Amazon Echo is a smart speaker which comes bundled with all-knowing virtual assistant, Alexa. The popular speaker debuted a few years back and can currently be purchased for $179 a pop. Alongside the Echo, Amazon also offers two sibling speakers which were announced last year, the Amazon Tap and Echo Dot.

The Amazon Tap is the closest thing to the Echo. From exterior to functions, the two are very similar. The Tap is a bit smaller and but features the same 7-microphone array as the Echo. But unlike the Echo, which has to be plugged into wall outlet in order to function, the Tap was designed to be a portable companion instead. The gadget is wireless and must use a cradle to charge.

Another notable difference between the two is that the Echo can be activated by voice, while on the Tap you’ll need to press a physical button in order to awake Alexa. However, that’s no longer the case as Amazon has recently pushed an OTA update which allows Tap users to use voice commands to activate the device.

With this new feature on board of Tap, a lot of customers will think twice when choosing between the Echo and the Tap, especially since the latter is $50 cheaper.

But before you make a decision you need to consider a few other things – for example, the Tap is capable of streaming up to 9 hours of audio on a full charge, but with the new hands-free mode battery life with certainly be affected. The Tap isn’t usually on by default, but the new feat will require the mic to say always-on.

You should also consider that audio quality on the Echo will be slightly better than the Tap. So if you’re mainly interested in speaker function, you should probably go with the Echo. But otherwise, the Tap is definitely the best option to choose – it’s cheaper, more portable and it has Alexa onboard too.

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