Cell PhonesComputersConsumer ElectronicsGraphic Design & Video EditingHome Theater & AudioIndustrial TechnologyInternet

Why Amazon's Echo Dot Is Better Than Amazon Echo

Updated on January 19, 2017
Chriswillman90 profile image

Krzysztof is a lifelong future tech junkie investigating the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.

Profile
Joined: 2 years agoFollowers: 168Articles: 117
The Amazon Echo Dot
The Amazon Echo Dot | Source

What's the Amazon Echo Dot?

Amazon's Echo Dot is a 360 degree speaker that uses far-field voice recognition powered by the Amazon Alexa voice service/assistant.

Design-wise it looks like a hockey puck with two buttons on top. It's basically a Bluetooth speaker that looks like the first inch and a half of the top of a Pringles can.

The new Echo Dot has everything the old Echo had, including long range, far-field voice capabilities, a microphone off button, an action button (for WiFi), and of course "Alexa," who can answer questions, play music, and give you news, weather, traffic, sports results, and much more. You won't lose access to any of the Echo's abilities, including its third party skills like Fitbit, Uber, Domino's Pizza, and Capitol One (found in the Alexa app).

However, there are a couple of huge differences between the old Amazon Echo and the new Echo Dot, and these differences are what take the Dot beyond its parent product.

Comparison of Amazon's Echo vs. Echo Dot

 
Amazon Echo (old)
Echo Dot (new)
"Alexa," who can answer questions, play music, and give you news, weather, traffic, sports results, etc.?
yes
yes
Skills like Fitbit, Uber, Domino's Pizza, and Capitol One (via Alexa)?
yes
yes
Long range, far-field voice capabilities?
yes
even better
A microphone off button?
yes
yes
An action button (for WiFi)?
yes
yes
Built-in speaker?
yes
yes
A 3.5 mm audio output jack that facilitates connectivity to any speaker and turns it into an Alexa-enabled device?
no
yes
Power adapter and USB charging cable included?
yes
yes
ESP feature designed for multiple devices: Word command alerts the closest device?
no
yes
Can you connect to your own Bluetooth speaker?
no
yes
Is it portable?
no
yes
Can you take it outside with Amazon Tap?
no
yes
Hands-free activation with a wake word?
yes
yes
Color options?
black or white
black or white
Cost?
$180
$50
For a full explanation of each feature, scroll down.

Echo Dot's Best New Features

New Features & Hardware of the Echo Dot

While the software of Echo Dot is similar to its predecessor's, the hardware is slightly different. That is what makes it interesting.

  • This product contains a 3.5 mm audio output jack that facilitates connectivity to any speaker and turns it into an Alexa-enabled device.

You'll note that a 4 ft. long 3.5 mm audio cable, a power adapter, and USB charging cable (adapter and USB cable included with Amazon Echo) are part of the package.

  • If you prefer to connect the device to your own Bluetooth speaker, then you may do just that.

Download the Alexa app from Fire OS, Android, or iOS devices and use the Quick Start Guide included in the packaging to setup your WiFi and Bluetooth to other products (mobile phones and Bluetooth speakers). The lack of an audio output on the first Echo was a huge complaint when it launched. Small changes make a massive difference.

  • You can obtain the sound quality you want and access Alexa's smarts, including the ESP feature designed for multiple devices. When you say "Alexa", only the closest device to you will respond.
  • The Echo Dot is much lighter/smaller than the Echo, which increases its portability in the home. There are even ways to take the product outside the home if combined with another Alexa powered device called the Amazon Tap.

However, the Amazon Tap is viewed as a middle-of-the-road Bluetooth speaker that lacks cellular data and/or mobile hotspot connections, thus limiting portability. The Tap may be battery powered, but when you constantly need a WiFi connection, it loses its punch.

  • The Echo Dot, like the Echo, provides hands-free activation through a wake word. Within the Alexa app, the spoken wake word that activates the device can either be "Alexa," "Echo," or "Amazon."

Due to it being battery powered, you have to "tap" a button on the device for Alexa to respond to your request/question.

