What Is The Amazon Echo Dot? Everything You Need To Know About Amazon’s Compact Smart Speaker

What Is The Amazon Echo Dot

With so many Echo Dot versions in the market already, it is too confusing to choose one. It’s also super tacky to browse for each one of them separately. To make it easier for you all, here is everything about Echo Dot under one roof.

You will find everything about Amazon Echo Dot, its versions, comparisons, and everything else you need to know about before setting your mind on purchasing Amazon’s compact smart speaker.

Contents

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What is the Echo Dot?

Addressing the elephant in the room, Echo Dot is Amazon’s compact smart speaker that shouldn’t be confused with Amazon Echo which comes in a cylindrical shape.

Amazon Echo Dot has varied variants and versions with a few changes in features in each of them. However, what’s common about all Amazon Echo Dot versions is their compatibility with Alexa, also the main highlight of these smart speakers. All versions support the voice-controlled Alexa, Amazon’s personal assistant through which you can order or ask your smart speaker anything you like be it playing songs, changing music, set an alarm, reminder or even shut up.

Above all, Amazon Echo Dot also functions well as a multi-room speaker too.

Each of the Amazon Echo Dot versions differs in shape and size as well. So, let’s dive into more information about Amazon Echo Dot.

You may also like: How to Choose a Smart Speaker for Your Home – Detailed Guide for Buying Smart Speakers

How Does Echo Dot Work?

Echo Dot works by plugging it into the nearby wall socket. For Echo Dot to work, it has to stay plugged in. Almost all Echo Dot versions are capable of working similarly and wakes and light up when they hear someone say Alexa or with certain other wake words.

Further reading: How to Change Alexa’s Name, Voice, Accent, Gender, and Language on Amazon Echo – Everything You Need to Know

Features of Amazon Echo Dot

The common features that all Amazon Echo Dot shares include:

Portable smart speaker

Amazon Echo Dot is a Bluetooth enabled compact smart speaker that can literally be kept anywhere in the house.

Smart speaker

When it comes to being a smart speaker, it entails that Echo Dot is capable of controlling your smart devices at your home through Alexa be it smart bulbs, home security system, smart lights, smart locks, etc. This means you can just ask Alexa on Echo Dot, to dim your home lighting, switch it on/off, lock the doors, and everything else through voice control.

Smart music speaker

Also, since Echo Dot is basically a speaker, it can play all types of music for you with a bit of smartness. You can listen to songs you want with the help of voice commands themselves. Just ask “Alexa, play top hits” or “Alexa, play songs from my playlist” or other similar commands. You can also listen to songs from your Apple Music, Pandora, iTunes, Amazon Music, and Spotify account.

Not only music, but you can also listen to books on audible, songs from radio stations, and even connect to Fire Tv to voice control your Tv.

Alexa compatible

Alexa is like the heart and soul of Echo Dot. She is always ready to respond to you back when you ask for her on Echo Dot. Be it for shopping on Amazon, setting reminders, asking for the latest news, weather updates, movie showtimes, make a to-do list, holidays in the month, or whatever, Alexa will always have answers to all your questions.

You can double the fun with Alexa by downloading Alexa skills from Amazon Store as well.

Drop-In feature

The latest Echo Dot generations (i.e 3rd and 4th) are also capable of using Echo Dot as an announcement speaker in your home. Do you have more than one Echo Dot at your home? Then, you can connect them all together to use as an announcement speaker or Intercom of your home with the help of the Drop-In feature in them.

In the Alexa app, you can use the Drop-In and Announcements feature to send out messages to family members like asking “Alexa, tell everyone dinner is ready” or to the Echo Dot in your kid’s room that it’s bedtime.

Protects privacy

Echo Dot is built with layers of security to keep your private data safe and secure. For this, it also a microphone feature that disconnects the Echo Dot and puts it on mute whenever you don’t want the Echo Dot to listen and respond to you.

You can also see, delete and hear your voice recordings also. Echo Dot also has indicators to let you know when it is recording. Moreover, Echo Dot only responds when she hears wake words like “Alexa’, ‘Amazon’, ‘Computer’ etc.

