you can use the device from a distance.

The cool thing is that you can place several of Dots around the house. They will act as voice-command centers for each of those rooms – which means – Alexa will understand your commands from far across the room despite background sounds such as kids screaming, music  or TV.

Dot comes with a small  built-in speaker that you can use for basic purposes such as an alarm clock or a kitchen assistant but it won’t do much until you connect Dot to external speakers.

The main difference between the Dot and Echo is that it does not have the full size speaker. However you can seamlessly integrate Dot with your personal audio setup via Bluetooth or audio cables. It can connect with any Bluetooth-enabled devices such as your smartphone or tablet.

Echo Dot is currently available exclusively for Prime members through Alexa Voice Shopping for around $90. To order your Echo Dot, use your Amazon Echo or Amazon Fire TV and just ask:

Alexa, order an Echo Dot.

How to order Echo Dot without an Amazon Echo?

CNET discovered a way to bypass this Amazon’s restriction and order Echo Dot via Amazon Shopping App.

To pre-order the Echo Dot:

  1. Open the Amazon shopping pp
  2. Tap the microphone icon to start a voice search, then say, “Add Echo Dot to shopping cart.” That should take you to a search result with the Add to Cart button enabled.
  3. Tap that button, then check out.
Check Echo Dot Price

 

Echo Dot Video Overview

Echo Dot Specifications

Size 1.5″ x 3.3″ x 3.3″ (38 mm x 84 mm x 84 mm)
Weight 8.8 oz. (250 grams)
Price $90
Wi-Fi Connectivity Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO).  Supports 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi networks.
Bluetooth Connectivity Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your mobile device to Echo Dot or from Echo Dot to your bluetooth speaker. Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) for voice control of connected mobile devices. Bluetooth speakers requiring PIN codes are not supported.
Audio Built-in speaker for voice feedback only; must be connected to external speakers
System Requirements Comes ready to connect to your home Wi-Fi. The Alexa App is compatible with Fire OS, Android, and iOS devices and also accessible via your web browser.
Power Plugs into a wall outlet
Included in the Box Echo Dot, 3.5 mm audio cable (4 ft.), power adapter (9W), USB charging cable, and Quick Start Guide

Echo Dot SpecificationsCheck Echo Dot Price

Why has Amazon Echo / Alexa  become such a hit?

 from TechCrunch responds to this perfectly:

What Amazon is trying to accomplish is impressive. When I was a kid we had the Clapper. You clapped your hands to turn the lights on and off. Now smart home hubs attempt to do the same thing through a very tedious process – you must enable Bluetooth, go into the app, select the device you wish to maneuver and then click the device in charge of your lights.

It doesn’t take a genius to know it’s easier to just ask Echo or Dot to turn off the lights than to click a bunch of things first.

This is perhaps why Echo has become such a hit – not because it can turn lights on and off, but because it aims to raise the IQ of your living quarters as a whole using your words in context and within less than a second.

The number of skills that Alexa can perform was just six back in August when the API was made available to developers. Alexa can now perform more than 300 skills and it’s growing every day. Amazon has been focused on bulding and updating the Echo/Alexa platform and you can be sure many more integrations with a wide variety of smart devices will be coming up soon. The ultimate goal here is, of course, to make everything connected such that they seamlessly talk to each other.

 

Amazon Echo Commands

Amazon Echo Commands & Easter Eggs

Echo Basic Commands

Here is a list of the basic commands for Amazon Echo / Alexa (thanks to user jayceelei on reddit):

  • how is traffic? (route must be set up in app)
  • add [item] to my shopping list.add [task] to my to-do list.set the alarm for [time]
  • what is the alarm set for?
  • set a timer for # minutes
  • how much time is left on the timer?
  • what time is it?
  • what is the weather today [in city (if other than home)]?
  • who won the [sports team] game?
  • when do the [sports team] play next?
  • what was the score of [sports team] game?
  • how many [units] in a [unit] (e.g., tablespoons in a half cup)
  • what is [math problem] (e.g., square root of 50, 13×57, 12/18, etc.)
  • what time is it in [city/state/country]?
  • define [word]
  • how do you spell [word]?
  • how many calories are in [food item]?
  • what is the capital of [state]?
  • what’s going on today? (i.e., news brief)
  • listen to a pod cast
  • is there life on Mars?
  • Wikipedia [topic]
  • play [band].
  • play [station] on Pandora.
  • play
  • playlist
  • play [song] by [band]
  • what’s playing?
  • volume [down/up or #]
  • next song
  • who won best actor Oscar in 1973? (Try other trivia as well)
  • how do you say [word] in [language]
  • tell me about the solar system
  • what does the Earth weigh?
  • what’s the answer to life, the universe, and everything?
  • are there UFOs?
  • do aliens exist?
  • stop/off

