The Echo Dot is Amazon’s cheapest smart device featuring the Alexa voice assistant. But what exactly is it?
Basically it’s a Bluetooth speaker which can respond to voice commands. You can ask it questions, for example:
Or you can ask it to set timers, reminders and alarms. Or add items to a shopping list, for example:
- Alexa, set a timer for 5 minutes;
- Alexa, remind me in 30 minutes to book the Drake for dinner;
- Alexa, set an alarm for tomorrow at 7am;
- Alexa, add eggs to my shopping list.
The Echo Dot is a compact device, with the footprint of a coffee mug and about an inch tall. It comes with a micro-USB charger and no internal battery, so it has to be powered at all times. But there’s nothing stopping you using it with a portable power pack.
- Voice recognition and Alexa’s natural responses are very good;
- With some external speakers attached, an impressive smart speaker;
- Integration with many “smart home” devices such as Sonos and Philips Hue;
- Over 15,000 Skills for extending its capabilities further;
- Compact and discrete.
- Audio quality is a little disappointing – would recommend at least connecting some computer speakers;
- Voice recognition can struggle if playing music or sounds at higher volumes. Can be frustrating turning off an alarm for instance;
- Limited database to draw on for general questions compared to Google Home for example;
- No aux cables supplied;
- Has to be powered, no internal battery.
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Amazon Echo Dot
Sonos One (with Alexa)