The Echo Dot (2nd Generation) is a brand new product from Amazon. Find out everything you need to know about the Echo Dot today in our review.
What is the Echo Dot?
The Echo Dot is a pint-sized version of the Amazon Echo. Just like last year’s first generation Echo Dot, the second generation lets you talk to Alexa from anywhere in your home. You can move it around your house easily thanks to its small form factor.
Features are more limited than the full-sized Echo. However, you can still perform a range of valuable functions, like:
- Play your favorite music
- Order pizza (from Domino’s)
- Voice control your home
- Connect to Alexa Voice Service to learn the news, sports scores, weather, and more
- Request rides from Uber
- Find local businesses
The hands-free device is controlled by your voice. As you expected, the Echo Dot also connects to your speakers or headphones (either wirelessly or using a 3.5mm audio cable).
The Echo Dot is part of Amazon’s goal to have Alexa all around your house. When all your Echo devices are connected, Alexa will automatically respond from the Alexa nearest to your current location.
It actually uses ESP (“Echo Spatial Perception”) to find out where you’re currently standing in your house.
The Echo Dot is priced at $50. It’s currently available through Amazon.com.
Echo Dot Features
The Echo Dot lets you enjoy all of the following features:
Voice Control your Music: You can play music hands-free through Amazon Music, requesting a specific artist, song, genre, or “mood”.
You can also search for songs by lyrics, or let Alexa pick music for you. One neat thing about the Echo Dot is that it can even hear you speaking while music is playing.
Far-Field Voice Recognition: If you’ve ever used an Echo device, you’ve probably been impressed by the voice recognition. True to its reputation, the Echo Dot has excellent voice recognition.
Each Echo Dot has an array of seven microphones that use “beam-forming technology and enhanced noise recognition”, explains Amazon, to focus on your voice while ignoring all surrounding noises. That’s why Echo Dot can still hear you say “Alexa” even in loud ambient settings.
Alexa’s Cloud-based Intelligence: Amazon has always made a big deal out of Alexa’s cloud-based learning. Alexa is built entirely in the cloud and will learn more about you the more you use it.
Amazon says that it will adjust to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences. The cloud connectivity also lets the Echo Dot update itself automatically.
App and Service Support: Alexa and Echo are also known for their app support. Some of the app and service-specific tasks you can perform include playing Jeopardy over the Echo Dot, ordering an Uber ride, ordering flowers from 1-800-FLOWERS, or even asking Capital One what your account balance is.
Amazon calls these things “skills”. Alexa is being upgraded with new skills all the time.
Alexa App: The Alexa app is available on Fire OS, Android, iOS, and desktop browsers. You can use this app to setup and manage your Echo Dot.
You’ll need to use the app to connect the Echo Dot to services you already use – like your accounts on Spotify, Pandora, or Google Calendar.
Multiple Colors Available: Echo Dot comes in a range of surprisingly stylish colors designed to fit with any interior décor.
Those colors include fancy names like Merlot Leather, Charcoal Fabric, and Sandstone Fabric.
How Do You Use the Echo Dot?
Using and setting up the Echo Dot is really easy. Here’s the basic step by step guide to setting it up for the first time:
- Step 1) Plug the Echo Dot into an electrical outlet
- Step 2) Download the Alexa app onto your phone, tablet, or desktop computer, then use the app to connect your Echo Dot to the internet
- Step 3) Start using the Echo Dot as normal
Echo Dot Tech Specs
- Size: 1.3” x 3.3” x 3.3”
- Weight: 5.7 oz (163g)
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5 GHz), Bluetooth
- Audio: Built-in speaker that lets you communicate with the Echo Dot when it’s not connected to external speakers
- System Requirements: Compatible with Fire OS, Android, and iOS
- Warranty: 90 day limited warranty and service, 1, 2, and 3 year warranties available for extra charge
- In the Box: Echo Dot, 9W Power Adapter, Micro USB Cable, and Quick Start Guide
Echo Dot Pricing
The Echo Dot is available through Amazon.com, where it’s priced at the following rates:
- 1 Echo Dot: $49.99
- 6 Echo Dots: $299.94 (When you order 6, you get 1 of those 6 for free)
- 12 Echo Dots: $599.88 (When you order 12, 2 of those 12 are free)
Available colors include Saddle Tan Leather, Merlot Leather, Midnight Leather, Indigo Fabric, Charcoal Fabric, and Sandstone Fabric. You can mix and match colors.
Amazon also has a number of deals where you can bundle the Echo Dot with various peripherals, including the popular Philips Hue Starter Kit or various Bose speakers.
What Do Customers Have to Say About the Echo Dot?
The Echo Dot is generally well-reviewed so far. On Amazon, the device has an average rating of 4.2 stars out of 5 with a total of 1700 reviews posted at the time of writing. Some of the pros and cons from real users include:
- It’s essentially an Echo without the premium speaker, at a cheaper price and smaller form
- Great for putting in areas of your house where you don’t want to risk damaging the more expensive Echo (one reviewer put it in his nursey)
- Controlling music is very easy, and you can even “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” songs you like or dislike
- Excellent voice recognition (one reviewer said she can say “Alexa” from downstairs and still be heard by her Echo Dot upstairs)
- The device is a nice size and is easy to carry around the room
- Inexpensive solution if you want Alexa all over your home, but don’t want to pay for multiple full-sized Echos
- You can buy 6 or 12 at a time for a bigger discount, which is useful if you want to cover your entire house
- Amazon has had shipping problems in the past, as they vastly underestimated the demand for the original Echo Dot
- If you have Amazon Music Unlimited, you need to sign up for the multi-device plan, as you can only pair one single Amazon Echo or Echo dot with your account (not one at a time – just one in total)
- Some reviewers have trouble getting the Echo Dot to recognize their voice (overall, most reviewers seem to have no issues, but some have serious issues)
- The Echo Dot doesn’t let you search for information online
- There are mixed reviews over whether or not the Echo Dot can hear you when music is playing, when an alarm is going off, or when a movie is playing on your TV
Echo Dot Review Summary
Overall, the Echo Dot is well-reviewed by most Amazon customers. There are a few customers who have serious audio recognition troubles, although most seem to have good things to say about it.
In fact, most of the negative microphone quality reviews are greeted with claims of a defective unit.
Many people buy the Echo Dot if they want to cover an additional room in their house – but don’t want multiple Echos all over their house.
In this situation, the Echo Dot does the job quite well – especially if you already have peripheral speakers or Bluetooth speakers (the Echo Dot has a 3.5mm audio jack as well as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity).
If you’re interested in Alexa and the Echo, then the second generation Echo Dot seems to have fixed a lot of the problems from the first generation – including the lack of supply. It’s available to order online today through Amazon for $50.