Amazon Echo Dot 2nd Generation (2018) Review
When Amazon released it’s first Amazon Echo device, it was a massive hit and sold like hot cakes, so when the Echo Dot 2 came out we just knew we had to review one!.
The full size Amazon Echo is a fantastic device, but if you are building up a smart home network then the full size echo can be expensive and a bit too large to put in every room. This is where the Echo Dot (which is now in its second generation) comes in. The Amazon Echo Dot is a fraction of the size and is amazingly cheap, especially if you get it on one of Amazons many sales.
Amazon Echo Dot 2 – Design
So this is just a chopped down version of the full size Echo and comes with the same controls on the top as you get on its full sized brother. The Echo Dot resembles a hockey puck, making it easy to stick almost anywhere.
I’m not sure why Amazon bother including physical buttons on the top, because the whole point in a smart speaker is to be hands free. But they are there and serve to adjust the volume and to trigger Alexa.
Build quality feels solid and the plastics feel high quality, without any flex or give. One thing you will notice is the lack of fabric that now comes on the full size Echo. Instead you get a full plastic construction which I suppose is at least easier to keep clean.
Setting up the Amazon Echo also couldn’t be easier, just download the app for your phone and follow the instructions which will also take you through what you can do with your new device.
Amazon Echo Dot 2 – What Can It Do?
So what can you actually do with the echo Dot 2 and why would you buy one over the full size Amazon Echo, the Echo Spot or the Echo Plus?
The Echo Dot is essentially the same thing as the full size Echo but with a much smaller speaker. The speaker that comes in the Dot is perfectly capable, but wont fill a room with music in quite the same way as the full size echo. The idea behind the Echo Dot is that you can “dot” them around your house so that you are always in range of Alexa. You could then have them hook up to your home entertainment system or have a full size echo for music playback.
So the Amazon Echo Dot is just as capable as the full size variant, but at less than half the price, making it probably the best value smart speaker on the market.
There are a multitude of smart home enabled devices which can hook up to the Amazon Echo devices and they aren’t all massively expensive. You can get everything from cheap LED lightbulbs which are just plug and play and will hook up easily, to smart home enabled fridges and washing machines.
I personally use my Echo Dot network to control all my lights and have it hooked up to my main home entertainment system so that I can control my music and TV. I can also control my heating via my Nest thermostat. The possibilities are endless though and you can do all sorts with the dot, from ordering pizza to finding out the weather for the next week.
It really is surprising just how much you get used to having Alexa around the house all the time though and you will find yourself using her more and more.
Amazon Echo Dot 2 – Annoyances
No device is without its issues and some of these will be things that are issues with all smart speakers;
First off we noticed that if you have the Echo Dot plugged into a speaker via the jack cable, then it won’t switch back to the onboard speakers if the speaker that’s plugged in is turned off. We found the best way to manage this is to use Bluetooth instead. That way you don’t have to have your speakers on in order to hear your Echo Dot.
Another annoying thing is that if you are listening to the radio or if Alexa is mentioned on TV then it will set your device off. We can’t really see a way around this though!
We also noticed that Echo devices in general only support 1 user which isn’t great if multiple family members want to use it for tracking their own calendars etc…
Amazon Echo Dot 2 – Sound Quality
Amazon had to cut corners somewhere in order to keep the price down and the Echo Dot 2 wasn’t made with sound quality in mind. The idea behind the Echo Dot is that it controls your main speakers and provides good enough speakers for speech.
The Echo Dot is meant to be more of an input device which can control your other media devices, rather than to be a speaker that can fill a room with music. Imagine something that will perform just slightly better than a high end phone, it’s loud and clear enough, but it’s not going to be enough to start a rave in your living room!
For its intended purpose though the speakers are great, they are clear and loud enough so that Alexa is always easy to hear and understand without any distortion.
Amazon Echo Dot 2 – Conclusion
The Amazon Echo Dot is the best bang for buck in the smart speaker market. It offers a cheap entry into your first smart speaker or an easy way to expand your current smart speaker home network.
It is easy to set up, even for a complete technophobe and if this is your first device then it makes sense to get yourself some smart home devices to take full advantage of your new personal assistant.
There really is no reason not to buy one considering the price.