Amazon Echo Dot vs JBL Go 2: Ball or Square?

In the smart speaker arena, a fair share of attention goes to the larger sized contenders such as the Echo Studio and New Gen 4 Echo but the bulk of purchases are the small and humble players such as the Echo Dot, the Apple Homepod Mini and recently the JBL Go 2 speaker. It may look like a toy speaker but its incredible sound has earned the JBL series a slot at   the table of high end devices and this comparison with the revolutionary echo dot.

The Echo Dot has proven to be a darling of the masses and a speaker that Amazon will not grow tired of making and selling and it is no wonder that they continually improve and market it. The 3rd gen model of 2018 was an awesome release and still remains relevant and on point in 2021 so we are going to use that for comparison with the JBL Go II.

JBL is that other little smart speaker that has come to redefine how loud and balanced little speakers can sound. The fact that the larger sized boxes sound better is a sheer advantage of room to pack more hardware and move more air. .JBL is a well-designed little box that seems to defy these laws of physics and packs quite the punch compared to what we would imagine it would sound like. It does look like a toy speaker but the sound of it will surprise onlookers.

Amazon Echo DotJBL GO 2
Amazon Echo DotJBL GO 2
PROSPROS
Surprisingly good sound quality and loudness for its size.

Excellent mics to pick commands and feedback.

Capable of the full Alexa experience in other Echo models.

Low price for premium product.

Gorgeous design.
Affordable.

Water proof.

Durable simple design.

Amazing sound for the price.

Trusted brand.
CONSCONS
Not easy to mount on walls compared to previous model.

Not as concealable as the 3rd generation.

May come with white charge cable even for darker shades.
Bass distorted at high volume.

Boring design.

Sound not dramatically good.

Lacks on smart features.
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Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot 4th Gen Smart Speaker

It would appear that Amazon designs draw their inspiration for the echo Dot series from sports. First we had a hockey puck sized speaker and now we have one that measures and looks like a softball with a small segment chopped off.

It came as a total surprise when the Amazonians unveiled their new Echo dot product which was a complete turnaround of design concept and form. Don’t let the small pint size of this little smart speaker fool you though because it packs quite the punch and may just surprise you with its real worth in sound and fidelity. It does share the oblate spheroid form of the larger sibling but assumes a miniature scale.

The Dot is offered in two iterations, one with a built in Led clock that will set you back and extra $10 from the set price of $49.99 for the one without the clock. You may have to get the best sellers online to get it for this much reduced price as it can run pretty gamut on other platforms.

Rather than a downgrade in sound quality, the dot is surprisingly crisp and will amaze listener in terms of the projection minus the heaviness of bass. On a few points like the bass output you expect a regression from the prior model because of the obvious lack of sheer mass to move air. Because of its size, design and price, the 4th gen Echo Dot is one of the best buys for a budget smart speaker today even without factoring in the Amazon flash sales frenzy where you can get it for only a fraction of the value.

We will also note that there are several iteration of the Echo Dot and the 4th generation is considerably (actually twice) larger than the previous 3rd gen Echo Dot speaker. We have mentioned that it takes after the new Echo Dot’s shape of a deflated ball with the flat side resting on the bench for stability. It also comes meshed with a soft attractive fabric and an even cuter matte finished plastic material at the bottom. Out with the old hockey puck design and in with the new softball size and measuring about 3.5 inches overall.

JBL GO 2

JBL GO 2 Smart Speaker

The JBL GO measures a mere 71x86x31 mm but is capable of surprisingly loud volume even though at such it will struggle with bass response and clean sounding mids and highs. It is portable with a 5 hour battery life which is very underwhelming for a speaker of this caliber. On the flipside, it costs only $40 and comes waterproof for outdoor use which is pretty enticing an offer compared to the Echo dot if money is of primary concern.

The speaker has a boring box shape with a rubberized in place of the typical cloth mesh used in high end speakers but is water proof so there is that. On the plus side, the Go 2 does come in a plethora of colors so that you can pick one that says am unique.

The exteriors of this make are pretty boring with a large JBL logo etched on the front grille and no back end grille for bass projection. All the basic controls are clustered on top so there is nothing fancy about it. To make matters worse, it comes with a lousy voice assistant for which you have to long press the multi-function button and speak really loudly to get it to hear you correctly.

Design

JBL and Amazon are a world apart in terms of resources they can afford to pour into research and development yet it is not always a straight line graph for quality of design versus costs poured into the process. Here are some distinctions between these two speakers based on their design.

Amazon Echo Dot 4th Gen

Amazon Echo Dot vs JBL Go 2

The new and interesting design of the Echo Dot is a two pronged approach to making the speaker a more worthy adversary in the smart speaker arena with a more aesthetic look and still retaining the uniqueness of what an Amazon smart speaker should look like. As expected, it packs a better punch than the puck design which was looked down upon by larger speakers in the market because size does matter.

This new model comes with a 1.6 inch speaker but also some notable compromises such as the inability or difficulty in mounting on walls compared to the flat puck. It is less disguised and will stand out more on a shelf than the previous speaker. Fortunately the 3rd gen speaker is still in circulation so if you still plan on mounting then you can go with it.

The Dot is also offered in three new colors the dark grey, light grey and the light blue options. It is a bit frustrating when you order the darker version and get a white power cord which makes it more visible. We found that you can still use the power cord and adapter from the 3rd generation if you already own one.

JBL GO 2

Amazon Echo Dot vs JBL Go 2

It measures just 2.8×1.3×3.4 inches which makes it comparable in size to the coveted Amazon Echo Dot minus the thoughtful design. It weighs a couple of ounces and will be your small road warrior if you need a small inexpensive speaker to enhance listening on your phone. The range of colors makes it better even though the company chose to go with more muted colors like coral orange, champagne and cyan.

Rated IXP7 the JBL is happy with water environment and for whatever reason you want to wash it in your sink or jump with it in the pool, it will appreciate the chill.

The controls are very obvious and boring for the JBL. Even more disturbing are the dominant JBL labels on the front and back unless you actually like the acronym with not much character to it. It feels cheap and rubbery compared to every other smart speaker you can think of and is only a souped-up Bluetooth speaker come to think of it.

Smart Features

Amazon Echo Dot vs JBL Go 2

The JBL as we have mentioned severally does not have much in the way of smart features and the little that it has is limited. So if you are buying for smart home hub or something related to the current trend in speakers that can control other smart devices and things like that then you can default to the Amazon Echo.

Verdict

For the smart speaker category you want to buy a speaker that is actually smart enough then the Amazon Echo Dot is the obvious choice here. It is a smarter more elegant design and shakes of the presumptions of what smart speakers should look like. It worth the bucks especially with the effectiveness of Alexa and the countless opportunities that open up with access to her.

 On the other hand, JBL is resilient brand with some surprising sound, quality for the price. It may be boring on exterior design but JBL with its single driver is comparable to the refined sound of the Amazon speaker array. The Clip 2 speaker from JBL is the GO 2’s immediate competition.

That said, the JBL platform is a go to small speaker choice especially for its price point. You will be inevitably hamstrung by its physical limits and boring look but you will be pleased with the loudness and equalization.