Amazon Echo Dot – I love this gadget! BUT personal privacy maybe an issue

This was our third echo device. The speaker isn’t as powerful as the standard echo but still works well for voice commands and radio. As much as i like the eco-system of its main rival, the echo dot looks much nicer. I have this is my study and use it to interface with various raspberry pi based projects. I think it works well in smaller rooms where space it a bit more limited.

This is the stuff of science fiction. I bought one for the lounge, and was so impressed i bought another for the bedroomfirstly, the item looks great. I have one white one and one black. The lighting effects are so cool. The speaker is much better than i had expected. Ok, it’s not for the audiophiles amongst us, but is clear, with a pleasing tone. Good enough to listen to music, though of course, not as good as a full hifi system. Alexa’s voice is clear and pleasant. Realistic and not at all computer-like.

This is one of those gadgets that u thought you could live without until somebody you know gets one then u think i need me one of those really useful uncn get alexa to do all sorts for u so much linkable tech can be controlled from hive heating to smart light bulbs or she can just play dab radio stations great for the non tech savvy mabe older people will find the voice activevation really useful.

Okay, the reason we love it so much is that you can make free calls from it to someone else who has the app on their phone and vice-a-versa back to alexa. This is great for someone who gets thousands of spam calls to the landline and doesn’t want to answer the phone.Obviously, on a smart phone you need to be connected to wifi or your own data. But mum knows that calls coming to her are family only and that gives her security. We can also send messages back and forth the same way. Like on my smart phone i use the app and say ‘send message to mum. Hi mum just letting you know i’ll be late’ and it reads it out to her on her alexa. The microphone on this is awesome too, you can literally hear everything.

I now have 2 amazon echo dots and 2 3rd party speakers as a buyer on a budget. Firstly thank you amazon for letting me buy them on £7 a month each interest free credit. Secondly both have been a dream to set up, a pleasure to listen to and have a surprising number of features even without being signed up to all the amazon services. Next step is a couple of plugs and bulbs. Brilliant for anyone with movement issues. You can see my black echo dot and small bluetooth speaker in the photo. I’d recommend these to anyone.

Reviews from purchasers :

  • Mum is getting old but loves it
  • very hardware. I wish the software would catch up.
  • Nice addition to Echo family

Bought this to complement my full sized echo to have more coverage round the house. I have to say that the microphones in the dot do seem to be able to pick up my voice better than the full sized echo however, the speech recognition is a little way behind its bigger companion. There have been far more ‘i don’t know what you mean’ answers from the dot than i’ve ever got from the echo which is a little strange as they connect to the same service but i assume it’s to do with the less powerful components in the dot (though i could be wrong). That aside, as they connect to the same back end you get all the same skill set and abilities alexa has. The speaker in the dot will never match that in the echo but for 1/3 the price the difference is not as far away as you’d think and the fact you can connect the dot to external speakers via either a 3. 5mm aux cable or via bluetooth means that if you have such a speaker at home easily accessible to the dot then it becomes a no-brainer and i’d definitely save the money and get this one. If you’re into the echo-system then i would recommend this. Even if you’re not that attached to amazon it becomes quite a useful tool to use.

I used to have more of these but i’ve only got the one now having moved to google assistant and google home. My reason for the move was the sound quality which i think is very much the weak point of the amazon alexa range. The other thing that i prefer on google is the context-based questions – by this, i mean that google home knows more than alexa and can deal with follow up questions that you have to say as separate questions in the alexa ecosystem. An example is that with alexa you can say ‘alexa, where is the nearest supermarket. You cannot follow that up with something like ‘alexa, and what time is it open?’. – you have to ask alexa when that supermarket is open, unlike google home where it looks first at each corresponding question in the context of the first. All that said, alexa does work well and if i hadn’t the need for better sound quality and the context-based question flows i would have stayed with it.

I bought the echo dot rather than the echo because i wanted to use the bluetooth transmission to various receivers. The sound of the dot on it’s own is quite poor for music but ok for speech. For best quality i transmit to a receiver connecting to my hi fi system and the quality is excellent. I signed up for amazon music which is also amazing. I also use 2 other bluetooth speakers systems and all bluetooth connections work very well with very few dropouts even through walls. Alexa is fun to talk to and makes selecting music really enjoyable. I have never asked ‘her’ anything that she cannot answer, and often the answers are quite clever. Setting up was very straightforward and so far it has always worked properly and done what i expect. All in all a very good purchase.

