Skip to Content

Alexa vs Echo: The #1 Difference (Updated 2023 Guide)

Alexa VS Echo

Ask a hundred people what the difference is between Alexa and Echo.

And chances are…

Most will tell you that they’re the same. 

But that couldn’t be any further from the truth.

And I’m here to help clear up any confusion.

Continue reading to find out:

  • 5 best Echo devices that you can buy.
  • What Alexa and Echo exactly are and how they differ. 
  • Why having Alexa is crucial to make Echo smart speakers work. 
  • And this is just the beginning…

Alexa vs Echo – what is the difference?

The difference between Alexa and Echo is that Echo is a smart speaker. While Alexa is Amazon’s voice AI. Echo is a hardware device. While Alexa is the software that makes it possible to communicate with Echo. And there are many other devices, aside from Echo, with built-in Alexa.

What is Alexa?

Alexa is a voice-controlled intelligent virtual assistant. It was first used with the Amazon Echo smart speakers in late 2014. Today, there are many other gadgets with built-in Alexa. And plenty of other devices that work with it. 

The development of Alexa began in 2013. But it wasn’t built from scratch. 

In that same year, Amazon actually bought a Polish voice AI technology named Ivona. They then enhanced its features. And Alexa was born.

And over the years, Alexa’s skills have only continued to expand. It now has so many tricks up its sleeve. 

In fact, Alexa can do things even without the internet

“Why did developers choose the name Alexa?”

Because it’s a nice common name with the letter X. 

The letter X is a hard consonant. And names with hard consonants are easier to pronounce. 

This helps the AI recognize voice commands with greater accuracy.

What is Echo?

Echo is a brand of smart speakers. It’s built by Amazon. And it’s powered by Alexa. It was originally released in 2014. And it has since expanded into several versions. Each with unique features.

Some of the things you can do with the Echo include:

  • Play music.
  • Set the alarm.
  • Voice interaction.
  • Stream podcasts.
  • Know the weather and traffic situation.

Now regarding the confusion, Alexa and Echo aren’t the same. 

Just like Siri and iPhones are totally different. 

Alexa is a program in the Echo. Much like Siri is a program in an iPhone

The confusion with Alexa is likely because that name is Echo’s default wake word.

A wake word is what gets Echo devices ready to listen. That’s why we say Alexa first before voicing out our command.

But did you know that you can actually change it?

Yes, you definitely can. The other wake words you can use include:

  • Echo.
  • Ziggy.
  • Amazon.
  • Computer.

And the process of changing it is really simple:

  1. Open the Alexa app from your phone.
  2. Tap Devices.
  3. From the list, tap the device that you’d like to change.
  4. Tap the Settings icon.
  5. Scroll down to Wake Word and select it.
  6. Choose the Wake Word that you prefer.

Want to watch how it’s done? Then check out this video:

Alexa vs Echo – buyers guide

All Echo products come with built-in Alexa. But there are also non-Echo products with Alexa. 

Trying to build a smart home? Then all these Alexa-enabled products are perfect for you. 

And if you’re not sure what to buy, I’ve got your back. 

I’ll be presenting here 5 of the best Echo products. As well as 5 great non-Echo devices with Alexa.

Let’s get started.

5 best Amazon Echo smart speakers

#1: Amazon Echo 4th Gen 2020

This latest generation of Echo is one of the best smart speakers available. At least until its successor arrives. Likely later this year.

The 4th Gen Echo was actually released in 2020. It’s been around for a couple of years. Yet it’s still an excellent, all-around smart speaker.

Some of its best features include:

  • Premium-quality sound.
  • Built-in smart home hub.
  • Better design compared to previous gens.

With the 4th Gen Echo, you can easily connect it with other compatible smart devices. It also has a rich sound that can fill an entire room. 

Its spherical design is a welcome change from the previous cylinder versions.  

At around $100, it’s definitely worth it.

#2: Amazon Echo Dot 4th Gen 2020

On a tight budget but still want an Echo? 

The Echo Dot 4th Gen 2020 is perfect for you. 

This is Amazon’s entry-level for their smart speakers. At around $50, it’s half the price of the original echo. But don’t mistake that for lack of features.

The Echo Dot still has plenty to offer. Including:

  • Digital clock.
  • Improved design.
  • Smart home integration.

Its sphere design is a vast improvement. The previous versions looked like hockey pucks. 

Now it’s basically a smaller version of the Echo. 

Its digital clock also makes it a perfect nightstand and alarm clock. 

About the only difference between Dot and the original Echo is the sound quality. 

The Echo Dot’s audio isn’t as rich. But for its price, still a great bang for your buck.

