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A close look at the Amazon Echo Dot mini-speaker (pictures)

This miniature version of Amazon's popular, Alexa-powered speaker is just as smart at half the price.

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Ryan_Crist2.jpg

Ry Crist

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1 of 7 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Amazon Echo Dot

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

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2 of 7 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Familiar design

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.

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3 of 7 James Martin/CNET

The Alexa Family

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.

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4 of 7 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Ports

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

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5 of 7 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

External speakers

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.

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Bluetooth, too

You can also connect to external speakers over Bluetooth.

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7 of 7 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Sounds like a deal

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.

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