Update:Amazon Prime Day is near and we expect Amazon will once again offer deep discounts on both Echo Dot speakers.
There's a new Echo Dot in town, the 3rd Gen, and it's one of the best smart speakers out there. But the 2nd-Gen Echo Dot can still be a great purchase.
While the two models started at the same price, the older version is much cheaper now that the younger, 3rd-Gen model has been released. The 2nd-Gen version's price has dropped to just $39.99.
Is the 3rd-Gen Echo Dot worth $10 more? Yes, but the 2nd-Gen Dot can still be a worthwhile purchase.
2nd-Gen vs. 3rd-Gen: Echo Dot specs compared
As Echo speakers go, neither of these is particularly expensive. The 3rd-Gen model starts at $49.99, the 2nd-Gen model at $39.99. However, both devices are often discounted; in the aftermath of Cyber Monday, Amazon was selling the 2nd Gen for $24.99, with the 3rd Gen going for $29.99. We expect to continue seeing significant discounts on the 2nd-Gen Dot, as is often the case when Amazon tries to clear out old models.
If saving money is a priority for you, this is a great time to buy the discounted 2nd-Gen Echo Dot. However, given the large difference in quality between these two speakers, we expect that a price drop of $10 (and even less when the devices are discounted) won't matter for most shoppers.
Both devices also periodically come bundled with other products, so you should keep an eye out for those deals. For example, you can currently get the 2nd-Generation Dot bundled with the Fire TV Stick at a discount. You can also save $30 on the 3rd-Generation Dot bundled with the Amazon Smart Plug.
Winner: 2nd-Gen Echo Dot
The 2nd-Generation Dot looks a lot like a hockey puck, made of shiny plastic that feels a bit tacky. It also comes in only black and white, though third-party vendors make cases in a wider variety of colors.
We strongly prefer the new Echo Dot's design. Amazon has removed the shiny plastic and put in the same mesh fabric that surrounds the 2nd-Generation Echo, 2nd-Generation Echo Plus and 2nd-Generation Echo Show. The edges of the 3rd-Generation Dot are rounder than on the older model, so it looks more friendly and less like a puck.
While the 3rd-Gen Dot comes in three colors (black, dark gray and light gray), there's no way to use any third-party cases with the all-new Dot. However, we assume that companies will release more accessories for the new version in the coming months.
Winner: 3rd-Gen Echo Dot
The 3rd-Generation Dot's design brings with it a much bigger sound.
We found the new Dot's audio to be superb, with a very full sound and clear bass. It's not as good as what you get from a full-size Echo or Echo Plus, but it's a definite upgrade. We much prefer it to the 2nd-Generation Dot's sound, which was tinny and distorted.
We wouldn't recommend using the 2nd-Generation Dot as a stand-alone speaker for music, but the 3rd Generation can hold its own (though, again, audiophiles will probably want something more).
Winner: 3rd-Gen Echo Dot
The 3rd-Generation Echo Dot is a huge upgrade in both design and audio. While the 2nd-Gen Dot is less expensive, the discount isn't usually more than $10 over the newer model.
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With either device, be sure to look for deals that include the Dot for free with other smart home products. But if you have a few extra bucks to spare, the 3rd-Gen Echo Dot is the one to get.