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Amazon’s latest Echo Dot delivers bigger sound and more useful features

Amazon’s latest Echo Dot delivers bigger sound and more useful features

It wouldn’t be an Amazon hardware event without some new additions to the Echo family of smart speakers. And at its 2022 device drop event, Amazon also dropped two updates for the Echo Studio, but also revealed the next generation of Echo Dots.

The Echo Dot ($49.99), Echo Dot with Clock ($59.99), and Echo Dot Kids ($59.99). And like the iPhone 14, it doesn’t change the design and stick to the spherical architecture – complete with an LED at the bottom – but upgrade the internal hardware.

So let’s break down everything you need to know about the three new headphones. And if you’re already sold out, all three will be available for pre-order now.

What you need to know about the latest echo points

If you look at any of the new Echo Dotsโ€”except for the new ones that come with a cute dragon or owl designโ€”you might be scratching your head. These maintain the exact same spherical design that makes this entry-level smart speaker feel like a piece of fruit, but Amazon has made some big improvements to the hardware.

For starters, the Echo Dot features a new audio setup made up of a dedicated loudspeaker and trigger for a richer audio experience. The tech giant specifically advocates improvements in the bass, about 2x compared to the previous generation, and clearer vocals. We’re excited to put this to the test, but there shouldn’t be any slack.

A new ultrasonic sensor is built under the hood for gesture control. This will allow you to tap to control playback or even snooze the alarm. There is also a “temperature sensor” inside the Echo Dot and the Echo Dot with Clock which will enable some “ambient computing” experiences. That is, if it detects a rise or fall in temperature, it may automatically turn the thermostat on or off.

Rounding out a quadruple of improvements is the “built-in eero” which essentially allows the Echo or Echo Dot to act as a Wi-Fi access point. Primarily built into the smart speaker is an Eero router that meets the Wi-Fi 5 standard and supports downloads up to 1000Mbps. It can add up to 1,000 square feet of coverage to your Eero setup.

Of course, to use this you will need to have an Eero system and this feature will be enabled on October 20th. we will.

The new Echo Dot processor, Echo Dot with Clock, and Echo Dot Kids are powered by the Amazon-made AZ2 Neural Edge processor. This will allow many requests to be processed on-device, rather than putting them out to the cloud as well.

The new Echo Dot costs $49.99 and is available in deep blue, charcoal, or ice. It’s time to pre-order now and shipping will start in October.

The new Echo Dot with Clock

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Finally, Amazon is letting the dots screen on the Echo Dot with Clock do more than just display the time or graph the weather. Thanks to the updated high-density raster display, it can still show the time and weather, but also display the name of the track it’s running or even answer a math question you asked Alexa.

A new API/SDK will also be released for developers so they can improve Alexa skills to take advantage of the new offering. Amazon has also made it easier to view everything viewed in low-light conditions, thanks to the ability to go brighter, but also to see it from less-than-ideal viewing angles. We are eager to try all this out and see how it performs.

The next generation Echo Dot with Clock also gets all the other features like built-in eero, upgraded audio experience, temperature sensor, and gesture controls. With the latter, you’ll be able to hit snooze on your alarm as well.

The new Echo Dot with Clock is available from Amazon in Cloud Blue or Ice White for $59.99, and is available for pre-order now.

Echo Dot Kids in Owl or Dragon

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The Echo Dot Kids bundles all of the standard 5G technology from Echo, but it comes paired with Amazon’s Kids+ for a year and comes in two unique designs. Replacing the panda and tiger of the previous generation are an owl or a dragon. Both look very interesting and can add some spice.

Like the Kids’ Fire-edition device, the Alexa experience here is controlled for kids and only provides access to the right content. You will also be able to customize the parental controls on the unit via the Alexa app for Android or iOS. The Echo Dot Kids comes with a worry-free two-year warranty as well โ€” which means Amazon will replace it if it breaks, no questions asked.

New for 2022, along with improved audio and new designs, there are two custom Alexa voices that sound like Owl or Dragon respectively. The new Echo Dot Kids is priced at $59.99 and is available for pre-order now.

Amazon finally updates Echo Auto

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The most unique Echo in the squad? This will be the Echo Auto – an Alexa smart speaker designed for the car, which gets an LTE or 5G connection on your phone and plugs into the car via an audio jack.

Now they introduce the second generation of the Echo Auto that features a more compact design with a woven outer shell. It features a five-microphone system which should allow it to hear your voice even in rough road conditions, with the AC blasting off, or with the radio turned on.

Amazon also offers Roadside Assistance which will connect you to an agent at a relay center who can help you get services. It was obvious that they noticed it wasn’t about 911 emergencies or accidents, it was about a flat tire or the need for a tow truck. Surprisingly, they haven’t set out to detect malfunctions with this device like the iPhone 14, the new Apple Watches, or the Pixel 6a.

The second generation of Echo Auto is still a way to add some intelligence to older vehicles or those without Alexa. It will be ready to order soon at $54.99 and will ship later this year.

Echo Studio comes in two colors and gets audio improvements

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Since its launch in 2019, the Echo Studio has been Alexa’s flagship smart speaker with a focus on Hi-Fi sound quality. It’s also physically big and the biggest hit in the lineup. It houses five speakers with 3D audio support and Dolby Atmos.

Amazon keeps the price at $199.99 but is adding a new color option. Glacier White joins the Charcoal, as well as a $229.99 Billie Eilish special. In addition to color, Amazon aims to improve the audio experience with some software changes. Amazon has developed a custom spatial acoustic algorithm that expands sound phases and broadens the overall frequency range. They say it improves clarity and bass appeal and improves mid-range sounds.

We’ll have to put this to the test, but Amazon is clearly focused on optimizing the audio for higher-level resonance. You don’t need to buy a new Echo Studio if you already have one to get the upgrades. Amazon will roll out these improvements as a software update to all Echo Studio devices later this year.

  • Echo Studio in Charcoal or Glacier White ($199.99 at Amazon)

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