The Amazon Echo Dot has genuinely been a landmark product in the rise of the era of the smart home, with the compact smart speaker and hub going on to become the best selling Echo product of all time.
Now on its third generation, the Echo Dot has won over T3 and many, many other owners with its ability to deliver serious smart home smarts for a truly bargain price point. Retailing consistently for a fraction of the cost of other, larger systems, the Dot’s versatility and, from generation two onward, style has made it the perfect partner to many rooms and usage scenarios.
And, with the Echo Dot with Clock discounted for Black Friday 2019, now really is the ideal time to snap it up. To find out if it is the right smart speaker for you then read on.
And that is without it even featuring a screen. The Amazon Echo Show 5 and Amazon Echo Show 8 and Amazon Echo Show pack full-blown screens, and they are quality products, but they operate in a different bracket in terms of both price, size and aesthetics.
Which is something that Amazon seems to have moved to address here with the Amazon Echo Show with Clock, which takes the third generation Echo Dot and then bestows a new LED display on it. The result, as we will now see, leads to a very similar but interestingly different product in terms of usage scenarios.
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock review: price, colours and availability
The Echo Dot with Clock price is £59.99 / $59.99, which is £10 / $10 more than the third generation Echo Dot without clock.
The Echo Dot with Clock comes in four different colour schemes: Charcoal Fabric, Heather Grey Fabric, Plum Fabric and Sandstone Fabric.
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock review: LED display
The big new feature is, obviously, the LED display. This sits on the front of the Echo Dot and can display a variety of things including the time (this can be set to be 12 or 24-hour clock in the Alexa app), temperature, or a set countdown timer.
When you first boot up the device it also shows welcome messages, so there is functionality to show messages on the device as well.
The brightness of the LED display can be custom set via the Alexa app, or turned off completely if you so desire by asking “Alexa, turn the display off”, but crucially there is an ambient light sensor built in that automatically adjusts its brightness automatically depending on how light the environment it is in is.
If you ask the Echo Dot to start a countdown timer, then the LED display shows you how much time is left, while if you ask it what the weather is like, it displays the temperature.
Equally, if you set an alarm through the Echo Dot with Clock, then you get a small visual indication on the screen.
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock review: hardware and performance
Setup remains as super easy as ever. Plug it in, open the Alexa app on your phone or tablet, select add new device, hook the Echo Dot with Clock up to your WiFi network, and then sit back and watch the device come to life.
As noted earlier, in terms of core hardware the Echo Dot with Clock is based on the standard third generation Echo Dot, and it carries the same internal speaker components and external connectivity options, which is a 3.5mm audio jack.
As with the Echo Dot, you can connect the Echo Dot with Clock wirelessly, too, to a Bluetooth-enabled speaker.
And, speaking of connecting the Echo Dot with Clock to another speaker, that is exactly how I used mine for the majority of time while on review. Yes, the quality of the audio delivered by the third-gen Echo Dot is actually quite impressive for its size, and definitely better than the first-gen device, but for anyone with remotely audiophile sensibilities then, as ever, you’re going to want to hook it up to a proper system for genuinely quality audio.
I have a paid of Cambridge Audio floor-standing speakers connected to a Cambridge Audio amplifier and the resultant combination is a voice activated Amazon Music HD library that sounds truly fantastic.
In terms of the new LED display performance, I found myself using it mostly as a clock and countdown timer for when cooking. I often start cooking and then move away from my kitchen to be entertained while I wait for the next stage of the process to need my attention, and by having a visual reminder augmented into my existing Echo Dot setup, I found it super convenient to stay on top of things.
I also used the device for a night in my bedroom, and can confirm that the Echo Dot with Clock works perfectly as a bedside music alarm clock.
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock review: verdict
Reviewing the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock has been rather an open an shut case. It is the same, super-strong third generation Echo Dot, which delivers a small, stylish smart home speaker and hub, but now it has an LED display built-in.
The visual display is minimal in terms of scope, with it capable of displaying numbers and a few symbols, but what it adds to the Dot is actually far bigger than it first appears.
By having a visual clock the Dot is now the perfect bedside table alarm clock and radio, for example. While being able to display countdown timers and show the temperature, too, it now makes it an even better kitchen counter-top companion.
For me, personally, even the positioning of the Echo Dot with Clock in my living room, connected to my Cambridge Audio sound system, still added value compared to my outgoing original Echo Dot.
When cooking, I often move through to my living room to watch a spot of TV or listen to music between stages, so now being able to set a timer and see it countdown, or simply see the time (and not asking for it from the unit, which of course would halt music if it was playing) was everyday-useful.
Is the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock and essential upgrade for Echo Dot owners? Absolutely not, and especially so if you have a third-gen already. However, if you don’t already have an Echo product, or can visualize uses for its display, then it is easy to recommend. It is the most feature-packed Echo Dot on the market, and will fit seamlessly into the vast majority of households.