  • Lastly, the 2nd generational model is available in either black or white.

The Echo Dot's Price Cut

The Echo Dot Is Half the Cost

  • At a mere $50 ($49.99 to be exact), the Echo Dot is half as expensive as its predecessor.

You'll receive the same software and Alexa voice capabilities as the original with the added capacity to improve speaker quality through an audio output or Bluetooth connection, and it's half the price! No wonder so many tech sites praised this product, often giving it an Editor's Choice Award.

Source

Echo Dot Stands on Its Own

You Don't Need an Extra Speaker

What I love is that this device doesn't lose the far-field voice recognition of its predecessor.

The Echo Dot has a seven-microphone-array for listening, supports fast and easy WiFi connectivity, and most importantly it has a built-in speaker that delivers sound on par with other mini Bluetooth speakers.

The sound quality will be lacking and won't fill a room with sound, but it's not bad for intimate bedroom listening, and many reviewers agreed that it sounded better than expected.

You can't go wrong with this device.

Amazon's Marketing Strategy

How to Order an Echo Dot?

When the first generation model came out, you could only order it via three ways:

  1. Amazon Echo
  2. Voice controlled Amazon Fire TV
  3. Amazon Tap

Those who pre-ordered the first model a month before its launch (March 31, 2016) were fortunate to receive it early though there were limitations on how many you could purchase. I know Amazon doesn't like to release numbers/stats for their items, but you can guess how well the first gen sold based on the amount of reviews and how quickly it was out of stock.

You can now order the 2nd generation model...

  • online or in-store
  • you no longer have to order through Alexa (although doing so does include the perk of a $10 shopping credit)
  • there's no longer a limit of one per order and two per customer: you can now order as many as you want, and if you order 5, you get 1 free.

The new model is Amazon's top seller. When you have a fantastic product at half the price, it's no wonder. Keep an eye out for special sales and deals throughout the year from Amazon because you may be able to purchase the Dot for only $39.99 or in a bundle that includes a Philips Hue starter kit.

Be sure to check out Amazon.com for daily deals.

Final Thoughts on Amazon's Echo Dot

My Final Rating of Echo Dot

As a lifelong futurist and tech junkie, I'd be comfortable to award the Echo Dot 4.5 out of 5 stars.

  • This product has everything the Echo had, plus more. At $50 dollars this Alexa-implemented device is a steal.
  • I had issues with how the product was marketed, but that doesn't affect my score of the actual item.
  • What does prevent me from giving it a perfect 5 out of 5 is that occasionally it's difficult to get the Dot to hear you during music playback, although it's gotten much better with the newer model.

However for all the pros and its excellent price tag, I have nothing but praise for this device. Try it for yourself If possible, especially if you're big on sound and don't want to shell out $180 for the larger Echo. You won't be disappointed.

The Echo Dot is an excellent product that I'll happily award 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Your Turn!

Would You Try an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 10 months ago from Hamburg, New York

      Just to give you a better idea of how it well it is selling, they estimate that only 1 in 50 customers with leave a product review.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 10 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      That makes sense across the product spectrum. Reviews are a very broad way of indicating popularity and quality, and I'm very weary of tainted/duplicate reviews sites like Amazon are attempting to do away with.

    • profile image

      Babs 9 months ago

      I am OLD! I LOVE Alexa! I have her,Echo Dot and Tap! As I write, I'm sitting on my front porch with Tap, listening to the Marcus Sakey Trilogy(final one, Written In Fire).Alexa is in the bedroom, where she gives the weather, the news and the verse of the day. Echo Dot sets a timer so I don't burn the cookies, and Tap lets me listen outside. Sure, some of it's skills are silly..but so much fun! Most of her skills are VERY useful...like, set an alarm for a wake up time, set a Noise machine(Alexa, play Ocean Waves, Alexa Loop) that will play ocean sounds all night.Nothing like listening to a good book, setting a timer for it to stop and then drifting to sleep to ocean waves. Waiting for Amazon to have a Smart Home Kit with basics that instantly work with Alexa and is reasonably priced. Also like being able to say Alexa, add XXXXX to my shopping list and have her read it back. She can even PLACE the order. I wish you could record your own thoughts...like a short thought...and keep it. Would be fun to save special events and be able to keep and have her read it...like a personal book. Think GrandOnes, here. Would be fun to be able to read a bedtime story in YOUR OWN VOICE when you're far away...or when they visit to hear their parent read the story. Get busy Devs! Will Tap work if you go on a Cruise Ship