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Image source: Curt Johnson

Things To Do With Alexa Echo Dot

There is a lot you can do with Amazon Echo Dot. It’s a perfect time killer if you are bored in the house (complete the song for yourself, thank you). Not only it is a fun device to have, it is even useful in a myriad of ways. Listing down the best things to can do with Alexa Echo Dot is difficult among so many things it is capable of. To list down a few, you can:

Listen to random music

Talking to Alexa with the help of Amazon Echo Dot is like having a friend by your side. You can say your heart out loud and she responds gently to each of your questions.

That also stands true for your music cravings. Want to listen to good music but don’t know what to play, just ask “Alexa, what should I listen to?” And she will come up with something good.

You can also ask her to play a particular genre, you can just skip the song by saying “Alexa, next song” and so much more. What if you can’t remember the name of the song? Well, Alexa is there to help with it too. Just ask “Alexa, play the song that goes like….” And Alexa will be at the forefront to find the lyrics for you.

Use it as an announcement speaker

Got Amazon Echo Dot in each of your rooms? Voila, you can use them as a multi-room speaker and drop in announcements all over the house without having to move. With the help of Alexa’s Drop-In feature, you can connect different Echo Dots together and use them as an intercom.

Get a fun fact

There is so much to know. Who doesn’t like to hear a fun fact and be amazed by learning something new today? Alexa got this covered too. You can ask Alexa a fun fact every day and anytime. Just say “Alexa, tell me a fun fact” and you can increase your knowledge with minimal effort.

You can also download Alexa skills from Amazon to know about the specific genre of facts.

Get new Alexa skills

Don’t know which Alexa skill you would like to download next? You can ask “Alexa, what are your new skills?” and it will suggest you some popular skills as well. You can Enable skills in your Alexa app and enjoy them.

You can even download games like Jeopardy etc and have fun. Also, you can create your own Alexa skills, if you can’t find the one you want.

Set reminders and alarms

This is just one of the minor talents Alexa has among all the talents she excels at. Alexa is like a favorite person for reminding you of everything you need to do. Just ask “Alexa, remind me to….. at 5:00 pm” and she has got your back.

Also, it is easy to set alarms with Alexa even on your favorite song, music, or album.

So, there is a lot you can do with your Amazon Echo Dot because it is Alexa enabled.

How to setup Amazon Echo Dot?

Setting up Amazon Echo Dot is no rocket science. You can start using it right away without any fuss. The only requirement is to have the Alexa app downloaded on your Android or iOS device to make the most of it.

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Next, just place and plug in your Amazon Echo Dot everywhere you like. Yes, this follows for all Amazon Echo Dot versions. As you plug it in, you will see a blue ring depending on your Amazon Echo version turning into orange.

Thirdly, connect your Amazon Echo Dot with your Wi-Fi connection. Once that is done, the Alexa app will automatically complete the setup. If that doesn’t happen, just open the Alexa app on your device and add your Amazon Echo Dot under Alexa Devices.

Your Amazon Echo Dot is now set up and ready for use.

How to use Amazon Echo Dot?

Amazon Echo Dot is pretty easy to use as well. On each of the Amazon Echo Dot versions, you will find a control panel on the top with four buttons.

The two of them can be used to control the volume of the speaker. One is the microphone button that is used to mute the speaker, while the fourth one is used to wake up the speaker and speak to Alexa. However, Amazon Echo Dot works perfectly fine with voice commands without having to touch it at all.

You can do everything by asking Alexa through voice commands.

Besides these, you will also find two jacks at the back. One is for inserting micro USB power and the other one is a 3.5mm audio jack to attach headphones to it.

How to use Echo Dot as a speaker?

Using Echo Dot as a speaker denotes using it as a complementary speaker.  Echo Dot can be used as a speaker in varied ways. Some of the ways include:

As a Bluetooth speaker for phone

Yes, Amazon Echo Dot can be used as a Bluetooth speaker if you want to play songs on it from the smartphone. If you have songs stored in your phone and want them to play via Echo Dot, this can be done with the help of connecting the Echo Dot to your phone through Bluetooth i..e using it as a Bluetooth speaker.

