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Amazon Echo Flex vs. Echo Dot

The Echo Flex and Echo Dot represent two of the smallest Echo devices with Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa — of course, there is also the Echo Input, but that forgoes a built-in speaker. If you’re choosing between the Flex and the Dot, a small-sized device is likely one of your primary concerns, but which option is better? We take a look at what each Amazon Echo device offers to help find the perfect choice for you.

In this side by side, we’ll be looking at Amazon’s latest Echo Dot model, the spherical fourth-gen speaker.

Not sure if either of these two Echo speakers is for you? Take a look at our list of the best smart home devices to find the best option for your home.

Design

Product still of the new Echo Dot in charcoal

The new Echo Dot is arguably the more attractive of the two options, sporting a pronounced orbital design, with a woven texture finish that is available in a variety of different color options, including charcoal, twilight blue, and glacier white. The new Kids Edition of Echo Dot, which we will discuss in detail later, comes in either tiger or panda overlays. Weighing in at 12 ounces and 3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches, the device is pretty small (although a bit taller than earlier puck-shaped models). Think of it as a small snow globe. If you want the device to stand out a bit more, you can even opt for a clock edition of the Echo Dot that displays the current time in white, as well as temperature, timers, and alarms. For colors, there’s only twilight blue and glacier white.

On the other hand, calling the Echo Flex beautiful is a stretch. It’s not an ugly device by any standards, but it doesn’t feel like a warm and inviting gadget, something the Echo Dot can accomplish with its cloth finish. Instead, the Echo Flex looks like a small power brick or smart outlet. It certainly is small, though, coming in at only 2.8 x 2.6 x 2.0 inches. Best of all, it doesn’t rest directly on a counter or other surface, as it plugs neatly into your wall socket and stays there. One thing to note is that the Echo Flex will become a bit bulkier as we add on its attachments, which we will soon discuss.

Sound

Image of Echo Flex on table

Let’s get straight to the point: Neither Dot nor Flex has the best audio quality for music. Take a look at the larger Echo speakers for optimal sound, but the Echo Dot still does a decent job kicking out tunes. Echo Dot feels perfect for a little mambo in the kitchen during dinner, or blasting a song in your bathroom so you can pretend that Taylor Swift’s latest single is about you. On the other hand, we will say it flat out — the Echo Flex is not for music, at all.

While the Echo Dot sports a 1.6-inch speaker, the Echo Flex includes a tiny 0.6-inch speaker. With the Echo Flex, the speaker is there so you can hear Alexa’s voice, not start a mini dance party. Both Echo devices feature a line-out option for connecting external speakers, but if you are going that route, we suggest you instead take a look at the Echo Input. It is specifically designed to add Alexa to your existing speakers.

Usefulness and connectivity

Echo Dot image, 16:9 scale

Both the Echo Dot and Echo Flex are incredible little devices, simply because they bring the magic of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant to your home. With a simple command, you can control your home’s smart appliances and light fixtures, or conjure up a favorite tune. You can communicate with friends and family using the device’s built-in calling feature and perform the standard set of tasks, setting timers, alarms, and reminders, on any of Amazon’s Alexa devices with ease. As usual, you can also add on Alexa skills to devices to expand their overall capabilities. But, when it comes to tricks, Echo Flex does go a step further.

Beyond being a smaller, and cheaper, Echo device, the Flex packs a few tricks of its own. Mainly, the device can use Amazon’s new optional accessories. For only a bit more money, you can purchase a smart motion sensor or smart night light that plugs into the USB port on the bottom of your Echo Flex. Using these attachments, you can set lights to automatically turn on when someone enters the room or engage the nightlight at dusk. When any accessories don’t use the USB port, you can also use it as a charging port for smartphones or other devices.

Echo Dot isn’t entirely left out when it comes to surprises. There are two other versions, as we mentioned before — the Echo Dot Kids Edition and the Echo Dot with clock. While the clock is self-explanatory, the Kids Edition offers additional content for kids. Each Echo Dot Kids Edition can access only kid-friendly skills. Additionally, parents can set daily time limits and review activities. Want to remove explicit songs from your kids’ music service? The task is easily done with the Echo Dot Kids Edition. The speaker even includes a two-year warranty that covers any damage from the kids.

Both the Echo Dot and Echo Flex present useful features, and each adds a bit of usefulness in different areas.

Pricing and availability

Right now, the Echo Dot is only available for pre-order. The device officially launches on October 22. The pre-order is $50. If you’re looking for a deal, you can currently nab the third-gen Echo Dot for $39. The new Kids Edition is priced at $59 but can be widely found at $50, and the new Dot with clock comes in at $60. On the other hand, Echo Flex is cheaper, priced at an MSRP of $25, but typically on sale for less than $18. If you want an Echo Flex with an accessory, you can pick up the Smart Motion Sensor or Smart Night Light combo kit for around $32 with a standard price of $40. Both Echo devices are excellent, but we do give a thumbs up to the Echo Flex for its seemingly impossible pricing — an entire Alexa device for around $20.

Conclusion

If you want an Amazon Echo device, both of these options will bring Alexa to your home, but the deciding factor will likely be whether or not you want to listen to music, and how much you care about counter space. If music is in your mind’s eye, then go with the Echo Dot as it presents a solid option for rocking out. Otherwise, if you have absolutely no counter space or want Alexa in a spot such as the walkway, Echo Flex comes in as an attractive option that fits on the wall.

Lastly, if you have kids, you’ll likely want to opt for the Echo Kids Edition with its additional features aimed at children and parents. Home automation users, however, might find strong use cases for the Echo Flex’s built-in motion sensor and night light. Then again, you can always purchase separate motion sensors for your Echo Dot.

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