"New Amazon Echo Dot plays defense against Google"
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CNET First Look
CNET First Look
New Amazon Echo Dot plays defense against Google
Hey guys, and here in the cInet smart.
And today we've got third generation Amazon echo dot.
And this is right here.
Here, this is the refresh for 2018.
Like you can see, it's still kind of a hockey puck type design, a little bit bigger than before.
And that's because Amazon is promising better sound from this ting so it's got a little more oomph to it.
And it's also got the fabric rim around the edge.
You can see on this black version here.
And that's because Amazon's trying to help it better compete against the fabric-bodied Google Home Mini.
A lot of people seem to prefer that fabric-y design.
It looks a little more premium and softer and more appropriate for the home.
So it's kind of a tacit admission from Amazon that that might have been the better way to go with the design.
Other than that though, basically the same product.
You've got the same four buttons up top, the two that bring the volume up and down here.
And then a button on the right to mute the assistant and one to activate her, I'm not gonna say her name if I can help it here.
And then in the back here you've got the same inputs, the audio end if you want to make a wired connection to an external set of speakers, and the power jack, which in a small change, it's not micro USB anymore, it's not just a normal pronged AC jack.
So this is the new third gen Echo Dot.
We're gonna start testing it out.
Let's take a look at how it does.
Amazon's first two echo dots hit the market without any real competitors.
Now the echo dots 3.0 has to contend with the Google Home Mini.
A popular alternative that looks and sounds better than last time The new fabric rim and the stronger sound of the new Dot are both obvious attempts at neutralizing those advantages.
It's the first time the Dot's really needed to play defense.
So how did Amazon do?
Well let's start with sound quality, Amazon tells us that the new Dot is 70% stronger than the old one and I gotta say, if you listen to the two back to back, youll definitely hear the difference.
All right so the sound quality pretty obvious step up from generation two to generation three but generation two wasn't as strong as the Google home mini which [UNKNOWN] last year with sharper sound than the echo dot.
Does the new Dot close that gap?
I happen to think that the Dot doesn��t sound of it better than the Home Mini at this point but it��s very close.
Neither one is as strong as a full-size smart speaker but those can fill the room and they��re more than capable of doing your favorite playlist just of course.
That sound quality argument is a moot point if you're just going to connect the Dot with an external set of speakers, which you can still do via Bluetooth or the aux out jack.
With the home mini you don't get an aux out jack at all you can only connect to other speakers using Bluetooth.
Another potential edge for the new Dot: You can pair two of them together for stereo audio now.
I like the feature better with larger sized Echo and Echo Plus speakers.
Here it just seems like a way to get you to buy more [UNKNOWN] than you need, but you do have the option of adding in an Echo sub for boosted bass.
Aside from that, there's not a whole lot that's inherently new here, aside, of course, from that new design.
And to Amazon's credit, I think they did a really nice job of it.
The black fabric is a clear step up from the plain plastic of before, And, I like that they ditched the Amazon logo too.
Plus, by keeping things more or less the same with those buttons up top Amazon's maintaining a consistent experience across generations.
The Dot wasn't broke and Amazon didn't fix it.
Still, the Dot doesn't have interchangeable shells like the Echo does.
...and while those never really took off, it still would have been nice if you could have gotten at least 1 color option that wasn't a shade of grey.
Amazon played it super super safe here, probably a little more than they needed to.
In the end, what's the most important thing about the new dot?
Even with the improved design and stronger sound, it's still just 50 dollars, and honestly, it's kind of hard to imagine a 50 dollar smart speaker that sounds much better.
The dot isn't your only decent option anymore, but it's.....
Still an outstanding choice.
And the constant competition of Google means that the steady stream of new tricks and features shouldn't slow down any time soon.
It's as [UNKNOWN] as ever and a great start if you want to build your smart home around voice.
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