Amazon has really outdone themselves with the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation model. It’s a small but surprising device. Since the launch of Alexa, Amazon has been on a quest to be the center/hub of your smart home. They’ve built an Echo device for pretty much every area of your life.
The Amazon Echo Show is a great kitchen aid that can replace your cookbooks. The Amazon Echo Spot is now your go-to alarm clock. The Amazon Fire TV Stick turns your boring old TV into a smart TV. Amazon Auto brings Alexa into your car for things such as navigation and roadside assistance.
Then there is the Echo Dot.
The Amazon Echo Dot is the best-selling Echo device and the only one that goes beyond one single area of your life. The 3rd-generation Echo Dot has had a major upgrade in both design, performance, and audio quality. It’s both cute and compact, but don’t let its size fool you – the Amazon Echo Dot can sure pack a punch.
With greatly improved audio quality over previous generations of the Echo Dot and the Google Home Mini, newer design, easier setup and integration, and an improved Amazon Alexa app, what’s not to love about the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen?
In this review, we’ll discuss what you should know about the new and improved Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation.
4.5 out of 5
- Much improved audio quality
- Better microphone array & voice recognition
- Modern design
- Affordable price
- Removed micro USB power adapter
- No changeable shells to prevent fabric staining
- No aux cable included
- Echo Dot
- Power adapter (15W)
- Quick Start Guide.
- Size: 3.9” x 3.9” x 1.7” (99 mm x 99 mm x 43 mm)
- Weight: 10.6 oz. (300 grams)
- Wi-Fi connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5 GHz) networks
- Bluetooth connectivity: Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support
- Audio: Built-in speaker. 3.5 mm stereo audio output
- System Requirements: Echo Dot comes ready to connect to your Wi-Fi network. The Alexa App is compatible with Fire OS, Android, and iOS devices.
We will start with some commonly asked questions about the Echo Dot.
Is there a monthly fee for an Echo Dot?
Absolutely not. There is no monthly fee to own an Echo and it’s just a one-time purchase. In order to use the Echo Dot all you need is the actual Amazon Echo Dot, an Amazon account, the Amazon Alexa app, which is also free, and good Wi-Fi.
Although there’s no monthly fee to own an Echo device, there are monthly fees for using services such as Amazon Prime Music or Spotify Music on your Echo Dot.
Amazon Prime members have access to built-in content like music and audiobooks.
Is the Echo Dot worth the money?
For the amount of value the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation brings with its overall feature set, the answer is unequivocally yes!
The Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen makes a lot of financial sense for those who are interested in trying out the smart home craze without breaking the bank. We’ll go more in-depth on its features below. Stay tuned.
Does the Echo Dot require Alexa?
All Amazon Echo devices come with Alexa built in and the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation is no exception. Alexa is the brain in the cloud that makes the Echo Dot smart.
There’s absolutely no need to do anything extra to get Alexa, and as such the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation has no new changes to Alexa herself.
Does the Echo Dot need Wi-Fi?
Yes. In order for the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation to function as intended, it needs to be connected to the internet. Not to mention that you need to be connected to Wi-Fi in order to complete the device setup.
Without Wi-Fi, the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation is pretty much rendered useless, although it can still act as a Bluetooth speaker when offline.
But we would go as far as to say that if you don’t have a good Wi-Fi network, it’s probably best not to invest in an Echo Dot just yet.
The Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation hit the market with a modern and classy new design. Amazon gave all of its Echo devices a fresh new makeover with the new generations. Though it maintained its signature hockey puck design, the Echo Dot comes with a new fabric grill that gives it a premium feel and makes it much softer to touch and easier on the eyes.
Compared to the 2nd Generation Echo Dot, you are less likely to get jeered at for having the 3rd Gen as part of your modern home decor. The new fabric design, which was obviously copied from Google’s line of smart devices, will blend in with your home decor much better.
The Echo Dot 3rd Generation comes in three new colors, Charcoal, Heather Grey, and Sandstone. Owners of previous Echo Dot versions will notice that the third generation comes with the familiar four-button control panel on top (volume up, volume down, mute button, and activate button). Instead of being concave, as in prior generations, the new buttons are raised to provide better tactile feel. And a now visible 4 microphone array also graces the top of the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation.
