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New Echo Dot 2018: All new Amazon Echo Dot improves sound quality

Amazon's new Echo Dot smart speaker launches with improved sounds and a brand new design

Boy, Bezos has been busy. Launching not one, but SIX brand new Alexa-enabled smart devices recently, the already long, laundry list of Echo-branded doodads is now even longer. At the bottom of this pack, you’ll find the third iteration of the ecommerce giant’s dinky smart speaker, the new Echo Dot.

Despite being held back by lacklustre sound quality and a rather bland design, the previous version of Amazon’s entry-level Alexa speaker has always been at the tippy top of Jeff Bezos’ best-sellers list. At a mere £50, and frequently discounted during week-long sales events, the Echo Dot represents astonishing value for money when compared to its alternatives at the top of the smart speaker tree.

Now that the “new and improved” Echo Dot has arrived, has Amazon finally produced a pocket-sized smart speaker with top-notch sound? Let’s find out.

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Amazon Echo Dot 2018: Design and key features

The biggest headline is that the new Echo Dot will improve on its predecessor’s sound quality. What this means at this stage, we don’t quite know, but this is good news if the previous-generation’s tinniness was driving you up the wall.

The brand new design is also welcome, considering how bland the last model looked. Featuring an Echo Plus-like soft touch exterior, with softly rounded edges and warm blue lighting circling the top rim, the new Echo Dot looks considerably more modern-looking and will look rather lovely placed on your coffee table.

As usual, you’ll be able to bark all sorts of orders at Alexa; you can tell the device to play music, answer questions, read the news and run through your daily schedule, among other things. You can blast out tunes from Amazon Music, Spotify and other streaming services, but, if none of these take your fancy, you can always connect the speaker up via Bluetooth or with a 3.5mm aux cable.

You can also call or message anyone with an Echo device, and even let the kids know that dinner’s ready by making an announcement through compatible devices in your home.

Other than the improved sound and updated design, there aren’t too many new features to shout about. The third-generation Echo Dot retains all the features of previous-generation devices, with the price, to Amazon’s credit, remaining the same.

Amazon Echo Dot 2018: When can you buy one and how much will it cost?

Amazon’s new Echo Dot will launch on 11 October, and is currently available for preorder. Best of all, it costs exactly the same is its predecessor – a mere £50.

The new mini smart speaker was one of a wide range of new products announced by Amazon. There’s also the brand-new Echo Show, an Echo Plus upgrade and a new device called the Echo Sub, which is essentially a subwoofer attachment for your existing Echo speakers.

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Amazon Echo Dot 2018: Early Verdict

For well over two years, the £50 Echo Dot has remained the cheapest way to get a digital voice assistant into your home. The full-fat Amazon Echo is almost twice as expensive, while Google Home and the Apple HomePod are £130 and £320 respectively.

As previously mentioned, the most glaring deficiency of previous Echo Dots has always been the poor sound quality. You could argue that this is to be expected, given that the highest-end speakers of comparable size, such as the B&O Play A1, cost up to three or four times as much.

If Amazon can indeed improve the Dot’s sound quality, moving it closer to speakers such as the A1, and retain all the benefits of a smart speaker at a very agreeable price, then the new Echo Dot has the potential to become even more of an essential purchase.

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