The remodeled, fourth-generation Echo Dot has arrived, and it comes with a round design that units it smartly except for its smaller, flatter predecessors. However whilst it boasts an all-new glance, the most recent Echo Dot is largely the similar speaker because the (now steeply discounted) third-gen Dot, entire with onboard Alexa, stellar good house functions, spectacular conversation options, and the power to stay an ear on your house by way of Alexa Guard. And whilst we’re happy with how the brand new Dot sounds, its front-firing motive force doesn’t ship a quantum jump over the older Dot’s audio high quality. So sure, the fourth-gen Echo Dot is technically the most efficient Dot but, however best by way of a slender margin.
To be had in charcoal, glacier white, and twilight blue flavors, the fourth-gen Echo Dot marks a significant departure in relation to the speaker’s feel and appear.
As a substitute of the hockey-puck design of the 3 earlier Echo Dots, the brand new Dot has a taller, round shell, similar as with the brand new Echoand the Dot’s sibling, the refreshed Echo Dot with clock . Whilst it has the similar three.Nine-inch width of the former Echo, the fourth-gen, three.Five-inch Echo Dot is just about two inches taller, making it significantly larger than its predecessor and kind of the dimensions of a softball. Certainly, the brand new Dot seems love it was once designed to be proven off reasonably than tucked away.
The remodeled Dot does proportion the older fashion’s cloth external, with the material at the new Dot overlaying about two thirds of the speaker, leaving a naked wedge within the rear.
But even so its new shell, the fourth-gen Echo Dot strikes Alexa’s gentle rings from the highest of the speaker all the way down to its base, casting a nifty-looking glow at the floor upon which it’s sitting.
Buttons and interfaces
As with earlier Echo Dots, the brand new Dot is equipped with quantity up/down, mic mute, and motion buttons that peek out from the material on the height of the speaker, despite the fact that the buttons at the moment are extra tightly grouped in combination than they have been on earlier Dots.
While you faucet the quantity buttons, a white ring seems, and it both grows or shrinks in period relying on whether or not you’re adjusting the quantity up or down. Urgent the mic mute button makes the Alexa ring glow pink, indicating that Alexa isn’t taking note of your dialog. Urgent the “motion” button wakes Alexa, or it may silence an alarm or reset the speaker should you press and cling it for 25 seconds. However since you’ll wake Alexa along with your voice or ask her to snooze an alarm, maximum Dot customers (myself incorporated) by no means hassle with the motion button.
Talking of slumbering alarms, the brand new Dot comes with a brand new “faucet to snooze” gesture, which in fact first gave the impression at the first-gen Echo Dot with clock. The gesture does precisely because it says: simply faucet the highest of the speaker with a couple of finger (you don’t need to press a selected button) to snooze an alarm for 9 mins, at hand for purchasing extra shut-eye with out rousing your self for an Alexa chat.
At the again of the fourth-gen Dot, you’ll discover a three.5mm audio jack for connecting a stressed speaker, a function that’s conspicuously lacking from Google’s identical Nest Mini good speaker. There’s additionally a barrel-shaped energy port for connecting the Dot’s five-foot energy twine, which (similar because the older Dot) terminates in a corpulent, outlet-blocking 15-watt energy provide.
My Echo Dot evaluate unit got here pre-paired with my Amazon account (an possibility that you’ll request whilst ordering the speaker on Amazon.com), which made the setup procedure ridiculously simple. After plugging within the Dot, I fired up the Alexa cell app and was once instantly greeting up a pop-up that learn, “Echo Dot may also be arrange.” I pressed Proceed, decided on my Wi-Fi community (I didn’t want to input my password, since I’d completed than for earlier Echo installations), and a couple of seconds later, increase—the Dot was once hooked up and in a position to move.
Should you’re new to Echo audio system and Alexa usually, the setup procedure is best quite extra concerned. After you’ve powered up the Dot, put in the Alexa app and signed in along with your Amazon account, you simply faucet Extra > Upload a Software > Amazon Echo. As soon as the Alexa app has found out the speaker, it’ll step you during the means of including it to your house Wi-Fi community, after which it’ll will let you upload the Dot to a room (comparable to Grasp Bed room, Kitchen, Place of business, and so forth.) and check the road deal with the place you’ll be the use of it (for such functions as supplying you with native climate prerequisites and riding instructions).
Alexa voice instructions and good house keep an eye on
The Echo Dot’s killer function is Alexa, and people who are already accustomed to Echo audio system know what to anticipate. Chatty, intuitive, and ever pleasant, Alexa can box a dizzying selection of questions and requests, from supplying you with climate reviews and settings timers and alarms to ticking off your time table or even telling jokes. In my exams at the Echo Dot, Alexa answered to my queries nearly immediately, despite the fact that the similar may well be stated of the former Dot.
But even so answering questions and allotting climate reviews, Alexa excels in the case of controlling good house gadgets. Ultimately rely, greater than 100,000 good gadgets fit with Alexa, and you’ll devise multi-step “routines” that come with your good lighting fixtures, safety cameras, good locks, and extra. As an example, I’ve a regimen that dims my downstairs lighting fixtures, activates my TV and powers on my A/V receiver once I say “Alexa, popcorn,” or I will be able to say “Alexa, excellent evening” to douse my bed room gentle and tee up a sleep-inducing playlist.
