Amazon Echo Dot with Clock review
For 2019, Amazon has taken its popular 3rd-gen Echo Dot and added a display. It shows the time, countdown timers and the outside temperature, making it an ideal addition to your nightstand.
Other than that, it’s pretty much the same Echo Dot as before, offering decent sound quality and all the Alexa features you get on other Echo models.
Echo Dot with Clock: Price & availability
You can buy an Echo Dot with Clock for £59.99 / $59.99 from Amazon. It’s available in only one colour, Sandstone. The regular Echo Dot comes in a couple of other colours, and there’s no word on whether Amazon will add these as options for the Dot with Clock.
Echo Dot with Clock: Features & design
One of the questions people ask Alexa most often is “Alexa, what’s the time?”, so the logical evolution of the Echo is to add a clock.
The segmented LED display sits behind the grey fabric at the front of the device, so it’s invisible when off. By default it will show the time, and its brightness adjusts to suit ambient light levels. At night, it dims down so as not to interrupt your sleep.
If you ask Alexa to set a timer, this will replace the clock until it ends. When you ask Alexa to set an alarm, the time you’ve set is displayed temporarily and a small dot to the right of the time (shown above) reminds you that an alarm is set.
Ask Alexa “What’s the temperature?” and she will tell you the current local temperature and show it on the display. You can set in the Alexa app whether you want temperatures in Celsius or Fahrenheit.
Another sign that this latest Echo Dot is aimed at your bedside table is the fact you can snooze an alarm by tapping on top of the device. The mics are used to detect this, so the feature doesn’t work if you have pressed the mic mute button.
If you already have an Echo, you’ll know most of what Alexa can do, but if this will be your first, it’s useful to know that her capabilities are the same here as on any other Echo.
You can ask her to give you a news briefing, play a radio staton, add items to your shopping list and send messages to other Alexa users. With the Dot with Clock, you can ask her to set the display brightness to a specific level from 1 to 10.
Her general knowledge isn’t as good as the Google Assistant on a Google Home Mini, which costs about the same, but she can answer anything that can be found on Wikipedia and is also pretty hot on when your local shops open and close.
She’s also adept at controlling most smart home kit, which is handy if you have smart lights, switches or plugs. Routines are handy, too, as you can group several commands into one to avoid having to, say, turn off each light and plug insidiously when you go to bed.
For more, see our guide on How to use Alexa. In some cases, you’ll need to enable a specific skill to get her to work with your hardware, and we explain how to enable skills on Alexa.
When Amazon released the third-gen Echo Dot it came with a decent upgrade in the audio department. That’s carried over here and while you’re still going to prefer to listen to music on something better (such as the 10-inch Echo Show or even the Echo 3), the Dot’s sound quality is better than you’d expect from the small puck-like device.
It’s ideal for radio and podcasts, but still fine for streaming music from Amazon, Apple or Spotify.
You can better understand the full range by reading our roundup of the best Amazon Echo models to buy.
Alexa can control the equaliser, so you can say, “Alexa, turn up the bass” or “Set treble to 7”.
If you buy two third-gen Echo Dots you can pair them to get stereo sound.
Bluetooth is built-in so you can stream music from your phone to the Dot. Alternatively you can use the Bluetooth connection to stream music to a Bluetooth speaker, so long as it doesn’t require a code to pair it.
As before, there’s a 3.5mm minijack for connecting your own powered speakers via a standard minijack cable (no cable is included).
The far-field mics are generally good at picking up the Alexa wake word even if sound is playing from the speaker, but it can be a little hit and miss if it the volume is particularly loud.
If the one feature you want from an Echo Dot is a clock display, the Echo Dot with Clock is the one for you. Having the time on show is undoubtedly a handy feature if you’re going to use it as a bedside alarm clock and it’s just about worth the extra £10 / $10 over the regular Echo Dot.
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