Of all the Amazon devices my favourite is the Echo Dot. It’s small, features all the same Alexa smarts as the bigger and more expensive Echo and is easy to fit or put anywhere.
The new Echo Dot with clock is like a smaller version of the new 4th generation Echo. The ball-shaped Echo Dot has a flat rubber base with a plastic bottom half and fabric top half. Located on the top are four buttons for volume up, down, mic mute and a button for activating Alexa when you don't want to say her name. Around the back are a barrel-style power supply socket and a 3.5mm AUX jack.
The new Echo Dot looks great on a desk and I found it handy being able to see the time at a glance. Hardly a must-have feature with so many other places to see the time, but convenient nonetheless.
Like its bigger sibling, the new Echo Dot now has the light ring on the bottom of the speaker, making it light up the surface it sits on.
The LED clock display is hidden behind the fabric when turned off via the Alexa app or by with a voice command. This is ideal for when you don’t want even the dimmest display setting illuminating your bedroom while you try to sleep. However, when it’s on, it’s clearly visible even in strong light and you can change the brightness manually or set it to auto.
The display can show countdown timers, which is useful and a full stop at the end of the clock indicates you have an alarm set within the next 24 hours. When you ask Alexa the weather it will display the current temperature for a few seconds and then return to the clock. If you adjust the volume using the buttons or with an Alexa command you’ll see the value on the display from 0 (off) to 10 (max volume).
Alexa is compatible with the widest range of smart home devices and continues to improve on getting smarter as a voice assistant. I love the powerful routines feature, which can set off a string of actions to your smart devices with a simple voice command.
One area of weakness for Alexa is music streaming, which currently doesn’t work with Tidal or Qobuz. However, it does work extremely well with Spotify and there are skills for other services including Apple Music and Deezer.
The Echo Dot is a small speaker so you can’t expect it to pump out a large volume of sound with thumping bass. That being said, it can get loud enough and the sound quality is better than expected from its small form factor.
This is the speaker for those who don't want a powerful smart speaker for dedicated music listening unless you intend on using it to turn a stereo system or large speaker into a smart speaker.
I found it easy to listen to without being irritating especially for background music. You’d expect something this small to have an annoyingly tinny sound, but it doesn’t. It’s perfect for casual music, podcasts, or listening to the radio.
The Echo Dot 4th generation with Clock looks and is smart. The extra display is a nice to have even if just to show the time on a bedside locker or office desk. The standard 4th generation Echo Dot is €10 cheaper and has all the same features including speakers and sound quality, so which you decide to buy will come down to the extra convenience and features of the clock.