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Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen) - Not New But Still Worth a Look

Glenn Hart,
Publish Date
Tue, 9 Apr 2024, 12:42pm

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen) - Not New But Still Worth a Look

Glenn Hart,
Publish Date
Tue, 9 Apr 2024, 12:42pm

Around this time last year, Amazon unveiled a couple of new Echo Devices; a revamped Echo Show 5 and an entirely new form factor, the Echo Pop.

I still haven't been hands-on with the Echo Pop yet but its low price (around NZ$85.00) meant it replaced the Echo Dot as Amazon's new entry-level smart speaker.

The fact it kind of looks like an Echo Dot sliced through the middle also caused many of us to wonder if we'd ever see a new Echo Dot ever again.

Confusingly, the most recent Dot, launched in 2022, is still on sale, in two variants - with clock and without.

Even more confusingly, many retailers are still selling the previous 4th Generation model as well - that's now four years old.

So what's going on here? And which of these speakers is right for you? If any...

Like the 4th Gen Dot before it, the more recent (but not that recent) 5th Generation Echo Dot has surprisingly impressive sound, right out of the box. Remember, these speakers are only about 10cm across and yet they both get loud enough to fill a room and offer genuine range across all frequencies - even pumping out more bass than you would think possible from a device small enough to hold in the palm or your hand.

That said, there's no question the 5th Gen does a better job than its predecessor in terms of clarity  - some people argue the 4th Gen actually goes a little louder but I'd take the less-muddy, fuller range of the 5th Gen over sheer volume any day.

What both speakers have in common is a real warmth and space to the music they play, with more acoustic artists like Ed Sheeran sounding particularly full and live.

But what I didn't know until I got my hands on the 5th Gen Dot is, you can pair these together to create a fine stereo array. I don't just mean buying two identical speakers - if, like me, you already have a 4th Gen, you can pair a 5th Gen with it and the result is astonishingly good.

This is thanks to fairly recent updates Amazon has made to the Alexa app, making it a lot easier (and more reliable) to group different Echo speakers together. In fact, you can also add other non-Echo devices into the mix, assuming they are still Alexa-enabled. When I originally played around with this multi-room functionality, I quickly became frustrated with how fiddly it was to group several speakers together and assign them to rooms, only to discover I then couldn't play different streams in different places simultaneously. Amazon has sorted all this out now, making it easier than ever to tweak what's playing out of each speaker - either in conversation with Alexa or via the Alexa app on your phone.

The point is, I've paired a Gen 4 Dot with a Gen 5 one and suddenly I have a whole new stereo sound system. My new Echo Dot is a Dot-with-Clock version and the LED display is a significant upgrade over the previous generation. The more "dotty" display doesn't just do numbers now, it will show information like artist names and track titles while they're playing.

The newer Dot has a more powerful chip and also includes a temperature sensor, which means you can automate your aircon to switch on if the room gets too hot or cold. There's also better compatibility with more smart home devices so all in all, the 2022 Dot is quite a step up.

In many respects, both dots really are quite similar - they even use identical power supplies and have the same configuration of rubberised buttons on top - although the 5th generation Dot's buttons are a lighter colour.

The only advantage Gen 4 has over Gen 5 is its 3.5mm AUX input - the newer Dot doesn't have this so if you're determined to hard-wire your source device, you'll have to stay back in 2020.

As for the Echo Pop, I can only speculate as I haven't had hands-on experience. What I do know is it uses the same chip as the 5th Generation Dot but it doesn't have the same sensors built in. So, not only can it not tell you the temperature, you can't just tap it to pause the music. There isn't a Pop-with-Clock version either, so you'll need a Dot if you want to see the time, not just ask Alexa what it is.

Have I been any help at all? Or have I just made things more confusing? All I know is as I sit here listening to Pink Floyd blasting out in crystal-clear stereo, I'm glad at least one tech company has found a way to make devices more compatible, not less. 





Click here for more information on the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen).

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