The newest Echo Dot with Clock, which retails for $59.99 and is the fifth generation, has a display that is brighter and larger (but is still quite small), has more helpful smart home features thanks to the addition of a temperature sensor, and has an accelerometer that actually enables the tap-to-snooze feature to function properly. When you factor in an improved speaker system and a more responsive version of Alexa, you can see that this is more than just a modest change.
My go-to option for a small smart speaker for some time now, the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock has recently been upgraded to become my preferred option for a smart alarm clock. The glanceable LED grid display on the Dot with Clock is a nice relief at evening for someone who spends the most of her day surrounded by electronics. It provides just enough information at my bedside to be helpful without being distracting. The Google Nest Hub second generation is the other smart speaker that I like to keep on my nightstand (the one without a camera). The Nest, with its matte display, does a decent job of fading into the background at night; but, the Dot with Clock, with its smaller footprint and lack of a screen, is a less invasive bedside companion.
- Better sound
- Faster response time
- Display of the clock is now more helpful
- A significant advancement in tap controls
- The brand-new temperature sensor is incredibly convenient
- No audio jack
- For the clock feature, there is an additional fee
- The Alexa app is still a nightmare
- The Eero Wi-Fi extension halves the speed of the network
New things in the same compact bundle
The Echo Dots sold by Amazon are the smart speakers that offer the most number of features at the lowest possible price. These stickers are Amazon’s attempt to bring its voice assistant into every corner of your home. They are inexpensive and easy to place anywhere. The Dot, which is powered by Alexa, is capable of doing nearly everything that its larger siblings are capable of, including streaming music, setting timers, running Alexa Routines, controlling smart home devices, playing games, telling jokes, and functioning as a home intercom and telephone.
The entire Echo Dot product line, including the Echo Dot, the Echo Dot Kids Edition, and the Echo Dot with Clock, has been upgraded by Amazon for 2022 to include additional sensors, faster processors, improved sound quality, and the capability to act as Wi-Fi extenders on an Eero network. These improvements will be available in 2022. The majority of consumers are unlikely to upgrade from a fourth-generation model because the new features do not offer sufficient incentive to do so. However, Amazon does not presently carry those models, so if you want the finest Echo experience possible in the smallest possible package, you should choose one of the newer models instead. You will not be disappointed.
The Echo Dot with Clock features the most significant increase in transmission distance (which is the third version with a clock but with the fifth-gen speaker). This is the type that I tried for this review, and while the overall design is the same as the earlier version, Amazon has upgraded the LED display by switching it from a four-digit, seven-segment display to a dot-matrix display that uses LEDs that are both brighter and more functional.
The Dot can now scroll through a weather forecast, song title, and other text answers in addition to displaying the time, the volume level, alarms, and timers. Previously, it could only display the time, the volume level, alarms, and timers. The ability to scroll is a little bit overdone as a feature. Because it can only show a few characters at a time, you have to wait there for thirty seconds in order to read a song’s title and artist when you could just as easily ask Alexa to name the music. However, it may also be a lot of fun. The display of the weather prediction, which includes the temperature as well as a small icon depicting clouds, sun, or rain, is more useful and slightly faster than listening to Alexa say the forecast.
Because of its compact size and absence of a display, the Dot with Clock is an ideal device to keep by your bedside.
One of the features that got a lot of use in my home was the ability to ask Alexa to perform mathematical calculations for us. It will now also verbally announce the result in addition to displaying it on the Dot. (When I say “we,” I am referring to my daughter who is 11 years old.) When “I” ask it to spell anything, it not only spells the word but also scrolls it out for me, which is quite helpful.
In addition, the updated Dots come equipped with two new sensors: an accelerometer and a temperature sensor. The accelerometer makes the tap-to-snooze gesture more accurate and enables the addition of additional gestures. Tap may be used to pause or restart playback of music, and it can also be used to end a call. The tapping also operates in a much more effective manner. On the older Dot, I was never able to get the tap-to-snooze feature to work, but on this one, the process is much simpler. Even though you can tap pretty much anywhere on the speaker and get the response you desire, it still takes a fairly substantial tap to activate it. (In the past, you were required to aim for the very top, which was not only difficult but also ineffective).
These new Echo speakers are the first to feature Amazon’s AZ2 neural edge processor.
Last but not least, the new Dot can function as a Wi-Fi extender if you use the Eero mesh Wi-Fi system, which is owned by Amazon. Because this function was just released on the fourth-generation Echo via an update, and because it will also be released on the fourth-generation Dot later this year, upgrading to the fifth-generation Dot just for the purpose of obtaining it is not really necessary. If your child (or you) have a strong affinity for owls and dragons, upgrading might be a good idea. Both of the new Echo Dot Kids Editions have a retail price of $59.99 and come with a two-year guarantee and an annual membership to Amazon Kids Plus as standard features.
