Echo Dot is Amazon’s latest dash into the voice assistant market, and the hockey puck sized speaker is promising to change the way things are done as far as functionality of smartphones, smart TVs and other ‘smart’ objects goes. First off, the speaker is 3 inches in diameter and 1.3 inches high, and carries WiFi and Bluetooth to connect to the Internet and virtually every device out there.
The device carries four buttons – the button to increase or decrease the volume, an action button that gets the Amazon assistant Alexa’s attention and a button to mute the microphone to prevent the assistant from listening in. You can also use the action button to get the device into setup mode. The volume up and down button are much like those found on smartphones, and are change from the previous editions and the full-size Echo that had a rotating collar to control the volume.
There is also an LED ring on the device that lights up the collar and tells the user what direction the assistant is listening in. The LED light is also color coded to signify different functions, especially when you are using the Alexa calling and messaging feature. The device works on a microUSB, which is the most common of the universal ports, but there are a growing number of users that have put aside the microUSB for type C USB ports, and an update on the Echo Dot is expected to address the needs of these users too. Besides the issue with the power cable, the Echo Dot also lacks curvature to the speakers(something that the Eufie Genie already has) and the flat look makes the otherwise top of the line speakers a little unsophisticated.
As far as the voice recognition software that forms the bulk of what the Alexa assistant is able to accomplish has improved steadily over the years, the manner in which you talk to the assistant and input commands has not really changed much. You can summon Alexa by saying her name aloud(you can change this to any name you want using the Settings for the assistant).
Any question that falls in the pre-set questions already fed into the system can be asked and will be answered. You need to sync all your accounts and enable the Alexa Skill to also utilise some of the functionality that it offers. However, syncing accounts and installing Skills to use different devices and functions is a hard job for people who are not tech savvy and this represents one of the more steadfast barriers to using the Echo Dot. However, what the Echo Dot has going for itself is the ever reducing price that has made everyone think of trying out the voice assistant at least. The second generation device comes at a price of $50, a steep decrease from the $90 that was the price for the first Alexa assistant devices.
You can often get the device for as little as $40 on sale. The throwaway prices are probably what makes the Echo Dot a one time buy for sure, and there is no harm in trying them. Even if you can not get them to do all the things that the Echo Dot can do and all you have is an alarm clock and timer that can read you the news and weather and play music for you, it is still good value for the $50 you spent. After you add your accounts and Alexa Skills, you can start using the Dot to place calls and text people and go on to doing the really fancy stuff like controlling the lights in your room and almost anything else that you can get added to the assistant. At any rate, the Echo Dot is good value for money.