Amazon Echo Dot (4th Generation) Review: Growing Up To Set The Standard

"It's still compact, but the new Echo Dot (4th Generation) offers a decent punch for $ 50."

  • Charming new design

  • Excellent audio quality for its size

  • Alexa Guard protection

  • Affordable cost

  • LED clock should be standard

The fourth generation of the Echo Dot does without the puck-shaped design of its predecessors and wants to make a statement with its revised design. You could say it's a game of chance, because the spherical shape of the new design is very different from anything else. The bigger problem, however, is where this latest model competes against the multitude of other smart speakers that are seeking attention.

Big surprises come in small packages

While Amazon is the entry-level model, it has never neglected the audio punch of the Echo Dot – and that shows up with the fourth-generation Echo Dot. For its size, it's actually pretty impressive how good it sounds. Sure, it's in no way intended to compete with the premium audio experiences of something like the Echo Studio, but given its size, I'm convinced it's the best sounding speaker in the $ 50 price range.

Amazon Echo Dot (4th generation) on the tableJohn Velasco / Digital Trends

Beneath the 100% recycled post-consumer mesh that wraps the entire speaker is a 1.6-inch front speaker that delivers crisp highs that are offset by rich-sounding bass. If you are the casual music listener, you will appreciate how the Echo Dot (4th Generation) can fill smaller rooms with its audio very well. You can certainly improve the output by pairing it with other speakers for that room-filling sound. However, it can still stand on its own.

I believe it's the best sounding speaker in the $ 50 price range.

It handles higher volumes well without ever sounding screeching or high-pitched. There's also a little wiggle room when it comes to tweaking the tone, as controls for adjusting bass, mids, and treble are available through the Alexa app. Don't let its small size fool you – the Echo Dot can let some larger speakers rival for its performance.

One design for everyone

Just like its bigger sibling, the Echo (4th generation), the Echo Dot (4th generation) has a spherical shape. The height has increased over the third generation Echo Dot, while the physical buttons for volume, mute, and action continue to lead the way.

Amazon Echo Dot (4th generation) on the tableJohn Velasco / Digital Trends

I was skeptical of this decision, especially when the puck-shaped design has become an icon. Change can be a good thing, however – and that's the case with the new Echo Dot (4th generation). Whether on my desk or on a kitchen shelf – the design fits almost any style and decor.

Amazon also announced the variants of the speaker during its September 2020 event:

Amazon Echo Dot (4th generation) with clock

If you need a bedside companion, this is it Amazon Echo Dot (4th generation) with clock is the logical choice. It shows the time – along with the outside temperature, timers and alarms. I honestly wish the LED clock was a standard feature on the Echo Dot rather than an entirely separate model.

Amazon Echo Dot (4th generation) with clock LED lightJohn Velasco / Digital Trends

Apart from the clock functions, nothing differs from the standard model. However, there is a $ 10 premium on this version, which equates to a $ 60 premium. It's worth buying because I can't tell you how convenient it is to find the time without turning to my smartphone.

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Generation) Kids Edition

More and more people are relying on smart speakers when working from home, but those who have kids will want to consider the fun and sweetness Amazon Echo Dot (4th Generation) Kids Edition.

Echo Dot Kids Edition IntroducedAmazon

There are currently two design options available – a panda or a tiger. The Kids Edition has the same features as the standard Echo Dot, but Amazon has a range of kid-friendly content, including a year of Amazon Kids +. Children can ask Alexa to tell them stories, call approved friends, and use some educational skills. Just like the watch, the Kids Edition costs $ 60.

Alexa to the rescue

Alexa, the digital assistant, is growing and developing. While Alexa is better at providing relevant answers and answers to questions / commands, I find the Google Assistant still does a better job. That said, there are a lot more Alexa-compatible devices to control and control – from everyday things like smart LED lightbulbs to some obscure devices like garage openers.

It's little things like Alexa Guard that create more incentive value.

Thanks to the various Alexa skills that you can acquire, the functionality of Alexa continues to grow. I really love that you can change Alexa's voice to Samuel L. Jackson, especially when it comes to the explicit and witty commentary.

There is one area that caught my attention more than anything – security features that Alexa can use to watch over my home. With Alexa Guard, the Echo Dot (4th generation) listens for certain noises such as broken glass or a smoke detector. The Google Assistant does a similar thing, but you need to subscribe to the Nest Aware service. It's a free service for Alexa Guard, so I appreciate it rolling out at no additional cost. Would you like a more comprehensive service? Launching soon for $ 5 per month, Amazon Guard Plus has an emergency line that you can call for help by asking Alexa.

Most people expect smart speakers to do the typical things, like playing music and controlling other smart home devices, but it's little things like Alexa Guard that give the Echo Dot (4th generation) a bigger appeal. represent to be at home.

Our opinion

The Amazon Echo Dot (4th Generation) makes some bold changes, but it offers a punchy package that makes it the smart speaker that can be beat in the $ 50 price range. The spherical design is a refreshing change that doesn't stop it from being a capable speaker for music. The only criticism I have is that the LED clock should be standard on all models rather than having a dedicated model.

How long it will take?

Since it is unlikely to be moved from place to place, there is little or no concern that something unfortunate will happen to the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Generation). Construction is solid, but if something goes wrong internally, it comes with a 1-year limited warranty that covers deficiencies. If you need more, Amazon offers paid accident protection.

Is there a better alternative?

You won't find anything better that combines the exceptional audio performance of the Echo Dot, extensive features, and evolving skills of Alexa at around $ 50. If you're craving for better audio performance, the Amazon Echo Studio remains the best Alexa speaker – while the Amazon Echo (4th Generation) bridges the void as an all-round performer at $ 100.

Google Nest Mini is the natural choice if your budget is around $ 50 and you rely heavily on Google's services.

Should you buy it?

Even if you have the previous version, the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Generation) is a great buy whether you're just starting out or planning an addition.

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