The fact that Amazon has eliminated the 3.5mm audio connector from the new Dots is, in general, the only thing that can be considered a huge letdown regarding these new devices. It was a simple method to make a better speaker that was not linked to the internet into a smart speaker, and the jack let you to connect the Dot to a more powerful speaker. If you want this functionality, you are not out of luck because both the fourth-gen and the third-gen Dots contain an audio jack. Connecting to additional speakers can also be accomplished through the use of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
One dot for each and every space.
Echo Dot with Clock has been put through its paces not only in the bedroom, where it has quickly become a strong favorite of mine, but also in the kitchen and the bathroom. Its glanceable display outperformed the conventional Dot in both locations; the clock comes in especially handy on hectic mornings when we are rushing to get out the door on time.
The new temperature sensor not only displays the current temperature on the display but also has the ability to trigger Alexa routines. It can tell you the current temperature in the room. I programmed it to turn on the air conditioning if the temperature in the kitchen reached a certain threshold, and it worked without fail. This saved me from having to ask Alexa to adjust the Ecobee thermostat while I was laboring over a hot stove.
It is convenient to have the lights switch on when you enter a room thanks to the integrated ultrasonic motion sensor, which is also included in the fourth-generation Echo Dot. It is not quite as quick as a specialized motion sensor, such as the Philips Hue one that I often use in both my kitchen and bathroom, but it is just a beat or so behind, and it is good to not need to use a second device in the area.
When specific sorts of sounds are detected by an Echo speaker, that speaker will automatically start a Routine. A baby weeping, snoring, running water, a dog barking, the beeping of an appliance, and coughing are all examples of these sounds. I experimented with the beep detection in the kitchen, and Alexa sent messages to my phone when the toast in the toaster, the lunch I heated in the microwave, and the dishware in the dishwasher were all ready. Because the notifications only told me “beeping detected,” I had to take a wild guess as to which warning was for which equipment.
I really, really, really, really, really, really hope that Amazon is working on a new app right now – anything, please!
In addition to that, I programmed a Routine so that whenever I switched on the sink in the kitchen, my preferred radio station from Apple Music would begin playing. Who doesn’t enjoy having some music playing in the background while they do the dishes? The problem is that the sound trigger for the running water is a little too sensitive; it would start playing the music at a very loud volume whenever there was any sound in the kitchen. This also occurred while we were in the restroom. The plan was to run a routine that reads the weather and my calendar and then plays NPR in the morning when the shower starts, but the routine would start playing at the slightest tinkle of running water. In other words, the plan was to run a routine (if you know what I mean).
Before I continue, I feel the need to vent my frustrations regarding the Alexa app one more time. It is necessary for you to have it in order to set up Alexa Routines, such as the ones that were explained above. It’s a whole muddle. The Alexa app is in desperate need of an update because it is difficult to navigate, painfully slow, offers insufficient options for organization, and is just overall unpleasant to use as a controller for smart homes.
Now that Matter, the new smart home standard that will work across all of these platforms, is being rolled out, Apple, Google, and Samsung have all made significant improvements and refreshes to their respective smart home apps. And I am really, really, really, really hoping that Amazon is working on a new app right now. Anything, thank you very much.
Compare Echo devices
|Echo Dot (3rd Gen)||Echo Dot (5th Gen)||Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen)||Echo (4th Gen)|
|Alexa built in||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Speakers||1.6″ speaker||1.73″ front-firing speaker||1 x 1.7”||3.0″ neodymium woofer and dual front-firing 0.8″ tweeters|
|Audio support||Lossless High Definition||Lossless High Definition, Dolby audio|
|Line in/out||3.5 mm line out||3.5 mm line in/out|
|Screen||LED display on Echo Dot with clock||5.5” color screen|
|Privacy Controls||Built-in microphone off button and in-app privacy controls||Built-in microphone off button and in-app privacy controls||Built-in camera shutter, microphone/camera off button and in-app privacy controls||Built-in microphone off button and in-app privacy controls|
|Built-in Zigbee smart home hub||Yes|
|eero Built-in||Yes||Coming soon|
|Dimensions||3.9” W x 3.9”D x 1.7”H||3.9”W x 3.9”D x 3.5”H||5.8”W x 2.9”D x 3.4”H||5.7”W x 5.7”D x 5.2”H|
Sound and velocity were amped up.
The improved sound quality offered by Amazon is a major selling factor for its Dot product range. The manufacturer asserts that it has entirely revamped the acoustic architecture to offer a level of bass that is substantially greater than that of the previous model. This comes with a larger driver, increasing in size from 1.6 inches to 1.73 inches. That is not a huge leap, and the speaker is still on the diminutive side. However, it was superior to the fourth-generation Dot in terms of its ability to fill a room with high-quality sound. Additionally, the audio is a touch more crisp and clear when played at louder volumes and on tracks with more bass.
If you want a little speaker that nonetheless produces high-quality sound, the HomePod Mini from Apple is still your best option. However, the cost is almost twice as much. The sound produced by The Dot is enough for use in a variety of settings, including a bedroom, office, or dorm room. The sound quality of the Nest Mini, which is the other option for a portable smart speaker, is not even close to that of the Amazon Echo Dot. (However, the fact that it can be mounted to a wall, something that none of the other speakers can do without the use of cumbersome equipment, gives the normally tiny sound a little bit more dimension.) Each of these three brands includes a stereo pairing option in their products, which results in a richer sound.