In fact, asking Alexa to show the lighting fixtures on received’t do you a lot excellent if there isn’t an Echo speaker close by, however that’s the wonderful thing about the Echo Dot’s funds price ticket. At simply $50 (and we will be expecting steep reductions come Black Friday), striking a Dot in each and every room of your own home isn’t out of the query.
Yet one more nice good function that the Dot helps is Alexa Guard, which is able to ship an alert in your telephone if Alexa hears a smoke alarm or breaking glass whilst you’re away. If you want, you’ll improve to the approaching, $Five-a-month Alexa Guard Plus provider, which provides footsteps and opening doorways to the sounds Alexa can stay an ear out for, and you’ll additionally say “Alexa, name for lend a hand” to have Alexa attach you with an emergency-response agent.
In case you have a couple of Echo audio system in your house, you’ll ask Alexa for your Echo Dot to “drop in” on any other Echo speaker, which means you’ll eavesdrop on the room (a inexperienced Alexa at the different finish notifies someone close by “drop in” name is in development) and communicate to someone who’s round. To cause a press release on your entire Echo audio system directly, simply faucet Announce at the Alexa app and both say or kind in a message (“Supper time!”).
But even so making calls to different Echo audio system in your home, the Alexa at the Echo Dot too can name landlines, and any calls positioned to numbers within the U.S., Canada, or Mexico are loose. Even higher, Amazon just lately introduced that AT&T subscribers can now assign their mobile phone numbers to Alexa, this means that Alexa can solution your incoming calls.
Track and audio
From one era to the following, the Amazon Echo Dot has been steadily bettering its once-awful audio high quality, and the brand new Dot continues the ahead development, if best marginally.
Whilst the fourth-gen Echo Dot’s 1.6-inch mono motive force is identical measurement as that of the former fashion, the cone within the new Dot is forward-firing reasonably than up-firing. Amazon didn’t supply any information about the Echo Dot’s speaker amplifier, despite the fact that for the reason that each the latest-gen Dot and its predecessor include 15-watt energy provides, it’s unsure that the more recent speaker were given a lot of an amplifier spice up.
In any match, the most recent Echo Dot did sound a tad clearer and fuller than the third-gen Dot, which (to my ears) sounded each thinner and overly boomy. Paying attention to the identify monitor of Bruce Springsteen’s The Ghost of Tom Joad, the more recent Echo Dot did an incredibly excellent process conveying The Boss’s unadorned vocals and his reedy harmonica, and I couldn’t discover any distortion even if I cranked the quantity. In brief, the fourth-gen Echo Dot sounds higher than any $50 good speaker I’ve ever examined, despite the fact that falls smartly wanting (as an example) the $100 Google Nest Audio or the $200 Amazon Echo Studio.
In fact, you’ll at all times spice up the Echo Dot’s sound by way of the use of it with a 2nd Dot as a stereo pair, and/or by way of pairing it with an Echo Sub. An alternative choice could be to avoid the Echo Dot’s motive force in prefer of a stressed or Bluetooth speaker, or you’ll designate a most well-liked speaker, comparable to any other Echo or a supported Wi-Fi speaker.
You’ll be able to hyperlink Alexa with plenty of tune services and products, together with Amazon Track, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Deezer, and Tidal, and as with different Echo audio system, the Echo Dot counts as a Spotify Attach instrument. Lacking from the checklist of toughen tune services and products is (no marvel) Apple Track and YouTube Track.
Echo Dot vs. Google Nest Mini
The Echo Dot stacks up kind of lightly with Google’s competing funds good speaker, the Nest Mini. They’re each small (despite the fact that the Nest Mini is extra on a par with the older Dot and its hockey-puck aesthetic), they’re each $49 (despite the fact that the Nest Mini is lately promoting at the Google retailer for simply $29 to undercut the third-gen Echo Dot, lately indexed on Amazon for $39.99, despite the fact that it received’t be in inventory till December 6), they’re each powered by way of top-notch voice assistants that may maintain good house tasks (despite the fact that Alexa is suitable with kind of two times as many good gadgets as Google Assistant), they usually each boast quite first rate audio high quality so far as pint-sized good audio system cross.
The deciding issue between the Echo Dot and the Google Nest Mini is which voice assistant you’d reasonably pledge your loyalty to. Should you’re going the Alexa method, then you could possibly be highest off going all-in with the Alexa and Echo ecosystem. Should you’re extra a fan of Google Assistant, keep on with Google Assistant-powered audio system and good shows. Take it from me, mix and matching voice assistants in your house is a recipe for unending confusion, to not point out a thicket of exasperating compatibility problems.
Will have to you improve?
There’s no query that the brand new Echo Dot is healthier than the third-gen Dot it’s changing, however is it a lot higher? Hmm. Sure, the fourth-gen Echo Dot has quite higher audio high quality than its predecessor, however we’re now not speaking a knockout punch right here. And whilst the most recent Dot has the extra spectacular design, attractiveness is within the eyes of the beholder, and I’m positive quite a lot of Alexa customers may favor the older Dot’s extra understated glance.
Worth may be an element, with the third-generation Echo Dot getting an everlasting $10 worth lower to $40. The more recent $50 Echo Dot will definitely see its personal reductions as we input the vacation purchasing season, however should you’re browsing to populate your house with Dots, $40 for the older fashion is engaging.
In different phrases, no, there’s no want to industry on your outdated Echo Dots for the brand new one, and should you’re browsing to avoid wasting money by way of choosing the less expensive, third-gen Dot, you wouldn’t be lacking out on a lot—this is, except you in reality have it in for hockey pucks.