Amazon Echo Dot is an excellent product because it maintains almost everything that made Amazon Echo great and also brings a major cut in price.
- Stellar voice recognition
- Excellent, smaller design
- Line out functionality is great and useful
- No digital audio output
- Needs more skills
- Limited voice control of audio output
Without stress, we can easily call Amazon Echo Dot and the Amazon Echo, two of the best products of the 21st century. The two have made us understand that voice can be better than touch it comes to finding music of our choice and commanding our smart home.
The Amazon Echo Dot and Amazon Echo were a means by which Amazon has taken its voice assistant, Alexa and turn it from software made mainly for searching video catalogs into a more general assistant.
In just a few years, Alexa has developed from an interesting curiosity into an intelligent voice assistant that can help you the user with everything from playing the music from Spotify and telling you the weather.
Within a very short time, it has gained many new skills, learned to talk to different new smart home products and its Drop-In function now allows you to chat with anyone, anywhere by calling their smartphone or Echo device.
The Amazon Echo Dot takes everything that made Echo great and reduces the built-in speaker to allow you to connect to just any external speaker that pleases you.
So Echo Dot left you with a great small hardware. This form factor makes a lot of sense, and although the Amazon Echo Dot is not quite seamless in its ability to use external speakers, it is still a great improvement over the full-size Echo.
It is small in size and not pricey at $49. This low price and small size make Echo Dot an excellent way to get Alexa.
Amazon Echo Dot design and set-up
The Amazon Echo Dot is a beautiful looking product. It has almost the same circumference as the full-size Echo, but it lacks the volume ring, meaning it comes with additional two buttons on top of it to control volume directly, in addition to the listen and mute buttons.
The Echo Dot has the same light ring just like the one on the Echo, which shows when Alexa is listening through its seven-microphone arrays. It also shows whether the speaker is muted. It is especially useful when you are watching a movie, and you don’t want Alexa to interrupt when it thinks it heard her name.
The noticeable difference between Echo and Dot is the height. At 32mm height, Dot is 20cm shorter than Echo.
Its small size makes it much easier to put it anywhere you like, although you will want to ensure it is still able to hear you speak.
Around the back of the Dot is a micro USB port that you can use to provide power to the speaker and a 3.5mm port that allows the Dot to connect to an external speaker.
If you have set up an Internet-connected speaker in the past, you won’t have any problem connecting the Echo Dot. Once you plug it in you can connect to it just like any other Wi-Fi hotspot, at which point you need to use the Alexa app to tell it your Wi-Fi details, and it will connect itself.
The second process of setting up your Dot involves selecting whether you want to use an external speaker either via a 3.5mm jack (not included) or Bluetooth or use its mini built-in speaker.
For instance, if you set the Dot speaker up to output its sound through its 3.5mm line-out you can change to its internal by unplugging its jack or disconnect it from a Bluetooth speaker by instructing Alexa to disconnect it.
Amazon Echo Dot performance
The Echo Dot despite its small size maintains the Echo’s outstanding ability to recognize your voice and gives you the chance to improve upon its sound quality flaw, provided you’ve got an additional external speaker handy.
In order to listen to tracks on the Spotify, you need to provide your login details and make sure to set it as your default music service over Amazon Prime Music. Once you have done that, you can tell Alexa to play any song of your choice.
There is a big problem with using a pair of external speakers. Unlike the Echo Dot itself, the external speakers are not meant to be “always on” devices, which leaves you in a dilemma. So it is either you rely on Dot’s tiny internal speaker or you connect the Echo Dot to a speaker that is left permanently on and using power.
It is amazing that Alexa can still pick our voice despite the music playing loudly from a nearby speaker. There is a certain limit you can push this, but it is not something you should think of balancing during a normal, non-deafening, music session.
Aside from music, Echo Dot possesses the same smarts as the full-size Echo. You can have it give you a minute news roundup, use it to set a timer while cooking or order an Uber if you have already input your Uber login details into the Alexa app.
The Alexa developers have already made about 3,000 skills for Alexa (essentially voice-activated apps), and the things Alexa can do continues to increase. So there is still room for improvement.
What we like
- The Amazon Echo Dot pack a lot in the small package
- It has excellent voice-recognition just like the full-size Echo
- You can use external speaker with the Dot, and it feels great to be able to get radio or songs playing
What we dislike
- Its ability to use external speaker is a great feature, but we wish this were better handled
Amazon Echo Dot is an excellent product because it maintains almost everything that made Amazon Echo great and also brings a significant cut in price.
The Dot is an excellent way to listen to music around your house because you can easily use an external speaker with it. Its internal speaker is also adept at dealing with simple requests.
If you are on a budget and curious about Amazon Echo experience, the Dot is the best way to try it out at a cheaper price.
If developers continue rallying behind Alexa by developing more skills, then the future is around the corner.