Combining affordable price and smart home features with Alexa, the Echo Dot became a successful Amazon product. The company’s most basic speaker has reached the fourth generation with a new design, reminiscent of a crystal ball, and directional audio that better amplifies the sound in the environment.
But do the upgrades justify switching from 3rd to 4th generation? Is the sound more powerful? Should I save more and get the previous model? The new Echo Dot has been my co-worker for the past few days and I answer all of these questions in this review.
Video review by Amazon Echo Dot (4th generation)
O Tecnoblog is a technology-independent journalistic vehicle that helps people make their next purchase decision since 2005. Our product reviews are opinionated and have no advertising intent. For this reason, we always transparently highlight the positive and negative points of each product.
No company, manufacturer or store has paid the Tecnoblog to produce this content. Our reviews are not reviewed or approved by external agents. Echo Dot (4th generation) was provided by Amazon by donation. The product will be used in future content and will not be returned to the company.
Design and controls
The new look of Echo Dot draws more attention than the other news. The smart speaker said goodbye to the wafer-shaped design and turned into a cute little ball that weighs 328 grams, and looks great anywhere in the house. It is searched in fabric at the top and in the front area, while the bottom and rear remain finished in plastic.
Alexa’s volume, privacy and activation buttons have changed, but they remain in a position that favors device control. Behind are the charging port (Amazon sends a 15 watt source) and the auxiliary audio output, which allows you to connect the Echo Dot to another more powerful box and, in addition, it is possible to pair two Echos for more vivid sounds.
The ring of light is also at the bottom and it lights up when you activate the virtual assistant, however this new position makes it difficult to check the volume of the device through the lighting. I tested the black version, but I would buy the gray or white Echo Dot which are more beautiful colors on this device.
A watch version is available in Brazil and you will have to pay R $ 100 more to take this option, so it is worth analyzing if it really pays off.
In integration and connectivity, the new product continues with the functions already known and can control smart lamps, TVs (including the Fire TV Stick), speakers, coffee makers and other smart home gadgets. All this from Alexa who already knows Brazil well and responds efficiently most of the time.
All the configuration is done through the Alexa application and, there, the user can install skills to use on a daily basis. For example, you can add Spotify, iFood, Positivo Casa Inteligente, games, among others. Remembering that, to work, Echo Dot needs to be connected to Wi-Fi and it works with 2.4 and 5 GHz networks.
Sound and microphone quality
In addition to all the interaction with Alexa, Echo Dot is an excellent device for listening to music and podcasts. It is always good to emphasize that it is not so powerful, but the sound quality should please most people. It features a 1.6-inch front-facing speaker and is not 360 degrees like the previous generation.
The audio improvements are quite subtle when compared to the previous Echo Dot. I could see that the sound is now a little more alive (thanks to the new format) and the bass also gained prominence, but little. Echo Dot 4 remains a great device for listening to music in the bedroom, kitchen or small living rooms.
Recently, a Tecnoblog reader reported something that I hadn’t noticed yet: Echo Dot 3 emits a “whistle” sound when Alexa interacts with the user. If you also noticed this in the previous model, know that I did not notice this different noise in my test unit. It seems that the problem has been solved.
As for the microphones, I felt that they are more accurate. During the tests, I activated Alexa without shouting from a great distance. This is not always the case with precision, but the sensitivity is greater in relation to Echo Dot 3.
Amazon Echo Dot (4th generation): is it worth it?
Amazon was right to renew the design of the Echo Dot and, thus, the device differs from the 3rd generation disc format and even from the competitor, the Google Nest Mini. Despite this, I would not change the previous model, since the new Echo does not bring major improvements that would convince the replacement. The 2020 version makes more sense for people looking for their first smart speaker, but also for those looking to expand the number of Amazon devices at home.
The sound quality of Echo Dot, with this new spherical design, is good and Alexa continues to do a great job: the amount of skills available is interesting; the assistant has access to the main audio streaming platforms; delivery applications; news portals, including Tecnoblog; and it can also control other smart home devices.
Still on Alexa, Amazon always updates its assistant and she talks well with the other products of the brand. If you like Alexa, but looking for a smart speaker with more powerful sound, the new Echo and Echo Studio may be more interesting options.