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 9 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      I'm glad you really love the products because they are quite addicting and represent a cool,, new paradigm shift that we haven't seen since the rise of the World Wide Web. All of your requests describe why people love Alexa so much, POTENTIAL. There's so many possibilities and you've mentioned many of them that could soon be possible.

      I think we're a year or two away from seeing many of those ideas becoming a reality and it's an exciting time for consumer tech.

    • profile image

      Extol over 7 months ago

      Amazon cancelled this product

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 7 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      I think it might be on hold for now but I know you can still find it on other places like eBay.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 7 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      That's all fantastic, I hope a lot of people read this comment so they can get a better feel of what these devices can do for them. Tap will work if there's a WiFi connection but it might work off your phones cell data too.

    • profile image

      Jim Brannan 6 months ago

      The Dot is much better than the Echo. They sell you a crammed in speaker for an extra $80 in the Echo that has such a smothered sound I couldn't understand mine if it talked for more that a few seconds and I returned the first and sold the replacement unit. With the Dot it allows you to connect it to some decent speakers by wire or bluetooth anywhere in the room or farther. It's too bad I bought the last one, literally. They were sold out after they shipped mine and they never had any more. I hope they replace it with another similar model and don't just milk us all to death for the profit of selling us that horribly designed speaker model.

    • profile image

      djvthewriter 5 months ago

      Bought the original Echo sometime ago....never been disappointed...love to sit outside and use the remote to change music stations and/or Tune In Radio. Then bought the dot and use it in my bedroom...asking the time, setting alarm, and checking the weather. Now just bought the new dot and will use it by taking it with me on the road....a trusty alarm clock and of course a Wikipedia source of INFO. I'm so happy I bought Amazon stock a few years ago. Good going Jeff Bezos!

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 5 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      I'm happy to heae you've had such a positive experience. While I know these devices aren't perfect, I've found that more often than not people are satisfied with the Echo or Echo Dot. I'm also glad to hear Amazon making a greater push towards expanding these devices and Alexa into even more platforms. I really want to see her be used to control music settings and perform other functions within the car next. Thats a huge market to tap into.

    • profile image

      Bryan 4 months ago

      Note that the generation 2 Dot does not(!) have the rotating volume ring, currently still described in the "What's the Amazon Echo Dot?" section. Too bad, as the volume ring is a very nice feature on the original Echo - much better than klunky volume +/- buttons.

    • profile image

      Thomas Freeman 4 months ago

      Hi turbofuture.com,

      We represent a large number of clients who operate in dozens of online markets including shopping, fashion, tech, DIY, finance, crafts, travel, cars, food and more. We are currently looking for guest or sponsored post opportunities on their behalf. Is this something you would be interested in?

      If so, would you mind telling me how much you normally charge for a post on your site?

      Usually, we would write the article on a topic related to both yours and our clients websites, at around 300-500 words long with one link to our clients website contained within. However, we're more than happy if you would prefer to write the article yourself, as well as changing the word count to whatever suits you best.

      Looking forward to hearing from you.

      Kind regards,

      Thomas

    • profile image

      Bridgett 4 months ago

      Question - If you set an alarm, can you set it to one specific dot?

      Scenario - So, the purpose of the dots is to have multiple ones throughout the house. Say I buy 6 dots - one for the living room, kitchen, master bedroom, and three children's rooms. My husband sets the alarm to 6:00am, but my son has to get up for work at 4:00am, and my daughter gets up at 6:30am for school ... would all alarms go off on all of the dots?

