If you are looking to dip your toes into the world of Smart Home Automation, then a great place to start is with Amazon’s Echo Dot. The Dot is a reasonably cheap way to get Alexa automating your home. It is pretty easy to set up right out of the box, I’d estimate no more than 5 – 10 mins even for the most technically challenged.
The Echo Dot is the smallest of all the devices (and my personal favourite). It can be the perfect starting point, or as an addition to an existing set up to help build out a multi-room configuration. I have two Echo Dots, one in my office downstairs, and one in the bedroom upstairs which supplement the main Echo in the Kitchen. This lets me take my music and voice automation with me as I walk around the house.
The new improved Second Generation Echo Dot does pretty much everything the bigger Echo device does, just at a smaller scale. The main difference the reduced size brings, is the slightly lower sound quality due to the smaller speakers.
The main plus (apart from the price) is that it is nice and small and aesthetically pleasing. Sitting on any coffee table, side table, window sill or under any lamp or TV it never looks out of place.
If you do want to boost the sound quality, it can always be connected to a larger speaker system via either the line out cable or its Bluetooth connection. Truth be told I’ve never needed to do this as I’ve found the sound to be plenty loud.
For less than £50 the Dot lets you get a feel for Home Automation without spending vast sums. Because all the Echo devices work together, if you do want to buy an
Currently, the Echo Dot is priced at around £49.99 on Amazon, but they do have regular sales around Prime Day, Black Friday and Christmas etc. where this Dot can be on sale for as little as £25. A crazy good bargain!
Overall: The Echo Dot can do everything the larger Echo can, despite the smaller peaker it is still capable of filling the room. Alexa works great with all the voice activation commands to turn on lights, make coffee, or play all your music, podcasts and audiobooks from connected accounts etc. This is a great starter device at a very reasonable price point.
One word of warning for Irish customers, Amazon Music (which is part of Prime) does not work here. If you want to stream music over the internet to your echo, you will have to pay an additional fee to get either Amazon Music Unlimited or Spotify Premium (both are around a tenner a month). You can always send audio from your phone or another Bluetooth connected device to the Echo though.
Radio streaming is free and Irish radio stations can be streamed. Just say “Alexa, play Today FM” for example.