Echo Dot Vs. Echo Show: Which Alexa Device Is Right For You?

Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices are taking over homes across the world. The Amazon Echo smart speaker lineup includes compact devices like the Echo Dot and screen-based models like the Echo Show.

But with so many options to choose from, how do you know which one is the right fit for your needs?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare the key features of the Echo Dot and Echo Show to help you determine the best Alexa device for your home.

We’ll compare speaker quality, screen capabilities, smart home control, privacy concerns, and more to highlight the pros and cons of each model. Let’s dive in!

A Brief Comparison Table

FeatureEcho DotEcho Show
Price$49.99$84.99 – $249.99
Audio QualityVery good for its compact sizePassable but lacks bass
Speaker(s)Dual front-firing speakerSingle speaker
Display ScreenNoneYes, 5″ – 10″ touchscreen
Video CallingNoYes, with built-in camera
Visual Alexa ResponsesLED lights onlyYes, on screen
Camera Privacy ShutterN/AYes
Smart Home ControlFull Alexa integrationFull Alexa integration
Overall Size3.9” diameter x 1.7” high5.8” – 9.9” x 5.4” – 6.7” high

Overview Of The Echo Dot And Echo Show

The Echo Dot is Amazon’s compact and affordable Alexa-enabled smart speaker. It’s now in its 4th generation, delivering crisp vocals and balanced bass in a convenient, hockey puck-sized design. The Dot connects to WiFi to access Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant technology that allows for hands-free voice control.

Echo Dot
Echo Dot

With Alexa, you can ask questions, play music, set timers and alarms, control smart home devices, check the weather, and more using just the sound of your voice. The latest Dot has improved speaker performance over previous generations for fuller sound.

The Echo Show takes Alexa a step further by adding a visual display to the mix. It has all the same Alexa voice-controlled features as the Dot, with the addition of a vibrant touchscreen. This allows you to watch videos, view photos, make video calls, view security cameras, and more.

The screen enables Alexa to provide visual responses to questions instead of only audio responses. There are several Show models available, like the compact 5″ Echo Show 5 and larger 10″ Echo Show.

Sound Quality Comparison

When it comes to audio performance, the Echo Dot and Echo Show offer noticeable differences.

The spherical Echo Dot packs impressive sound into its petite form factor. Dual front-firing speakers deliver clean mids and crisp highs that fill small to medium-sized rooms. While bass response is understandably limited given the Dot’s diminutive size, audio comes across balanced despite the lack of thumping low-end.

Music sounds great on the Dot, especially for casual listening. Just don’t expect room-shaking bass or expansive soundstage comparable to larger smart speakers. Voice clarity for Alexa commands remains excellent.

With the Echo Show, audio takes a bit of a backseat to the visual display. The built-in speakers get the job done for video calls and watching brief videos, but lack the fidelity of a dedicated smart speaker.

Show models have single speaker drivers which constrain frequency response. As a result, sound quality comes across rather thin and constrained. Music lacks bass impact and the overall presentation feels small. Still, for occasional music and video use the Show speakers are passable. But for dedicated music listening, pairing the screen model with a separate speaker via Bluetooth yields better results.

Winner: Echo Dot for superior music and voice performance in a compact design.

Display Comparison

When evaluating the Echo Show versus the screenless Echo Dot, the display capabilities are where these devices truly differ.

Echo Show
Echo Show

The Echo Show shines in this regard, with a vibrant touchscreen to add visuals to your Alexa experience. The compact Echo Show 5 features a 5.5” display while the Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 10 have 8” and 10” screens respectively.

You can watch YouTube videos, view recipes hands-free as you cook, make video calls with the built-in camera, see on-screen lyrics when streaming music, and more. Photos and album art appear when using Alexa skills and playing audio. Smart home camera feeds also appear on-screen.

Beyond just visualizing responses, having a screen opens up additional capabilities not possible on a device like the Echo Dot. Alexa becomes even more helpful when she can show you information instead of just speaking it.

And while the Dot only has a set of LED lights that illuminate when Alexa is activated, the Show models’ touchscreens take Alexa interactions further. Seeing timers count down, your calendar at a glance, weather forecasts, and more makes Alexa feel even more integrated into your home.

Winner: Echo Show for its versatile display that adds visual Alexa responses.

Smart Home Control

Both the Echo Dot and Echo Show provide robust smart home integration to control compatible devices like lights, switches, locks, thermostats, and more.

You can use Alexa voice commands like “Alexa, turn on the lights” to control smart bulbs and outlets. Say “Alexa, set the thermostat to 72 degrees” to adjust connected thermostats in your home. Voice control makes managing your smart home utterly convenient.

In the Alexa app, you can set up Routines to trigger multiple actions with a single command. For instance, say “Alexa, goodnight” to shut off lights, lock the doors, lower the thermostat, and play sleep sounds in one go.

You can also use the app to view and control devices or create groups. Having a Show adds the bonus of controlling Zigbee-compatible devices directly from the screen. But both models offer the exact same voice-controlled smart home integration.

Winner: Tie. Smart home control via Alexa works equally well on both the Echo Dot and Echo Show.

Video Calling

Here is an area where having a screen makes all the difference. While you can’t video chat using the Echo Dot, the Echo Show models enable you to make video calls with family and friends.

