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It’s easy to see why the Echo Dot is Amazon’s most popular smart speaker. This puck-sized marvel is ridiculously compact, measuring a mere 99mm wide, but just as smart as its full-size siblings. It also sounds surprisingly fulsome, given it only sports a modest 0.6-inch driver.
If you’re after an unobtrusive Alexa hub to control other smart home devices, including TVs smart lights and thermostats, it fits the bill perfectly.
If you’ve toyed with the idea of adopting a Dot, either as your first Alexa smart speaker, or as an addition to a growing family of connected gadgets, now looks like a good time to shop.
Buy it: Echo Dot smart speaker with Alexa | £21.99 (was £39.99) from Amazon
I think this latest iteration looks a good deal slicker than its predecessors, thanks to the addition of a neat, charcoal grey fabric speaker grille. It’s easy to use too, taking just a few minutes to set up on a home network.
If you already own multiple Echo speakers, the Dot will integrate, enabling announcements to be made around the house (handy for dinner proclamations). You can also make room-to-room calls or stream music to multiple rooms simultaneously, party-style. The Dot will also play audio books from Audible. Buy two, and you can pair them to create a stereo sound system.
Rather helpfully, an Echo Dot can also be used to upgrade older, not-smart Hi-Fi components. Got a venerable Hi-Fi amp or mini system you want to spruce up with some AI? Just link the Dot to any spare stereo audio input, using a 3.5mm to stereo phono lead, and use it as a source device. I’ve done this with my own Dot, and it works really well.
The sonic output from a singular Dot speaker may be mono, but its line output is actually stereo and it sounds pretty decent. This cheeky upgrade enables you to Bluetooth audio and voice request music from streaming services Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music and Tunein, no matter what the vintage of your music system.
And of course, if you have privacy concerns, there’s a mic-off button which disconnects the microphone.
Amazon buyers rate the Echo Dot 4.7 out of 5, praising its versatility and sound quality. At this price, I reckon it’s a great smart home buy.
Watch: Amazon Alexa's hysterical response to child's question caught on camera