The entry-level Amazon Echo Dot (3rd generation) is still Amazon’s best . is one of
The Amazon Echo Dot (3rd generation) is Amazon’s most popular smart speaker – and while it’s been replaced by the new Echo Dot (2020), it’s still well worth considering, especially now that prices have regularly dropped. Discounts are offered and Prime Day deals continue on June 21-22.
Don’t let the size of this shoddy gadget overwhelm you. Amazon claims the Dot is the best-selling speaker of all time—a huge achievement and a testament to how useful and relatively inexpensive it is.
The Echo Dot we are reviewing here is the third version of the smart speaker. The first generation model was launched back in 2016 and has since received several updates, including the Echo Dot with Clock (2020).
It’s a useful addition to some people, but it won’t be worth the extra price or upgrade for others. If you don’t really need the watch, don’t be tempted with the new model. That’s because the third-gen Echo Dot no Time display, which we’re reviewing here, is still totally worth buying and one of our most recommended smart home devices.
That’s because there’s a lot to like about the Amazon Echo Dot (3rd generation). It allows you to control your smart home with a few voice commands, it’s capable of making calls almost anywhere in your country, and it can even stream music from a range of the world’s most popular services. It’s small, but it packs a punch.
However, despite the Dot’s many upgrades over the years, this third-generation version still lacks a few key things that could make it a 5-star product. Most notably, there’s no 3.5mm auxiliary cord. It’s not the simplest Amazon Echo speaker though; Amazon Echo Input adds Alexa Smart capability to connected speakers, without the ability to play music.
- Read our Amazon Echo Dot (2020) review
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Amazon Echo Dot FAQs: Quick Questions Answered
What is Echo Dot used for? Think of the Amazon Echo Dot as your personal assistant. We’re not at the level where our technology can physically help us run our homes, but it can do everything else. So you can ask Alexa, the Dot’s voice assistant, to answer questions about the time, trivia, traffic, what the weather’s going to be like, and everything else that might help make your day a little easier .
Smart Home Tech Thanks to All Connected, you can also use your Dot to control other devices that you may have in your home. So let’s say you have a Philips Hue lightbulb, for example, the Dot can control that too. You’ll just need to say “Alexa, turn off the bulb”—and there’s a whole host of other skills you can employ, from playing games to controlling other technology to waking you up in the morning. You can now use Alexa to call phone numbers in the US, Canada, Mexico, and the UK.
Is there a monthly fee for the Echo Dot? No, there is no monthly fee. All you need to do is buy the Dot and have an Amazon account. However, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you’ll get some additional benefits, such as access to Amazon Music through your Dot.
Is the Echo Dot worth the money? In our opinion, yes. It packs a lot of great features and capable technology in a small package. It also makes financial sense for people who aren’t sure whether to outfit their homes with smart technology and don’t want to gamble more.
Does the Echo Dot Require Alexa? Yes. Alexa is what makes your Dot smart. Think of him as your smart assistant and the brains behind the hardware. You ask her to work and help you with things throughout the day, “Alexa, what’s the weather like later?” “Alexa, please turn on the lights.”
You don’t need to do anything extra to get Alexa, as the voice assistant comes built-in to Amazon’s Echo range of smart speakers. (Here’s how to change Alexa’s voice, too.)
Does the Echo Dot Need Wi-Fi? Yes it does. There’s a chance you’ll be able to use the Dot as just a Bluetooth speaker without Wi-Fi, but you’ll still need to connect it to the Internet to get it fully set-up. If you don’t have Wi-Fi yet, wait until you do before buying a Dot.
Amazon Echo Dot Pricing
Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation was released in 2019 and was priced at £49.99 / $49.99 / AU$79. However, now that there is a newer model on the market, there are regular deals on the old Dot and it is sometimes reduced to £29.99 / $29.99 / AU$49.
