The Echo Dot is one of the most popular smart speakers ever, thanks to its compact size and low price. Amazon has updated it many times over the years, and new models are on the way.
Just like earlier iterations, the Echo Dot is a small speaker with the Alexa virtual assistant, so you can use voice commands to play music, control smart home devices, and perform other tasks. The new Echo Dot has a “redesigned audio architecture,” with higher quality speakers that aim to deliver clear vocals and twice the bass of the previous model. It’s still shaped like a sphere — if you were hoping for a return to the more compact disc shape of the original Echo Dots, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Besides the improved audio quality, there are new hardware sensors that enable smarter automation. For example, Amazon says the speaker can tell Alexa to turn on a fan when the indoor temperature is too high. The new accelerometer allows you to tap the top of the device to play and pause music, dismiss timers, or end a voice call, much like Google’s Nest Mini.
The most surprising addition is the ability to use Echo Dots as extenders for an Eero Wi-Fi network. According to Amazon, each Dot can add up to 1,000 square feet (~92 square meters) of coverage, though only at speeds of up to 100 Mbps. Amazon is also rolling out Eero extender functionality to the fourth-generation Echo on October 20.
The Echo Dot will be available for $49.99, and Amazon will also sell an “Echo Dot with Clock” for $59.99. The latter model has a dot display for showing the time, song title, weather, and other data. There will also be an Echo Dot Kids with different patterns (but not the clock) available for $59.99.