There are several variants of the Echo smart speaker available, giving you plenty of choice in price and performance - and they regularly get discounts during the year. Here are all the Alexa-enabled Amazon devices compared to help you work out which one best suits your needs.

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Which is the best Amazon Echo for you?

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Amazon Echo (second gen)

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  • Dimensions: 148.5 x 88 x 88mm, 820g
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth (A2DP), 3.5mm audio out
  • Power: Power adaptor/cable (5.9ft)
  • Audio: 2.5-inch woofer and 0.6-inch tweeter
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

This new version of the original Echo is shorter, and comes with a range of different finishes for a nicer, more contemporary, look. It still offers the same Alexa power that it did before, serving as the centre of the universe while coming in at a much cheaper price.

It's better designed to fit into your home thanks to those new shells and it's very much realigning itself as a competitor to Google Home. While it offers all the skills of Alexa and Bluetooth - and the rest of the Echo experience - it doesn't sound as good as the original model, nor as good as the Echo Plus. This is the model to get if you want to get connected cheaply, but accepting that music isn't top of your list.

Via a future update it will offer stereo pairing, however, and can be combined with the Echo Sub to create a 2.1 sound system.

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Amazon Echo Plus (second gen)

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  • Dimensions: 148 x 99 x 99mm, 780g
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth (A2DP), 3.5mm audio in/out, Zigbee controller
  • Power: Power adaptor/cable
  • Audio: 3.0-inch woofer and 0.8-inch tweeter
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

This newer version of the Echo Plus takes a shorter, wider stance, with a cloth-covered exterior. It now matches the second-gen Echo better, with a choice of fabric colours. 

But the Echo Plus 2 also has bigger speakers, designed to give you better sound. It offers all the Alexa functions that all other Echo devices will offer you, but has a built-in Zigbee controller, meaning you can directly connect and control compatible smart home devices. 

It's a better overall speaker than the second-gen Echo and if music is important to you, it's worth the upgrade over the standard (but cheaper) Echo. It can also be stereo paired with another Echo Plus and partnered with the Echo Sub to create a 2.1 system. It's a great allrounder.

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Amazon Echo Dot (third gen)

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  • Dimensions: 43 x 99 x 99mm, 300g
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth, 3.5mm audio out
  • Power: Plugs into a wall outlet
  • Audio: 1.6-inch speaker 
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

Echo Dot has been amazingly popular and the third generation is redesigned to ditch the hard plastic and match the new Echo Plus. It's a larger diameter than the original model it replaces and that gives space for a new 1.6-inch speaker.

That means the Echo Dot is now a much better standalone Alexa device, better equipped to converse with you and while it's not really designed as a music device, it will give you better overall sound. It can also be connected to another speaker via 3.5mm cable if you wish. 

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Amazon Echo Input

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  • Dimensions: 80 x 80 x 13.8mm, 78g
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth and dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5GHz), 3.5mm audio output
  • Power: Plugs into a wall outlet
  • Audio: Built in speaker for voice feedback
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

Amazon Echo Input is designed to add Alexa to existing speakers, with the Input connecting via Bluetooth or 3.5mm cable, so you can make your regular speakers smart. It's a bit like the Echo Dot, but without the speaker.

As such this is the cheapest Echo, but the speaker it contains will only really do voice feedback when you're not connected to other speakers. Once connected, Echo Input will offer all the services of Alexa. The Echo Input is ideal for those who want to add Alexa skills to an existing sound system.

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Amazon Echo Sub

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  • Dimensions: 210 x 210 x 202mm, 4.2kg
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5GHz)
  • Power: Plugs into a wall outlet
  • Audio: 6-inch down-firing woofer, 100W Class D amplifier
  • Alexa: No

The Amazon Echo Sub is technically an "Echo companion", in that it doesn't offer Alexa in its own right; instead, the Echo Sub acts to boost your Echo set-up by adding a dedicated subwoofer. 