On the back is the familiar 3.5 mm auxiliary jack and the new proprietary DC power adapter that replaces the old micro USB power adapter. This is a major downside in our eyes because micro USB adapters are usually very common around the house; in fact, you probably have a couple of spare ones lying around. Since the new power cords are proprietary, it means you will have to return to Amazon to buy a new one if you somehow lose your device’s power adapter.
And while we’re on the subject of downsides, Amazon doesn’t provide an aux cord in the box with your Echo Dot 3rd Gen. Additionally, there are no shells or covers, like those found on the Amazon Echo Plus, provided for the Echo Dot 3rd Gen to protect the fabric rim from any accidental staining as a result of liquids being used around the device.
On the plus side, as part of the new revamped design, Amazon removed its Amazon logo watermark on the device. Additionally, they added a rubber grip on the base that keeps the Echo Dot from sliding around on smooth surfaces.
Even though the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation is larger/bigger, thicker, heavier, and wider than the 2nd generation, Amazon has largely maintained a consistent experience across its generations of Echo Dot Devices.
On the topic of performance, the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation is a case of Amazon taking two steps forward and one step back. Due to the four independent microphones on the top and much-improved noise reduction algorithms, the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation will hear your voice much better especially while playing loud music on the device in comparison to the 2nd generation.
Another benefit of the new microphone array is that the call quality has vastly improved. The Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation provides much clearer call quality and sound. The Echo Dot’s ability to drop-in on other Echo devices and make on-demand calls to your contacts makes for a great intercom system. The audio recognition has greatly improved, especially when next to other noisy appliances, like a fridge.
So while the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation can hear you much better in a loud environment, tests show that the 2nd generation device boots up much faster, from being unplugged, and can process your initial request faster than the 3rd generation.
Now onto what you reeeaaally came here for. The Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation’s thicker design is not just for show. The device boasts an array of speakers that broadcast sound a full 360 degrees. This results in an estimated 70% improvement in sound quality compared to the 2nd gen Echo Dot. To put it simply, the new Echo Dot has better sound with a lot more oomph.
The 2nd generation Echo Dot’s audio sounds like it’s coming from a tin can. This is because of its bottom-firing output design which resulted in audio distortion based on the type of surface the device sat on. With its new design, the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation features side-firing audio output which solves the audio distortion issue.
Honestly, it’s a night and day difference when comparing the audio quality and volume output from the 2nd to the 3rd generation Amazon Echo Dot. On the Echo Dot 2nd gen, vocals are easily lost in a mishmash of sound and the bass is almost nonexistent.
The new Dot has a much fuller sound and the max volume is significantly louder. In fact, when measured on a volume meter app for iPhone, the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation registered a whopping 75 to 80 decibels. That’s twice as loud, if not more, than the previous generation.
When compared to the Google Home Mini, its direct competitor from Google, the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation had a much crisper sound quality.
Although the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation is not promising room-filling stereo Sonos sound, it is great for and will fill up a small room such as a bedroom or a smaller living room space. In fact, you can pair two or more dots together to try and mimic Left-Right stereo separation for better audio quality. Just know that individually, all Echo Dots are mono stereo sound.
Or, you can pair the Echo Dot to the recently-introduced Echo Sub for more bass. Or you might consider connecting it to an external set of speakers via Bluetooth or the auxiliary output jack.
If you’re not trying to rock a room full of sound or do really heavy listening, the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation speaker does a great job and you do not need to step up to the $150 Echo Plus model just yet.
The Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation is available for $50 (£49.99 / $49.99 / AU$79). This is the exact same price as the previous generation. This makes it a great buy and a very hard to pass up device, given the much improved audio quality.
Due to the superior quality, we strongly believe Amazon will soon only sell 3rd generation Echo dots, though you might be able to find the older generations on secondary markets.
Check out the Amazon Fire TV Cube, a new $119 streaming box from Amazon! It’s both a smart assistant and a new streaming device!
Amazon Echo has positioned itself as the leader in the field of voice technology with Google Assistant running a close second. The Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation is a great first step toward building your smart home around voice. If you’re in the market for a cheap wireless speaker, the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation is a great buy and quite frankly one of the best devices you can pick up.
When you consider what you get for its modest price tag, such as the ability to make calls almost anywhere in your country of residence, control your smart home devices, and stream music from your favorite music services, the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation is a steal.
For more Alexa-related tips, tricks, and how-tos check out our guides to Alexa.
For help setting up your new Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation download our illustrated guide below.