Speaking of which, the iPod Nano was the same as the original hard drive-driven iPod. But this resemblance was not always so obvious when Echo Dot was first published in March 2016. Also, it didn’t help that we only started seeing Echo Dot in India from second generation models. While with the new third-generation model, it’s clear that the Echo Dot is a shorter, more affordable version of the outgoing Echo. Of course, it may have fewer microphones and speakers but it is a perfect echo device, similarly an iPod Nano was considered a perfect iPod. And that’s what Amazon wanted to create.
Rs 5,499 is quite steep for overtime display functionality
Amazon is currently selling a third-generation Echo Dot with an optional digital watch on its website. So, as of this writing, the watchless Echo Dot is selling at Rs 3,499. If you wait for a grand sale (as I did), you can get it for 1, 1,999 with a free smart bulb. It comes in gray, black, purple and white color options. The variant with a watch sells for 5 5,499 It is only available in white and, at the time of writing, is in stock again in late February 2020. Still, let’s find out how it happened while at the Digit Test Center.
Design and build
The third generation Echo Dot shares its design language with the current Echo and this is no coincidence. It loses the original hockey puck design but acquires a larger, softer, more curvy figure that looks friendly and accessible to any part of the home. Like the larger models, the Echo Dot is wrapped tightly around the fabric. Like the second generation model, it has four buttons at the top: volume up, volume down, microphone on / off and action. Symbols are embossed on these buttons, so identifying them in the dark should not be a challenge. While the Echo Dot has seven microphones around the four buttons, the Echo Dot works with four. The watch is accompanied by an echo dot, but adds a four-character eight-segment LED display.
Four mics upstairs
On the back, the Echo Dot has a round-pin power port and a 3.5mm jack for audio output. The latter gives Echo.com a serious edge over its recently launched Google Nest Mini, its most direct competitor. You can read our review of it here. This allows you to hook up the device to a larger, more powerful set of external speakers, thus allowing you to enjoy better sound while retaining the smartness of the device. The base of the Echo Dot has a large round rubber foot, which should keep the speaker on most of the interior surfaces. Like the more expensive models, the Echo Dot supports an accurate multi-color light ring to let you know what the device can do. All things considered, Echo Dot is well made and well designed. If anything, the non-clock variant may come with a back wall mount for extra flexibility.
The 3.5mm audio output jack is a boon
Setting up Amazon Echo Dot is as easy as setting up the Google Nest Mini, if not easier. The setup process, which usually takes up to twenty minutes to complete, requires you to first install the Amazon Alexa app on your iOS / Android smartphone. When the device is turned on, the display greets you with a quick ‘hello’ but does not help with the setup process or any other message, which means you need to hook up Echo.com to your local Wi-Fi network. The LED units in the segment can communicate very little text information. If anything, the Amazon Alexa app could be more responsive. Whether it’s iOS or Android, the app is tedious to use.
A four-character eight-segment display to show time only
The Amazon Alexa app is not always responsive
Once you set up Echo Dot, you can start using speakers for simple questions like, “How far is the moon?” And “Who is the President of India?” To book a taxi, you’ll need to go to the Skills & Games section of the Amazon Alexa app to enable Ola and Uber skills. The same applies to other requests that require Alexa Skill to be enabled in advance. You can, too, connect smart devices to speakers in the settings section. You can even connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth, which will allow you to use Echo Dot like any other Bluetooth speaker. If you connect Echo Dot with a pair of external speakers, it will act as a Bluetooth receiver for your phone, in addition to following the voice commands.
The clockless variant of the Echo Dot has no wall mount
Like other stable eco products from Amazon, the digital subsidiary owned by Eco Dot Company is powered by Amazon Alexa. In our review unit, the device responds to the alluring ‘Alexa’ call from eight feet away but only in a quiet environment. It would work if called from another room but only one of the two. With music playing in the background, it was a little hard to get Alexa’s attention but I didn’t have to scream when I was in the same room as the device. In other words, if you were in the same room as the device, you would have less trouble communicating with Alexa. I’m happy to report that the unit’s whisper mode worked well for a calm response. When I whispered, “Turn off all my alarms,” Alexa replied in the same calm tone, “Turn off all your alarms.”
This is a beautiful and bright watch of the new Echo Dot
In addition to showing the time, the display on the front of the Echo Dot tells you how much time is left in an active timer, when the next alarm will sound just after setting, and the current volume level when the volume button is pressed. The brightness of the display changes automatically based on the ambient light, making it ideal for bedside use. In my experience, Echo Dot is an ideal bedroom companion for everyday tasks such as ordering food, controlling nearby smart devices and playing music. In my opinion, its physical buttons are more beautiful to work with than the haptic buttons on the Google Nest Mini.
The physical buttons engraved on the Echo Dot are easier to press than the haptic buttons on the Google Nest Mini
The Echo Dot has a single 1.6-inch speaker driver, which works well for Alexa’s feedback and casual music playback. Compared to the louder and crisper-sounding unit of the Google Nest Mini, the Echo Dot’s speakers sound for most genres of music, especially pop music. Maintaining volume below 70 percent usually sounds low but medium and high do not always make it. Fortunately, the Echo Dot can be connected to a pair of external speakers using a 3.5mm jack on the back. One of the best features of Echo Dot is its ability to easily connect to other audio sources while retaining Alexa’s smartness.
Not similar to the small echo dot echo but works for casual music listening and voice commands
The last row
I had the opportunity to use Google’s recently launched Nest Mini when I set up Amazon Echo Dot Up for review, so I had plenty of room to compare. I personally like Echo Dot Over the Nest Mini because talking to Alexa on Amazon is more friendly and Google Assistant can do more than it can at the moment, like connecting to my Apple Music account for music playback. The Echo Dot, in my opinion, is aesthetically better for a simple display, a 3.5mm audio jack for audio output, and easy-to-press body buttons. All things considered, the Amazon Echo Dot is a delicate bedroom companion for music playback, device control in the neighborhood, and general tasks (such as booking a taxi, etc.). If anything, the variant with the watch costs a little more.
- If this feature is enabled, you can tap any one of the four buttons on EchoDot to dismiss ringing alarms.
- Two small dots flashing on the display indicate that there is an active alarm and timer
- The third-generation Echo Dot is significantly heavier than its predecessors; It also moves away from microUSB charging