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Christmas Gift Guide

Amazon Echo Dot

Familiar design

The Alexa Family

Ports

External speakers

Bluetooth, too

Sounds like a deal

Meet the Amazon Echo Dot, a puck-shaped, pint-sized follow-up to the Amazon Echo smart speaker.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The Echo Dot is essentially just the top inch and a half of the original Amazon Echo. It features the same ring of far-field microphones to listen for your command, and the same Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios to keep the virtual assistant "Alexa" hooked up to the cloud. The Echo's full-size speaker is gone, squished down into a tiny set that's about as powerful as your phone or tablet.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The Echo Dot made its debut in March of 2016 at Amazon's UX Labs in San Francisco. It's part of a growing family of Alexa devices that includes the Amazon Echo, the Amazon Fire TV, and the battery-powered Amazon Tap.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Along with a Micro-USB port for power, the Echo Dot features a new 3.5mm line-out jack.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

You can use that line-out jack to plug the Echo Dot into a set of external speakers. That's a cool new feature that you won't find with the original Amazon Echo.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

You can also connect to external speakers over Bluetooth.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The Amazon Echo Dot costs $90 -- half the price of the original Amazon Echo. For now, it's only available in the US, but Amazon hopes to expand worldwide in the near future. That price comes out to about £65, or AU$120.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET
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