Echo Dot Review: Alexa Voice Commands
Getting the speaker setup is simple especially if you have one or more Alexa devices already setup in your house. If thats you, all you need to do is head into the Amazon Alexa app and tap the plus icon in the Devices section the app will do a quick scan for nearby devices and before you know it youll be up and running with your new smart speaker.
If you dont have the Alexa or an Echo Device already installed, youll have to go through the process of downloading the app and signing into your Amazon account, but then its more or less the same process as above.
Once its set up, you can ask Alexa to set timers, create calendar events, play music, tell you the weather, call other Echo speakers and mobile phones, and read the news, as well as a host of other actions thanks to Alexa Skills.
Disappointingly, while the Amazon Echo Dot 2020 can control other smart home devices that youve previously paired with another Amazon Echo device, it cant pair any devices on its own because it lacks a built-in Zigbee hub. You can ask Alexa to do everything from turning your smart lights on to locking your front door, but youll still need another Amazon Echo to set up those devices.
None of these features make up for the lack of a Zigbee hub if you’re looking to build out your smart home, but for families the Kids Edition is a nice option that should allay parents fears of keeping a smart speaker around their kids.
Order A Domino’s Pizza
If you get hungry for pizza, just tell Alexa. With Alexa’s Domino’s skill, you can quickly order from your local Domino’s.
To get started, just say Alexa, open Dominos. Alexa will connect you to Dominos and get you ordering and tracking in no time. To re-order a saved order, make sure you have a Dominos Pizza Profile.
Amazon Echo Dot Price And Availability
The Amazon Echo Dot has been available as of mid-October 2022 for $49 , the same price as the previous . Its available in three colors: Charcoal, Deep Sea Blue and Glacier White.
For $10 more, you can opt for the 5th-gen Echo Dot with Clock, which has the same audio and smart home performance as the standard Echo Dot but introduces a multi-functional LED display. This lets it double as a bedside alarm clock. Similarly, the new Echo Dot Kids Edition costs $59 / £64 / AU$99. The Kids Edition comes in a few fun animal prints and pre-loaded with parental controls.
An important thing to keep in mind when purchasing an Echo Dot: Amazon regularly discounts the Echo Dot or bundles it with other smart home products during deals events. Be sure to follow our guide to Black Friday deals and other available now.
You May Like: What Is Amazon Flex Jobs
Newest Echo Dot Out Now
While Amazon has no regular schedule for launching new Echo Dot models, one thing is certain every release is an improvement on its predecessor in form and function.
That said, the newest Echo Dot out now is the Echo Dot 4th Gen, and it was released in 2020, just a year after the release of the Echo Dot 3rd Gen. Now, lets look at some of the speakers features so you can decide whether its a worthy upgrade or just a conversation piece.
Amazon Echo Dot 5th Generation Review: Price And Competition
So, whats the damage? Amazon wants £55 for the basic 2022 Echo Dot or £65 for the Dot with Clock.
Thats a fiver more than Amazon was asking for the 2020 Echo Dot, though thats kind of a moot point for two reasons. First of all, the old version seems extremely well hidden on Amazon and secondly, this is the kind of product Amazon loves to discount on Black Friday. If youre prepared to wait, you shouldnt have to pay anywhere near full price.
Thats also worth remembering for the full-size Echo, which normally costs £90 but will likely come down by a significant amount for the annual commerce festival.
What about rivals elsewhere? has a smarter virtual assistant, but weaker sound. It sells for £49, while the full-sized Nest Audio will cost you £90.
If youre in the Apple ecosystem, theres the Homepod mini, which sells for £89. There used to be a full-sized HomePod too, but Apple has discontinued it although you can still find them knocking about for around £250.
Recommended Reading: Are Audible Books Free With Amazon Prime
Echo Dot Review: Design
Amazon definitely took a different approach when it was coming up with the 4th generation Amazon Echo Dot. Instead of a hockey puck shape like previous versions, this Echo Dot is a palm-sized sphere.
Like the larger , the Amazon Echo Dots spherical chassis is divided into two parts: a layer of hard mesh and a plastic back piece with rubber feet on the bottom so that it doesnt scratch your table. Youll also notice a plastic translucent ring along the bottom, which serves as the LED indicator light, telling you when Alexa is listening , when the microphone is muted or when the speaker has lost its internet connection .
On the top of the space age-looking speaker are four control buttons volume up, volume down, microphone off/on and a button that summons Alexa. You wont necessarily need to use them if you dont want to as almost all of them can be replaced by voice commands but theyre nice additions.
If you turn the speaker around youll find a power connector and a 3.5mm aux jack that can be used as a line out port to send the audio signal to an external speaker. Thats an especially handy feature considering the Echo Dots less-than-sterling sound quality that well discuss in a minute, but its also somewhat disappointing that the 3.5mm aux jack doesnt double as a line in port like it does on the full size Amazon Echo.
Echo Dot Kids Edition
The kid-friendly version of Dot puts parents in control and prevents children from ordering toys, buying candy, or accessing inappropriate material. The hardware is the same, but the Echo Dot Kids Edition is a safer experience for small children.
