With its improved speaker quality and new stylish design, the Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) is setting the standard in the compact smart speaker market.
What Is the Dot?
The 3rd generation of the Echo Dot is a compact smart speaker that performs tasks on command via the famous personal assistant Alexa. This smaller version of the Amazon Echo, and screenless version of the Amazon Echo Spot, is an economical and unobtrusive way to bring Alexa to your home. The Dot is the size of a hockey puck, with a 1.6-inch speaker, line-out auxiliary audio port (3.5 mm cable not included), built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities. Bonus: Amazon recently slashed the price to $29.99.
What Will the Echo Dot Do for You?
The improved Echo Dot is a great sounding speaker for its size, but it offers so much more. It will control your smart home gadgets, such as lights, fan, TV and thermostat, among other things. It’s important to note that you do need appliances with smart capabilities recognizable to Echo to command them by voice.
If you set up Alexa Guard ($10/month ), you can get Smart Alerts reacting to the sound of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms or even glass breaking.
And, Alexa has a playful side as well! Ask and you can hear dad jokes, your favorite song, a Wikipedia entry, or have Alexa flip a virtual coin and answer pop culture questions, among other fun features.
Do I Need to Be Right Next to the Dot for It to Understand Me?
Designed with far-field microphones, you can use your normal voice to activate the Dot from across the room. Speaking of activation, choose from one of four wake words to awaken the smart speaker: Computer, Alexa, Amazon or Echo. “Computer” is the latest addition, a nod to Star Trek fans—or just interpreted as such. (Ask your Alexa to tell you the truth!) Plus: Google Home vs Amazon Alexa, What’s the Difference?
How Do I Get Alexa Activated and Do I Need to Be an Amazon Prime Member?
You will need an Amazon account to use Alexa, but you do not need an Amazon Prime Membership. Once you have an Amazon account, download the Alexa App from the app store, and Alexa will scan your house for smart devices it can intuitively connect to and control, as well as automatically link up with your home Wi-Fi, streaming music services, podcasts and any other linkable smart devices or apps.
How Is the 3rd Generation of the Dot an Improvement Over Its Predecessors?
The 3rd Gen Amazon Echo Dot made a significant improvement to the original with the evolution of its sound system and the overall aesthetic of the product.
In the previous two versions, sound quality suffered, while the 3rd generation thrives with richer and clearer speaker sound. Try this hack: Place two Dots in different parts of a room to achieve inexpensive stereo sound!
Plus: Learn what you need to know about the Control4 system.
Amazon also added three new fabric options to the Echo Dot, including charcoal, heather gray and sandstone.
Amazon Echo Dot vs. Google Home Mini
The Google Home Mini is the main rival to the Amazon Echo Dot. The Home Mini is similarly priced, but lacks the sound quality of the slightly larger Dot. Also absent on the Mini: An auxiliary port to stream music from an outside source. The Mini does come in an appealing coral and aqua colors along with standard gray and black. It is an equally attractive option, if being linked to Amazon isn’t a significant consideration.
Is the Echo Dot Worth It?
If you are looking to get in the smart speaker game but don’t want to spend too much money, the answer is definitely yes. If you want to add to your existing Echo system in a small room, kids room or kitchen, the answer is yes, too. Considering cost, sound quality and appearance, it’s hard to say no to the Amazon Echo Dot (Gen 3).