This is the Amazon Echo Dot, which is a hands-free, voice-controlled device with a small built-in speaker. All the great features of the Amazon Echo but in a affordable, compact size. In addition, the Echo Dot has built in Bluetooth and a 3.5 mm audio jack port so you can easily connect to your headphones or sound system.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Design: 5 out of 5
Features: 4 out of 5
Performance: 4 out of 5
Value for Money: 4 out of 5
The Amazon Echo Dot comes in either black or white. So there should be a colour to go with your home décor. However if not, you can buy a leather or fabric cover, which gives you a bigger range of colours to choose from. The Amazon Echo dot is incredibly small and compact. It’s around the same size of a hockey puck. Therefore will sit discreetly on any countertop. It can also be stuck to a wall if you have no countertop space.
There’s a rotating light ring around the top that indicates when Alexa is actively listening to you. Around the rear of the device is a micro USB port to provide power to the device. As well as a 3.5mm port to allow the Dot to connect to an external speaker. You can also connect the Echo Dot to a Bluetooth speaker as well. Unfortunately there’s no option for digital output, like with the Chromecast Audio’s hybrid 3.5mm analogue and optical port.
The Amazon Echo Dot can do everything that its bigger sibling, the Amazon Echo can do. The only differences between the two are:
- The Echo Dot is cheaper than the Amazon Echo
- The Echo dot does not have a large, high quality built-in speaker. It still has a built-in speaker, but it doesn’t offer the same volume or quality of the Amazon Echo.
- The Echo Dot is a more compact and space saving
So what is the Amazon Echo Dot? The Amazon Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that plays music, controls smart home devices, provides information, reads the news, sets alarms and much more. The Echo Dot has seven microphones built-in, so it should be able to hear you across the room.
When you want to use the Echo Dot, simply say the wake word, “Alexa”, and the Echo Dot lights up and will respond to your request. The Amazon Echo Dot has a very small speaker built inside, which is purely so that the voice assistant, Alexa can talk to you. For a better sound quality, you can connect the Amazon Echo Dot to either a Bluetooth speaker or by the 3.5mm output. So you can bring Alexa to almost any sound system.
You can also use the Amazon Echo Dot to switch on your lights, turn up the thermosat, or turn on a device. All without lifting a finger. To be able to use these features though, you will need to have smart devices in your home. Such as smart bulbs, Phillips Hue, Hive, Netatmo, tado° or many others. You can also use the Echo Dot to order takeaway from Just Eat, request a ride from Uber, check your train times from National Rail, check the latest news, order a Pizza from Dominoes and much more.
There are thousands of different skills you can give your Echo Dot, all through the Alexa app. And new skills are being added all the time. You can also see ratings and reviews to learn what other customers are saying about the different skills in the Alexa App. The Alexa app is free to download on Fire OS, Android, iOS and desktop browsers. And the app is where you will set up your Echo Dot and manage your device.
You can also use the Alexa App to connect to service syou already use such as Amazon Music, Spotify, Google Calendar and much more. However please not that Spotify will only work if you pay for Premium. It will not work with the free version of Spotify. And currently at the time of writing this review, the Amazon Echo Dot does not work with Apple Music.
The Amazon Echo Dot is incredibly easy to set up. Simply plug in the included micro-USB cable, download the free “Alexa” app, and follow the basic on-screen instructions on the app. During the set-up, you will need to connect Alexa to your Internet. You can also connect to an external speaker during the set up (if you wish). The set up only takes a couple of minutes to complete, and then you can start commanding Alexa. It will take a little longer if you want to connect your Echo Dot to your smart devices. However this is still very simple to complete. The Amazon Echo Dot connected to our Internet with ease. And connected to our Sony Bluetooth Soundbar with ease as well.
You need to make sure that you do not have your Echo Dot next to your speaker or TV. Otherwise Alexa will pick up the noise from these, so may find it difficult to understand what you’re saying. We had our Echo Dot on a side table in the living room. And we were very impressed at how well it picked up our voice, and understood what we were saying. It also picked up our voice well whilst music was playing loudly from a nearby speaker.
The only issue with the Echo Dot is sometimes you have to be very specific with your questions. For example, we asked Alexa about the football results for the day and she told us the football results in the US. So we had to ask her “what are the football results in the UK?” The Google Assistant in the Google Home is much better at answering general questions than Alexa. However the Amazon Echo is continually updating herself, therefore she will only improve with each update.