The Echo Dot Kids Edition comes with a Dot, a colorful protective case, and a one-year subscription to the Amazon FreeTime Unlimited app for up to four kids.
FreeTime Unlimited provides access to books for kids that Dot reads out loud. If your kid has a Kindle Fire, they can use the service to watch free movies and TV shows and play free games.
In addition to one year of FreeTime Unlimited, the kid-friendly version of Dot comes with voice shopping disabled and automatically filters out inappropriate content when used with . Parents get powerful tools to control exactly when and how their children can interact with their Dot.
Parents can also install and activate age-appropriate Alexa skills, allow their kids to control specific smart devices like light switches, and more.
To make a Dot kid-friendly, install the FreeTime app. It requires a monthly subscription after a free trial period. For more information, check out the FreeTime Unlimited app on Amazon.
Recommended Reading: How To Know If I Have Amazon Prime
Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen Vs 4th Gen: What Should You Buy
Which of Amazons budget smart speakers is best?
The Amazon Echo Dot has been one of the most popular smart speakers, because, well, its cheap. Amazon typically sells the Echo Dot for less than $50, and often bundles it with some other smart home device, such as a smart light bulb or video doorbell, making it all the more affordable to acquire one of the best Alexa speakers.
At the moment, Amazon is selling two versions of the Echo Dot: The , and the . Both are two of the best smart speakers, but have different capabilities and different prices. In this guide, well compare the Amazon Echo Dot 3 vs. 4 to help you decide which you prefer.
Editor’s Note : Amazon has released the Echo Dot , which has a better speaker, more tap controls, and can be used as an Eero mesh Wi-Fi satellite. It’s available for $49.99, and will replace the Echo Dot . You can read more about it in our , along with everything else Amazon announced.
Echo Dot Review: Performance
In terms of sound quality, the Amazon Echo Dot really hones in on the mid-range, presenting clear vocals in songs and emphasizing speech in podcasts. Conversely, however, the soundstage isnt particularly wide and instead is fairly shallow with little separation between instruments.
Now, its spherical design might lead you to believe that it will offer 360-degree sound, but in actuality youre getting pretty focused, directional audio thats at its best when youre standing a few feet in front of it. Thats not necessarily a bad thing, but its worth noting.
Songs weve tested include pop hits like Hey Jude by The Beatles and Justin Biebers Lonely, as well as some classic funk and rock as well. The trend seems to be the same throughout: great vocals in that midrange sweet spot but at the expense of the trebles and bass response that sound muted at almost any volume level. Like the larger Echo, you can tweak each of these areas individually by asking Alexa to raise the bass, midrange or treble, but it doesnt radically impact the sound of the speaker.
In terms of overall volume level, the Amazon Echo Dot gets moderately loud if you max it out, however it doesnt seem to be able to hold that volume level for an extended period of time and eventually drops to a more sustainable level. If you’re looking for a good party speaker, this isn’t it.
Don’t Miss: Is Amazon Unlimited Worth It
Similar Yet Pleasing Design
At first glance, the Echo Dot with Clock looks a lot like the fourth-gen model, with fabric covering the top half of the sphere-shaped device, while the bottom is wrapped in matte plastic. There are four slightly raised controls on the top for volume, mute and action all of which can be used to trigger Alexa and it comes in muted Charcoal and Glacier White colors.
But look closely and youll notice that the LED display on the front now has a brighter, scrolling display so it can show things like the time, the weather, the music youre listening to and all kinds of helpful information. It may not seem like much, but I found it to be surprisingly useful.
Im used to listening when I ask Alexa the weather for the day, but I now found myself glancing at the display to see it scroll by in numbers as well. For example, the little rain icon or cloud gave me an instant outlook on what to expect for the day. You can also check to see if an alarm is set by looking for a dot on the bottom, which is useful because Im in constant fear that Ive forgotten to ask Alexa to wake me up. Having the clock display adds $10 to the price , but I think its a worthwhile upgrade.
Amazon Echo Dot : Design And Features
- New temperature sensor
- Takes seconds to set up
We really can’t overstate how easy the Amazon Echo Dot is to set up. It takes only a couple of minutes and you’re good to go. The design and layout of the unit are similarly straightforward. With the same spherical design as previous generations, it weighs just over 300g and measures 3.9 x 3.5 inches. Even with small hands, it’s simple to grip onto, being more of an oversized tennis ball than anything else.
The 3.5mm audio jack is no more which is frustrating for anyone looking to connect it to larger speakers. You can always use Bluetooth instead. Plus, this all means there’s only one cable to plug in the power cable.
Up top is volume buttons, an Alexa action button, and a button to mute it so it can’t hear what you’re saying. If you hit the latter button, the speaker illuminates red to let you know it can’t hear anything, with red denoting it’s actively listening for a command.
It’s simple, intuitive, and ideal for everyone.
New to this Echo Dot are tap controls too. Tapping the top of the speaker pauses a song, ends a call, or snoozes an alarm depending on the situation. A cheeky part of us wonders if that’s a return to more traditional tactile speakers than the voice assistant days of now. Still, being able to tap it to shut up early one morning is always welcome.
