So much value in such a small package

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Everyone’s in the smart speaker business, including brands you’ve probably never heard of. Meanwhile, we’ve got well-known options from Google and Apple, but it was Amazon that laid the foundation for many of today’s smart speakers.

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Even though the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) is still the entry-level model in Amazon’s current lineup, don’t let its lower price and small size fool you. Having spent over a year using the sphere-shaped speaker, I can confidently say that this speaker is deceptively good at what it does.

Buy: Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) $49.99




Characteristics

  • Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches

  • Weight: 12 ounces

  • Audio: 1.6″ speaker, 3.5mm line out for use with external speakers

  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac networks (2.4 and 5 GHz)




Included in the box

  • echo dot

  • 15W power adapter

  • Quick Start Guide




Setup and Installation

Setting it up and connecting it to my home WiFi network was a breeze, taking less than 10 minutes to complete the process from start to finish. You’ll need an Amazon account (of course), as well as the Alexa app downloaded to your mobile device.

Once I went through the prompts, which also included adding the speaker to a room and asking if I wanted to sign up for Amazon Music, it was good to go. Amazon streamlines the process enough that I’m confident anyone could make it work without help.




Design

Gone is the puck design that made the old Echo Dots stand out. For its new range, Amazon has chosen to opt for a new spherical shape for its smart speakers. And you know what? I find the updated design a bit more refreshing, in part because of the two-tone look the Echo Dot (4th Gen) now sports.

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) with in-chamber clock.

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) with in-chamber clock.

With the mesh fabric wrapping most of the speaker, it makes it more compelling as an addition to your home decor. It doesn’t overwhelm surrounding objects, so it’s perfect for places like side tables, counters, and even bedside tables. Also, I appreciate the sustainability effort on Amazon’s part because it doesn’t compromise the overall look of the speaker.

I’ll admit I’m still mesmerized by the bright LED ring around the base of the speaker whenever Alexa is launched. It’s enchanting to see it light up, but again, it’s a small detail that adds to its attractive design. The only thing I wish is to make the LED clock a standard, but it’s a different model that adds an extra $10 to the price.




Audio performance

Don’t be fooled by its small size, especially compared to other smart speakers in Amazon’s lineup right now. The Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) doesn’t disappoint with its 1.6-inch speaker, delivering a surprising amount of bass to complement its crisp tones. I certainly didn’t think it would have any substance, but I was completely wrong after listening to a few tracks with heavy drum solos and rhythms.

amazon echo dot offer

amazon echo dot offer

I also pushed it to its limits by turning the volume all the way up. Impressive, it didn’t sound shrill to the ear. With a bit of tweaking via the Alexa app, I was able to adjust the treble, bass, and mids to make it a little nicer at the loudest volume.

Conversely, the Echo Dot (4th Gen) responds well and accurately to voice commands thanks to its microphones. If you value your privacy at home, there’s a mute button (with volume controls) on the speaker to easily mute the microphone.




smart home control

I can go on and on about all the reasons why a smart speaker is one of the best investments you can make, but for the price you pay for the Echo Dot (4th Gen), its basic features don’t differ at all with some of the high-end Echo smart speakers.

Amazon Echo Dot Generation 4

Amazon Echo Dot Generation 4

One of the most useful functions of the Echo Dot (4th Gen) is controlling my smart home. Turning the lights on/off by asking Alexa is one of the most frequent interactions I’ve had with the Echo Dot, but I also like that I can use the intercom feature to announce messages when I’m not around. at home – it’s features like these that make this affordable smart speaker such a smart investment.

Functionally, it has access to the same basic smart home controls found on every other Echo device Amazon offers.




Our opinion

Big things come in small packages. That’s especially true for the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen), even at its normal retail price of $50. It combines a rich audio experience, various smart home controls, and an intriguing design to make it a fantastic starter for your smart home.

So should you buy it?

Absolutely, especially since you’re not spending a fortune on it.

Benefits

The inconvenients

Goal: 9.5/10

4th generation echo dot

4th generation echo dot

Buy: Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) $49.99

How long will it last?

It’s built from a lot of recycled materials, but the Echo Dot (4th Gen) feels surprisingly sturdy – so it’s likely to last a long time as it will mostly stay stationary. Oddly enough, there’s only a 90-day limited warranty with purchase that covers defects.




What are some of the alternatives?

There are plenty of speakers to consider, including some of the bigger and more powerful options from Amazon’s own lineup, but here are the closest alternatives to the Echo Dot (4th Gen).

Google Nest Mini

Not an Alexa fan? Well, if you prefer Google, then the Nest Mini is the obvious choice with its affordable cost and low-profile form factor. This smart speaker can actually be wall mounted easily.

Google Nest Mini

Google Nest Mini

Buy: Google Nest Mini $49.00

Apple HomePod Mini

Alright, you’re more of an Apple user, aren’t you? If so, the Apple HomePod Mini is the speaker for you. Sure, it’s almost double the price, but its audio performance can adapt to room acoustics to deliver the most optimal sound performance.

october 18 apple event

october 18 apple event

Buy: Apple HomePod Mini $99.99

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen)

Save some extra cash and go for its predecessor, the Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen). Not only do you save on price, but the 3rd gen option offers exactly the same features as the newer version.

Echo Dot (3rd Gen)

Echo Dot (3rd Gen)

Buy: Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) $39.99

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