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Turn on the Bluetooth of your phone and keep the Bluetooth pairing screen on. Also, search for other devices to pair.
  2. Now, on your Echo Dot say “Alexa, pair” or “Alexa, Bluetooth on”. With this, you will see the blue ring on your Echo Dot which indicates Alexa listened to you. You will see your Echo Dot appear on your phone’s screen under other devices you can pair with.
  3. Now, just pair it with Echo Dot on your phone’s screen. Once it’s paired, you can play songs from your phone that will use Echo Dot as a speaker.

Note: Once Alexa recognizes your phone, next time you just have to ask Alexa, connect to (your Bluetooth device name) and it will pair your phone quickly. You can also disconnect the phone similarly.

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Image source: 4Evafit LifeStyle

As a Bluetooth speaker for another speaker

You can also connect your Echo Dot to another speaker provided another speaker is Bluetooth enabled as well. Connecting your Echo Dot with another speaker will provide better audio quality, loud enough to throw a backyard party. Here is how you can connect them both via Bluetooth:

  1. Make sure another speaker is on Bluetooth pairing mode
  2. Now, open the Alexa app on your phone and follow Devices> Echo & Alexa
  3. Now find your Echo Dot name under Echo & Alexa devices. And tap on it.
  4. Now to go to the Settings section of the Alexa app and go to the ‘Wireless’ tab under it.
  5. Tap on Bluetooth device > Pair a new device.

At this point, another speaker’s name should appear among the pairing devices. Connect to your stereo or speaker to pair it. Once it is connected, you can play songs through your Alexa app and you will hear it play on both of your speakers i.e. double the fun.

As a television speaker

You can even connect Echo Dot to your television via Bluetooth as well, however, the audio isn’t too impressive, and you can experience latency i.e. you won’t hear the audio on Echo Dot in sync with your television set.

Connecting through Bluetooth is easy. Just open your television settings and find Bluetooth settings under them. Turn it on to pair both the devices together. Once paired, you could hear the audio from Echo Dot.

Another way is by using a Fire Tv device. This works by connecting to Wi-Fi. You can just follow the desired steps on the Alexa app> Devices> Plus icon on top> Set up Audio Device> Home theatre> Your Fire Tv device. Now, select the Echo Dot you want to connect to the Fire Tv and you will have it connected to your Tv in no time.

As an external speaker

You can even connect your Echo Dot to an external speaker to boost its audio quality without the help of Bluetooth. For this, you will need a 3.5mm audio cable that has male connections on both of its ends.

Now, plug in one end of the cable into your external speaker’s Aux-In connection and another end to Echo Dot Aux Out connection i.e into the 3.5mm audio jack that is just beside the cable you used to plug in your Echo Dot.

Power up both of your speakers and both will work perfectly fine. Next time, you can just ask Alexa to play music, and you will hear audio blasting from both of your speakers.

You may also like: The Best Wired Speaker For Echo Dot

Who needs an Echo Dot?

Anyone who fancies a smart speaker and loves to talk to Alexa all day long should have an Echo Dot.

Echo Dot fits the bill of anyone who loves to throw parties, listens to music, and also loves to juggle among the Alexa skills. Also, it’s the cheapest Amazon device to have to make the best of Alexa.

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Image source: Yoshina

Where to place Echo Dot?

Echo Dot is not very bulky in size and therefore is suitable to place them literally anywhere you like. However, these are the best and safest places to place your Echo Dot:

  • Beside your bedside table for the best access
  • Anywhere else in your room that is away from windows from where Alexa can listen to you
  • On the kitchen counter as well away from the sink and gas stove
  • You can also wall mount your Echo Dot provided the wall should not be facing a window
  • On any shelf and table, you feel fit

Echo Dot Versions

Echo Dot was first released in the year 2016 and Amazon has been releasing its various versions since then. Here are all the versions of Echo Dot:

Echo Dot 1st generation

The Echo Dot 1st gen is discontinued. Echo 1st gen was released in the year 2016 in March. It was also shaped by its successor with two buttons on the top control panel.

