While the Amazon Echo Dot (2nd gen) has been on the market for quite a while now, it seems that now then ever is the right time to take a look at this gizmo here on Android Authority — especially with the Google Home and Amazon Echo wars heating up hardcore thanks to Google’s big Assistant announcements from Google I/O 2017.
What is the Amazon Echo Dot exactly? You’ve probably seen it in a commercial or maybe at the store, but why would you buy this little guy when the Echo Dot or Google Home have bigger, fuller sound? Good question. That’s exactly what we aim to address in this post. Keep in mind that while this does serve as an Amazon Echo Dot review of sorts, we aren’t going to stick to traditional formatting. Instead we want to answer the questions – what is it, who is it for, and do we recommend it.
What exactly does the Echo Dot do or not do?
Pretty much everyone these days is familiar with the Amazon Echo, thanks to Amazon’s major marketing efforts both on the web and via TV. In short, the Echo is a smart assistant powered by Alexa that lets you order items from Amazon, play music, ask questions, set timers, look up recipes, control your smart home — and more. Oh, it’s also a pretty high quality speaker system for your tunes, to answer those questions, etc.
Amazon Echo commands – our guide to everything Alexa can do
February 20, 2017
Meanwhile, the Echo Dot does everything we mentioned the Echo does, but there isn’t that high quality speaker. Instead there is a tiny speaker that’s good enough if you are right next to it and aren’t too particular about audio quality.
Why would you want to sacrifice sound? For one, it’s small and can be placed just about anywhere in your home without distracting the overall decorum of that room. Also, it has Bluetooth and a physical audio jack so you can connect your existing speakers to it.
Design, ease of use, and so forth
As for the design? It’s small, easy to use with a few physical buttons on top.. And that’s about all there is to say about it. You can get it in black or white, though I personally favor the black version.
Not a lot to say about the software or how to use it either. You set things up with the Alexa app on your phone (Android and iOS support), then after that you hook it to Wi-Fi and from then out — you can listen to music, control stuff, and more right from the speaker.
Of course any time you need to add new functions (skills, etc) — you do have to go back into the app. All in all, it doesn’t get much easier to use than the Echo Dot.
So who should buy the Echo Dot?
Is the Echo Dot for you? Very likely, especially if you fall into one of these situations:
Those with a quality audio setup already in their homes
If you have an expensive traditional speaker setup, a living room audiotainment system, or just a solid Bluetooth speaker — the Echo Dot can default to those speakers when plugged in. That makes this a no brainer accessory, considering the Echo Dot is only $50!
Those who are simply curious about the whole ‘smart speaker’ thing
At $50, the Echo Dot is pretty much in impulse buy territory for many of us. In fact, that’s how I got started with it. Was curious if I’d use a smart assistant more in a speaker than I do on my phone. And the price was low enough for me to give it a go.
I liked it so much I ended up buying a higher-end model for the living room, while keeping the Echo Dot in use as a bedroom speaker.
Those who already have an Echo and just want to ‘extend’ its functions to more room
If you have a smart home setup, in particular, Echo Dots make a lot of sense for bedrooms, common areas in the house that your main speaker won’t be able to hear well, and so forth. If the room isn’t going to be used for high quality music — why pay high dollar just so you can say “Alexa” and ask your lights to go on/off, etc.
At $50, the Amazon Echo Dot is perfect for those that want to try a smart assistant without making a big investment. It’s also great for those with a quality speaker setup already. If you fit into either of those categories, YES BUY IT NOW. You won’t regret it.
That said, if you are more of a Google Assistant guy, Google Home is going to make more sense — to bad it’s slightly more than double the price. Personally, if there were a $50 Google Home ‘Dot’, I’d buy it over Amazon’s in a heartbeat. Mostly because “Okay Google” is engrained in my mind so hard that sometimes I accidentally say the wrong wake word to my Echo Dot.
I feel the lack of a ‘smaller, cheaper’ Google Home is a big weakness that Google should address. Then again, the company recently announced it is pushing Assistant technology into more and more devices — so maybe third party solutions will make their own “Dot” equivalents powered by Assistant.
What do you think of the Amazon Echo Dot? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments.
Get it on Amazon!