Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Evaluation: Setting the Benchmark

Echo Dot (4th Technology)

“It is nonetheless compact, however the brand new Echo Dot (4th Gen) packs a severe punch at $50.”

  • Charming new design
  • Nice audio high quality for its dimension
  • Alexa Guard safety
  • Inexpensive price
  • LED clock needs to be default

Ditching the puck-shaped design of its predecessors, the fourth-generation Echo Dot is seeking to make a press release with its revamped design. You possibly can say it’s a big gamble as a result of the spherical form of the brand new design is a stark departure from every little thing else on the market. However the larger subject is the place this newest mannequin stands in opposition to the myriad of different sensible audio system searching for consideration.

Huge surprises are available small packages

Regardless of being the entry-level mannequin, Amazon has by no means uncared for the Echo Dot’s audio punch — and that’s obvious once more with the fourth-generation Echo Dot. For its dimension, it’s really fairly spectacular in how good it sounds. Positive, it’s under no circumstances meant to rival the premium audio experiences of one thing just like the Echo Studio, however for its dimension, I’m satisfied it’s the best-sounding speaker within the $50 value vary.

John Velasco / Digital Tendencies

Beneath the 100% post-consumer recycled mesh material that wraps across the entirety of the speaker, there’s a 1.6-inch front-firing speaker that delivers crisp highs, balanced by full-sounding bass. If you happen to’re an off-the-cuff music listener, you’ll admire how the Echo Dot (4th Gen) is ready to fill smaller areas very nicely with its audio. You’ll be able to actually enhance its output by pairing it with different audio system to attain that room-filling sound, but it surely’s nonetheless capable of stand by itself.

I’m satisfied it’s the best-sounding speaker within the $50 value vary.

It handles larger volumes nicely with out ever coming off screechy or shrill in tone. There’s additionally a little bit of elbow room with regards to tweaking its audio, since there are controls via the Alexa app to regulate its bass, midrange, and treble. Don’t let its small dimension idiot you — the Echo Dot can provide some bigger audio system competitors with its efficiency.

A design for everybody

Similar to its larger sibling, the Echo (4th Gen), the Echo Dot (4th Gen) sports activities a spherical form. Its top has elevated over the third-generation Echo Dot, whereas bodily buttons for quantity, mute, and motion all proceed to line the highest.

John Velasco / Digital Tendencies

I used to be skeptical about this determination, particularly when the puck-shaped design has develop into an iconic look. But, change is usually a good factor — and that’s the case with the brand new Echo Dot (4th Gen). Whether or not it’s on my workplace desk, or on a kitchen shelf, the design enhances nearly any model and decor.

Amazon additionally introduced the variants of the speaker throughout its September 2020 occasion:

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) with clock

If you happen to want a bedside companion, the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) with clock is the logical alternative. It shows the time — together with the temperature outdoors, timers, and alarms. I actually want that the LED clock had been a typical characteristic with the Echo Dot, versus being a wholly separate mannequin.

John Velasco / Digital Tendencies

Past the clock capabilities, there’s nothing completely different about it versus the usual mannequin. There’s a $10 premium on this model, although, which locations it at $60. It’s definitely worth the buy as a result of I can’t let you know how handy it’s simply having the ability to know the time with out having to show to my smartphone.

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Youngsters Version

An increasing number of persons are counting on sensible audio system as they earn a living from home, however those that have youngsters will wish to take into account the enjoyable and cute Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Youngsters Version.

Amazon

In the intervening time, there are two design choices accessible — a panda or tiger. The Youngsters Version has all the identical options as the usual Echo Dot, however Amazon throws in a bunch of kid-friendly content material that features a 12 months of Amazon Youngsters+. Youngsters can ask Alexa to inform them tales, name permitted associates, and use some instructional expertise. Similar to the clock, the Youngsters Version is $60.

Alexa to the rescue

Alexa, the digital assistant, continues to develop and evolve. Whereas Alexa has gotten higher at delivering related solutions and responses to questions/instructions, I nonetheless discover that Google Assistant nonetheless does a greater job. Regardless of that, there are nonetheless much more Alexa-compatible gadgets to command and management — starting from on a regular basis issues like sensible LED gentle bulbs, to some obscure devices comparable to storage openers.

It’s small issues, like Alexa Guard, that provides extra of an incentive worth.

Alexa’s wealth of capabilities continues to develop as nicely due to the completely different Alexa Expertise you should purchase. I actually love that you could change Alexa’s voice to Samuel L. Jackson, particularly with regards to the express and witty commentary.

There’s one explicit space that has gotten my consideration greater than anything — security measures that allow Alexa to look at over my condo. With Alexa Guard, the Echo Dot (4th Gen) will hear for particular sounds, comparable to glass breaking or a smoke alarm going off. Google Assistant gives an identical characteristic, however you must subscribe to its Nest Conscious service. It’s a free service for Alexa Guard, so I admire that it’s thrown in with none further price. Wishing for a extra full service? Amazon Guard Plus can be launching quickly at $5 per thirty days, including an emergency helpline the place you’ll be able to request for assist by asking Alexa.

Most individuals anticipate sensible audio system to do the standard issues, like enjoying music and controlling different sensible dwelling devices, but it surely’s small issues, like Alexa Guard, that add extra of an incentive for the Echo Dot (4th Gen) being within the dwelling.

Our take

The Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) makes some daring adjustments, but it surely delivers a powerful bundle that makes it the sensible speaker to beat on the $50 value vary. Its spherical design is a refreshing change that doesn’t hold it from being a succesful speaker for music. The one gripe I’ve is that the LED clock needs to be default on all fashions, reasonably than having a devoted mannequin.

How lengthy will it final?

Because it’s unlikely to be moved round from place to position, there’s zero to little or no fear about one thing unlucky occurring to the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen). Its development is stable, but when something does go dangerous internally, there’s a 1-year restricted guarantee that covers defects. If you happen to require extra, Amazon gives accident safety for a price.

Is there a greater different?

You’re not going to seek out something higher that mixes the Echo Dot’s distinctive audio efficiency, wealthy options, and Alexa’s evolving skills at across the $50 mark. If you happen to crave higher audio efficiency, the Amazon Echo Studio stays the highest Alexa speaker for that — whereas the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) fills within the hole as an all-around performer on the $100 mark.

The Google Nest Mini is the logical alternative in case your funds stays at across the $50 vary and also you rely closely on Google’s providers.

Must you purchase it?

Even if in case you have the earlier model, the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) makes for a terrific buy regardless if you happen to’re simply getting began or plan to make an addition.

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