Echo Dot 3rd Gen vs 4th Gen: What’s the difference?

The Echo Dot 3rd Gen and Echo Dot 4th Gen are among the most popular models in Amazon’s portfolio of Echo speakers, which includes an incredible array of smart home gadgets. These budget smart speakers feature the right design and enough power to be kept anywhere at home, making it tough to pick between the two. To help you, we are pitting Echo Dot 3rd Gen vs 4th Gen in this comparison guide. 

The Dot series of Amazon Echo speakers have gone through several generations in the time it has been on the market. By releasing a spherical 4th-generation Echo Dot, Amazon has abandoned its puck-shaped design entirely. Not only that, but things have evolved in other ways as well. 

Let’s give you a better look at their advantages and disadvantages below. 

Echo Dot 3rd Gen vs 4th Gen: Pros and Cons

Before we begin the comparison, let’s take a look at some pros and cons of Echo Dot 3rd Gen vs 4th Gen. 

Echo Dot 4th Gen

The new Echo Dot 4th Gen isn’t a huge improvement over the previous generation, but it’s a step in the right direction in the areas that matter. New chips have doubled the speed of Alexa requests, the speaker now faces forward for better sound distribution, and the appearance is both stylish and efficient.

Echo Dot 4th Gen Pros

  • Enhanced design
  • Optimized processor for better Alexa functionality
  • New low power mode
  • Eco-friendly
  • Front-firing speaker

Echo Dot 4th Gen Cons

  • You cannot wall-mount these speakers 
  • No improvement over speaker size 

Echo Dot 3rd Gen

It is the only Echo Dot model that can be wall-mounted, which many customers prefer. There are also new capabilities for smart homes, such as Sidewalk Bridge and Guard Plus, that will be rolled out to Amazon’s Echo Dot 3rd Generation over time. 

Echo Dot 3rd Gen Pros

  • Compact and efficient 
  • Value for money
  • Can be wall-mounted and compatible with Sidewalk Plus 

Echo Dot 3rd Gen Cons

  • Not a front-facing speaker  
  • Older processor slows Alexa functionalities   
  • Higher volume levels result in low-quality sound 

Echo Dot 3rd Gen vs 4th Gen: Features Face-Off

If you’ve been debating between the Gen-3 and Gen-4 Echo Dots, or if you want to see how they compare, this Echo Dot 3rd Gen vs 4th Gen article will clear up the confusion. 

Design 

The Echo Dot speaker from Amazon has come a long way. The first and second-generation Dot’s shell was made of hard plastic, but the puck shape was retained. The rounded corners and fabric cover on the 3rd-generation Dot smoothed the look. 

The Echo Dot 3rd gen is 3.9 inches wide and 1.7 inches in height. The action and volume buttons alongside the microphone control are all placed on the top smooth surface, surrounded by a light ring. The color options available include charcoal, heather gray, plum, or sandstone.

The 4th generation of Echo Dots represents Next-generation Echo speakers. There is a spherical form to the Echo Dot 4th generation (ditching the puck-shaped design from previous generations), and it’s 3.5 inches tall by 3.9 inches wide. Despite not having a screen, the new Dot has a bigger overall footprint than the previous model. 

It’s worth noting that the light-ring on the 4th-generation Echo Dot is situated in a different location, i.e., at the bottom rather than on top. Additionally, the four action buttons have a slight rise to them. The 4th-generation Echo Dot features a more advanced design and looks more premium than the 3rd generation. The 3rd-generation Dot, on the other hand, may be simpler to tuck down in a corner and remain unnoticed for people who want to have a speaker they can conceal. 

The 3rd-generation Dot is more discrete and simpler to mount on the wall, but that doesn’t mean the 4th-generation isn’t capable of hovering in the air with the right accessories. Also, the bigger body of 4th gen Echo Dot helps in producing better sound quality.

Winner: It’s a tie since both designs have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. 

Sound Quality

The tweeter on each speaker measures 1.5 inches in diameter. Instead of shooting upward, the new Echo Dot’s speaker faces forward. In comparison to its predecessor, the new Dot (4th Generation) sounds better and is louder.  

Listening to Alexa’s vocal responses and podcasts hits differently as the sound is aimed directly at you, you’ll have an easier time hearing sounds. 

The Echo Dot 3rd generation significantly improved the acoustics over previous models. Overall, the sound became broader and relatively balanced, with deeper lows and smoother mid- and treble tones. 

Amazon’s Echo Dot 4th generation has a front-firing speaker instead of a rear-firing one to improve the acoustic setting. As a result, there isn’t much of a distinction when comparing them side by side. However, the larger chassis of the Dot 4th generation results in less speaker shaking when music is played loudly. You may plug in an Echo Dot 3rd or 4th generation’s 3.5mm connector to use headphones or an external speaker. 

Winner: The Echo Dot 4th generation aces this category, thanks to its new enclosure and enhanced sound staging.

