There wasn’t a brand new Amazon Echo smart speaker on show on the on-line megaretailer’s yearly hardware and services event final month, however Amazon did reveal a brand-new lineup of smaller-sized Echo Dot speakers, in addition to a brand new Echo Dot with Clock and new Echo Dot Kids speakers, too. Although nonetheless accessible just for preorder, I obtained to check out the brand new audio system to see how they carry out in comparison with the earlier generations, and in the event that they stay as much as Amazon’s guarantees. 

“That is our strongest lineup but,” mentioned Nedim Fresko, Amazon’s vp of Alexa units and developer applied sciences. “We have redesigned the audio structure with a full vary driver and the best tour speaker of any Echo Dot.”

Value: Echo Dot, $50; Echo Dot with Clock, $60
Launch date: Oct. 21, preorder now

The latest entry-level Amazon good speaker has a lot better bass output, retaining the identical design and shade lineup (charcoal, glacier white or deep sea blue). The Echo Dot with Clock tacks $10 onto the $50 Echo Dot worth for the timekeeping and for the Echo Dot Children, redesigned with new purple dragon and turquoise owl-themed designs.

In keeping with Fresko, that high-excursion design signifies that the brand new Echo Dot audio system put out as much as twice as a lot bass as earlier generations, all from throughout the identical spherical design and a well-recognized selection of colours (charcoal, glacier white or deep sea blue). Out there for preorder now and anticipated to ship out in October, the costs are the identical, too — $50 for the brand new, fifth-gen Echo Dot, or $60 for the brand new Echo Dot with Clock or the brand new Echo Dot Children.

A mockup shows the inner workings of the 5th-gen Echo Dot smart speaker, which features better bass thanks to a new, high-excursion design.

The brand new Echo Dot audio system function high-excursion designs, which principally signifies that the speaker’s cone can transfer and vibrate greater than earlier than to provide as much as twice as a lot bass as earlier generations.


Amazon

Together with the higher sound high quality, the brand new Echo Dot units embody new sensors that allow faucet gestures for the highest of the gadget, which could make for a faster technique of shutting off that morning alarm or cooking timer. The brand new Echo Dot with Clock, accessible in cloud blue or glacier white, comes with some slight refinements to the clock readout, too — specifically, the power to show upcoming calendar occasions, artists and music titles throughout music playback, or climate information with icons everytime you ask Alexa for the day’s forecast.

Value: $60
Launch date: Oct. 21, preorder now

The Echo Dot Children has been redesigned with new purple dragon and turquoise owl-themed designs with matching Alexa voices for Amazon Children Plus subscribers, plus the standard kid- and parent-friendly options.

In the meantime, the Echo Dot Children obtained a makeover, with new purple dragon and turquoise owl-themed designs. Every gadget presents parental controls within the Alexa app, a two-year guarantee and a one-year subscription to Amazon Children Plus for kid-friendly content material choices. Quickly, the audio system can even supply Children Plus subscribers unique owl- and dragon-themed customized Alexa voices, too.

“Ambient intelligence has been our North Star because the early days of Echo and Alexa, and a real ambient expertise is personalised, proactive and intuitive sufficient to adapt to you and your surroundings,” Fresko advised CNET. “All of our Echo units and providers are designed to drive this concept ahead for our prospects whether or not they’re at house or on the go.”

All three of the brand new Echo Dot audio system can be found for preorder now and anticipated to ship out by the tip of October.

The 5th-gen Amazon Echo Dot with Clock sitting against a blue background. The pixelated clockface displays the time, 12:23.

The Fifth-gen Echo Dot with Clock sports activities a brand new, pixelated clockface that may show issues like music titles and climate forecasts along with the time.


Ry Crist/CNET

First impressions of the brand new Echo Dots

The brand new Echo Dots aren’t anticipated to ship out to prospects till the tip of October, however within the meantime, Amazon despatched us the brand new Echo Dot with Clock to check out. At a look, it is practically similar to the earlier mannequin, save for the redesigned, pixelated LED clockface.

As quickly as you plug it in and start setup, you may see that clockface in motion with a pleasant “Hi there” that scrolls by as Alexa presents setup directions (adopted by “Hola,” and “Bonjour,” as Alexa repeats these directions in Spanish and French). Aside from that, the setup expertise is identical as earlier than — simply open the Alexa app, pair with the brand new gadget and let it onto your Wi-Fi community.

The 4th- and 5th-gen Amazon Echo Dot with Clock smart speakers sitting side by side against a blue background.

Ry Crist/CNET

From there, you’ll use Alexa such as you usually would. You’ll be able to ask the speaker to stream music or management your good house units, you may ask for the night’s climate forecast, you may ask it to set a timer; you title it. Amazon has a gradual behavior of rolling out new Alexa features, however there’s nothing inherently new in regards to the Alexa expertise so far as the brand new Dots are involved.

The gadget does have a number of new tips up its sleeve, although. For starters, you may faucet the highest to pause or resume music playback, or to cease a timer. The function labored properly sufficient once I tried it out, however it seemed a bit finicky — gentle faucets typically would not work once I tried to pause my music, and even more durable whacks would typically fail me. I ponder if Amazon would possibly have to tweak the sensitivity a bit.

Talking of music, the Echo Dot with Clock obtained the identical bass improve as the usual Echo Dot, so I made certain to offer some bass-heavy tunes a very good pay attention. General, the speaker positively feels noticeably louder than earlier than at max settings, and the bass was barely extra outstanding among the many combine. It is not a game-changing improve, although. The Echo Dot has at all times had surprisingly respectable sound high quality for such a small speaker, but it surely’s nonetheless simply that — a small speaker that is higher suited to podcasts and informal listening than it’s for pumping up the jam at your subsequent front room dance social gathering.

An Eero Pro 6E router sits beside the 5th-gen Amazon Echo Dot with Clock against a blue background. The new Echo Dots can double as Wi-Fi extenders for Eero's mesh networks.

Amazon’s new Echo Dots can double as Wi-Fi extenders for Eero’s mesh routers.


Ry Crist/CNET

The opposite new trick of observe is that, like the brand new Echo Dot, the brand new Echo Dot with Clock can double as a makeshift Wi-Fi extender for Eero’s mesh routers.

“A number of prospects are going to have a digital camera exterior of their home, or a streamer behind the TV that struggles to remain linked,” Eero co-founder and CEO Nick Weaver advised me on a current name. Wi-Fi-repeating Echo Dot units might assist fill in these gaps, which looks as if a reasonably good pitch to me.

Amazon is launching the function with the brand new Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock, in addition to the full-size Amazon Echo launched in 2020. Within the coming months, it’s going to work with the previous-gen Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock, too, which is a pleasant contact. Testing that function out is without doubt one of the subsequent objects on my agenda, so I am going to replace this area as soon as I’ve some information to share about how properly it really works.

All in all, Amazon appears fairly glad with its spherical good audio system, and doubtless did not see a necessity to repair what wasn’t damaged. That signifies that the brand new Echo Dots are simply as likable as earlier than, however there’s little or no cause, if any, for present Dot house owners to hurry out and improve.

For extra, try our protection of everything else Amazon announced final month, together with the Halo Rise, Kindle Scribe and new Ring Spotlight cameras.


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