At launch, its base price is the same as that of the previous model sold just before its launch, which makes it hard to criticize it considering the improvement in sound quality, which we will discuss shortly.
amazon echo dot design
The third-generation Amazon Echo Dot is easier on the eyes than Amazon’s two previous Echo Dots. It offers rounded edges that help the Dot look less like a hockey puck, and the fabric grille around the outer edge feels simultaneously modern and classy. (taking pointers from amazon google home mini, Obviously.)
The fabric mesh design helps the Amazon Echo Dot blend in with the rest of the refreshed Amazon Echo line-up, which got a fabric-covered makeover with last year’s refresh. As a result, the new Echo Dot comes in colors to match the rest of the range, with Charcoal, Heather Gray, and Sandstone colors.
At the top of the Echo Dot you’ll find four familiar buttons including volume up and down, microphone mute and Alexa, as well as a four microphone array.
Activating Alexa either via the button at the top or by saying its name triggers the flashing blue ring of light you’re used to seeing on other Alexa devices — however, we did see a small one on one of the units sent (<1s) Delay between when we said the wake word and when Alexa started listening.
Turn the unit over to the back and you’ll find the power jack and an auxiliary 3.5mm jack that can be used to connect the Amazon Echo Dot to any speaker with a matching jack. Unfortunately, though, Amazon doesn’t include one of these cables in the box and the accompanying charger, which used to be microUSB, is now a proprietary design.
These two little blockers aside, it’s still one of the best-looking Amazon Echo Dots we haven’t seen yet and with a new color option, is also the most versatile.
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Amazon Echo Dot Setup and Alexa
Getting speaker setup is simple—especially if you already have one or more Alexa devices setup in your home. If that’s you, all you have to do is go 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, you’ll be on your way. And the new smart speaker will run.
If you don’t have an Alexa or Echo device already installed, you’ll need to go through the process of downloading the app and signing into your Amazon account, but then it’s more or less the same process as above.
That said, while it was always easy to setup an Amazon Echo device in the past, we’ve been very happy with the refresh of the Amazon Alexa app over the past few weeks. The rework makes it easy to group devices together into rooms, as well as add additional smart devices to your arsenal of tools.
Unfortunately, Alexa herself hasn’t gotten the same kind of attention. That’s because Amazon has outsourced a lot of the functionality to app designers who then create skills for Alexa. These skills vary wildly in quality and usefulness, most of which largely fall into the Drools trivia game.
The best Alexa skills are likely to be in development right now — but, for now, what’s available isn’t really taking advantage of the excellent, voice-first system built by Amazon.
Looking at the speckled skill library, Alexa was and still is a fairly capable smart assistant and is a must-have if you plan to use the speaker for tasks like getting your news and weather or controlling your smart devices. Alexa is more for the job.
amazon echo dot performance
The marquee feature of the Amazon Echo Dot (3rd generation) is the revamped audio system that helps the Echo Dot sound better than any previous version.
While there’s little debate as to whether the latest Echo Dot actually does sound better than the 2017 model, it’s not the device you want to listen to an entire album on – vocals are easily lost in the hoarseness of the sound. , and bass is almost non-existent (considering how small the Amazon Echo Dot is).
So, yes, while some music performs better on the Echo than others (the Prog Rock isn’t a friend of the Echo Dot and the Rap is fine), you’ll still want to connect the Echo Dot to external speakers when it’s some heavy time. Listen
Unfortunately connecting a device to an Amazon Echo Dot isn’t as easy as it could be: disappointingly Google has figured out a universal way to connect devices via the Chromecast built-in, requiring Amazon to rely on Bluetooth for its connection. Is required. It’s not a dealbreaker by any means, but it can be a bit of an annoyance if you have friends who want to play DJ.
It’s also interesting that Amazon is pushing the audio performance aspect of the speaker as we found during our testing that it was the microphone and call quality that impressed us the most.
The friends and family we talked to using the Amazon Echo Dot claimed that the quality was almost as good — if not better than — the speakerphone quality on our phones. This measures the quality of the Amazon Echo Dot’s microphone array and the noise-reduction algorithms Amazon has implemented for phone calls.
Hence, calling is one of the best features of the Amazon Echo Dot – along with smart device controls, of course.
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