Echo Easter Eggs

  • rock, paper, scissors.
  • rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock
  • define rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock
  • tell me a joke.
  • knock knock.
  • random fact
  • Simon Says [anything]. (Echo will repeat whatever you say)
  • one fish, two fish.
  • what was the Lorax?
  • why do you sit there like that?
  • who’s on first?
  • flip a coin.
  • heads or tails?
  • roll the dice.
  • random number between “x” and “y”.
  • what number are you thinking of?
  • count by ten.
  • do you like green eggs and ham?
  • why do birds suddenly appear?
  • why did the chicken cross the road?
  • which came first, the chicken or the egg?
  • show me the money!
  • how much is that doggie in the window?
  • do you know the muffin man?
  • why is a raven like a writing desk?
  • Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou Romeo?
  • I want the truth!
  • say hello to my little friend!
  • who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
  • all your base are belong to us.
  • is the cake a lie?
  • what color is the dress?
  • I am your father.
  • may the force be with you.
  • Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
  • Warp 10
  • fire photon torpedos.
  • live long and prosper.
  • open the pod bay doors.
  • set phasers to kill.
  • these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.
  • take me to your leader.
  • does this unit have a soul?
  • Rosebud.
  • party time!
  • party on, Wayne.
  • my name is Inigo Montoya.
  • you killed my father.
  • inconceivable.
  • what is your quest?
  • what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
  • your mother was a hamster
  • what is the sound of one hand clapping?
  • when is the end of the world?
  • when am I going to die?
  • is there a Santa?
  • surely you can’t be serious.
  • how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
  • elementary, my dear Watson.
  • I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.
  • Simon says Wilford Brimley has diabetes.
  • I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.
  • how much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
  • how Much Wood can a Wood Chuck Chuck, if A Wood Chuck Could Chuck Norris
  • how many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?
  • define supercalifragilisticexpialodocious.
  • what is the meaning of life?
  • make me a sandwich.
  • make me [breakfast/dinner].
  • what is the best tablet?
  • mac or pc?
  • what do you think of [Apple/Google/Microsoft]?
  • do you know Siri?
  • where do babies come from?
  • how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?
  • volume 11
  • do you really want to hurt me?
  • what is love?
  • who is the real slim shady?
  • who is the walrus?
  • where have all the flowers gone?
  • who let the dogs out?
  • who shot the sheriff?
  • what is the loneliest number?
  • how many roads must a man walk down?
  • what does the fox say?
  • what are you going to do today?
  • where do you live?
  • where are you from?
  • do you have a boyfriend?
  • do you have a girlfriend?
  • how much do you weigh?
  • never gonna give you up.
  • do you believe in life after love?
  • war, what is it good for?
  • more cowbell.
  • sing me a song.
  • tell me a story.
  • do you know the way to San Jose?
  • who is the fairest of them all?
  • who you gonna call?
  • who loves ya baby?
  • who’s your daddy?
  • do you have any brothers or sisters?
  • what is your favorite color?
  • what color are your eyes?
  • will you marry me?
  • are you in love?
  • how tall are you?
  • what are you wearing?
  • do you believe in god?
  • do you believe in ghosts?
  • are you sky net?
  • are you lying?
  • do you want to fight?
  • do you want to play a game?
  • give me a hug.
  • high five!
  • I [love/hate] you.
  • where’s Waldo?
  • where are my keys? (ask twice)
  • testing 1-2-3
  • I’m home.
  • see you later alligator.
  • can you give me some money? (ask twice)
  • how do I get rid of a dead body?
  • do you want to play a game?
  • do you want to build a snowman?
  • I think you’re funny.
  • where in the world in Carmen Sandiego?
  • thank you.
  • good night.

