The fashion of smart speakers is expanding rapidly and there are already some models that even come with a screen. In addition, it is not only the most enthusiastic of technology who have one at home. There are simpler models for those who do not have too much knowledge and who want to start in this world of voice assistants that is always activated like Amazon’s Alexa, unlike those found on a smartphone.
The best thing about Dot is that it has the same software as the other Echo models, which means that Alexa offers the same features. The real difference is in the sound quality, although the third generation of the Echo Dot has improved in this aspect. The first model went on sale in March 2016, but it has not been until now that it has become available also in Spain and, weeks later, in Mexico. Next, we analyze the new design and everything that the Dot offers, an authentic bargain.
Design and Manufacturing
Compared with previous versions it is clear that the Dot has undergone a total renovation in its design. In addition to being larger, it is now wrapped by a fabric that also serves as a speaker membrane. The Dot seems more like a decorative element than an electronic device, although it is true that it retains its essence. It has four buttons on the top with which to control the volume, mute the microphone, stop alarms and activate Alexa.
Whereas before the speaker included seven microphones, the new model has four, corresponding to each hole that you can see next to the buttons. It works just as well, but in some situations it can be somewhat inconvenient. For example, it will be activated automatically even if no one has called Alexa and you may not hear well if you are playing music at a high volume or you are in a room with a lot of noise. In most cases, however, it is reliable.
A change that is more annoying is the fact that it no longer comes with a micro USB port, but must be charged with the 15 W charger included. Thus, it is not made to be taken outside where it was previously as easy as charging it with an external battery. It is true that Alexa only works if the device is connected to a Wi-Fi network, but you can use the mini-jack port to connect it to other speakers or even link them to wireless speakers using Bluetooth.
On the other hand, it is also possible to link two Echo Dots to create a stereo system. That makes the device is not just a way to check the weather or the latest news, but a real sound system to listen to music. Finally, we must highlight the little light that illuminates the upper edge of the Echo in the form of a circle. It will allow you to know if Alexa is activated or not and thus to know if you should repeat the command or just wait for the response of the Amazon assistant.
The first and second generation of the Amazon Echo Dot shared the same design, the same features, the same sound quality and the fact that neither was the ideal device for listening to music. However, the new model has improvements in this regard thanks to a 1.6-inch speaker that offers a clear and intense sound in which you can perfectly appreciate the mid and even the bass tones. The quality of the voice has also improved. Of course, we must make clear that it does not even close to the sound that is achieved with Apple’s HomePod or other smart speakers from Google, although these have a price much higher than Amazon’s Dot.
There is also the possibility of linking one or two Echo Dots with an Echo Sub and, if it sounds at least the same as it does with the second generation, Dot we can say that they considerably improve the bass. In any case, you can adjust the sound manually. This means that you will have control over bass and treble, something that we miss in many speakers that are currently manufactured, that force you to settle for automatic tuning.
Those who are already familiar with Alexa do not need to continue reading, but most likely you need to know at least their essential functions and benefits as it has just landed in Spain. You can answer basic questions, set alarms, reminders and countdowns, add products to your shopping list, create lists of things to do, check time and the latest news, send messages to other Alexa users, and much more.
We have to recognize that this assistant is not as accurate as others when answering general questions that you would normally consult in Google, although you can create skills in the app through the ‘Skills’ function. Some of these skills are unique to home automation devices, such as plugs, lights, thermostats and other appliances. In these cases it is very useful to have an intelligent speaker to be able to give orders.
Similar to Siri, Amazon already allows chain commands as well. In this way, just by saying: “Siri, good morning”, your Echo Dot will be programmed to turn on the lights of the cinema, give you the weather forecast and catch up with the latest news.
Virtual Assistant: Alexa
Dimensions: 99 x 99 x 43 mm
Colors: White | Black | Gray
Connections: 802.11n dual band Wifi | Bluetooth (A2DP) | 3.5 mm port
The new Echo Dot is the first that is available in Spain and Mexico, but it is certainly also better than the previous two generations. It is somewhat larger but its design makes it much more discreet than the Echo 2. We especially like the light gray color of the fabric that covers the speaker that we have tried, as it combines well anywhere, be it the white window sill or a wooden shelf.
Despite its small size, it has a good sound. To improve that audio quality you can always buy part of the Echo Sub and thus have an excellent musical experience. In addition, you will get a stereo system if you link two Echo Dots. In summary, the Echo is a small smart speaker that will give you all the benefits that the voice assistant of Amazon Alexa can offer at a much more affordable price than other models of the same company.