Was actually my son that wanted it and his brother thinks it’s a great gadget too. I’m not keen on having one in the lounge given it’s listening all the time. To those that say it only listens when the word alexa is mentioned i say how does it know you have said alexa if it’s not listening?another star added by my wife given that when she wakes my eldest son up for school he invariably goes back to sleep. Now she repeatedly shouts ‘alexa, play loud music’ and he gets so irate he starts shouting and is up before you know it.

I honestly didn’t really see the point in these, a bit of a gimmick. But, a few friends kept telling me how brilliant they were. Unfortunately, i had major surgery which has left longterm effects and saw these on the lightening deal and thought it could be helpful. I bought it with the technic smart plugs. Now i’m completely impressed and totally in love. Both items are so easy to set up. I found the instructions more complicated than they should be. I love i can control things like my lamps with a simple voice command. No more getting up to turn things on, or stumbling in the dark out the room after turning the lights off. Especially, now my mobility is limited.

My rating is not for the echo dot itself, because frankly there is not much to review. Small, light, ok sound, bt works as expected and easy to set up. I think what needs to be reviewed here is alexa, because without alexa, the device is basically paperweight. And alexa is not very good, and not because i live in ireland and alexa is not officially launched here, but rather the fact that it’s voice recognition is hit and miss. Google and apple both do it infinitely better. I tell it to launch my ‘various playlist on spotifiy’ and it launches god knows what because it’s unable to understand basic english sometimes. And no, and i don’t have a weird accent. Amazon needs to sort out their voice recognition software if they really want this to become the new os for the internet. 5 stars for the echo dot2 stars for alexa.

I got two of these in an amazon sale. They do what they are supposed to do. I have amazon music unlimited and i can get them to play whatever i want (almost). They were limited until recently as unless you have specific playlists set up it was a pain to tell aelxa to play individual songs. Now the amazon music app allows you to cast to a device, you can control the songs by your phone. Hmm doesn’t that make the whole thing pointless?. You would be better with a bluetooth / wireless speaker and cast from your phone. In my case i run some old stereo speakers and a £5 passive sub (from richer sounds) through a small lepei 2020 amp and i wanted to connect this to my amazon music unllimited. 5mm aux seemed from the dot seemed the best way to do this.

I bought one of these as part of prime day weekend. I bought one for mum, who is getting old and forgetful, and showed her what it could do. She’s not good with technology these days and has limited dexterity in her hands. She asks it the weather, asks ‘her’ to remind her to take her tablets, set timers, asks her to tell jokes and all sorts. By the end of the day she asked me if i could get her another one for upstairs. Now she has the little black one downstairs and the little white one on her bedside table. She even says goodnight to it when she goes to bed. I made use of a few smart plugs that were laying around and she now has the lamps downstairs on voice command. It’s a lifesaver for her as when she goes upstairs for the night she’ll often forget to turn a lamp off and end up going downstairs to turn it off, but now she just tells the little ‘lexipod’ next to her bed to turn off all of the lights and wham, all sorted.

I was enjoying using my echoe dots until 2 days of fault sounds. But since yesterday all alexa has said is what i have put in the headline bar. Other than these issues the devices i bought have both been working relatively well even if it does get a lot of the words i speak wrong, or simply beeps and lights up for no reason at all times of the day or night. It even started playing some rubbish rap music without anybody saying anything. So i guess the big picture is actually a lot of faults and bugs occuring in the month that i have had them. Providing the people at alexa hq don’t drag their heels in fixing the issue we have been having since yesterday i suppose that over all it is worth keeping and can be fun to use and play games on.

I’ve bought 5 of these gadgets. It has become an essential link to a growing automated home. Hive works fine with ‘alexa’ apart from she can’t cope with a dual zone heating system (both zones are turned on when asking ‘alexa’ to boost either zone 1 or 2). A bit of trial and error with compatible smart light switches and plugs/sockets we have found that ‘lightwaverf’ are the best in terms of functionality and price. However, from many reviews the 13 amp sockets have an issue, that they can’t cope with appliances that have an integral motor (eg. The advice for the moment is use them for lighting only. ‘alexa’ is very easy to pair and group with ‘lightwaverf’ units once setup through the link base unit and app. ‘ is the lack of options for output (a 3. 5 stereo jack only) my preference would have been for either mini hdmi or optical. I am in the process of searching for a compatible adapter for the 3. I have concentrated on only one aspect of this fantastic gadget there are many, many more uses to the ‘echo dot’.

