Amazon Echo Dot 3rd gen review: A worthy upgrade over its precursor

Amazon updates its Echo Dot series with a 3rd generation.

    Amazon has been poised with the idea of becoming the number one company to control your smart home system. To support its cause, the company has an arsenal of smart speakers which are suitable for any room, with its Echo Spot aimed to replace the bedside alarm clock. Similarly, the Echo Show is meant to replace your secondary TV, and man more.

     

    Recently, Amazon expanded its portfolio with a new line of Echo smart speakers - Echo Show, Echo Dot, and the Echo Plus. The one we have for review is priced at Rs 4,999.
    The Echo Dot has always been a popular choice when it comes to smart home products. Although, there were issues with the previous versions such as the low audio quality and the not-so-attractive looks. But that seems to have changed with the latest iteration. But is it worth putting your bets on? Let's find out.

    Design

    The Echo Dot 3rd gen is definitely better looking than its predecessors. It comes with rounded edges that make it look less like an ice hockey puck, and the grille covered in the fabric gives it a classy feel and look. Well, it seems that Amazon has taken cues from rival Google's Home Mini.

    Eliminating the plastic exterior seen on the past two Echo Dots, the latest model makes use of a softer and more attractive design. The new design is a welcomed change as it would fit better with any home decor compared to second-gen.

    The fabric mesh design also blends with Amazon's Echo lineup which got a fabric-covered makeover with last year's refresh. The new model also matches the lineup with Charcoal, heather grey, and sandstone color options.

    As for the controls, you'll find four physical keys on that includes volume up and down, microphone mute and Alexa, alongside a four-microphone array. On the back side, you'll find the power input which is no longer USB supportive and a 3.5mm audio jack, but sadly the box doesn't include an aux cable.

    Setup

    Firing up the Echo Dot is pretty simple, and it gets better if you already have another Alexa device installed. In that case, you just need to go to the Alexa app and tap on the plus icon in the Devices settings. The app will then scan for more devices and will instantly connect with the new speaker.

    For people who don't have an Echo device already, they will have to take the effort of downloading the app, creating an Amazon account if you don't have one, and follow the same process as mentioned above. Also, the updated Alexa app makes the setup works like a charm.

    Alexa

    Amazon's smart voice assistant doesn't witness much of an upgrade. It is exactly the same as we've seen on previous Echo Dot versions. Updates to Alexa skills such as voice matching and smart home connectivity are rolled out via firmware updates that don't affect or boost the performance of the speakers. So Alexa wouldn't be the deciding factor when choosing between two smart speakers.

    Sound quality

    The best upgrade with the new Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen is the audio system that makes the device churn out quality audio better than any previous generation versions. While the new variant is undoubtedly better, it isn't something that you would prefer to listen to music on. It lacks bass and sometimes the vocals are lost, but that's forgivable considering the compact size of the device.

    You will require an external source of sound when playing heavy metal or bass-heavy music. That brings us to pairing other devices to the new Echo Dot. It sounds easy, but it isn't. While Google uses an inbuilt Chromecast, Amazon is totally dependent on the Bluetooth. That's not bad, but it could be annoying at times.

    Apart from the enhanced audio quality, the microphones and call quality were also impressive. The noise-reduction algorithm Amazon has implemented for phone calls makes it a good alternative to taking calls. Apart from controlling smart devices across your home, calling on the Echo Dot is one of the best features.

    Verdict

    While using the previous generations of the Echo Dot, the biggest issue we faced was the underwhelming audio quality of the device. Well, now Amazon has fixed it, making the latest Dot a smart speaker that could play casual music and keep you up to date at a similar price. It is priced at Rs 4,499 and can be purchased from Amazon.

    If you are someone looking for a smart speaker but doesn't want to shell out a lot of money, the new Echo Dot could be a good option and doesn't burn a hole in your pocket. The device offers better audio and the call quality than its only rival - Google Home Mini in this price segment.

    If you look beyond the minor flaws of the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd gen, this is could be an ideal choice. If you have more budget to spend, you can opt for the new Amazon Echo Plus with an Amazon Echo Sub that offers an excellent audio output and making for a better experience.

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