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Product Review: Amazon Echo Dot (Gen 3)

Amazon has been busy revamping a lot of its Echo product line with the announcement of countless redesigns and new products. One of those redesigns is the Generation Three of the Amazon Echo Dot. The Amazon Echo Dot has been a wildly popular device mostly because of its low cost of entry and also because of its small size. People could easily get into the Amazon Alexa ecosystem and once there Amazon had their hooks set to bring them further in. One of the downfalls of the Amazon Echo Dot, however, was its sound quality. Its lack of decent sound is the byproduct of making such a small inexpensive device and for the most part, was accepted by your everyday user until Google released the Google Home Mini in a similar form factor and cost but with better sound. The redesign and revamping of the Amazon Echo Dot for Generation Three focused on its sound inadequacies and has made a big step in the right direction. Let’s take a look at the device as a hole and see what we think.

good

  • Same low price
  • Improved sound
  • Higher quality finish

bad

  • Bigger and heavier than its predecessor
  • Louder is not always better
  • Existing third-party accessories are not compatible

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The new Amazon Echo Dot claims to provide better sound quality and enhances aesthetics at the same low price as its predecessor. Well, Amazon nailed that because it does for the most part. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I am not sure anyone can argue that the new Amazon Echo Dot with is cloth-wrapped sides and the matte black surface does not lookaedg3-3 better than the glossy black plastic of the previous generation Echo Dot. I would have liked for Amazon to add some shape to the Echo Dot however rather than sticking with the hockey puck shape that it has always had. When comparing the looks of the Echo Dot with the Google Home Mini in my opinion the Google Home Mini is the winner, at least until you turn it on and use it. I love the blue LED light ring on Amazon Echo Products and I think that sets the looks apart. However looking at the light ring on the new Echo Dot I think Amazon may have skimped out on a couple LEDs as you can notice it skipping when the ring is circling around. Now that is probably trivial to most people and I am not sure I can really knock the Amazon Echo for it but when compared to the previous Echo Dot you can notice a difference, the older model has a nice smooth circular path.

Okay looks aside as I know most of you are here for the sound. Well, the new Amazon Echo Dot certainly has better sound quality than the previous generation and in my opinion, it is even better than the Google Home Mini. Amazon not only made it louder but also tweaked its frequency response and preset equalization considerably to deliver an all-around better sound. Now let’s not kid ourselves here the Echo Dot is still a small device so we should not be expecting concert level sound quality and imagery but the Echo Dot can now actually fill a room. That being said you also need to realize that playback of streaming media can only be as good as its source and the compression used in the file. I noticed a considerable difference in overall sound quality when comparing streams of the same song from Pandora and Amazon Music, with Amazon Music having the upper hand. What I do not, however, like about the sound improvements made is that you can not possibly turn the volume up even three-quarters of the way on the Echo Dot and think it sounds good, louder is not always better. At high sound levels, I found the Echo Dot to quickly dump out the mid-range and low end and easily distort. I think to improve this Amazon may need to go back to the drawing board on its equalizer curve and how it changes with volume. This was very disappointing, why make something that goes to eleven if you can not actually turn it up to eleven?

Other than sound and looks there is not much else to say about the new Echo Dot however it is worth noting the size and weight differences between the new and old. For me, this actually is a factor and I have one of my Echo Dots that I will have to relocate to upgrade but I think most people will be okay with this. The other issue I have is that with the sheer number of third-party accessories available for the Echo Dot why would Amazon not make something in the same form factor to accommodate these? A lot of companies out there that make these accessories will have no choice but to re-tool and redesign and make new accessories that consumers will have to re-buy. I get it that should not be Amazon’s issue to worry about but with the market share that the Echo Dot has and the number of accessories available it should have at least been a consideration.

Overall Rating

four-star

Overall the Generation Three Amazon Echo Dot is a solid device and a good improvement over the previous generation. Would I recommend upgrading your Generation Two Echo Dots to Generation Three, probably not, although I most likely will because let’s be honest there is something wrong with me?

I am interested to see what the holiday season brings us. Amazon regularly has amazing deals on Alexa devices so I want to see if they slash the price of the new or the old Echo Dots this year.

Have you picked up the Generation Three Amazon Echo Dot? Let me know your thoughts about it in the comments below.

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Mike View All

I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.

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