Amazon's new echo dot faces a problem.
It's a solid speaker and great entry point into voice assistance and the smart home market in general, but it's competing with 2018 still excellent.
Amazon Echo dot and this thing has been selling for as little as $19 in recent weeks.
So, is the new echo dot worth 50 bucks in a vacuum shore?
But stacked up against the superior smart and sound of 2020's full sized Amazon Echo and the huge discounts that this only slightly inferior 2018 echo dot has this new ball shaped echo dot probably isn't the right pick for the price for most customers.
Like the new full size echo, the 2020 dot boasts a striking new spheroidal aesthetic.
Okay, it's not really that striking.
The muted mesh covered speaker has simply adopted a slightly fresher geometric profile.
But a little visual evolution is welcome.
Amazon even smartly kept the dots footprint the same as previous generations.
So, despite the taller frame, it won't take up more shelf space.
Along with the footprint, the knees that the echo dot is seeking to fill really hasn't changed too much.
It's a great entry point into the smart home, and into voice assistance in general, and that $50 price tag has stayed the same even in this 4th generation.
The problem is that a lot of the other stuff has stayed the same too.
They still both use the same voice assistant, which means that they can control the same devices, they can play the same music, they can listen for people breaking into your house.
It's a lot of great stuff, but what really is the difference here?
The new echo dots big change other than in profile, is in sound.
It's 1.6 inch speaker as more powerful than the third guns 1.1 inch speaker and slightly more powerful than the 40 millimetre nest mini speaker.
The new echo dot sounds a little bit fuller than the older echo dot and then the nest mini even but everything is relative.
Yes, these devices sound great for their size and their price, but they really don't have the base to play rap or trap music well.
And when it comes to more complex songs with multiple tracks, they can't maintain that distinction without just muddying the whole thing.
The good news is the dot has always has an audio jack, so you can connect it to better speakers, unlike Google nest mini you can also take two dots and pair them for stereo sound.
But I can't really imagine recommending this over buying a better quality $100 speaker like the best audio or the 2020 Echo.
Ditto setting up surround sound for your home theater.
Not every generation can revitalize a device, but it would have been nice to see a little bit more creativity here.
Now, where, it seems like Amazon is actually innovating a little bit more is not with its standard dot, but rather with the dot with clock and the kids edition dot.
And my kids are all ready really loving the kids addition dot it comes in this tiger decal or with a panda themed one and you can see it fits in really nicely with more playful decors.
Last years dot with clock was a great device, adding a small but really useful upgrade to the dot this year is kids dot adds a fun tiger or panda theme to design and genuinely interesting kid facing content that you won't get on other echo devices without a subscription.
The kids dot comes with a free year of Amazon kids plus which normally costs $3 per month.
Playing gummy bear, gummy bear
Here is gummy bare, gummy bare
He says my gummy bare
I heard her
Is that so funny?
Those are the zombie dance [LAUGH].
These alternative dots use the exact same basic hardware but there are more exciting product in part because they represent something beyond simple iterative improvement they feel more sensitive to customer needs.
Of course the dot with clock and the kids edition dot both cost $10 more than the standard dot.
The 2020 echo dot is a solid device, but it feels nonessential if you're looking for the best deal.
The third generation echo is really great and you can get it for really low prices.
On the other hand, if you're looking to jumpstart that Smart Home, or you want really good sound quality, the 2020 full sized echo is probably a better device for you.
Look nothing against the new echo dot, but the conventional wisdom seems to hold for this device and that is that you shouldn't buy it at full price.
You're probably going to be able to find good sales on it sometime in the next few months, and if you can't, these other devices are probably going to serve you better.
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