Amazon has released some updated Echo devices recently which makes the devices even more smarter and more user friendly whilst bringing some more of the good stuff people like about Alexa.
As someone who has a few Alexa devices around the home already to connect our IoT devices such as lights and kettle, I wanted to see how the new Echo Dot with Clock (5th Generation) compares to our Echo Dot 2nd and 3rd Gen devices we currently have.
So can the Echo Dot with Clock (5th Generation) handle everything we throw at it? Let’s take a look shall we?
What’s in the box?
Inside the box you get the Alexa Dot speaker and the power cord alongside the usual booklet info. The packaging is very minimal and I have to say that I like minimal packaging (and waste) where possible.
The speaker I was given to review was the Glacier White colour. Don’t get me wrong I can see where some might like this colour but to me just felt more if as a grey-ish off white to me personally, but I digress. Let’s leave it at I’d prefer a darker colour.
The speaker is made up of a mesh cloth at the front, most of the side and top whilst the front has about a millimeter of plastic whilst wraps to cover about half of the rear where the power port is found.
- Blue – Alexa is now listening
- Red – Mic off or internet Wi-Fi connectivity down
- Orange – Device is ready to set up & trying to connect to the internet
- Purple – Device is in do not disturb mode or Wi-Fi issues
- Yellow – New notifications where you can ask Alexa to read these notifications to you
- Green – Incoming call and can get Alexa to answer it for you.
The top of the Echo Dot houses the usual button set up that includes the volume up button which is to the right, with the left being volume down button. The top button is the action button whilst the bottom button is the mic on/off . There is also just slightly underneath the mic on/off button is where you can tap or as Amazon have called new tap gesture controls, so you can simply tap the top of the device to pause and resume music, dismiss timers, or end a call.
Amazon has stated that the redesigned audio architecture means the Echo Dot with clock has the highest excursion speaker of any Echo Dot, delivering clear vocals and up to double the bass of the previous generation.
What’s it good at?
The LED lights at the front of the Echo Dot with Clock are quite clear and bright when needed. For those who might be asking or worried that they might be too bright or dull, I can confirm they aren’t thanks in part to the clocking having adaptive brightness. So when the room is dark it can be bright but when going to bed, the LED lights on the clock section do dim.
Furthermore, the front LED lights just don’t tell the time or temperature, it also lists the songs, albums and artists to songs you are listening to, alongside a calculation or unit of measurement, calendar event times you have saved or ask information about.
In terms of listening quality, I can attest the sound quality has improved a little bit over say the 2nd and 3rd Gen dots we currently have, though the quality of some genres were better than others. However when trying to link my Apple Music account as an Alexa skill, I found it would always disconnect meaning having to reconnect to only then have Alexa inform me that “this device isn’t connected” and can spend an hour or so disabling and reconnecting before it would work again.
Responsiveness of the speaker is quite good, whereas sometimes I have found that our current 2nd and Gen dot speakers sometimes aren’t always listening to commands or having to repeat the commands.
What’s it not so good at?
There were some skills I did have issues with, mainly pertaining to Apple Music where the Alexa account, app and speakers would disconnect my service so would have to try and reconnect the service. In some cases I would get Alexa informing me when I tried to ask Alexa to play a certain playlist or specific song or album that “this device isn’t connected” – whatever the heck that means.
This leads in some cases, having to disable and reconnect the skill constantly even for an hour or so before it worked and I am unsure if this is an Apple or Amazon issue but I guess we will have to see.
Also with the speaker, I found if near another speaker such as the Fire TV Cube, it would trigger both meaning sometimes it would get confused or would get triggered by no me saying the trigger word Alexa in some cases and I think this comes down to a number of factors including the shows, movies and more.
There’s an app for that
If you have used or have any Alexa device then your well aware there is a free app which can be downloaded from either the Google Play or iOS App Stores for free, where you can set up and add your new alexa enabled smart speakers into your Amazon account but also set up routines and skills to add to each of your Alexa enabled speakers.
Setting up the Echo Dot with Clock was pretty simple and straightforward from the previous echo devices we currently have and use around the home.
Should you consider buying one?
To be honest, if you already own Alexa enabled echo smart speakers, I can’t say that it might be worth considering upgrading to this new Echo Dot with Clock.
Though there would be two caveats to this, such as, if you are looking at getting an Alexa enabled Echo speaker for the first time and would like to try it out. The other would be if you already have an Echo smart speaker and looking to upgrade or add an additional speaker, then I can say there is a compelling case if you don’t want a full 5 or 8-inch display like the Echo Show devices have.
I do like the size of the Echo Dot with Clock, especially if you’re after a more compact design that doesn’t compromise on space or functions.
The new Echo Dot with clock can be purchased from the Amazon Australian website, JB Hi-Fi and Officeworks for $99, however it is currently on sale at the time of writing for $79 with Officeworks offering the Echo Dot with clock for $77.