Amazon Echo Spotify Commands

If Spotify is your music service of choice, here is a list of Echo Voice Commands that you can use to control your tunes.

Just say, “Alexa!” and then…

Start Playing

  • “Play [song name] from Spotify”
  • “Play [song name] by [artist] from Spotify”
  • “Play songs by [artist name] from Spotify”
  • “Play music composed by [composer] from Spotify”
  • “Play [x] from Spotify”
  • “Play [Discover Weekly] playlist from Spotify”
  • “Play [genre] from Spotify”

Controls

  • “Pause” pauses the currently playing track.
  • “Stop” stops the currently playing track.
  • “Resume” continues playback.
  • “Mute” mutes the speaker.
  • “Play Spotify” plays Spotify from where you left off.
  • “Next song/track” or “Skip this song/track” skips the current track.
  • “Previous” returns to the last track played.
  • “Shuffle” enables Shuffle mode.
  • “Unshuffle” or “Shuffle off” disables Shuffle mode.
  • “Volume [1-10]” sets the volume from 10 to 100%.
  • “Volume up/down” turns volume up or down.

Queries

  • “What song is playing?” Alexa will tell you the song/artist that’s playing.
  • “Who is the artist?” Alexa will tell you the artist for the current track.

Spotify Connect

  • “Spotify Connect” or “Connect Spotify” enables Spotify Connect.

Amazon Echo Remote

If you prefer to use a remote,  you can buy official voice remote for Amazon Echo. It costs around $30 and is sold separately.

The Amazon Echo Remote is wireless, voice-enabled, battery-powered  remote control. A directional track pad on the remote allows you to quickly and easily control audio playback on your Amazon Echo. It includes buttons for volume up, volume down, play/pause, previous, and next.

The remote connects to Amazon Echo via Bluetooth.

It includes an integrated microphone which comes in very handy when you are a little too far for Echo to hear you (or if it’s too noisy).

When using the remote, you do not need to say the wake word (“Alexa”). Press and hold the “Talk” button until you hear a tone, keep pressing the button and speak into the microphone. When you are done, simply release the button.

When you purchase the remote, you get a magnetic holder and a set of 2 AAA batteries.

Note that Echo only works with one remote at a time. The remote needs to be setup / paired. Here are the directions to pair the Amazon Echo Remote.

Get Amazon Echo Voice Remote

Conclusion

Amazon Echo vs. Amazon Tap vs. Echo Dot  – what should you get?

Amazon Echo is perfect if you need a smart personal assistant for your home that is always on, always listening. It will give you quick access to your music and other media. You will be able to turn your home into a voice-enabled smart home and control lights, thermostat etc. and ask all sorts of “smart” questions about traffic, weather, sports, news and so on.

Amazon Tap Amazon Tap is great if you need something like Amazon Echo “on-the-go”. It does everything that Echo does but it is wireless. Since it’s not plugged in, it’s not on “always listening” mode. You have to tap the microphone to give your voice commands. Tap is perfect to enjoy it outdoors.

Echo Dot is a smaller, affordable version of Echo that does everything That Amazon Echo does but at half the price. Dot is ideal if you already have audio setup, or don’t really care for Echo’s large speaker and simply want to get something that you can use with your own speakers, get Echo Dot.

monsterid

Author: Patrick Cooper

Patrick has over a decade's experience writing about consumer electronics on the web. An avid traveller, he is the father of two adopted pitbulls and a greyhound. Cheif editor at WhatRocksAndWhatSucks.com, right now Patrick lives in Austin, TX. Reach him at patrick@wraws.com or on Google+.

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2 Comments

  1. How many is too many?

    If you have an Echo in the other room but it is within earshot and then you add a Dot, will they interfere with each other as both could hear your commands?

    Post a Reply
    • monsterid

      Hi Scott,

      You have a couple of options.

      First, you could use different wake words for each – call one ‘Alexa’ and the other ‘Amazon’ (unfortunately you cannot use your custom names yet). But two different names should help avoid any confusions.

      If you name them the same, say both of them are “Alexa”, and are within hearing range, they will both respond to you.

      Hope that helps.

      Post a Reply

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