Review of the Amazon Echo Dot (UK version)

The Echo Dot is Amazon’s smaller and more affordable option for those looking to satisfy their home (voice) automation curiosities, without laying down a more substantial investment. Priced at a modest £49.99, it is considerably cheaper than its bigger brother, the Echo unit, which is priced at £149.99. I have already reviewed the standard Echo unit (CLICK HERE). In a nutshell, the Echo Dot carries out exactly the same functions. There are however a few differences as well, which I will also highlight.

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WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
The Echo Dot ships in a very small package. The box itself is tiny, and Amazon have done a great job with the packaging here (it terms of being green). Included in the box is the Echo Dot unit, a USB to mini USB cable, 9v wall plug (not needed if you are connecting to an existing USB hub) and instructions/warranty information. I was actually up and running a lot quicker this time around (compared with the standard Echo) as I had already installed the app, and knew exactly what to do.

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SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES
The Echo Dot is pretty much the same device as its older brother. It has the same buttons, layout, LED ring and 7 microphones The build quality and aesthetics are also identical, albeit in a smaller form-factor. From a functional perspective, I have noticed a similar performance in voice control and feedback.

The Dot is also much, much smaller. For this reason alone, this may actually be a more inviting purchase if space is limited. This is due to Amazon removing the speaker the 2.5” woofer and 2.5” tweeter from the unit (which was not great, but still very listenable). The Dot does have a speaker, but it is honestly pretty bad! To be perfectly honest, my iPhone speaker sounds better. It is absolutely fine for listening to Alexa (Amazons virtual assistant) relay information, but is very, very dull for music playback. But all is not lost.

The Dot unit features a 3.5mm output jack, so you can easily connect the Dot to an existing set of speakers for much improved sound (the standard Echo does not). You can also connect via bluetooth. To this end, the Dot would be suitable if you didn’t want/care too much about music playback, or if you wanted exceptional sound quality. If the latter is the case, then definitely save yourself £100 and opt for the Echo Dot and choose your speaker quality.

Another difference is that the standard Echo unit must be connected to a power supply (via the 21v adapter supplied). The Dot comes with a 9v USB powered plug. I have actually connected my Dot into a USB hub, which is much more convenient, and for my intents and purposes, is a much more practical and welcome solution for my set-up. I have now moved the larger Echo unit into my living room, with the Dot in my home study.

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WHO SHOULD BUY THE ECHO DOT?
-People who want a more discreet unit.
-Prefer the option to power it by USB
-Want to connect to their existing speakers

CONCLUSION
In conclusion, with the standard Echo unit, you are simply paying an extra £100 for a (much) better quality speaker. That’s not because the speaker on the normal echo unit is phenomenal, but because the speaker on the Dot is poor. My advice to most people in the market who are curious about Echo would be to initially try out the Dot. It is likely that if you take a liking to the Amazon infrastructure, you may well be purchasing additional additional Echo units anyway, and the Dot would be a great starting point to check it out.

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