Getting better, at first it used to go into cycles of saying it did not understand before crashing and rebootingit is just not smart enough yet. Can struggle to hear you over spoken voices (tv, radio or others talking in the room) sometimes its response just amaze me in how badly it misunderstood or misheard me. Its really annoying that it has no context so you have to rephrase the question or build a longer question to get what you want answered (google much better at understanding the last thing you asked + something extra). Clearly the echo is skirting around ‘asking google’ for the answer you cant even say something like ‘alexa google xxxxx’ which i’ve tried after getting annoyed at how bad its own search engine/protocols are. It has a real habit of trying to ‘drive you to the amazon store’ by playing music when you ask it about singers when actually you wanted to find out something and not hear a track. Direction and distance are terrible all straight line no real good navigate/public transport estimates, also has poor concept of ‘home’ or ‘work’its a nice gadget, look forward to its sonos integration next year (which is why i only went for the dot).

Its a great tool for playing music through, especially when using the amazon music subscription. It seems to have everythingthere are a few quibbles though, that still haven’t been worked out, despite being out for a long time now. 1 – no age restrictions on content. A lot of the songs are the explicit version, and there are not many radio editions. There have been a few occasions when my kids have requested a song and i’ve had to turn it off quickly to stop it swearing at us. 2 – the bluetooth interface is pretty rubbish for speaker use. Its bluetooth module can connect to a speaker system, and it can be disconnected via voice command. But it is always in search mode, so if the speakers are in the same room, even if they are off, it auto re-connects. This not only auto connects, but it disables the devices internal speaker, so you issue a command and get no response. You then tell it to turn bluetooth off, it works for one command then it auto re-connects to the speakers.

I already own the echo so decided to purchase this while it was on offer. It sits on my bedside table turns the lights on and off. Gives me the daily forecast and the news headlines. My total problem with the concept is the software lagging behind the product. Yes it’s getting better but very, very slowly. It is brilliant at answering mundane questions, although, when asking about ann hathaway the american actress i had a lecture on william shakespeare’s wife and no amount of putting the question in a different manor would illicit a proper response to my question. I did ask the other evening ‘did you have a good day today’ and received a yes thank you response so perhaps not all is lost.

I was always skeptical about these and thought they were probably just a bit of novel fun and wouldn’t be used after 2 weeks. We got this in the amazon prime day sale and haven’t looked back since. The microphone is very good and picks up what we say even if we’re in the quiet groggy haze from just waking up or the washing machine/kettle are going full pelt in the same room. We have ours in the kitchen and it’s perfect for when you have your hands dirty/wet/in food prep but want to play music, skip a song, set a timer, check the time, without stopping from your current activity. The speed and ease of getting information is brilliant. Flash briefings for the news/weather are a great addition to our house. My main concern was the quality of the speaker, especially in comparison to getting the full size echo. My main purpose for buying was for listening to music and it so delivers. Quality sound and not at all tinny.

What makes the echo dot so intriguing and exciting is its compactness and then as you add ‘skills’ the realisation how powerful this ‘little’ device is. The voice recognition is eerily accurate and accurate (without any apparent training). It isn’t practically possible to have a flowing conversation with alexa because you have to start every interaction with ‘alexa’ (very sensibly too as as far as i am concerned i do not want a ’listening’ device connected to the internet actively analysing everything it ‘hears’ but frankly there is nothing to stop alexa doing exactly that (creepily & worryingly it might) – i am expecting alexa to be in a ’passive’ listening mode until the trigger ’alexa’ is heard to change into the actively listening and using the internet resource to analyse and obtain answers which implies a strong potential for amazon or the ai will be processing person’s speech which will be stored at some point (but how permanently?) – a possible gross abuse of data protection as i don’t remember agreeing to any such arrangement. The above aside, the echo dot has such potential as a first-generation device providing a wide range of semi-automation via voice commands – like they do in the sf movies.I am not sure that everyone is going to relate to a voice only interface – bring on visual gestures and interaction with 3-d holographic images. What the echo dot can achieve is limited by the ’skills’ library which hold all the magic of how to interface with all these home automation enabled devices – there are a lot available and equally as many different interfaces each of which need to be reduced to the ’language ’ of alexa. I was frustrated in that i was unable to work out, at this point, how i can use alexa to control my logitech harmony hub other than to just switch on the television – i would like to be able to select my firetv stick, blu-ray player, apple tv, features on the freesat box, etc maybe too complex at the moment and possibly the ’skills’ are in the pipeline. Most of the development of the ’skills’ library are of american or chinese origin – need much more european /british input. The built-in speaker is ’ok’ but it is quite easy to connect to an external speaker such as a bose soundlink via blue tooth or via a 3. The ’electronic’ sound quality is good enough to sound excellent over the bose speaker system. Once the niggles with using the logitech harmony hub are resolved i would love to connect the echo to a bose soundbar 500 or better in the future. An application which may excite some people with parents who are a little frail and have a possible tendency to falls. Multiple echo dots can be placed around the house and they can be set up to respond to commands to trigger a phone call to a key carer or the emergency services on a defined range of voice commends. Assumes that the instigator is conscious and able to speak plus remember the appropriate commands but it could be part of a fairly sophisticated support system for vulnerable people.