As you’d expect as a result of the Echo Dot’s compact size, the built-in speaker isn’t particularly good. It’s loud enough that you can have a quick chat with Alexa. It’s also clear and smooth enough to understand what she is saying. However we wouldn’t use it to play music though, as the sound is too thin and tinny. If you want to listen to music, we would recommend connecting to an external speaker by the 3.5mm output or Bluetooth. You can listen to Spotify, Amazon music or the radio on the Echo Dot. And they all work brilliantly. To use Spotify or Amazon Music, simply say “Alexa, play Coldplay” and Alexa will immediately start playing songs from Coldplay, for example.
Alexa can also tell you jokes, set timers, alarms, manage items on your to-do-list and shopping list. You can also order items from Amazon directly. However we recommend adding a passcode in your Alexa app. As this will stop just anyone ordering items using Alexa. By having a passcode, before confirming the order and taking money from your bank card, it will ask you for your unique passcode.
If you have any smart devices in your home, such as Hive or a smart bulb. Then you should be able to use your Amazon Echo to control these devices. For example, if you have hive you can say, “Alexa, set the heating to 21 degrees.” And the Echo Dot will do it for you, without you having to move an inch. Alexa works brilliantly with a range of different smart devices. However please check before buying the Amazon Echo Dot, whether it is compatible with your device. As there are still some smart devices, the Echo Dot is not compatible with.
You can also give your Alexa different skills. Just simply browse the thousands of skills in the Alexa app, and enable the ones you like. So if you add the National Rail skill, Alexa can tell you if your train is running late. Or if you add the Uber Skill, she can order you an Uber. New skills are added every week, and so Alexa grows more useful all the time.
Overall we were very impressed with the Amazon Echo Dot. Therefore could highly recommend to anyone. If you already own an excellent external speaker in your home, then there is no real reason to buy the bigger Amazon Echo. As the Echo Dot can do everything the Amazon Echo can do, and should be able to connect to your own hi-fi or Bluetooth speaker. Alexa is genuinely useful, especially if you have compatible smart home gadgets. Click here to buy from Amazon.
- Stylish and sleek design
- Compact and small
- Can be mounted to a wall
- Easy to set up and use
- Excellent at hearing what you have said
- Small but loud enough to be heard clearly
- Continually updating and improving
- Thousands of skills to choose from
- Works well with a range of different smart devices
- Needs to be connected to a speaker for music, otherwise tinny
- Can’t always answer the question
- Have to be specific with your questions
- Doesn’t support multiple user calendars or personal information
- Only one Spotify or Amazon music account can be linked at any one time
- Hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, provide information, read the news, set alarms and much more.
- Connects to speakers or headphones through Bluetooth or 3.5 mm stereo cable to play music from Amazon Music, Spotify and TuneIn
- Controls lights, switches, thermostats and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Hive, Netatmo, Nest, tado° and others
- Hears you from across the room with 7 microphones for far-field hands-free voice control, even in noisy environments or while playing music
- Includes a built-in speaker so it can work on its own as a smart alarm clock in the bedroom, an assistant in the kitchen, or anywhere you might want a voice-controlled device
- Always getting smarter – Alexa updates through the cloud automatically and is continually learning, adding new features and skills
Size: 83.5 x 83.5 x 32 mm (3.3″ x 3.3″ x 1.3″)
Weight: 163 grams
Wi-Fi Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5 GHz) networks. Does not support connection to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks
Bluetooth Connectivity: Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your mobile device to Echo Dot or from Echo Dot to your Bluetooth speaker. Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) for voice control of connected mobile devices. Hands-free voice control is not supported for Mac OS X devices. Bluetooth speakers requiring PIN codes are not supported
Audio: Built-in speaker for voice feedback when not connected to external speakers. 3.5 mm stereo audio output for use with external speakers (audio cable not included)
System Requirements: Amazon Echo Dot comes ready to connect to your Wi-Fi. The Alexa App is compatible with Fire OS, Android and iOS devices and also accessible via your desktop browser.
Included in the Box: Amazon Echo Dot, power adaptor (9W), USB charging cable and Quick Start Guide