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 4 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Thanks for the update and that's an unusual take-out. I wonder why they decided to remove it.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 4 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      I have multiple echos and I was able to set different alarms for each however I used a different wake word for every one, "Alexa, Echo, Amazon". I'll have to test your theory but the latest update with ESP (Echo Spatial Perception) should mean you can set multiple alarms for a specific dot.

    • profile image

      Serg 4 months ago

      Won't it waste electricity wasting money

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 4 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      How so? It wastes very little power despite it always being plugged in.

    • profile image

      Mick 3 months ago

      I have the Echo. Can I use Echo Dots to augment it in other rooms?

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 3 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      They don't sync up simultaneously yet if that's what you mean.

    • profile image

      Jessica 2 months ago

      I think I can not use echo dot in my study room can I? please guide..

      http://tentopreview.com/best-wireless-routers/

    • profile image

      Anne Mair 2 months ago

      Will the echo dot work in New Zealand ?

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 2 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Currently the Echo's language is English only although new dialects are being introduced as we speak primarily from the UK. If you can get your hands on a Dot then I don't see why it wouldn't work in New Zealand.

    • profile image

      steven 2 months ago

      Review is all wrong.. where you get your info??

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 2 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Would you care to elaborate?

    • profile image

      Mlertym 2 months ago

      I asked a simple question "Who was Cuban president in 1955?" and Alexa said "hmmm, I don't understand the question. Why?

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 2 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Unfortunately there are some questions Alexa simply doesn't yet have the smarts for, and it's one of my biggest complaints. It doesn't take away from the product but it can get annoying for seemingly easy questions.

    • profile image

      karen 2 months ago

      Is there a monthly fee?

    • profile image

      Mark 2 months ago

      Same question as Karen. Is there a monthly fee?

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 2 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      To use the device and Alexa, there's no monthly fee. The only fee would be if you were to join. Music subscription service such as Amazon Music Unlimited.

    • profile image

      Valery Savage 2 months ago

      I bought several dots for Christmas gifts. I hope the recipients enjoy them as much as you do. Thanks for all the info. I was really upset that I couldn't find the original echo, except on eBay where people are paying several hundred dollars for after Christmas delivery. I think some people are nuts. I'm now happy I had to settle for the dots. I even had them delivered within 2 hours from Amazon Now. Which I LOVE by the way.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 2 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      The original Echo Dot is impossible to find for sure and I agree that people just don't have any sense spending so much. Hopefully you got the Dots when they were on sale because for 40-50 dollars it's a bargain. The Echo Dot has routinely been crowned one of the best gadget gifts to get this season and I'm sure whoever gets them will love them. I haven't tried the 2-hr delivery yet but talk about super fast shipping.

    • profile image

      iris 2 months ago

      do you connect the dot to an app? i see there are amazon alexa apps.

    • profile image

      Dpostman2 2 months ago

      It's hard to believe that anyone would want one of these. It requires WiFi and you wouldn't have WiFi without a computer and your computer and most likely your phone can do everything this can do. I guess it's cool but maybe ten to twenty dollar cool to me.

    • profile image

      dfmoberg 2 months ago

      Only a couple of notes on the review;

      I purchased my Echo this past Spring, (relatively new), and it does not come with a USB cord/adapter, only the outlet power adapter.

      The sense I get from this review is that the Echo is nothing more than a Dot on a speaker, and many people say the sound quality is not that great on the Echo. Here's where I part company...

      The speaker on the Echo is actually quite decent. I'm a "sound enthusiast" and I am very happy with the Echo's quality. Maybe I got lucky and received one of the "good" ones, or maybe I have realistic expectations of a single device providing quality sound. My Echo, placed on a proper surface in a proper location, sounds excellent.

      Place an Echo on a glass table-top in a corner of the room..you should expect it to sound like garbage. Place an Echo on a solid wooden surface (increases lower frequencies) towards the middle of the room (providing 360 degree output), and it is much better than a "middle of road" speaker. Maybe not a Bose quality Bluetooth, put certainly as good as any $130 Bluetooth speaker.