Amazon have done well with this gadget. The sound is not as bad as i’d feared from such a small device. What’s great about it?• the music playing without any extra set-up works remarkably well – ‘alexa, play bbc 6 music’ and it works every time• some of the responses to ‘alexa, good morning’ are entertaining summaries (famous anniversaries, etc). • the responses to ‘alexa, what’s up?’.Are usually very useful 🙂 (time, date, weather, any recent news items)what would make it better?• a line input so that the echo can mix into whatever i’m feeding to my amplifier. • i’d love a remote controlled mic-mute – ‘alexa, ignore us for one hour’ etc – even mic mute and un-mute from the app would be useful. One day, i hope we’ll see integrated video so we can automate av and do image searches as we can already do with other devices – i hope that we’ll see integration with our televisions. ‘alexa, show my holiday photos’ etc.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Amazon Echo Dot (2nd Gen) – Smart Speaker with Alexa – White
Rating
4.0 of 5 stars, based on 26,126 reviews

One thought on “Amazon Echo Dot – I love this gadget! BUT personal privacy maybe an issue

  1. This review is from : Amazon Echo Dot (2nd Gen) – Smart Speaker with Alexa – White

    I have 2 echo shows which do a good job and i’m well impressed with and this little unit is discreet and sits next to me and does everything except fetch my coffee very happy to recommend.
    • I have 2 echo shows which do a good job and i’m well impressed with and this little unit is discreet and sits next to me and does everything except fetch my coffee very happy to recommend.
      • Was bought as a birthday present for me & it’s set up in the kitchen. My husband loves internet radio & plays all his favourite stations, i have used it for timing recipes & asking all sorts of questions. Like the weather footie results & amazon music.It’s so small & doesn’t take up much space. Still learning as only had a couple of wks but would definitely recommend. I have bought 2 more for lounge & bedroom.
  2. This review is from : Amazon Echo Dot (2nd Gen) – Smart Speaker with Alexa – White

    Was bought as a birthday present for me & it’s set up in the kitchen. My husband loves internet radio & plays all his favourite stations, i have used it for timing recipes & asking all sorts of questions. Like the weather footie results & amazon music.It’s so small & doesn’t take up much space. Still learning as only had a couple of wks but would definitely recommend. I have bought 2 more for lounge & bedroom.
    • Great product and does a great job. I use it mainly for playing music and setting alarms.
  3. This review is from : Amazon Echo Dot (2nd Gen) – Smart Speaker with Alexa – White

    Great product and does a great job. I use it mainly for playing music and setting alarms.
    • It is well worth the money for a alarm alone and finding out the weather.
  4. This review is from : Amazon Echo Dot (2nd Gen) – Smart Speaker with Alexa – White

    It is well worth the money for a alarm alone and finding out the weather.
    • I like the sound, think it might be a bit better than the echo. I like the neatness of it, hardly notice it’s there. It responds well to voice, better get another, as had my grandchildren to stay and they were fighting over it.
      • I like the sound, think it might be a bit better than the echo. I like the neatness of it, hardly notice it’s there. It responds well to voice, better get another, as had my grandchildren to stay and they were fighting over it.
  5. I bought it for the bedroom to replace my clock radio so that i could wake up to music. Unfortunately i didn’t realise i had to upgrade my amazon music subscription to cover it. But i just play the music i have purchased. Its good because it takes up less space than the clock radio.
    • I bought it for the bedroom to replace my clock radio so that i could wake up to music. Unfortunately i didn’t realise i had to upgrade my amazon music subscription to cover it. But i just play the music i have purchased. Its good because it takes up less space than the clock radio.

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