Amazon Echo Dot Review (3rd Generation): The Little Beast

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The Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation is part of the new Echo refresh lineup that also includes Echo Plus, Echo Sub, and Fire TV 4K Stick – all of which were recently introduced in India (almost simultaneously with the Global launch). Amidst all these smart devices, one that really intrigues us is the new Echo Dot (3rd generation). (हिंदी में पढ़िए)

The Echo Dot has been one of the best selling smart speakers as it’s also the most affordable one. And like all new generation Echos, the little one, too, has undergone a much-needed upgrade which now makes it a better competitor to the Google Home Mini.

Does the new Echo Dot 3.0 bring enough to the table? Is it better than Google Home Mini? Let’s find out:

Page Contents:

What’s Come Inside the Box?

  • Echo Dot 3rd generation
  • Power adapter (15W)
  • Instruction manual
  • Warranty guide

Design and Build Quality

  • 99 x 99 x 43mm, 300g
  • fabric covering
  • Available in Black, Gray, and White

Amazon seems to have gone back to the sketching board and started from scratch for the new Echo Dot 3.0 design. And the result seems impressive. The new Echo Dot has a fabric exterior and feels a lot more.. inviting. It’s a little chubbier than its predecessor – which, by the way, isn’t a negative attribute for a smart speaker – and resembles the patty in Macdonald’s burger.

The fabric layer isn’t removable, but users are allowed to wipe there Alexa based Echo Dot with a wet cloth. Just like the last generation model, there are four buttons on the top matte-plastic surface. Controls include volume up-down keys, Alexa button, and a mute button. Just like the last time, an LED ring lines the edges and glows in shades of red, blue and green to add another dimension of user interaction.

The bottom has a grippy rubber coating which ensures it doesn’t tumble down from where ever you place it. It comes with two ports on the rear -one for the power plug and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Amazon has changed the charging cable and instead of 9W micro USB, the new Echo Dot has a 15W proprietary barrel connector.

Since the Echo devices (or any other smart speaker for that matter) were never meant to be portable carry-around options, the proprietary charging adapter shouldn’t be a problem.

ALSO READ: Google Home Review

Audio, Microphones and Connectivity

  • 1.6-inch speaker
  • Four far-field microphones
  • WIFI  802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth
  • Aux

Apart from aesthetics, more significant changes have been made on the inside of the puck. The third-generation Echo Dot packs a half-inch larger 1.6-inch speaker which is much louder (30-40%) and much more powerful compared to the last year’s model. The new dot pumps out a lot more character with mid-bass and clear vocals. Still, it’s not the loudest or the best sounding Bluetooth speaker under Rs. 3000, but that’s ok because it’s so much more than a Bluetooth speaker.

Amazon continues to offer an option to pair two of these Echo dots using the Alexa app. Since it packs an Aux port, it certainly can be used to connect and convert your existing home audio system to a smart-Alexa powered system.

There have been changes made to the microphone arrangement. Previous generation Dot housed as many as seven far-field communication mics, still, it wasn’t as effective and couldn’t listen to the Alexa passphrase even from close quarters during music playback. That has changed now. With four far-field microphones, the New Echo Dot manages to catch the Alexa hot word even when you are across a large-size room.

Apart from the hardware changes, the Alexa software is now smarter and Alexa skills further make it more useful. Besides, Amazon’s content ecosystem (Prime Music, Prime Videos, Prime Reading, etc.) has consistently matured in India, making these smart home devices more relevant. Support for third-party content streaming services like Gaana, Wynk music, etc. is still one area that needs to get better.

Amazon has made some India specific improvements and now Alexa understands Indian English accent better and has also integrated a number of local services to keep users updated about sports, news, holidays and other local stuff.

ALSO READ: Apple iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max Review

Amazon Echo Dot 2018 Review: Should you buy it?

Last year’s Echo dot was no match for the Google Home Mini. The redesigned and upgraded Echo Dot clearly brings Amazon back in the game and will serve as a competitive option for anyone invested in Amazon’s ecosystem of apps and services.

That’s a lot of people because Amazon indeed bundles its content and other services in a comprehensive Prime membership package that costs just Rs 999 (US $13.59) per year in India.

Apart from being smarter and much better looking, the upgraded audio hardware is the biggest improvement on the new Echo dot. This will ensure that people who plan on streaming music playback, which is honestly what it will mostly be used for, won’t have to compromise with sub-par audio quality.

Pros

  • Better design
  • Significantly improved audio quality
  • Price remains unchanged

Cons

  • No USB port
  • Limited Indian streaming services support
Deepak RajawatDeepak Rajawat
Experienced technology journalist with over 7-years of experience. Before embracing online journalism, he has worked with several legacy publications including print editions at Hindustan Times and The Statesman. He also has a keen interest in Sports, which he used to cover with equal enthusiasm in his early career.

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