Amazon Echo Dot 2018

Amazon’s new Echo Dot ($ 49) looks great and sounds excellent. With vastly improved noise, it’s now a noticeably better smart speaker than the Google Home Mini, and can replace the larger $99 Echo for less particular folks. That makes it our Editor’s Choice for entry-level smart speakers. If you already own an old Echo Dot and use it to power a larger, much better speaker, there’s no need to upgrade. However if you use your Echo Dot as a main speaker, you’ll desire the brand-new one.

Amazon Echo Dot 2018

PROS

Much better sound than previous design. Still the best economical Alexa speaker. 3.5 mm jack for more effective speakers. Alexa remains the best voice community for smart home control.

CONS

Alexa isn’t as much as Google Assistant’s level at addressing broad information queries.

BOTTOM LINE

The new Amazon Echo Dot provides significantly improved noise, making it an even much better buy for an entry-level Alexa speaker.

A Cuddlier Dot

The new Echo Dot is chubbier and cuddlier than the previous model, although it’s about the same size. Instead of simply tough plastic, now the speaker has a material wrap in among 3 shades of gray. Pick sensibly, since unlike with the full-sized Echo, you can’t alter the wrapping after you purchase the speaker.

Like previous Echo Dots, the speaker has a colored light ring around the edge and 4 buttons on top: volume buttons, a mic mute, and an action button. I like the Echo Dot’s volume buttons much better than the Home Mini’s somewhat mystical touch controls, although you’ll probably be controlling the volume with your voice. The speaker is 3.9 inches in size by 1.7 inches high, and weighs 10.6 ounces. It’s portable in the sense that it’s easy to pick up and move from room to room, however it requires to be plugged in for power.

You link the Echo Dot to your Wi-Fi network with the Alexa app or through a web browser. The new Dot supports 802.11 air conditioner, which noticeably extends Wi-Fi range for the device on a 5GHz network when used with an 802.11 air conditioner router.

Much better Sound

The sound quality on the single 1.6-inch driver is much, much better than the old Echo Dot. The old Echo Dot sounded abysmal, like a 1960s transistor radio. It was great for Alexa’s voice, however music was very tinny. The new Echo Dot at least has some semblance of bass, and a far more rounded midrange. Take two Echo Dots, and you can even form them into a stereo set.

The Dot now sounds significantly much better than the Google Home Mini. The Home Mini isn’t as painfully tinny as the old Dot, however it pushes voices far forward of any other noise when you’re playing music. Listening to your favorite singers is for that reason entertaining, but you’re getting a very false idea of the background instrumentation. The brand-new Dot brings things at least rather better together.

Now, this is still a small $50 speaker. The $99 basic Echo provides bass with much more space and shape compared with the Dot, for a significantly much better listening experience.

But I think this Dot lastly vaults up into the realm of “sufficient” for a great deal of individuals, who don’t always check out dedicated speaker evaluations. For everyone else, the Echo Dot still has a 3.5 mm jack on the back, as well as Bluetooth, to link to other speakers and audio sources.

Playing music, the new Dot gets up to an extremely noticeable 7dB louder than the old one, and about 2dB louder than the Google Home Mini at 6 inches. Remarkably, the brand-new Dot is just 2dB quieter than the bigger Echo. Where the bigger Echo stands apart is in the shape and quality of the noise– less compressed drums, and much better attack and decay with strings, for instance.

The Dot had no difficulty hearing me, or being heard, at a 30 foot variety in a peaceful space. With music playing, you’ll need to speak up.

Amazon Echo Dot 2018

Alexa vs. Google Assistant

While we used to prefer Alexa to Google Assistant, Amazon is falling back in its ability to address natural language queries. When it pertains to the major things individuals use smart speakers for– timers, music, weather condition and news– Amazon and Google are doing just great. Alexa is even still ahead of Google on accessing calendars from Google accounts, as Google Assistant still can’t deal with G Suite calendars.

Alexa is likewise ahead of Google Assistant on smart home control. While Google now brags that it can control 1,000 smart home brands, you can presume that any smart home device will deal with Alexa. If voice managing your TV is essential, Amazon’s series of Fire TV sticks, devices, and smart TVs are a lot more flexible than Google’s Chromecast.

However ask a set of speakers about, say, local companies or directions, and Google flies ahead. Google Assistant understood the addresses of a local business I required to get to where Alexa didn’t, and provided me transit directions there, which Alexa couldn’t. Our experience is supported by a major study done by ad agency 360i, which found that in the areas of travel, finance, cars, and retail, Google Assistant is a lot more able to answer approximate inquiries than Alexa.

Google likewise has exceptional multi-user functions. Google’s speakers just recognize the voices of numerous people in a family; Amazon speakers have to be informed to switch accounts.

Conclusions

The brand-new Echo Dot suffices to be the default Alexa speaker in many rooms of your home. It no longer sounds horribly tinny, and it’s half the price of the bigger Echo. If you desire better sound, you can quickly hook it as much as a larger speaker of your choice, or match it with another Dot as a stereo pair. It’s budget-friendly, flexible, and appealing, and sounds a lot much better than the Google Home Mini.

Amazon’s challenge today remains in the cloud, not in its hardware. Alexa still rules when it comes to voice-enabling a vast array of hardware from different manufacturers. It supports more smart home devices than Google or Siri, and the variety of Fire TELEVISION devices, both in smart TVs and add-on devices, runs rings around Apple’s and Google’s choices.

Google Assistant is just much easier and more enjoyable to talk with, which is why we recommend Google over Amazon if you’re starting with smart speakers and do not mean to go in a broad smart home direction. Google is most likely to understand what you’re asking and provide you great guidance. While you can enhance Alexa with thousands of third-party abilities, their syntax is substantially pickier than Google’s is, making deep usage of Alexa a naturally geekier job.

We’ve been providing Editors’ Choice awards for smart speakers more based on the hardware than on the environment, due to the fact that there are advantages and disadvantages with each platform. I’m happy to call the new Echo Dot an Editors’ Choice, and the entry-level Alexa speaker you need to think about today. It’s excellent enough to be the foundation of any Alexa-enabled home.

Last updated on September 16th, 2019

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