      I purchased the 2nd Gen Dot, and when it arrives tomorrow, it will be synced with my Bluetooth sound system in the living room where the Echo resided until two months ago.

      I moved my Echo to the kitchen table (solid wood, middle of room) for its convenience. Decent sound quality for cooking and dining, access to online recipes, news and weather, and she makes coffee!

      BTW, with regards to an earlier comment about the volume controls, why push buttons or turn a dial when all you have to do is say, "Alexa, volume up. Alexa, volume down. Alexa, volume three. Alexa, my neighbor can't hear this yet"?

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 2 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Well for 40-50 bucks it's not a huge expense and most connected gadgets require an WiFi nowadays. The "your phone can already do everything" is a common argument but when I'm home it's a lot more convenient to ask for things like sports scores or the weather than look it up on your phone. There are also other benefits if you use smart devices for things like lighting and whatnot. The Dot isn't expensive and it's very convenient when you need quick answers to everyday inquiries.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 2 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      I actually enjoy the Echo's sound quality but I'm also not an audiophile, so what do I know. That's a great tip by the way regarding where the device is placed as most don't realize how impactful the surface plane can be. I think most people would be happy with the audio output of the original Echo unless they own much higher quality speakers like a Bose or a Sonos. It is nice that the Dot allows you to sync with your existing sound systems though, which is what I wish the larger Echo gave you the option to do but that's a nitpick.

      I wouldn't want to give people the impression that the Echo is a middle of the road speaker because it certainly isn't. Given its price along with Alexa's integration, 180 dollars is a good price for what you get regarding quality.

    • profile image

      R. Norris 8 weeks ago

      My wife got an Echo Dot this Christmas. Why people would use this unit as an audio output device is beyond me since the audio quality is awful.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 8 weeks ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      The Dot was always meant to connect/sync to a much higher quality unit via 3.5 mm jack so it works well once you connect to say a Bose speaker. People who are looking for better quality without seeking a complementary output speaker should but the original Echo instead.

    • profile image

      BrianDocili 8 weeks ago

      Got the Echo Dot because soon it will sync with our Sonos system which provides amazing sound throughout the entire house. I did not think we would enjoy the other features of Alexa, but I have to admit, she is pretty cool. Try enabling some of her skills. I like to get a morning flash report with news when I come down for my 1st cup of coffee. She gives me the best traffic route to drive to work, tells me the weather, etc. The speaker sucks for music, but as I said, I use Sonos for music. I just want Alexa to control Sonos which is coming very soon.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 8 weeks ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      The Sonos control will be a huge step forward for both platforms and I know a lot of people are looking forward to it. I'm glad you found additional enjoyment out of the device and even some useful functionality from her many features. I expect a lot more speakers will integrate Alexa into them by next year even if it's just to fully control the audio and playback.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 7 weeks ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      There's only one official Amazon Alexa app that should be used to connect to all Echo devices however there are plenty of apps for smart devices that also link to Alexa such as the WeMo app or Philips Hue.

    • profile image

      Julia 6 weeks ago

      Hello,

      I am looking for a product that is voice commanded for my Mother who is going blind. She can no longer read. Is Alexa able to be used as a telephone?

    • profile image

      Randy Hogan 6 weeks ago

      How can the Dot be taken outside or be portable any more than the Echo? They both must be plugged into AC power. Only the Tap is truly portable.

      For those with questions about using multiple Dots, only the one closest to you will accept commands. At least that's what I've read.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 5 weeks ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      That's correct but I've been able to use the Dot in the car and there are third party battery options that some have success with when they attached them to the bottom of either Echo device. It's more portable in the way that it's far easier to move the smaller Echo around and with the 3.5 mm jack it makes it easier to attach to an external speaker for outdoor use and such.

    • profile image

      Donaldo Rober 5 weeks ago

      Just got mine last night. I am already amazed.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 5 weeks ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      I'm happy to hear it I hope you make the most of what the product has to offer.

    Click to Rate This Article