This article has been updated from one that first appeared on Durham Cool December 16, 2016. The Amazon Echo Dot price drop for 2017 Holiday season is even better than last year! Down to $29.99 for a limited time.
My close friend was one of the first 100 consumers to be offered a beta test of the Alexa Echo when they first arrived on the market, late 2014. I enjoy testing Alexa, whenever I visit him at his home, against Google and Siri. Clearly Alexa needs questions asked in a very certain format. She does surprise on occasion with precise answers to questions like her exact age and the distance from earth to the moon. Mainly first generation Echos are great for Cooking timers, playing music (no audio out), and setting reminders. She does occasionally throw out a random joke at odd times with no prior suggestion. The nice thing about the All New Echo Dot, besides the very low price, thanks to fantastic third party support, the Dot has no problem controlling all of my smart stuff while allowing me to listen to music, order food, check the weather, listen to the radio, set alarms and timers, all of which is easily accomplished through simple voice commands.Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device with a small built-in speaker—it can also connect to your speakers or headphones over Bluetooth or through a 3.5 mm audio cable to deliver stereo sound to the speakers you choose. Dot connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantlyEcho Dot can hear you from across the room, even while music is playing. When you want to use Echo Dot, just say the wake word “Alexa” and Dot responds instantly. If you have more than one Echo or Echo Dot, Alexa responds intelligently from the Echo you’re closest to with ESP (Echo Spatial Perception).
Having worked in the electronics retail industry for years now, I’ve seen scores of Smart devices come and go. Until now, nobody quite got it right. In the Echo Dot, Amazon has created a near perfect blend of hardware and software. I’ve seen plenty of the former, but truly seamless multi platform software has alluded everyone but Amazon. We’re talking major players like Samsung and Google who have been at it for much longer than Amazon. The main problem is that excellent products like the Samsung Smart Things hub, which do a fantastic job of unifying a slew of different connected devices from different companies (Nest, Honeywell, Phillips, and so on), still lacked the web connectivity and entertainment support I wanted, so I’d still end up needing my tablet or phone. Thanks to fantastic third party support, the Dot has no problem controlling all of my smart stuff while allowing me to listen to music, order food, check the weather, listen to the radio, set alarms and timers, all of which is easily accomplished through simple voice commands. To me, this is the exceedingly rare product that I didn’t know I needed, and now can’t live without. Similar to the smartphone and tablet I use every day that didn’t exist just a few short years ago.
If you’re even a little bit curious you owe it to yourself to give the dot a try. Add a good speaker and enjoy just how simple a connected life can be!
Update: After a bit more time with the dot, or maybe I should say dots since I went out and bought another one for my living room, I’ve come up with a few tips.
1. Use the best speakers you can with it. I found that while Bluetooth was convenient I got much better sound out of my JBL duet computer speakers.
A huge improvement over last years release and for half the price
By RaVen TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 24, 2016
Configuration: Echo DotColor: White Verified Purchase
Thanks for taking the time to read this review!
This re-release of a critically acclaimed device is quite honestly a grand slam. Although slightly smaller then last years release, this device now picks up your voice even better! I’am talking literally talking leaps and bounds better. I can now say “alexa” and she hears me even when I am downstairs or even when I am blaring music thru my Harmon Kardon Onyx speaker. I found myself yelling at last years Echo dot and approaching the device wielding a kitchen knife attempting to get her to listen.
We will be ordering a second device so we can try out its “multi-room voice recognition” technology. Amazon claims to have instilled a awesome feature where only one echo dot responds to your command if you have multiple devices. So bassically the dot closest to you awaits to the awake word “alexa” on a side note The basic Amazon Music Unlimited will only work on ONE of your devices. Not one at a time, but ONE. If you want to use it on more than one Dot or Echo, you have to purchase a “multi-device” plan:
The main selling point of this device is you can use any of your existing bluetooth speakers to play your amazon playlist at a mild roar,or you can use the 3.5mm jack on the back to connect to your home theater and really give your ear drums a beating. (At your own risk of course). I have both the amazon tap and the echo. Unfortunately these devices have their flaws when it comes to audio reproduction.hence the bluetooth and the 3.5mm jack connectivity on this device will allow for the pickiest of listeners to appreciate their music thru exsisting devices.