The Echo Sub can be paired with one Echo or Echo Plus, but it's ideally suited to a stereo-paired set of Echos, to create a 2.1 system. The only drawback here is that you'll have to use Echos of the same type, i.e. a pair of Echo Plus. 

Essentially, if you're an Echo fan and already have one or two Echos, then the Echo Sub is a great upgrade, meaning you'll have a decent music system - and all with Alexa's great voice control.

Amazon smart displays and video devices

Aside from the devices that kick-started the connected speaker trend, Amazon has also moved into the realm of video too, with several devices that will give you a screen to take the Alexa experience into the visual realm.

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Amazon Echo Show 5

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  • Dimensions: 148 x 86 x 73 mm, 410g
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11a/b/g/n/c (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth
  • Display: 5.5-inch touchscreen
  • Audio: 5-microphone array, 1.65-inch speaker, 3.5mm output
  • Camera: 1-megapixel sensor
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The Echo Show 5 gets its name from the device's 5.5-inch display and is essentially just a smaller version of the main Echo Show. However, it's significantly cheaper than the main Echo Show. There are some compromises in camera and sound quality, although it provides sound good enough for most small to medium-sized rooms.

It offers a front camera for Alexa Calling, has a single speaker for all your audio and looks like a nicer option for a bedside Echo. Like the Echo Spot, it can also be used as a gradually-brightening alarm clock, while there's a new privacy shutter over the camera, too. 

Like the other Show, there's no YouTube support which remains a disappointment. But there is video calling with Skype as well as Ring doorbell integration. 

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Amazon Echo Show (second gen)

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  • Dimensions: 246 x 174 x 107mm, 1755g
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11a/b/g/n/c (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth A2DP, Zigbee controller
  • Display: 10.1-inch touchscreen
  • Audio: 8-microphone array, dual 2-inch stereo speakers
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The second-generation Show expands the display over the original model and moving the speakers to the side. The aim is a better audio and visual experience in a better-designed device, and that's what you get.

You get all the Alexa skills you did previously, including video calling (now boosted with Skype support), as well as the inclusion of a Zigbee controller. Like the Echo Plus, the new Show can setup and control compatible smart home devices without the need for separate hubs or apps.

The Echo Show remains king of the kitchen, capable of both entertaining and informing, with the display letting you see cooking recipes and your timers, as well as a whole lot more.

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Amazon Echo Spot

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  • Dimensions: 32 x 84 x 84mm, 163g
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5GHz) and Bluetooth (A2DP), 3.5mm audio output
  • Display: 2.5-inch round touchscreen
  • Audio: 1.4-inch speaker
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

The Amazon Echo Spot is what you'd get if you cross the Echo Show with the Echo Dot. It's a compact Echo to sit beside your bed for alarms. It has a small 2.5-inch screen, which can be used for basic tasks and skills, like music, but it does a lot more. Like the Echo Show it can be used to make video calls, with a front camera.

It basically offers the same functions as the Echo Show, but in a much smaller form factor - but there's no Zigbee controller. It can also connect to your Bluetooth speakers, or via line-out.

Alexa Gadgets

Amazon officially announced Alexa Gadgets in 2017 as a range of innovative devices that take Alexa into a new realm. We've included the Echo Look in this selection, because of its unique set of features. 

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Amazon Echo Look

  • Price: $99.99 Amazon US 
  • Dimensions: N/A
  • Connectivity: Dual-band, dual antenna (MIMO, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz)
  • Power: Power adapter (21W) with 7.9 ft. cable
  • Camera: 5-megapixel sensor
  • Audio: Built-in microphone array, built-in speaker
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

Echo Look is a $199 Wi-Fi camera that offers full Alexa functionality plus hands-free photo and video. It is pitched as a cloud-connected fashion consultant that allows you to snap pictures of yourself in various outfits. Alexa's software will automatically blur the background in each image to make your outfit pop, and then it uses machine learning guided by "fashion experts" to serve up recommendations about what you should wear.

