Amazon Echo and Amazon Tap are two popular Alexa voice assistant gadgets that are very confusing.
In as much as they all support Alexa, they are designed to suit different needs. So, if you are using Amazon Alexa and you don’t know which device will cover your needs, you are at the right place. It is very important to know what they offer and their differences so that you don’t end up spending over $100 for a gadget that won’t suit your needs.
For this reason, we decided to do a review of the Echo and Tap, clearly highlighting the major uses and differences so that you may get the best voice assistant that matches your lifestyle.
Amazon Echo – Best Smart Home Controller
- The Echo is always on ready to serve you
- Controls Smart Home installations like heaters, fans, lighting, robot vacuum cleaners and so on
- Connects to many 3rd party platforms
- No monthly costs or subscription fees
- Keeps you updated on news events and even weather
- Offers great convenience for those with mobility issues and the old
- Your privacy is not guaranteed
- Can’t directly play music from iTunes; you have to import playlists to Amazon Prime Music
- It is stationary
However, in as much as I find Echo a great assistant, there are a few things I didn’t like.
- Highly portable
- Controls Smart Home installations
- Connects to 3rd party platforms like Dominos, Uber, among others
- Keeps you updated on weather forecasts and news events
- Better sound quality
- 9 hours playback time
- Can still be used in case of power outage
- Free ‘always listening’ upgrade
- As an outdoor gadget, it is not all-weather
- Doesn’t have voice activation, you have to tap
On the downside, I find Tap to be quite hard to operate.
What’s the Catch with Amazon Alexa?
These two devices offer great convenience and that’s why they are so popular nowadays. Everyone wants to be part of Alexa and here’s why;
- You can use them to control Smart Home installations like fans, heaters, security cameras and so on
Keeps you activated on news events, traffic, and even weather
- Plays music from Amazon Prime Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify and other streaming platforms as well as your Smartphone
- Acts as a personal assistant by answering your questions, creating task lists, adding products to your shopping cart and so on
- Connects to 3rd party platforms like Uber, Lyft, MySomm, Dominos, 1-800-Flowers and so on
Tap vs. Echo: How do they Compare?
By now, it is evident that the Echo and Tap are two different Alexa devices. While the Echo is a great hands-off Smart Home controller, Tap is great for outdoor music enthusiasts even though it can also work as an automation controller. So, what brings this difference? This is what we are going to look at in this segment.
Even though they are all cylindrical, the Echo is much larger than Tap both in height and diameter. For this reason, it is clear that Tap is better when it comes to portability. Besides this, there’s also the Amazon Tap Sling that will cost you an extra $20 for easy portability and protect it while on the go. I feel this is a rip off considering brands like JBL and BOSE give a free carrying case. Worse enough, with this sling, you can’t access the charging port.
These two Alexa devices also have a different power approach. The Echo being stationary, you need to connect it to the mains via a 6-foot cord provided. On the other hand, Tap has a rechargeable battery that can last it for 9 good hours. Here, Tap is the best because even with a power outage, you are still covered.
All these two devices are very easy to operate but offer different approaches. The Echo is fully voice-activated while Tap needs to be tapped before giving it voice prompts. I really love the Echo because it stays on all the time so you only need to tell it what you want anytime. On the other hand, you will have to wake Amazon Tap by tapping it before giving it any prompts. In as much as most people criticized it for this, there’s a reason why it was built that way; it was meant for use outdoors and would be funny if it decoded other prompts unknowingly. The good thing is that there’s a new upgrade that allows it to stay on always so you won’t have to tap it first.
Tap being a portable speaker; it has been built with a more robust sound system for the best music experience. On the other hand, the Echo has a speaker system that focuses more on capturing voice prompts and not delivering the best music experience. The Echo packs a 360-degrees omnidirectional audio system with down-firing speakers. Even though it has a woofer, I didn’t like its bass response. On the other hand, Tap sports a 360-degrees omnidirectional dual-stereo Dolby audio system that delivers the best sound. However, compared to what JBL, BOSE and other portable speaker brands offer, its performance is still wanting.
The Echo and Tap come with different price tags. While the Echo retails at around $179, Taps costs $50 lesser.
Echo vs. Tap: What’s the Best Alexa Device?
If you’d ask me, this is a very ambiguous question because these two devices were meant to serve different purposes. While the Echo is specially designed for Smart Home automation control, Tap is built for music enthusiasts. For this reason, it is hard to say which one is the best Alexa device.