The Clock 

Front-facing clock displays are available on the 3rd and 4th generation Echo Dot speakers. The 3rd-generation Dot with clock compared favorably to the 3rd-generation Echo. The LED display has the added benefit of displaying timers and the temperature in addition to the time, which is a wonderful feature. 

The LED clock on the 4th-generation Echo Dot shows the time, alarm, and timers. Users can activate the snooze button on this alarm clock by just tapping the surface of the gadget. 

Winner: The 3rd and 4th generation clock Dot speakers both improve on the speaker’s display-less predecessors. Therefore, it’s a tie.

Smart Home Integration

Smart home integration largely depends on the software and its abilities. Both Echo Dot 3rd and 4th gen speakers are backed by the same apps and functionalities, which means their workings remain the same. 

Powered by Alexa, both Echo Dot speakers will give you identical results because the assistant does much of its computing in the cloud. 

It does imply that Alexa should be quicker and more intuitive on the updated speaker due to the inclusion of the latest AZ1 Neural Edge technology in the updated 4th gen Echo Dot. 

Winner: Everything you can do with the 3rd gen Echo Dot will still function with the new spherical 4th gen model and vice versa. This means it’s a tie for this category as well. 

Connectivity

The Bluetooth and Wi-Fi standards and the smart home gadgets and streaming services that you may connect to the Dot have not been modified with the 4th generation of Echo Dot. Other Amazon projects and products such as Amazon Sidewalk and Amazon Guard Plus work with older Echo devices. 

Internal and external design modifications and new components included set the Echo Dot 4th gen apart from the 3rd gen.

Winner: Again, it’s a tie! 

Standout Features 

Let’s look at other standout features for our Echo Dot 3rd Gen vs 4th Gen comparison. 

Alexa Guard Plus & Care Hub

The 3rd generation Echo Dot and the 4th generation Echo Dot both use the same Alexa technology. If you want to utilize Alexa to keep tabs on a senior member of your family, there are additional skills like Alexa Guard Plus, an upgraded version of Alexa Guard, and Care Hub. These features work with any Echo Dot speaker. 

Alexa Guard and Guard Plus were introduced by Amazon this year, enhancing the security of the Dot and other Echo devices. In addition, these capabilities include audio monitoring for issues like broken glass and smoke detectors and connection with security systems from Ring and ADT. For $5/month, Alexa Guard Plus gives access to Amazon’s emergency hotline and emits noises like barking dogs to dissuade burglars. Alexa Guard (standard) is free of charge.

As a bonus, Amazon also introduced Amazon Sidewalk, which adds neighborhood networking. All of the Echo devices have been updated to use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) frequencies to improve web performance for a wider range of devices.

Eco Friendly & Power Saving

A new emphasis on environmentally and energy-conscious design is the final adjustment to the Echo Dot’s appearance. To create the 2020 Echo Dot 4th gen, Amazon allegedly used “50 percent post-consumer recycled plastics, 100 percent post-consumer recycled fabric, and 100 percent recycled die-cast aluminum.” In addition, the “Low Power Mode” is now available on all 4th Generation Echos, ensuring that the Dot uses less power over time.

By incorporating recycled plastics, fabrics, and metal in its new models, Amazon tries to make a concerted effort to reduce its environmental footprint. The “Climate Pledge Friendly” label is given to updated Echo devices like the 4th Generation Echo Dot, and the company adds extra capabilities to support energy conservation. For example, you can now check how much energy your Echo and other Smart Home devices use with Amazon’s new Energy Dashboard. 

Pricing & Availability 

The launch price of the 3rd-generation Echo Dot was $50, but you may be able to find one for as little as $25 nowadays. Third-party sellers may even have the 3rd-generation Dot with the LED Clock, but the brand new version is no longer on sale on Amazon. 

The 4th-generation Echo Dot retails for $50. Echo Dot 4th Gen with Clock was introduced on November 5, priced at $60, and is available for purchase. In the same way, Amazon devices go on sale, you’ll often find these speakers included in smart home bundles with other devices like smart lighting and thermostats. 

The 4th-generation Dot’s aesthetic and sound enhancements are excellent features that you won’t be disappointed spending money on. However, if you can get a 3rd-generation Dot on sale for a reasonable price, it’s still a terrific choice. 

The 4th-generation Dot gets a bonus point for overall value and availability.

Conclusion 

To conclude the debate between Echo Dot 3rd Gen vs 4th Gen, both smart speakers are decent, but the newer version packs some incremental improvements. 

Amazon’s smart speakers are becoming better and better as new features are added to each iteration. Even though the 4th gen is the latest Dot, the 3rd Generation Dot isn’t a deal-breaker if you’re a lover of the puck design. The 4th generation Echo Dot is, in our honest view, the superior tiny audio device, albeit only being marginally better in a couple of categories. 

So, choose wisely as the price difference is not huge. It all boils down to what you want. 

About Melissa

Hey! I'm Mel, I write the occasional article for Spacehop, amongst other things. I love meeting new people and chatting, so if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

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