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Amazon Echo Dot (2018 Model)

Amazon Echo Dot (2018 Model)

``Alexa, Open the front door`` ``Alexa, will Donald Trump last the full 8 years`` ``Alexa, say Hey Siri``

What we love...

What we don't love...

“What part of no don’t you understand?” shouted my mum. That was mainly after a series of “Mum, can I have?” “Mum, I want one of those” or even “Mum, can we go to?” – Very rarely did I get my own way and after a few red arses from smacks, I learnt not to ask.

Home automation has come a long way recently, from the Hue lightbulbs to Nest heating, everybody wants in. I always wanted a gadget filled house and I always wanted voice control to work. Apple haven’t done too bad with Siri but its still not perfect.

Amazon have been working on “Alexa” for a while now and this 2nd generation (1st gen was USA only) has hit the UK…

Gutted, absolutely gutted. It was Canon’s first attempt at a mirrorless system and this camera was virtually a miniature Canon 650d. It had a touchscreen, flash hotshoe and a could take my vast collection of EF and EF-S lenses with the optional adapter.

It didn’t stay in my collection long. I found it hard work, slow and the quality was no where near as good as my then backup, the Canon 650d. On a wedding it was slow to react and the touchscreen was a pain to use.

Since then, whenever I hear anyone rave about mirrorless cameras, I play ignorant. Doesn’t matter if these are people I look up to like Jason Lanier, my father in law Merv Spencer or my old college tutor, mirrorless just wasn’t for me.

Enter the Canon EOS M50…

Build and Design...

The Amazon Echo comes in two varieties, the first is a full size speaker (I’ll go on to that shortly) the 2nd is the Amazon Echo Dot. This version comes in Black or White and sits about 3 inches tall. When plugged in it gives off a blue circle of light.

The unit itself looks nice, I love the gloss white but feel the plastic on the top of the unit, along with the buttons do have a cheap feel and look to them, which is a shame.

When I opened the packaging, I wanted it to open like an Apple product. Perfectly designed cardboard, peel the plastic off the until and there is twas, build quality in my hand. Nah, I didn’t get this.

What can you do with it...

At the time of ordering, I ordered both the Echo Dot and the main Echo with the speaker. The latter is huge so it went straight back to the retailer. However, starting with the music services I didn’t realise that you didn’t have to pair the Dot up with a speaker. The tiny and tinny speaker itself can broadcast music. This can be music streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Spotify or TuneIn Radio.

The quality of this sound isn’t great but if you just want the music on in the background, then there isn’t anything wrong with it. To this day I still haven’t paired it up with my BOSE Mini Speaker.

Alexa works off skills, there are loads to choose from and you use the Alexa App on your Smartphone to choose which ones you would like to try. I have added BBC News for my News Briefing, paired up National Rail up with my daily commute, attached it to my Hue light Bulbs (it automatically paired itself with WeMo) and when I get around to it, I will add the Nest heating system.

Every sentence must start with Alexa, her name can be changed to Amazon and something else, but I kept this on the default. In my house, Amazon gets mentioned a lot so I didn’t want to get disturbed. However, 4 weeks in and I am learning how to word sentences.

When we go to bed, I ask Alexa to turn all of the Living Room lights off. This has been programmed into a group that includes both Hue and WeMo items and works perfectly. In the morning I’ll ask Alexa to tune into BBC Radio 2 and Chris Evans appears. I can even ask how long it will take me to get to work, or see if my train is running on time.

Operating System and Apps...

The whole system runs from the set up using the Alexa App. Of course, you need that Amazon account and I am lucky enough to have Amazon Prime, so set up is pretty simple.

You choose your default news services, weather locations and even a section for the Smart Home. It takes in total around 15 minutes.

The “Skills” section is easy to manage with plenty of options to choose from; Space Station Locations, London Bus Information, Even information on your BMW Connected car. Some skills don’t need to be added and if you want to ask a question like “Who is the Prime Minister of the UK” it will answer without hesitation.

Performance and Speed...

Amazon Echo Dot works from amazing distances, picking my voice up (with 7 microphones) whilst hidden behind a flat screen TV and from another room! She responds within seconds of thinking. The information provided is crisp and clear and love the news briefings I receive.

Want some Britney Bitch, all I have to do is ask and so long as I have previously purchased the CD or Vinyl from Amazon the music will play. For an additional £3.99 (Prime User) you can get Amazon Unlimited which is much cheaper than a Spotify subscription.

If you don’t have Amazon Prime, Music Unlimited will cost you a Tenner a month, which isn’t too bad but by adding both to your plan, you can catch up on Clarkson’s Grand Tour.

Would I Buy One...

I’ve bought one, as I have previously said I bought both. But the size of the speaker version is silly! Its massive and I didn’t feel that the sound quality justified the price difference. So I kept with the Amazon Dot.

Would It Go With Anything Else...

Oh yes! It goes with loads of things… Where do I start! First off; Hue Light Bulbs, get yourself a new Starter pack that includes 3 light bulbs and a Homekit enabled hub. WeMo; Automatically works with these smart sockets and ideal for fish tank lights, side lamps and a few other gadgets. Nest; You’d be silly not to! Adjust the heating by giving Alexa the temperature. Finally Music Unlimited. £3.99 per month if great and you can ask Alexa to play alsorts of music!


Although we are showing Amazon adverts and affiliate links on our page, we have purchased this Amazon Echo Dot with our own funds and have simply reviewed the unit as a hobby. We like being upfront and honest, we hope this review reflects this.


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