#3: Amazon Echo Dot Kids

Looking for the perfect gift for your little ones? Then look no further than Echo Dot Kids.

This is actually very similar to Dot. The only difference is that Dot Kids come with cute animal designs. 

You also get Amazon Kids+ for 1 year when you buy Dot Kids. This includes kid-friendly audiobooks and games. 

These added features are why Dot Kids is priced at $60. Around $10 more expensive than Dot. 

#4: Amazon Echo Show 5 2nd Gen 2021

Amazon Echo isn’t only limited to smart speakers. They also have smart displays. 

And it that’s what you prefer, then look into the Echo Show 5.

Its screen size is 5.5 inches. So it’s portable. But also great for video calling friends and families with Echo or Alexa app. You can also stream your favorite shows through this.

The Echo Show 5 is also great as a display. 

You can feature the time and current weather. Or turn it into a digital frame with Amazon Photos.

And above all, with its camera, it’s great for smart home monitoring. At around $85, this is a great investment.

#5: Amazon Echo Studio

Echo Studio is for you if you’re after the best sound. 

This is among the more expensive Echo devices. With a price of around $200.

But the Echo Studio is Amazon’s biggest and loudest speaker. It’s also the most advanced.

It automatically adjusts the sound depending on the location. And it has Dolby Atmos technology. So you’ll enjoy the clearest, most powerful sound when streaming music.

5 best devices with built-in Alexa

#1: Amazon Fire TV Omni Series

“Alexa find me an action movie on Netflix.”

Why bother with the remote when you can simply command Alexa?

You’ll easily find many smart TV brands with built-in Alexa. 

But if you’re looking for a recommendation…

Then go for the Fire TV Omni Series.


Because it’s built by Amazon as well. So you know that its Alexa integration is perfect.

With Alexa, you can control the Fire TV Omni hands-free. You can also ask Alexa for recommendations. Just in case you couldn’t think of something to watch.

At only about $350, this TV is among the cheapest with smart features. 

#2: YAMAHA YAS-109 Soundbar

Soundbars are typically used to enhance your TV’s audio.

But with Alexa, they can also serve as an alternative to Echo. 

And one of the best available is the YAMAHA YAS-109. 

Play your favorite songs with Alexa’s music commands. Set alarms. Ask for the latest news. And even control your Fire TV. 

Pretty much everything you can do with an Echo, you can do with YAMAHA.

In addition, this soundbar has built-in subwoofers. So you can expect the highest quality sound. Whether you’re watching a movie, playing music, or talking to Alexa. 

It’s currently priced at $220. 

#3: Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch

Fitbit Versa 2 Health And Fitness Smartwatch

The Fitbit Versa 2 is a great buy for health buffs out there.

It’s ideal when you’re working out as you can track your heart rate. You can also ask Alexa to play music with Fitbit’s Spotify app control.

It’s also great if you’re on the go. If you’re outside, you can ask Alexa about traffic situations. Or weather forecast. 

So this smartwatch is definitely worth it with its $220 price tag. 

#4: Bose Headphones 700

Another really good Alexa-enabled gadget is the Bose Headphones 700.

As with the smartwatch, this is also a must-have if you spend a lot of time outside. 

No need to pull out your phone. You can simply ask Alexa to start your playlist. As well as ask for directions when you’re driving.

Add to that Bose’s crisp, clear sound. As well as its premium design. Plus a light, comfortable build. And this one’s a winner at just a little under $300.

#5: Ecobee Smart Camera

For your home security, the Ecobee Smart Camera is a great choice. 

It has an HD camera with night vision. It also has a smoke alarm detection.

And for your privacy, it automatically shuts off when family members are at home.

With Alexa, you can easily control all of Ecobee’s features. 

At $95, this is another excellent device to have for your smart home.

People also ask:

Which is best Echo or Alexa?

Echo devices are among the best smart speakers you can buy, while Alexa is a leading voice AI technology. And it’s now integrated with other gadgets. Both of them are excellent products. They’re both helpful when trying to build a smart home.

Do I need both Alexa and Echo?

You need both Alexa and Echo because they go together. Without Alexa, Echo is just another Bluetooth speaker. Echo’s smart features are made possible because of Alexa. And all Echo products have built-in Alexa. 

Is Amazon Echo and Alexa the same brand?

Amazon Echo and Alexa are the same brands. At least in the sense that they’re both Amazon products. But they’re different technologies. Echo is a brand of smart Bluetooth speakers. While Alexa is the name of Amazon’s voice AI. 

You might also want to know: Can Echo and Echo Dot Work Together? 5 Things To Know