Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation) with Clock Review: The Time is Now


Amazon Echo Dot with clock

“If you’re planning on building your smart home, the Amazon Echo Dot with clock is a smart choice that will keep you up to date.”

  • LED clock is useful and versatile

  • Physical buttons are easy to use

  • Tons of Alexa skills to add

  • Wide range of compatibility with smart homes

  • Distortion at higher volumes

  • Cannot be transferred directly from apps

While I’m often surrounded by cool technology, I have to admit that I’ve never used a speaker in my home with Amazon Alexa full-time – until now. This is partly because I bought a Google Home when it was first available and have been on the Google Assistant train ever since. Also, once you’ve invested in the ecosystem, it’s difficult to make the switch.

But here I am, take the plunge and switch to Amazon Alexa with the company’s latest affordable smart speaker in the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock. I know what you’re thinking. It’s just the Amazon Echo Dot that got hit with an LED clock, isn’t it? But don’t dismiss it just because it’s a subtle change. Even now, months after its first release, the Alexa-powered smart speaker is still a delight when it comes to controlling the smart home – and quickly telling the time.

If you’re looking for something more comprehensive than just a voice assistant, consider the Amazon Echo Show 8 for video chatting or another ideal bedside companion with the Echo Spot. And finally there is also its successor in the Amazon Echo Dot (4th generation) with clock.

Time measurement at a glance

Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation watch ring lightJohn Velasco / Digital Trends

With the advent of smartphones, the bedroom alarm clock has almost died out. So why on earth do we need another stationary thing to tell us the time? Now that even the Xfinity cable box in my bedroom has removed the clock from its design, there’s really no other way to tell the time when I’m not looking at my phone.

And that’s why I can appreciate the Amazon Echo Dot with clock, because when you’re half asleep, you don’t want to fumble around to tell the time. Instead, I can take a quick look at the puck-sized speaker on my bedside table. Since the brightness of the LED clock adapts to the ambient light conditions, it is never too bright or too dark.

When you’re half asleep, you don’t want to fumble around to tell the time.

It would have been great to see different color options for the LED clock, but the design of this Echo Dot is refreshingly simple and intuitive. There is no fuss about it. You don’t even have to touch your phone.

Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation watchJohn Velasco / Digital Trends

Current owners of the 3rd generation Amazon Echo Dot won’t find anything drastically different with the design of this latest model. Aside from the addition of this LED clock, the rest of the speaker is the same. It has a fabric exterior, physical buttons on top, and the signature ring of light. Currently only available in sandstone, it compliments any decorating style without completely overwhelming anything else you might have lying around.

While the Google Nest Mini has a more cohesive appearance, largely due to the use of LEDs and buttons embedded in the fabric case, the Amazon Echo Dot with clock offers a more tactile experience. That makes it a lot easier when it’s dazed.

Don’t expect to rock

Because of its small size, the Amazon Echo Dot with clock is not your first choice if you want to listen to music when friends are over. That is definitely no. The audio is good enough for smaller, isolated rooms, but at higher volumes you will notice some distortion and make it clear how difficult it is for this speaker to maintain clarity.

As I started adding more skills and my different accounts, it became clear that Alexa is just as capable as the Google Assistant.

You can connect a loudspeaker via the 3.5 mm additional socket to increase the music performance if you want. However, this can be a cumbersome solution.

The Amazon Echo Dot with clock is best for interactions with Alexa. The four microphones respond well to my voice commands, while Alexa’s responses in her standard voice are far more natural compared to Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant. All of my requests were accurately recognized by the speaker.

Various smart home integration

At first, Alexa didn’t seem as intelligent as the Google Assistant. However, as I started adding more skills and my various accounts, it became apparent that she is just as capable. It can control my Philips Hue lights, make calls or order a pizza.

The Echo’s LED clock provides the ability to display the countdown when a timer is set. It can also show the temperature if you ask Alexa for it. These are minor features, but there is no longer any need to fiddle with my phone. In addition, the same functions are still available here as with the last one.

Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation watch angleJohn Velasco / Digital Trends

While you can’t deny Alexa’s ability to control various smart home devices, there are still some minor issues I have with Alexa. For example, I can’t adjust the speaker volume using the volume controls on my smartphone unless I launch the Alexa app and select the volume control option.

Another small complaint that I closed with Alexa is that I can’t get something I hear on my phone to be broadcast to the speaker through an app. With Pandora, I can do this if I’m using a Google Home device but Echo devices don’t support it. Instead, everything is managed through the Alexa app.

It could be argued that these functions can all only be achieved by speaking to Alexa, but sometimes I still like to be in control of my smartphone.

That complaint aside, I have to admit that there is a huge library of Alexa skills that enhance the functionality of this virtual assistant using the Amazon Echo Dot with clock. It’s impressive, even if it’s not entirely perfect.

Warranty information

The Amazon Echo Dot with watch comes with a 90-day limited warranty and service.

Check out these new features

Alexa is getting smarter thanks to frequent updates that expand her toolkit. While there are some basic features that you should definitely know about, every month there are new tricks that become available. Here’s a try on the Amazon Echo Dot with clock.

Wellness tips

Working from home has its challenges, especially when it comes to health and wellbeing. Alexa can help by providing some useful wellness tips. To hear them, just say, “Alexa, what’s my wellness tip of the day?”

Group conversation for all your devices

Getting someone’s attention in another room can be a challenge, especially if you have kids who routinely crank up the music in their rooms. You can now have group conversations using Alexa’s drop-in feature, which allows you to connect to other Echo devices. In essence, it is very similar to an intercom system.

Keep your memories on all devices

Thanks to a new feature that plays them on all of your Alexa devices, you can always stay up to date with your reminders. To activate this, you need to select the Announcement option on all devices in the Alexa app under Settings> Reminders.

Daily music selection

Tired of playing the same playlist or carousel of songs on your Alexa device? Then check out the Daily Music Picker which has Amazon Music daily music recommendations. All you have to say is, “Alexa, play the daily music selection,” and a new artist will automatically pick a track, album or playlist.

Our opinion

Adding an LED clock to an existing speaker might seem like a lazy update to Amazon, but the Echo Dot (3rd Generation) with clock is still a standout example of that with its exceptional smart home integration cost of $ 50 Entry-level smart speakers in the home, powerful assistant in Alexa, and a design that goes with any decorating style.

Is there a better alternative?

If you’re just heavily invested in the Google ecosystem, the new Google Nest Mini is the obvious alternative. However, if you value Alexa and just want better sound, then you should consider either the new Amazon Echo (3rd generation) or Echo Studio.

Do you want more options? Check out our favorite smart speakers of 2020.

How long it will take?

Amazon has continuously added various capabilities to Alexa’s portfolio of functions, so you can assume that this speaker will continue to receive new functions. Since the Echo Dot with clock is stationary and solidly built, it can remain in perfect condition for a long time.

Should you buy it?

Yes, especially if you want to start building your smart home.

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