Echo Pop vs Echo Dot (5th Gen): which is the best budget Amazon smart speaker?

Dark grey Echo Pop and light grey Echo Dot sat on separate bookshelves
(Image credit: Future)

The Echo Pop vs Echo Dot debate is a relatively new one as the Pop only joined the Amazon Echo family in May 2023. Meanwhile, the Dot – a relative veteran – is now in its fifth generation.

The five-star Echo Dot has long stood out as one of the best smart speakers on the market. While it first appeared as an affordable vehicle to get Amazon's Alexa voice control assistant into homes, it has since evolved to improve sound quality. 

It's very accessible as far as wireless speakers go – not least when the Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday sales events roll around and often slash its price in half. But that hasn't stopped Amazon from producing an even more entry-level Echo – the Echo Pop. The Pop undercuts the Dot's price and sports a slightly different design and spec sheet.

So what are these differences exactly and which smart speaker is the better buy in light of them? This guide outlines all you need to know about the Echo Pop vs Echo Dot comparison...

Echo Dot (5th Gen) vs Echo Pop: price

Echo Dot 5th gen on a bookshelf in front of books

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The Echo Dot was the most affordable Amazon Echo speaker for a long time, sitting below its pricier Echo and Echo Studio siblings. It currently costs £54.99 / $49.99 / AU$79, though we have seen it fall to less than half that during sales events. During Black Friday week, it cost £22 in the UK.

The Amazon Echo Pop is now the cheapest model in the Echo lineup, priced at £44.99 / $39.99 / AU$59. Again, you can expect this cheap price tag to drop even lower during sales events. During Prime Day 2 week, it cost £18 in the UK.

**Winner: Amazon Echo Pop**

Echo Dot (5th Gen) vs Echo Pop: design

Four Amazon Echo Pops in black, grey, purple and green on stands

(Image credit: Amazon)

The design of budget smart speakers has typically been in keeping with their price – compact and minimalist for the most part, with very few flourishes. However, later generations have evolved their appeal, whether through their shape, materials or colours. The latest Dot is a good example of that.

The fifth-gen Dot sports a spherical design measuring 8.9 x 10 x 10cm (hwd) and offers an outer of finely woven speaker mesh with a smooth plastic base. The Alexa ring, which encircles the bottom rim, glows blue when the assistant is called into action. Amazon boasts that you can tap the Echo Dot pretty much anywhere and get a response from Alexa. The Dot also features touch controls that are useful for pausing songs, ending calls and snoozing alarms, while Charcoal, Deep Sea Blue and Glacier White are your colour choices. Note that for a slight premium you can buy an Echo Dot with Clock version that clearly displays the time through an LED display, whereas the Pop doesn't have that option.

The newer but more affordable Amazon Echo Pop, meanwhile, is understandably a simpler affair, with a spherical back but a flat front where the speaker fires from. Its slightly smaller physical form is therefore like a sliced-in-half Echo Dot and does look a little more akin to that of your standard bedside clock.

The Pop has volume controls on the top and an LED light across the top to illuminate when Alexa is listening actively. The Pop comes in a few more colour options than the Dot – Charcoal, Glacier White, Lavender Bloom and Midnight Teal.

**Winner: Amazon Echo Dot (5th Generation)**

Echo Dot (5th Gen) vs Echo Pop: features

Echo Dot (5th Gen) on a bedside table being tapped by a person in bed

(Image credit: Amazon)

For both the Dot and Pop, the real central feature is Amazon's Alexa voice control assistant. Since she works the same in both models, they start out on pretty even standing.

Connection to both speakers is done wirelessly via Bluetooth and wi-fi. You can Bluetooth music from your smartphone to either speaker, though you'll likely make more use of the wi-fi connection, which facilitates Alexa voice control and music streaming from Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music or other supported online services. There are lots of third-party 'smart' integrations outside of music listening too, such as Ring doorbell alerts and Nest smart heating controls.

Alexa also has its own range of apps, aka "Skills", from playing games to enjoying quizzes and learning fun facts. That said, the simple search functionality is excellent now, with most questions answered using search results where the source is quoted before the answer is read out to you.

So how do the two vary on the feature front? While the 'smart' software brains are the same, there are a couple of hardware differences. The Dot has a temperature sensor that isn't featured on the Pop. This sensor allows you to set routines that are triggered by the indoor temperature. Want a smart heating device to kick in when it gets below a certain temperature in the room the speaker lives? That's an option with the Dot, which you can't do with the Pop.

Amazon also says the Dot offers a "Bigger Vibrant Sound" than the Pop, though its driver is actually smaller than the Pop's – 1.73 inches compared to 1.95 inches.

**Winner: Amazon Echo Dot (5th Generation)**

Echo Dot (5th Gen) vs Echo Pop: sound

Echo Dot on a wooden shelf with some books

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

While you shouldn't expect either Echo to compete with pricier options found in our best Bluetooth speaker buying guide, there's a reason the Echo Dot 5th Gen features in it as our pick of the 'best smart' speaker – it has an impressively expansive sound for its small size and is pleasingly clear and weighty too.

We weren't hugely keen on the sound of Amazon's early Echo models, but the trajectory has been very much one of continual improvement. Amazon said its fifth-gen efforts would result in the best-sounding Echo Dot yet, and it's quite right. 

We haven't put the Echo Pop and Echo Dot side by side in a sound quality shootout yet, but we would expect the Pop to offer a performance not a million miles away from its sibling. The Dot will likely deliver a more room-filling soundstage due to its spherical design, even if it has a smaller driver inside.

**Winner: Amazon Echo Dot (5th Generation)**

Echo Dot (5th Gen) vs Echo Pop: verdict

Amazon has arguably always been the biggest name in smart speaker technology thanks to its Alexa assistant and Echo lineup, and it's easy to see why it remains so popular when you consider what the Echo Dot and Pop offer for such low asking prices.

In our minds, however, the Dot wins the day. For the extra tenner over the Pop, you get a more premium, refined design, an onboard temperature sensor for greater smart integration, and most likely a more room-filling sound.

That said, if you're looking to fill a small space, are fond of one of the Pop's extra colours, and/or wouldn't benefit from the temperature sensor, the cheaper speaker could be all that you need. And you could put that saving towards something else – perhaps even another Pop for another room.


Read the full Echo Dot (5th Generation) review

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Compare the Echo lineup: Which Amazon Echo speaker should you buy?