It will work as any other Alexa-enabled device, allowing you to access music, traffic timers, weather, and a vast library of "skills." The device is wall-mountable, too, and includes a 5-megapixel sensor, built-in microphone array, and small built-in speaker. It also has LED lights (used for the flash).

Currently it is available in the US only.

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Amazon Echo Connect

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  • Dimensions: 130 x 90 x 29.5mm, 126.9g
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5GHz)
  • Included cables: Power adapter, Micro-USB cable, RJ11 splitter, phone cable
  • Audio: N/A
  • Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated, but requires Echo device)

The Echo Connect is a box that you plug your landline phone connection into to turn it into a voice-controlled system. The box, which was first launched in the US and will come to the UK and Germany 2018, works with an Echo to give you Alexa control over your conventional phone line. You will be able to make and receive calls in the home simply by telling it answer or ring a contact.

As it uses your existing landline number, you won't need to sign up for any additional services either. Plus, it all connects to other Echo devices around the home so you can call from an Echo speaker in the kitchen, say, or a Dot in the bedroom. It effectively signals the end of the basic handset.

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Amazon Echo Buttons

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  • Dimensions: 75 x 75 x 36mm, 52g
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Included cables: N/A, requires two AAA batteries (included)
  • Audio: N/A
  • Alexa: N/A

Echo Buttons are Bluetooth-connected devices with an illuminated button that can connect to Alexa for gaming. Imagine playing a game, such as Jeopardy, and being able to slap these buzzer buttons as you play. Jeopardy, of course, has long been a popular skill on Amazon's Alexa platform, so it makes sense that the company would want to develop an accessory that takes advantage of it.

But you can use these buttons for any Alexa-enabled game skill, including trivia ones. Amazon Echo Buttons cost $19.99 for a set of two in the US, or £19.99 in the UK.

Conclusion: Which Echo should you buy?

When it comes to the Echo speakers, the second-gen Echo (or Echo 2 as some might call it) is attractively priced and looks great. The small size and small price of the Echo 2 does come with a slight downside, and that's a smaller sound. 

If music is what you're interested in, then the new Echo Plus (second-gen) sounds a lot better than the Echo, so we'd recommend the Echo Plus as the speaker to buy. If music is what's important to you, then adding the Echo Sub will boost the experience, adding low range skills - so this is also great as an upgrade option in the future. Stereo pairing then makes for a great 2.1 system.

The Echo Plus is a natural smart home controller - although all Echo devices have Alexa skills to support a wide range of smart home devices, the Echo Plus will discover, name and control those devices that use Zigbee (like Philips Hue) without the need for separate hubs or apps. If you're building a smart home, the Echo Plus is the model you want.

Echo Dot is ideal to extend Alexa to other rooms of the house where you don't have an Echo, so if you've setup a voice-controlled smart home, Echo Dot makes it easy to always be in voice range. Ultimately, if you're getting into Alexa, you'll add Dots, but the Echo Input offers the cheapest way to connect to an existing sound system.

The Echo Show takes things in a different direction. It's more expensive, but it gives you video calling and a display for more interactive returns. If you know someone else with an Echo Show, it's a natural choice to save you from needing to use Skype on your laptop. Echo Show also offers a Zigbee controller, so has all the smart home advantages of the Echo Plus.

The Echo Spot will give you a mini Show experience, putting video calling and a small screen into a smaller device, the sort of thing you might want on your desk or bedside table. You still get all the Alexa skills, but Spot will probably be best joining a household that's already using Alexa. It's essentially the Echo Dot with a display - it's fun, but unlike the Echo Show, you won't want to watch video on it.

However, with the launch of the new Echo Show 5 - we'd expect that to be more popular than the Spot and the cheaper price compared to the Echo Show is likely to see it as the idea Alexa smart display.