The new Echo Dots have Amazon’s AZ2 neural edge processor, making them the first Echo speakers to do so. The AZ2 was initially introduced in Amazon’s Echo Show 15 smart display which was released a year ago. It enables Echo devices to execute more actions locally, which results in quicker responses to simple instructions. When I queried the Dot about the weather or to set a timer, it usually responded in less than two seconds, which is significantly faster than the fourth-generation device’s response time of slightly over three seconds. According to Amazon, the new processor also helps speed up motion detection, and the fifth-generation Dot did turn on my lights faster than the fourth-generation device did. In my experience, the new processor also helps speed up motion detection.
More Wi-Fi for me
The ability of the new Dots to serve as Wi-Fi range extenders for an Eero mesh network is easily the most exciting of the new features. To enable this feature, all I needed to do was link my Amazon and Eero accounts within the Eero app. According to Eero, each Dot may increase the amount of coverage by up to 1,000 square feet, support speeds of up to 100 Mbps, and connect up to 10 devices. It does this by utilizing the TrueMesh software technology that is offered by Eero, tapping into the dual-band Wi-Fi radios that are contained within the speakers in order to locate the connection that is the most stable and then extending it.
According to the results of my tests, it is not going to provide you the same performance as if you were linked to an Eero node, but it can be useful to expand coverage to things like a video doorbell or security camera that are located outside your home.
You cannot expect the Echo to provide you with the same level of performance that you would receive from an Eero node if you were connected to one of those.
After a few hiccups during the setup process (the Dot required a software upgrade, and then the Eero network required one as well), I was able to see the Dot in the Eero app and select the option to use it to expand the Wi-Fi signal. After toggling it on, I was presented with a warning that stated the Dot was too close to an Eero and would not extend anything further because of this proximity. It didn’t work at first, but as I pushed it further away, it did.
When I connected my laptop to the Dot, I was only able to get download rates of 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 25 Mbps in a part of my home where I normally get download speeds of 70 / 26 with my 1.3 Gbps Xfinity account. When my colleague Dan Seifert tested a fifth-generation Dot in his home on an Eero network, he observed speed decreases that were comparable to those I encountered.
It would be more useful to me if I could select which devices linked to the Dot — for example, if I could just put my smart lights on it — so that it can control. When I connected my laptop to the network, however, my speeds were cut in half, which was not a pleasant experience. Because I was testing my network in a brick home that was 2,300 square feet in size, I had three Eero Pro 6E routers running, thus my network didn’t really require this.
On the other hand, if you only have one Eero and a couple of dead areas, this will work very well as a solution that is less expensive than adding another Eero node (especially if you already have an Echo Dot or were going to buy one anyway). Just keep in mind that the speeds you experience will be significantly slower than they would be with another Eero. (When further Echo devices are updated with the capability, I will perform this test once more with a different network arrangement.)
Echo Dot with Clock is my preferred option for a compact smart speaker, as I’ve mentioned previously. It helps to bridge the gap between voice-only smart speakers and Amazon’s more helpful but more obtrusive smart displays (which all have cameras and overly bright screens).
The fifth-generation Dots have a better sound quality, a faster response time, and greater compatibility with your smart home than their predecessors. When compared to the standard Dot, the Dot with Clock, which features a display that can be seen at a glance, costs an additional $60. Additionally, the price of the fourth-generation Dot would frequently drop or it would be included free of charge with other purchases. It’s not often that you come across a deal on a Dot with Clock.
The Dot with Clock, which features a glanceable display and costs $60, is somewhat pricey.
My ideal Echo smart speaker would be the big boy, fourth-generation Echo, which can be purchased for about $50 right now (it was originally priced at $100). If you are searching for a smart speaker that has really good sound, you should get it instead of this one. It also has all of the other capabilities that come with the new Echo Dot, including temperature sensors, the ability to operate as a Wi-Fi extender for Eero networks, and a Zigbee radio. All of these features are included in this device as well. However, it is not equipped with an AZ2 processor.
The larger Echo will also function as a Thread border router, which is an essential component of the Matter standard for smart homes. (According to Amazon, all of its Echo smart speakers will be Matter controllers, which means they will be able to operate Matter products; however, only the Echo fourth-generation will be upgraded to be a Thread border router.) The Echo is essentially complete except for the fact that it does not have an LED display. I really hope that Amazon will add one since then it will be the ideal smart speaker for me. In the meanwhile, the best Alexa-enabled smart speaker to purchase is the fifth-generation Echo Dot with Clock if you want to take use of the LED display’s entertaining and occasionally useful capabilities.
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Kato Tanaka, a writer who is always looking for new ways to connect with readers and tell compelling stories. I believe that writing is not just about expressing oneself, but about creating a connection with others. I strive to create work that is both relatable and engaging, that speaks to the human experience in a way that is both authentic and accessible. I believe that writing has the power to connect us with others, to bring us closer together, and to help us understand ourselves and the world around us.