Echo Dot (3rd Gen) – Smart speaker with Alexa – Charcoal Fabric
The Amazon Echo Dot is a voice-controlled smart speaker with Alexa that is ideal for any area. Simply request music, news, information, and other services. You can also use your voice to call practically anybody and operate compatible smart home gadgets.
The Amazon Echo Dot (3rd generation) is one of Amazon’s most popular smart speakers – and while it’s been superseded by the new Echo Dot (2020), it’s still worth considering.
Don’t be thrown off by the small size of this device. Amazon boasts that the Dot is the best-selling speaker of all time, which is a huge accomplishment and tribute to how handy, and very inexpensive, it is.
This is a valuable feature for some people, but it isn’t worth the additional cost or upgrading for others. If you don’t need the clock, don’t be seduced by the newer model. That’s because the third-generation Echo Dot without a time display that we’re examining today is still a great value and one of our top smart home products.
That’s because the Amazon Echo Dot has a lot to like (3rd generation). It can handle your smart home with a few voice commands, make calls practically anywhere in your nation, and stream music from a variety of the world’s most popular services. It’s little, yet it delivers a powerful punch.
Despite a number of modifications to the Dot over the years, this third-generation model still lacks a few essential features that would elevate it to a 5-star product. The most notable omission is the lack of a 3.5mm auxiliary wire. However, it is not the most basic Amazon Echo speaker; the Amazon Echo Input gives Alexa smart capacity to a connected speaker without the ability to play music.
Design of the Amazon Echo Dot
The 3rd Generation Amazon Echo Dot is more visually appealing than Amazon’s previous two Echo Dots. It has rounded sides that help the Dot seem less like a hockey puck, and the fabric grille along the outside edge feels both futuristic and sophisticated. (Amazon appears to have taken cues from the Google Home Mini.)
The fabric mesh design of the Amazon Echo Dot helps it blend in with the rest of the revamped Amazon Echo line-up, which underwent a fabric-covered makeover with last year’s refresh. As a result, the new Echo Dot is available in hues that match the rest of the line, including Charcoal, Heather Grey, and Sandstone.
The top of the Echo Dot features four familiar buttons: volume up and down, microphone mute, and Alexa, as well as a four-microphone array.
Activating Alexa through the top button or by pronouncing its name activates the flashing blue ring of light that you’re used to seeing on other Alexa devices – but there looked to be a tiny (1s) delay between when we uttered the wake phrase and when Alexa began listening on one of the units we were provided.
Turn the unit around to the back to locate the power jack as well as an auxiliary 3.5mm jack for connecting the Amazon Echo Dot to any speaker with a matching jack. Unfortunately, Amazon did not provide one of these cords in the box, and the accompanying charger, which was formerly a micro USB design, is now a proprietary design.
Amazon Echo Dot Setup
Setting up the speaker is straightforward, especially if you already have one or more Alexa devices in your home. If that’s the case, simply open the Amazon Alexa app and hit the + symbol in the Devices section – the app will perform a fast search for nearby devices and you’ll be up and running with your new smart speaker in no time.
If you don’t already have Alexa or an Echo Device installed, you’ll have to download the app and login into your Amazon account, but the rest of the process is the same as described above.
That being said, while it was always simple to set up an Amazon Echo device in the past, we’re quite impressed with the recent update to the Amazon Alexa app. The redesign makes it easy to organize devices into rooms and add more smart devices to your armory of appliances.
Unfortunately, Alexa has not received the same level of attention. This is because Amazon has delegated a significant amount of functionality to app developers, who then create Skills for Alexa. These abilities vary greatly in terms of quality and utility, with the majority of them falling mostly within dreary trivia games.
Amazon Echo Dot Performance
The updated audio technology on the Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation) helps the Echo Dot sound better than any previous edition.
While there’s no denying that the 2018 Echo Dot sounds better than the 2017 edition, it’s not quite the gadget you’d want to listen to a whole album on – voices are quickly lost in a cacophony of sound, and bass is almost non-existent.
So, while certain music works better on the Echo than others, you’ll still want to connect the Echo Dot to an external speaker when you’re doing a lot of listening.
Connecting gadgets to the Amazon Echo Dot isn’t as easy as it could be: While Google has found out a universal way to link devices using Chromecast Built-in, Amazon must rely on Bluetooth for its connections. That’s not a dealbreaker, but it might be annoying if you have friends around who all want to take turns playing DJ.
It’s also worth noting that Amazon is emphasizing the speaker’s audio capabilities, as we discovered throughout our testing that the microphones and call quality were the most impressive.
Friends and relatives we chatted with while using the Amazon Echo Dot said the audio was nearly as excellent, if not better, than the speakerphone on our phones.
- Fabric design, Compact
- Simple installation and integration
- Call clarity has improved, as has the Alexa app.
- There is no auxiliary cable provided.
- The audio quality isn't quite there.