Just connect your Alexa contacts, and then you can say “Alexa, call Mom” to start a video call on the Show. The crisp camera with auto-framing ensures you stay centered on calls.

You can disable the camera via the shutter when privacy is preferred. When you want to see loved ones face-to-face, the Show makes staying connected effortless.

Winner: Echo Show for the ability to make video calls.


Privacy is important when bringing an Internet-connected microphone into your home. Both the Echo Dot and Echo Show take privacy seriously.

You can mute the microphones on both devices when you want to ensure Alexa isn’t listening. Just press the button on top. The microphone off button disables the microphone completely so Alexa can’t be activated until you unmute.

In the Alexa app, you can review voice recordings and delete them individually or all at once. Alexa also allows you to opt out of having recordings saved entirely. Voice recordings are used to improve Alexa’s accuracy.

With the Echo Show, you get the added security of a physical camera shutter to block the lens when you want visual privacy. Sliding the shutter enables confidence when having an Alexa device with a camera in private spaces like your bedroom.

Overall, Amazon provides robust controls to limit Alexa recording and safely manage your privacy. Just take advantage of the mic mute button and camera cover when wanted.

Winner: Tie. Both devices offer strong privacy protections.

Physical Design

The Echo Dot impresses with its compact, spherical design that fits in tight spaces. Measuring just 3.9” in diameter and 1.7” high, the Dot squeezes Alexa into a puck-sized package.

It has a clean, minimalist look with its fabric exterior available in three colors: Charcoal, Glacier White, and Twilight Blue. Tiny yet mighty, the Dot delivers Alexa in the most compact form.

With a screen comes increased bulk. The Echo Show gadgets measure between 5.8” – 9.9” long and 5.4” – 6.7” tall depending on the model. With options like the Show 5, 8, and 10, you can choose the screen size that fits your space.

Clad in fabric similar to the Dot, the Show has a tidy, unassuming appearance. While larger than the Dot, the Show models maintain a modern, low-profile aesthetic. The displays add visual usefulness without crowding your counters.

Winner: Tie. The Echo Dot is incredibly compact, but the Echo Show balances screen size with attractive design.

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Price Comparison

With its smaller build and reduced features, the Echo Dot provides streamlined Alexa access at an affordable price point. The 4th Gen Dot is priced at just $49.99.

Adding a screen increases costs. The Echo Show models range from $84.99 for the Show 5 to $249.99 for the Show 10. Having Alexa’s visual capabilities doesn’t come cheap.

But for the increased functionality of the Show versus a solely audio-based device like the capable Dot, the additional cost may be justified depending on your needs. The most affordable entry point for a screen is the compact Show 5.

Winner: Echo Dot for budget-friendly pricing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Echo Dot better than show?

The main advantage of the Echo Dot is its lower price and more compact, focused design. It delivers great voice control and sound in a petite package.
However, the Echo Show’s screen adds lots of useful functionality for videos, calls, visual information, and controlling smart home devices. The Show costs more but provides a more robust Alexa experience.

What is the difference between Amazon Echo and Echo Show?

The Echo is Amazon’s original smart speaker with Alexa built-in. The Echo Show takes the Alexa assistant experience further by adding a vibrant visual display.
This allows you to watch videos, make calls, view photos, see camera feeds, and visually interact with Alexa in ways not possible on audio-only devices like the Echo.

Which Alexa device is best?

It depends on your needs. The Echo Dot is ideal if you want affordable Alexa access in a small form factor. The 4th Gen Dot has great sound for the price. For small spaces like bedrooms and kitchens, the Dot is a perfect fit.
If you want to add visuals, the mid-priced Echo Show 8 hits the sweet spot of screen size versus cost. Get the Show 5 for the lowest priced Alexa display. Opt for the premium Show 10 for the best video watching experience and camera for calls.

What are the disadvantages of a Echo Dot?

The Echo Dot does not have a screen like the Show models. This limits Alexa’s responses to only audio. You also can’t make video calls from the Dot. And while the Dot has impressive sound quality for its tiny size, it understandably can’t match the fidelity of the much larger Echo smart speaker.
But for the low price, the Dot delivers huge value. Just be aware the screen, camera, and larger audio performance are missing compared to other Echos.

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Final Verdict

Determining whether the Echo Dot or Echo Show is better for you depends on your needs and budget.

If you want rich audio in a compact design at the lowest cost, the Echo Dot is the clear choice. It delivers powerful Alexa voice features in an ultra-affordable package.

But if you want to take full advantage of Alexa’s visual capabilities for video watching, calls, camera feeds, weather displays, and more, then the added cost of the Echo Show is warranted.

Having a screen makes Alexa that much more useful. The mid-sized Echo Show 8 strikes a great balance of price and performance for first-time buyers. But the petite and budget-friendly Show 5 also shines.

For room-filling sound, be sure to connect either model to external speakers. While the Dot provides better overall audio than the Show models, linking to dedicated speakers improves the experience.

So weigh your priorities – outstanding voice or versatile visuals? Compact design or larger display? Low cost or increased functionality? Once you know what matters most, choosing the best Alexa device for you is easy.

With Alexa’s personalized, voice-controlled assistance, you can’t go wrong with either Amazon option. The Dot and Show will both become invaluable additions to your smart home ecosystem.

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