As a result, the third-generation Echo Dot ditches its predecessors’ all-plastic sides in favour of a cloth-covered finish. The redesigned Dot looks less like a hockey puck and more like something you’d want in your living room, thanks to softer, more-rounded edges. The third-generation Dot is slightly larger than the second-generation Dot. Which is just 3.3 inches wide and 1.3 inches tall and measures 3.9 inches in diameter and 1.7 inches in height. While the third-generation Dot is available in three colours, its redesigned design means that many of the third-party skins, cases, and accessories designed for the second-generation Dot are no longer compatible.


The 3.5mm audio output and Bluetooth connectivity are the only features. This means that if you want a bigger, better sound than the Echo Dot can provide, you can connect to another device via a connected or wireless connection. In terms of features, it’s all about Alexa. It’s also worth noting that all of this connectivity, as well as everything Alexa can do, is compatible with the second-generation Echo Dot. Alexa can still play music, answer questions, read the news, check the weather, set alarms, and operate compatible smart home devices ranging from televisions to home theatre amplifiers and speakers. Voice calls are a recent addition, while the number of Skills – devices that connect with Alexa is continually growing and includes a diverse range of items ranging from Sonos to Domino’s Pizza and Uber. Only a masochist would use the Echo Dot as a solitary speaker. The 0.6in tweeter inside was only good for voice, with a reedy output that was barely adequate for audiobooks and podcasts. That was great because it was intended to be connected to other speakers through Bluetooth or audio wire. The good news is that the 1.6in speaker in the 2018 Echo Dot makes it a solid tiny speaker in its own way. The original’s reedy, prone-to-distortion audio is gone, and the overall sound is more bassy, warm, and generally richer. It also becomes a lot louder, though don’t push it too hard, it’s still only a 1.6in speaker, not a club-grade sound system. Because any dedicated sound system you own is likely to be better than the 2018 Echo Dot’s output, and you should prioritise linking it with another system if you have one. But the point is that when utilised as a solitary speaker, the first Echo Dot sounded more like a radio alarm clock than a genuine setup. The Dot’s sound is clearly listenable, on line with the usual £30 – £40 Bluetooth speaker. It’s more than enough for a tiny space where you only want Alexa to be available without spending a fortune. The Echo Dot (3rd generation) costs £50, the same as its predecessor, which means there’s only one competitor: the Google Nest Mini. Google’s diminutive device, which also costs £50, is powered by Google Assistant, which is unquestionably smarter and better at recognising voice cues than Alexa. On the downside, Google made the stupid decision not to add an audio-out connection, so you’re left with the built-in speaker, which isn’t a patch on the Echo Dot (3rd gen). The original Echo Dot is the other obvious contender, but on a practical level.

Final Words

In every regard, the new Echo Dot outperforms the previous model. It looks better, sounds better, hears you just as well, and still has a 3.5mm plug as well as Bluetooth audio in and out. It’s no match for the larger Echo speakers, which cost nearly twice as much, but it narrowly outperforms its closest competitor, the Google Home Mini, in terms of sound and connectivity. With the Echo Dot, you get a lot of smart speaker for your money at £50, or frequently £30 on offers. Whereas the original Echo Dot was a no-brainer, the choice now comes down to whether you want Alexa or Google Assistant in your little smart speaker, which is a far more difficult decision.

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