Amazon Echo Dot review with watch: the screen, limited as it is, justifies the $ 10 surcharge

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The Echo Dot with Clock is the same third-generation device as the Echo Dot, but with one added feature: a simple LED display below the fabric band that surrounds the device that hardly shows the current time. After living with one for a couple of weeks, I can honestly say that the addition makes it worth $ 10 more than the normal Echo Dot.

The Echo Dot with the clock display will also show the current outside temperature, and if you set a timer, a countdown will flash. These features are also useful, but they must be started with vocal commands (for example, "Alexa, what is the temperature?"), So they are not so useful. Since the most frequent question that users ask Alexa is: "What time is it?" It is surprising that Amazon's Echo product managers have not thought about this before, and that their Google counterparts did not hit them at maximum when he designed the Nest Mini.

This review is part of TechHive's coverage of the best smart speakers. Click on that link to read the comments of the competitor's products, along with a buyer's guide of the features you should consider when buying.

echo dot w watch buttons Michael Brown / IDG

The buttons of the Echo Dot with Clock are the same as those of the normal third generation Echo Dot.

Audio performance

In terms of being a high quality music speaker, the Echo Dot with Clock is no closer than anything else in Amazon's arsenal, except perhaps by the Echo Studio, which I will review below; In fact, the Nest Mini offers superior sound performance. The Echo Dot with Clock offers a decent bass response for its size, but a comparatively muddy midrange makes it difficult to distinguish one instrument from another.

But you don't need to rely on the Echo for audio playback: you can pair it with an external Bluetooth speaker, or you can plug in any self-powered speaker that has a 3.5mm analog auxiliary input. Meanwhile, bass lovers can pair one or two of these speakers (for stereo) with the Echo Sub to get a very good bass response. In terms of music, you won't find those last two features in the Nest Mini, but the capacitive touch pause button on that smart speaker is far superior to yelling "Alexa, pause!"

echo dot w auxiliary output clock Michael Brown / IDG

A 3.5mm analog auxiliary output is one of the two ways you can replace the internal speaker of the Echo Dot with something more robust (Bluetooth is the other).

Configuration and installation

This smart speaker is very easy to configure, especially if you already have other Echo devices in your home, since the Alexa app will remember your Wi-Fi credentials: you can choose the one you want to connect from a list. There is an integrated dual band Wi-Fi adapter, so you can connect it to a 2.4GHz or 5GHz network.

You also have the option of creating a multi-room audio system with other Echo speakers, Echo Show smart displays or Echo-compatible speakers, including Sonos smart speakers (Sonos One, Sonos Beam sound bar and Sonos Move portable speaker) , and the Polk Audio command bar.

echo dot w temp display clock Michael Brown / IDG

Ask Alexa about the weather, and the Echo Dot with Clock will show you the outside temperature (don't bother asking about temperatures inside the house).

Using the echo point with clock

In addition to the LED display, each component within the Echo Dot with clock is identical to the third generation Echo Dot, so the user experience is exactly the same. It's still not as pretty as the Nest Mini, but its physical buttons, apart from the absence of one to pause music playback, are easier to use.

You cannot use Echo Dot with clock for direct control of your smart home devices unless those devices have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth radios on board. If you want a smart home center, you must step up the Echo Plus or Echo Studio, both with Zigbee radios on board. That said, a smart home center that doesn't work also Having a Z-Wave radio on board is a disadvantage for hubs, such as Samsung SmartThings, which do.

echo dot w clock volume display Michael Brown / IDG

When you tell Alexa to change the speaker volume level, confirmation of the requested settings will be displayed.

Better than the Echo Dot?

If you already have a clock in the room where you intend to deploy an Echo smart speaker, you cannot get a significant advantage by spending an additional $ 10 to buy the Echo Dot with clock, unless you find the temperature, the countdown of the Timer and volume setting shows indispensable.

But if you put it in a room or in any room that does not Having a watch, that screen is clearly worth the additional 10 points. I installed mine in my home theater, and I really like not having to interrupt a movie to see what time I am not wearing my wristwatch.

But it seems that the masses disagree with my evaluation. When I looked at the list of Amazon's best-selling electronic products, which is updated every hour, different colors of the simple Echo Dot (3rd Gen) held points 1 (charcoal), 3 (marbled gray), 4 (sandstone) and 13 (plum). The Echo Dot with Clock (sandstone) was at position 35. C’est la vie.

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