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Echo Dot 2nd generation

Echo Dot 2nd generation is the second Echo Dot version that was also released in the year 2016 in October, which is shaped like a hockey puck with a shiny plastic body. It works as a portable hands-free speaker with all the great features that an Echo Dot version includes.

However, the voice quality of Echo Dot 2nd generation’s successor Echo Dot versions is better. Echo Dot 2nd gen model is the cheapest range of Echo Dot priced at around $40 and even lower than that.

Echo Dot 3rd generation

Echo Dot 3rd generation was released by Amazon in the year 2018 with certain changes. This Echo Dot version had a fabric covering the body with soft edges. It was initially priced at $10 costlier than its predecessor.

However, with the release of Echo Dot 4th gen, you can enjoy the price slash in Echo Dot 3rd gen as well. The audio quality of Echo Dot 3rd gen was better than its predecessor. It had a better crisp and clear sound. Moreover, it comes in three color variants with an additional home security feature Amazon Guard.

Echo Dot 4th gen

The latest released Echo Dot version is the Echo Dot 4th gen that is actually shaped like a dot. It is all set to release in November 2020, is priced a bit higher than its predecessor, and obviously beats Echo Dot 3rd gen in sound quality as well because of it being larger in size.

It also comes in three different color variants. What makes it special from its predecessors are its fast Alexa responses, front-firing speakers, and its low power mode.

Further reading: Echo Dot 4th Generation Review And Echo Dot 4th Gen Vs. 3rd Gen

Echo Dot Kids Edition

Another Echo Dot version you could find is the Echo Dot kids version that is available for each of its generations. Also, the Echo Dot kids version for 4th gen is designed like the face of a tiger and panda.

In a kid’s edition, you will find Alexa for Kids as an additional feature that filters content according to kids, gives kids friendly responses, provides parental controls. Further, it could read bedtime stories Audible books and comes with a free one-year subscription of FreeTime Unlimited.

Echo Dot with clock

Want your Echo Dot to act as a table clock as well? Then, Echo Dot versions with the clock are the right choice as it displays time over its front body. It costs a bit more than its normal version though, which is reasonable.

Amazon Echo Dot Vs Plus Vs Spot Vs Show: Which Should You Buy?

Amazon Echo Dot is a portable smart speaker with all functionality of Alexa, which can be majorly used for listening to music.

Amazon Echo Plus is again a smart speaker cylindrical in shape with impressive audio quality that seems to be missing in any other Amazon’s smart speaker.

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Amazon Echo spot is a smart table clock with a touchscreen and a small camera at the top. With Echo Spot, you can interact with Alexa, do video calls, set alarms, and even read lyrics while playing music. With everything covered, this product is something impressive but expensive.

Amazon Echo Show is like a small TV with a decent enough screen size definitely larger than in Echo Spot. Amazon Echo show has different versions varying in its screen sizes. With Amazon Echo Show, you can do everything an Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and Echo Spot can do.

However, it can’t be a replacement for Echo Plus if you are looking for high standard music speaker. No Amazon Echo product lacks Alexa functionality though.

Ranking them according to their prices in descending order, they stand as

Amazon Echo Plus> Amazon Echo Spot> Amazon Echo Show> Amazon Echo Dot

Depending on your topmost priority and budget, you can choose the best that fits your choice. Each of these Amazon Echo products has something the other doesn’t.

The Most Common Echo Dot Problems, And How To Fix Them?

Echo Dot is the cheapest and best smart speaker with Alexa functionality but with a few issues, you could face now and then. However, it is nothing that cannot be fixed. Here is troubleshooting all of them:

Echo Dot not connecting to Wi-Fi

The foremost reason could be your Wi-Fi network speed is too slow. The first thing to do is recheck all your hardware connections including Echo Dot plug-in, router, modem etc. Repower them and wait for a few seconds before trying hands-on connecting them again.

Make sure to keep your Echo show closest to your router to get the best network connection without any physical obstructions.

You need to upgrade your wireless routers if nothing else seems to work out for increasing your network’s bandwidth.

