In this weekly column, hosts Brandon Doyle, Doyle Real Estate Team with RE/MAX Results, and Colton Pratt, project manager, walk through smart-home products and showcase their capabilities while reviewing pros and cons.

Amazon Echo products have become very popular, and they make great closing gifts for clients. But with so many of them out there in the market, which one do you choose?

In this video, we’ll explore the differences between the various generations of Echo devices as well as all of the current Echo speakers available on the market today. The video offers a more in-depth comparison (including a deep dive into energy usage and decibel reading), but here are a few pointers if you’re trying to figure out which Echo device is right for you.

1. Amazon Echo Dot

There are currently three generations of this voice-controlled speaker, which uses Alexa to do a variety of things like play music, control other smart home products, make calls and so much more.

The first generation of Amazon Echo only has two buttons whereas Gen 2 and 3 have four. Compared to its previous plastic-exterior versions, Gen 3 has cloth design, an optional alarm clock display and far-field microphone, which helps detect your voice from farther away.

The sound quality has increased between second and third generations (Amazon claims it is 70 percent louder), so in this video, we’ll test and see if this is accurate.

2. Amazon Echo Gen 1, 2, 3 and Plus

Aside from differences in height and shape, Gen 2 and 3 products have fabric exterior as opposed to the hard plastic of Gen 1. Echo Plus has Zigbee and controls smart home devices directly without requiring a separate hub.

It can even control them locally without requiring the internet. One thing that is valuable is that the Gen 2 Plus has a temperature sensor, which can be helpful for automations.

The difference in sound quality between the Gen 3 and Gen 1 and 2 isn’t that noticeable, but the reason I think it’s a superior product over the Gen 1 is because the Gen 3 device is more responsive due to its far-field voice recognition technology.

3. Echo Show Gen 1, 2 and Show 5 and 8

The second generation Echo Show has Zigbee and doesn’t require a separate hub. It can control your smart home devices directly without requiring the internet.

The original Echo Show has a 7-inch screen, and the second generation version is 10.1 inches. The Show 5 is 5.5 inches and the Show 8 is 8 inches. Both the Show 5 and 8 have a physical privacy screen for the camera, which is a nice addition. The second generation Show has Dolby processing and a 5-megapixel camera, which would work well if you’re planning on using it for video calls.

Echo devices are often available at a discounted price around Prime Day or Black Friday, and they can often be found packaged with along with other smart home products for free.

For more details on what makes these products’ advantages and drawbacks, check out the video above. 

Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — RE/MAX Results in Minneapolis and co-author of Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.

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