I was recently given as a birthday gift from my gorgeous wife an Amazon Echo Dot. This is a quick down and dirty review regarding it since I started toying with it. Let me preface this by saying that Amazon recently sold out of them, they’re that popular, something you almost never see from Amazon.
I have to admit, I let it sit in the box for several days, then decided to finally sit down and tackle this beast, all 3.3-inch cylinder that’s 1.3 inches high and only 5.7 ounces of her, aptly named “Alexa.”
After breaking out of the box, I was pleasantly surprised to see the device, a power cord, and that’s about it, along with a small user manual. Think of a hockey puck with about 4 buttons on top.
I did not own the older Amazon Echo just for the record, however, I quickly downloaded the Alexa app and it was all downhill from there, in a good way. The app allows you easy setup, and when I say easy I mean easy. Everything is a progressive walk through step by step process that once completed allows you to swipe the “complete” bar at the bottom before moving to the next step.
The entire set up took me about 15 minutes and it was actually fun, I paired the device with our wireless network, then it walked me through reading phrases so Alexa could recognize my voice. Note to all, the more you speak to her the more she learns to recognize your voice, it’s amazing.
After this, I went into the settings of Alexa (think of going into your iPhone settings) and began to sync it with several accounts I have, Pandora, Uber, Amazon prime, my Bose speakers throughout the house, and anything else you can think of.
I was up and running so I decided to test Alexa; I began by asking her a variety of questions, weather, news (you can set your favorite news network as default), play my music list on my iPhone, play my Pandora list etc. She performed flawlessly.
The voice range is approximately 50ft, I discovered you can easily talk to her from about 2 rooms away. An upcoming software update will prevent multiple Dots from answering queries at the same time, so you’ll be able to have several throughout the house.
Amazon recently sold more than 5 million units and sold out of them, the only way you were able to purchase one was if you went into an amazon store. Google has quickly recognized this niche and technology and is introducing Google Home, right now price and availability are fuzzy so we’ll have to wait and see.
The Echo dot is also half the cost of its predecessor at a mere $50, what a great price point for such a versatile piece of technology. The comparisons between the Amazon Echo (old) vs Echo Dot (new) are:
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|
|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|