Alexa pairing issues

Alexa forms an important framework of Echo Dot. You need to pair Alexa with your smart home devices to make the most of your Echo Dot.

If Alexa is not detecting the smart stuff or cannot control it, you should delete and add the smart devices in the Alexa app again. If this does not work, try hard resetting both your smart device and Echo Dot. Reconnect them back together and try again.

The same can also be done in case any Alexa Skill doesn’t work.

Alexa not listening to you

At most times Alexa doesn’t respond to you or is not able to get you correctly because of a lack of clear voice and pronunciation. Trying it again in a clear voice will make Alexa understand you. You can also try asking “Alexa, tell me what you heard” to know how your voice sounds like to Alexa.

You can also try using Amazon’s Voice Training Tool to get a better hand on Alexa’s responses. For this, open Alexa app> Menu icon> Settings> Your Profile> Voice> Manage.

Here, you can set your voice profile in which the app will ask you to repeat certain phrases so that Alexa knows your style of speaking.

This is also helpful if you have more than one Echo Dot in your home.

Alexa responds even when not called for too often

To set this straight, tap on Devices in your Alexa app. Select your Echo Dot and change the wake word by scrolling down to Wake Word.

Another fix is to mute your Echo Dot when operating any other device like TV.

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How To Reset Amazon Echo Dot?

Resetting or restarting your Echo Dot is one of the few options that work whenever your Echo Dot is not working properly. Here is how you can do it.

For resetting Echo Dot 1st gen: Press and hold the reset button with the help of a paper clip at the back of your device. Hold it until the blue light ring turns on and off and then turns to orange.

The Echo Dot is reset now and can be restarted from the Alexa app.

For resetting Echo Dot 2nd gen: Simultaneously press and hold the microphone button and volume button on the top control panel of Echo Dot.

Hold it until the light ring turns orange.

For resetting Echo Dot 3rd gen & 4th gen: Press and hold the Action button for about 25 seconds until the light rings turns orange.

Amazon Echo Dot FAQs

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Image source: parik.v9906

Is Amazon Echo Dot worth it?

Amazon Echo Dot is worth it for enjoying Alexa functionality at the best possible price. These are also worth it to accompany them with a high-quality Bluetooth portable speaker.

Also, Amazon Echo Dot working as an intercom or announcement speaker at home is another of its perks.

Does Echo Dot need wi-fi?

Yes, Echo Dot needs functional wi-fi for it to work as a voice control assistant. It should be connected to a good speed network connection for Alexa to respond better, connect to your other smart home devices, etc.

Can Amazon Echo Dot answer questions?

Yes, Amazon Echo Dot answers questions with the help of Amazon’s voice control assistant, Alexa. You can throw ‘n’ number of questions and get impressive responses from Alexa by connecting it with the help of the Alexa app.

Does Echo Dot work with an iPod?

Yes, you can either connect your Echo Dot to your iPod through Bluetooth or you can choose to download Alexa app to your iPod and pair them both together to listen to your iPod music on Echo Dot.

Does Echo Dot work as a standalone unit?

Yes, Echo Dot can fully be used as a standalone unit with no troubles whatsoever.

Is there a monthly fee for Echo Dot?

No, there is no monthly fee needed for Echo Dot even while connecting it to Alexa. You only need to have an account on Amazon. Amazon Prime account isn’t mandatory too. However, having it will add to the perks of having Echo Dot.

Does Echo Dot turn off automatically?

No, Echo Dot does not turn off automatically. You can turn it off by unplugging it. If you don’t want it to respond, tap the microphone button to mute or disconnect it.

Can you use Echo Dot for surround sound?

You can connect your Echo Dot with a good quality Bluetooth speaker to make it work for surround sound.

What is the difference between Alexa and Echo Dot?

Alexa is Amazon’s voice control assistant that can be used by downloading the Alexa app on any of your devices.

However, to communicate with Alexa, you need Amazon’s Alexa enabled device. Echo Dot is one such device and is thus known as a smart speaker.

References:

Levi Alston
I write dozens of helpful informational articles based on topics that I have identified again and again throughout my research and work experience. I am here to help you find the right smart speaker.