Amazon released the new Echo Dot in September for pre-ordered, and just started shipping the new units on October 20th. I got mine on October 21st(a day later than I expected, but no big deal). My new Echo is now set up and I’ve been using it for a few days. Here are my initial thoughts on this new smart home device.
The packaging for the Echo Dot is simple. It comes in a box that was made to fit the device, and it doesn’t have any extra room for advertising or fluff. You just pull the Dot and the cord out of the box and toss it. There is a quick start guide also, but it’s a small packet.
Since I am already an Echo user (I have the original Echo), I knew what to expect for set up. It was really easy to get the Dot connected to my WiFi, and that’s all I really had to do. The device was already added to my Alexa app, so I was able to go in and make any adjustments that I wanted. I did change the wake word from Alexa to Echo, even though Amazon says only the device closest to you will be triggered. I can’t speak to that, but I can say changing the wake word was easy and applied immediately.
The built-in speaker is usable. It’s very obvious that it isn’t as great as the speaker on the original Echo, which I knew it wouldn’t be. The Dot speaker isn’t so much a feature as it is something there for functionality. The speaker lets you communicate with Alexa, and you can use it for music, though I recommend you connect it to a Bluetooth speaker.
The Dot that I got is being used in my bedroom. I’m testing it out as an alarm clock (to replace my phone). The alarm tone was very pleasant. After using it the first day, I started to wonder about the tone, the snooze, etc. so I looked into that in the app. It’s really easy to pick from an assortment of different tones, and you can even set the volume for the alarm (which appears to be independent of the volume on the device). There are even some celebrity sounds to choose from.
Connecting to a Bluetooth Speaker
Connecting my Dot to the Bluetooth speaker I have in my bedroom, and the one in my master bathroom, was really easy. The devices synced right away, and each time I have prompted my Dot to connect with the speaker, it does so within a few seconds.
The other reason I put the Dot in my bedroom was so that it could control my bedroom light. I already have a WeMo switch in my living room, and before my Dot arrived I bought and set up a WeMo switch for my bedroom. I was pleasantly surprised to find that once the new switch connected to my WiFi, it also connected to my Echo. So, once the Dot arrived and was set up, I could use it instantly to control my bedroom light. I can now use both my original Echo and my Dot to control either of those switches. I’m guessing that I’ll have a lot less stubbed toes in my future.
The Dot claims to be able to hear you from across the room with 7 far-field microphones, even if music is playing. I haven’t found this to be entirely true. The first time I connected my Dot with my Bluetooth speaker and played music, it was really loud. I had to walk over to the Dot to get it to hear me to turn the music down.
Photo by: Amazon