In the US, the Amazon Echo Dot also works with Eero so you can increase Wi-Fi coverage. However, we couldn’t test this due to being in the UK.
Don’t Miss: How To Sell My Books Back To Amazon
Which Amazon Echo Smart Speaker Should You Buy
Here’s how to choose the model with the right sound and features for your home
When you shop through retailer links on our site, we may earn affiliate commissions. 100% of the fees we collect are used to support our nonprofit mission.Learn more.
Amazon continues to offer a wide selection of Alexa-powered smart speakers with a broad range of features and prices. Whether youre looking to upgrade or youre in the market for your first-ever Amazon smart speaker, the options can be confusing.
The first thing to know is that despite the varied looks and prices, one model wont perform much differently from another when it comes to smart speaker functionality. Ask Alexa to set a timer, turn off the lights, or order a pizza, and any of the devices can do the job.
Thats because most of the artificial intelligence grunt work is outsourced to the companys servers, not carried out in the speaker sitting on your kitchen counter.
But the Amazon Echo models differ in other ways. That includes sound quality, and Consumer Reports surveys show that most consumers use smart speakers for listening to music. Early Amazon Echos suffered from subpar audio quality, but that has improved, at least in some models. The newest version of the Echo sounds substantially better than its predecessor, and the , which was updated this fall, is now able to compete on sound quality with top-ranked smart speakers like the Sonos One.
Echos Size Looks And Portability
The latest versions of the Echo and Echo Dot received a massive redesign. Previously, the Echo was a cylindrical speaker, and the Echo Dot was a flat, puck-shaped device. Now, both are spherical, fabric-layered speakers that look similar in appearance, with the Echo Dot simply being a bit smaller than the Echo.
The latest Echo is 5.7 inches in diameter with a height of 5.2 inches. The latest Echo Dot is 3.9 inches in diameter, but its only 3.5 inches tall. The Echo is significantly taller and heavier than the Dot, weighing just over 970 grams. The Echo Dot is more lightweight, weighing 341.3 grams.
Note: Both models have their LED indicators in a light ring around the base now and require an outlet or power pack to operate, so they arent really designed to be portable.
Finally, the Echo 4th-gen and the Echo Dot 4th-gen are both available in white, charcoal, and Twilight Blue. The Echo Dot has some other kid-friendly skins as well, which well discuss below.
Read Also: Is Amazon S3 Hipaa Compliant
Q: How Can I Use Alexa With My Smart Home Devices
A: You can connect your smart home devices so that they can be commanded via Alexa. You can also do this using a number of Echo Devices. Each smart home device is connected to your Echo or Alexa device and then it can be voice-controlled via smartphone from anywhere in the world. You can also use the same commands to turn lights on or off, adjust the thermostat and more, all without leaving the comfort of your bed or sofa.
Difference Between Echo And Echo Dot
The differences between the latest versions of these devices come down to size, sound, and cost. If youre just looking to be introduced to Alexa, youll be fine with the Echo Dot, especially if you only want a desktop companion. It even comes in a kid-friendly version thats ideal for a childs room. Theres also an LED clock option for the Dot that can make it a surprisingly effective alarm clock in your bedroom.
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock
While the two devices are fundamentally the same when it comes to accessing Alexa, music aficionados will want to side with the Amazon Echo. It delivers superior audio performance and its more capable of covering larger rooms. You can even pair two of them together for a stereo sound experience. Whereas the Echo Dot sounds underpowered in bigger spaces in the home or office, the Echos beefier audio hardware is better at delivering the necessary audio experience to blanket those areas. Yes, youre paying more for the Echo , but audiophiles who take pride in audio quality wont mind dishing out the money for it.
Also Check: How To Track Amazon Package With Tracking Id
The Eero Functionality Is A Mixed Bag
As an Eero mesh Wi-Fi user, the idea of using the Echo Dot with Clock to extend the Wi-Fi in my house sounded so tantalizing, but unfortunately I was never able to increase the speed in my one-level 1,550-square-foot home.
Amazons Eero mesh Wi-Fi system uses beacons to carry and extend the Wi-Fi signal throughout the house. How many beacons you use depends on the size of your home. To test this, I updated my Eero router to a newer generation, replacing the main Eero router in my office as well as the beacon, or extender, in the middle of my house. My hope was to use the Echo Dot with Clock to extend that coverage even further to the guest bedroom, which is at the opposite end.
Amazon says the built-in Eero functionality can add up to 1,000 square feet of coverage to your existing Eero mesh Wi-Fi network , and support speeds of up to 100Mbps but my results didnt support that. While most of my home gets over 200Mbps down and 12 up, the guest room, as my son constantly tells me when he visits, is a dead zone and averages about 40Mbps down and 7 up. Its enough to power the Ring Video Doorbell at the front door but not enough to avoid buffering when hes streaming videos.
After linking my account in the Alexa app and downloading an update, I connected the Echo Dot and toggled on the option to extend Wi-Fi. After running multiple tests on my phone using the Speedtest app, as well as my sons phone, it seemed I actually lost speed rather than gained it.