Echo Dot (3rd Gen)Smart speaker with Alexa – Heather Gray Review.

Echo Dot (3rd Gen)Smart speaker with Alexa - Heather Gray.

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More handsome, louder and cleaner than the previous generation, a huge improvement over the predecessor of the Amazon Echo Dot (third gen) and its price is the same. This is the ideal smart home companion to keep around your home.

                          Pros                                                                                 Cons
Clear and loud audio.                                                      Limited smart-home features.
3.5mm and Bluetooth audio outputs.                       Only available in shades of gray.
Maintains the low price.                                                No longer USB-powered.
Surprisingly loud and rich sound.                             Not ideal for music.
Impressive full sound quality.                                     Music distorts at max volume.
An inexpensive introduction to smart home control.
Better microphone sensitivity.

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Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £49.99
  • Amazon Alexa integrated
  • Volume, microphone and activation controls
  • 5mm output
  • Bluetooth

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 What is the Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen)?

With smart home control and Alexa devices to fill your home, Echo Dot is a popular choice as well. The older versions had two major problems: they were a bit ugly and a bit quiet. By Amazon Echo Dot (third gen), Amazon solves both problems, providing an advanced smart speaker that is ideal for home control and somewhat light music or radio.

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 Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) – Design and build quality

The older version has a plain plastic case, and Amazon Echo Dot (third gen) has a textured material, making it appear on the Google Home Mini. This is a huge improvement over the original, rather than tweaking it with a new dot to your décor instead of sustaining it as a real bit. Available in charcoal, gray and sandstone, the three choices are now finished to further enhance the options.

Best of all, you get the same control as the previous Echo Dot: there’s a volume button, a mute mute button for Alexa to stop listening, and an activation button if a dock doesn’t want to pick up your voice. Getting physical controls is useful, most of the time you won’t need to.

Amazon has changed the power adapter of Amazon Echo Dot (third gen) and is no longer USB powered. The new model requires a bit more power because it is. The downside is that you can’t power the speaker through a handy USB port on the back of your TV or set-top box.

The rear has a 3.5mm audio output, so you can draw Amazon Echo Dot (third gen) up to a stereo (or you can use Bluetooth for that) for more powerful sound. Frankly, if you want to do this then a cheaper Echo Dot (2nd gen) would be a better choice or kept for Echo Input (coming soon), which has no speakers and plugs directly in to the external s device.

By size, at 43 x 99 x 99 mm, the new Echo Dot is a bit larger than the old one (83.5 x 83.5 x 32 mm), but there’s not much to do and the 3rd gen product is still easy to place where you want it.

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Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) – Features

Third-gen Echo Dot has features like other Amazon-powered smart speakers that work like Alexa Cloud. I’ve covered this in more detail in my Amazon Alexa Guide, but I’ll deal with the basics here.

As a simple smart assistant, the new Echo Dot handy tool. Alexa can tell you about the upcoming weather or give you IMDB scores for TV shows and movies. You can get details about the upcoming appointment or find out the result of the drawing or spelling. As far as the basics go, Alexa has you well covered. Additional features have been added through the Amazon Alexa expertise, with a large number available through the Alexa app. Some with great additions and some with very weak ones

Smart Home Control is what really makes Alexa shine, with a range of supported products from the Dyson 360i Robot Vacuum Cleaner to Philips Who’s Bulbs and beyond. You can create routines to control multiple devices at once.

For smart home control, the Echo Dot makes a lot of sense, as it is smart enough to keep your home almost anywhere you want voice control. Amazon now uses four far-field microphones, the Echo Dot (third gen), compared to the previous generation’s seven (one with each physical control). It sounds like a step back, but it’s not. Across the house and from any angle, Echo Dot (third gen) picked up my voice inputs almost every time.

To get to the more difficult test, I set up the correct echo dot on a regular volume TV. Sitting too close to a TV like this creates problems for smart devices, but the Echo Dot (third gen) has done better than the old product. Sure, I need a weird shout out of ‘Alexa!’ To wake the dot, but the third gen product responds more than the old one.

That said, keeping your Echo Dot away from direct, consistent noise means that it confuses voice recognition and tightens things up unnecessarily.

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Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) – Sound quality

The sound quality of the previous generation Echo Dot can be described as functional. For Alexa’s voice responses, the sound was good but you wouldn’t want to play music on it. This time around, Amazon has made many more efforts to make Echo Dot (third gen) sound better. And it works.

For starters, the new Echo Dot is louder than the old one. Alexa also seems clear. Extra precision is welcomed, with the latest weather being provided in the news headlines and the new Echo Dot Alexa makes it easier to understand. The change also makes it much easier to make and understand voice calls within an Echo device. Given how much Echo Dot relies on speech making, upgraded audio is welcome.

When it comes to music, the 6.6-inch speaker on the dot (third gen) is much more punchier than the old one. There are definitely some shades out there, and the overall results are actually pretty good for the speaker size; You don’t seem to be listening to music on an external speaker of a cheap phone.

This does not mean that you should move too far. The audio tends to be compressed in the middle without a lot of range, so you’re left with a bit of bass and a bit of rigid upper edge. In truth, you cannot expect much in terms of the smaller dimensions of the echo dot. But for the occasional music or radio listener, Amazon has created a product that does both good things and I no longer feel myself wanting to have an external set of speakers.

You can further enhance the quality of words. If you create a stereo pair (see, How to Build an Amazon Echo Stereo Pair for more information) you can find an Echo Dot for the left channel and an exact stereo separator for the right channel. You can even add a Sonos SUB to improve the bus. Two techniques work to a degree but you will not get the full experience

If you want to listen to music more regularly, go with the current Amazon Echo better choice, or better yet, Sonos One. If you want to keep it in the Amazon family, two Eco Plus (2nd gen) speakers and an SUB make a great mid-range system.

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Why buy the Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen)?

Launched at the same price as the older model, the Echo Dot (3rd gen) is just a good product. It’s nice to see that I didn’t think this speaker was hiding and it sounds better. Okay, the sound quality isn’t as good as you would expect your current speakers to be, but the improved audio Alexa greatly improves the experience.

The main competition is from the Google Home Mini, which runs Google Assistant. I find Google Assistant to be smarter than Alexa for common tasks, but smart home support is not as good at present. And if you want to use an external speaker, the Google Home Mini doesn’t have 3.5mm audio output.

The other choice is the existing Echo Dot (2nd gen), which is currently available at a cost of £ 10 less than the new model. This is a good choice if you just want to plug in for smart home control or more powerful speakers, but you’ll probably want to tuck the ugly speaker. If you want a small, powerful smart speaker that you are happy to use, the new Echo Dot offers dramatic improvements and a whole Alexa experience over the previous generation.

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