Amazon is a name that needs no introduction. Today, it has not only earned a name for itself for being the ultimate shopping hub, but also for its Amazon Original shows and movies (any Jack Ryan fans here?), Prime Video and its infinite trove of online books. But those are not the only products and services (among millions of others) that Amazon is famous for. It is also famous for pioneering smart speakers starting with its Amazon Echo smart speaker.
When Amazon first launched Echo smart speaker back in 2014, it was a niche concept available only to Prime members on an invite-only basis. The first-generation Echo smart speaker was a tall cylindrical device that was powered by an AI-based smart assistant called Alexa. At the time, it was raw and primitive, not just in terms of the design and the sound but also in terms of Alexa, which was equally new at the time. Since then, Amazon’s Echo smart speaker has gotten smarter as Alexa’s capabilities have improved by leaps and bounds. It has also changed forms. From a cylinder to a Carrom puck design to a dome now, both Alexa and the Echo smart speaker have transformed from a caterpillar to almost a butterfly. And it has been almost poetic to watch this transformation.
Coming to the fourth generation of Echo Dot smart speaker, Amazon has reimagined the entire design philosophy for the device and made it resemble its famous headquarter building in downtown Seattle. In case you aren’t sure what I am talking about, here’s a clue for you:
Amazon has not only morphed the form of its fourth generation Echo Dot smart speaker, but it has also added a bunch of new features including the support for a low power mode and built-in zigbee smart home hub to the device. All this while, it has kept its soul, that is, Alexa, at the centre of all the action.
If you have seen any of Amazon’s older Echo Show smart speakers in action, one question that you would want to ask is: How has it changed? We’ll try to answer all those questions and more in the review below.
The fourth-generation Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker, as I mentioned before, features a dome-like design. This design is partially covered by a fabric, much like the third-generation Echo Dot smart speaker. On top, it has those four familiar buttons that you are used to seeing in all Echo smart speakers -- two for controlling the volume, one for invoking Alexa without using voice commands, and the other one for preventing Alexa from snooping in on your conversations.
Near the bottom, you will find a LED ring that lights up in the familiar blue-green colour as soon as you summon Alexa. At the back, you will find two ports, one for connecting the power cable and the other one is a 3.5mm jack for connecting the smart speaker with another speaker or a smartphone. It’s almost as if nothing has changed. Yet, a lot has!
All in all, Amazon Echo Dot’s new dome design is definitely a welcome addition to the Echo ecosystem. It blends in the environment seamlessly and yet it demands equal attention in the space where it is kept. In any case, it’s a sight for sore eyes.
Coming to the performance, Amazon since the launch of its first-generation Echo smart speaker has been consistently improving the sound of its smart device. If the first-gen Echo smart speaker made you feel that smart speakers couldn’t sound good, the fourth generation of the device is bound to change that notion. The fourth-generation Echo smart speaker, that is, the Echo Dot smart speaker is loud yet clear. It is not only loud enough for a room for a 2BHK apartment with an area of around 600 sq. ft. But this volume isn’t haphazard. It’s controlled and evened out, which makes it ideal to be used as a speaker. Whether you are listening to an EDM pop song like David Guetta’s Titanium or pop-rock song like Avril Lavigne’s Head Above Water or my all-time-favourite Bryan Adam’s Summer of 69, there is both balance and clarity in the sound. What I particularly like about the fourth-gen Echo Dot smart speaker is the fact that even on extremely high volumes, the voice doesn’t break and lean towards the trouble...ehmm...treble side of things.
Coming to the smart side of things, Alexa is as efficient as ever. It listens to your every whim and wish and responds to them promptly. You can talk to her in English or in Hindi or Hinglish if you like and she does your bidding, be it calling a cab, turning off your TV, or setting the AC to the right temperature. Alexa does everything without fail.
Now, the most important question of this discussion: Is the fourth-generation Echo Dot smart speaker worth buying? Amazon’s Echo smart speakers have a history of improving significantly generation after generation. The fourth-generation Echo Dot smart speaker is no exception to this rule. It brings the perfect balance of sound and smartness to Amazon’s Echo-verse. Both the design and the pricing just act as a cherry on top of the cake. All in all, if you are planning to give your home a ‘smart makeover', the fourth generation Echo Dot is a good place to start.
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