We bought an Echo Dot as an early Christmas gift to ourselves and we’re so glad that we did. It’s a very useful gadget because there’s such a wide variety of things we can ask Alexa to answer or tasks that she can do for us (eg: alarms/timers, calendar, ordering, weather).
Half the size and half the price of the original Echo, Amazon’s second generation Echo Dot has paved the way for scores of voice-activated devices.
More and more people are becoming sold on the many benefits of smart home technology and we’ll look today at the role of this most recent iteration of Echo Dot so you can see whether you fancy this speaker with a difference.
We’ll first highlight the chief advantages and drawbacks of this highly capable little speaker before we explore what it does best in more detail…
What We Like
- Smaller footprint than original Echo as well as coming in at half the price for the double-win
- Seamless integration with smart home technology
- Fully Alexa-enabled so you can control your smart home hands-free thanks to your favorite digital butler
- Benefit from 30,000+ Alexa Skills helping you do everything from paying your credit card bill to ordering pizza or an Uber
- While you can only get Echo Dot in black or white, there are plenty of third-party cases if you want a dash of color or texture
- Stream music from Amazon Music and Spotify to TuneIn and Pandora with the convenience of hands-free voice control
- Hook up Echo to your external speakers using a cable, Bluetooth or WiFi. With proper support and connections, play music across multiple Echo devices with ease
- Acts like an intercom with other Echo devices in your smart home whether you want to make brief Announcements or you want a full-bore video conference
- Drop-In functionality brings you closer together with instant communication
- Super-simple to set up so you can get going straight out the box
What We Don’t Like
- Speaker quality is lacking so Echo Dot is best avoided if your primary intended usage is listening to music
- Prone to picking up WiFi interference when wired
Design and Options
Design is pretty subjective but it always plays a part in any buying decision so how does Echo Dot shape up?
Imagine the original Echo lopped in half and you’re pretty much there.
Measuring up at just 3.3 x 3.3 x 1.3 inches, the new Dot has a tiny footprint and you can pop it just about anywhere.
Although it weighs less than 6 ounces, you need it plugged in at all times so it’s not a portable device despite its scaled-down dimensions.
You’ve got a circle of LED lights around the top of the device serving as a status bar of sorts.
There are 4 simple buttons for Action, volume control and enabling or disabling the mic.
An anti-slip base is specially coated to prevent your Echo Dot from taking an accidental tumble.
There’s a straight-up choice of black or white although you can invest in a case if you fancy a bit more color.
Impressive functionality is encased in a glossy plastic rather than the matte body of the previous generation.
For a diminutive voice-activated speaker to slot into any smart home even if you’ve got limited space, Echo Dot looks better than ever before.
Performance and Features
While looks are important, there’s useless if form triumphs over function.
How does Echo Dot shape up on the performance front then?
While Echo Dot is marketed as a speaker, the first thing you should do is connect your device to an external speaker! This seems almost ridiculous to state but you’ll get far superior results.
There’s no line-in cable provided but that’s to be expected considering the cut-throat price. You can get started immediately with a Bluetooth connection so start enjoying a richer sound through your existing speakers.
While this underwhelming speaker performance might be frustrating, Echo Dot is no different to any Echo device: it serves first and foremost as an access point for Alexa. We’ll look into that in a bit more depth shortly.
Many facelifted models offer very little by the way of improvement but that’s not the case with Echo Dot. Where the first generation microphones often struggled to pick up your voice, especially over the sound of music, this second generation Dot is much more capable with the 7 microphones hearing you from right across the room. If you intend to consistently play loud music, you could consider investing in a dedicated Alexa voice remote.
Beneath everything, though, Echo Dot is fundamentally an Alexa access point so what’s all the fuss about?
Alexa All The Way
As we’re sure you know, Alexa is a cloud-based, voice-activated digital assistant that just keeps on getting better.