To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Echo Dot Kids: Amazon smart speaker for children finally arrives in UK

After a delay of nine months, Amazon's child-friendly smart speaker launches in the UK

Amazon is finally bringing its Echo Dot Kids smart speaker to the UK, more than nine months after first announcing it in September 2020.

The smart speaker was released alongside the spherical Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Show 10 at Amazon’s annual autumn event but was not among the products made immediately available to UK customers. The new speaker will be available from 21 July for £60 – that’s £10 more than the regular Echo Dot.

READ NEXT: Echo Dot (2020) review

Hardware-wise, the new speaker is identical to the Echo Dot but with a friendly redesign that makes the spherical speaker look like a cartoon character. As with the US launch, there’s a choice of two designs – one with a tiger face stenciled on the front and one with a panda.

However, it’s not just the design that’s child-friendly. Alongside the hardware, Amazon is also providing a good selection of extra Alexa-based kid-focused features to go along with it.

Alexa herself has been tuned to better understand children’s voices, for example, and there’s also a selection of bonus features to help the speaker work more effectively for families.

Some of those features will be free: parental controls, time limits and age-appropriate suggestions when children say “Alexa, I’m bored”, among other things.

Others will come as part of the enhanced Amazon Kids+ on Alexa subscription, a year of which is included when you buy an Echo Dot Kids (and which costs £1.99 per month thereafter for Prime members or £3.99 per month otherwise).

Those features include (in addition to everything that’s already included with Amazon Kids+) a small selection of Audible books, including C S Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew, plus some David Walliams and Michael Morpurgo titles. There are ten ad-free radio stations for children from Fun Kids. And it’s rounded off by selection of premium Alexa skills (Numberblocks and Harry Potter’s Wizarding World Book Quiz to name two) and alarms from various characters.

Anyone who remembers the presentation from last September will notice, however, that one big feature is missing. Reading sidekick is a tool that – in the US, at least – is designed to help kids improve their reading ability by reading a book along with the child, listening in, assisting with pronunciation and providing encouragement. Alas, that’s not being brought to the UK at this launch and there’s no news as to when or whether it will arrive at all.

READ NEXT: Echo Dot (2020) review

The good news is that all these extra features will become available to existing subscribers of Amazon Kids+ for no extra charge. And they’ll work on other Echo speakers as well – specifically the Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Plus.

Customers can expect those features to appear on their speakers via an over-the-air software update from 21 July. The Echo Dot Kids can be pre-ordered from today and will also begin shipping from 21 July.

Read more