Updated: Oct 5
My family now have about four Amazon Echo dots positioned around the house. A useful device and we have a mixture of the generations that have been available to buy over the years running.
If you are not familiar with this device, it is a small voice assistant with a speaker that runs Amazon Alexa.
As I work from home, it made sense to buy the generation 5 Echo Dot during this years "Prime Day" for my office which I was able to purchase for just £21.99 instead of the usual £54.99* price.
As well as the opportunity to save money, my main reason for buying was to get a voice assistant that I could run separately from my Apple devices (in my home office) to allow me to gain news updates, weather and play music.
The delivery was fast as usual from Amazon and arrived as promised on the agreed delivery date.
A few different colour options exist which includes charcoal, glacier white and deep sea blue. You can also opt for a version with a clock on the speaker front. I went for the standard glacier white without the clock which is £10 cheaper than the clock version (£64.99)*. The clock version obviously telling you the time and having the capability to display the name of the music track that you are playing.
The unit was nicely packaged and the box contained three items, the unit, power plugs/lead and some instruction guides (pictured above).
One thing that is odd is that the power plug and lead supplied was white instead of a matching black. However, positioned on my desk, I have been able to hide the lead.
Setup was very straightforward as we already have echo dots on our wi-fi network. The device effectively communicating with the other units and sharing the wifi connection details. The unit was then responding almost instantly without any difficulty or trouble and I downloaded the Alexa app on my phone to configure the new Alexa Dot as I required by naming the device and allocating the device to a room/group.
In the instance that you are installing your first Echo Dot, the instruction sheet combined with the Alexa app works you through the process efficiently.
The unit is a nice size and dimensions measure just 10cm x 10 cm by 8.9cm. Four buttons including volume up and down, mic off and an action button are positioned on the top of the unit.
I should say that this version of the dot only has one port to allow the power lead to connect and does not have a battery for portability or USB port. If you want a version with ability to hold a battery charge, you may want to look at a different version of the dot. The version of the gen 5 echo which includes and supports a battery base is £89.98*.
The audio quality of the speaker was pretty good on my desk, though I do have the volume low while I work. Should you want to pair with another echo dot, this is possible if you want more speakers in your room.
When I paired a second echo dot to create stereo sound, I was pleasantly surprised how well it worked. The system allowing you to pair the speakers and select the left and right channels, which are assigned against the speakers.
The unit is sold as offering superior sound and certainly has a larger speaker. As to how much difference it makes, it is subjective but I am happy with the sound quality (particularly with two paired echo dots).
The Alexa is responsive to my voice commands and I most often ask it to play or pause music, check weather and read me the news. The unit can also support timers, alarms and can even tell you the temperature in your room as equipped with a sensor.
Alexa supports functionality to supports apps using Alexa skills. By requesting that they are downloaded (either vocally or via the Alexa app), you can set access to preferred news networks, music streaming service and much moreetc.
Music wise you can set the device to be compatible with Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, Spotify, Audible or even BBC Sounds for radio. I have been using Apple Music successfully with the system and it works without any issues.
I should also note that you can set the echo dot with an echo fire TV should you wish but I have not tried that.
Settings wise, if more convenient for you, you can also use the Alexa app to configure everything as you like.
Overall, I am really happy with this device. The unit having excellent build quality at a cheap price. Like all Amazon devices, you are better waiting for sales and reductions.
Please remember that the nature of the unit means that it has a lot of potential to support much more functionality than I have described. A very capable unit which has a lot of potential to support instructions for home automation.
If you have any questions, do write below in the comments and I do hope that you have found this useful.
* Prices correct at time of writing on 14-Jul.
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