Monday, May 23, 2022

Amazon Alexa Echo Dot 4th Gen Review: Sphere is the Future

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Pros
  • New and Fresh Design with nice Build
  • Great Connectivity and Response
  • Good Sound Quality for its size
  • Built-in microphone is good at picking up the Wake word
  • Blends well with your Smart Home setup
  • Offers tons of features at a Reasonable Price
Cons
  • No in-line support via 3.5mm jack
  • Needs to be kept plugged in all the time
  • The ring light at the base might not be visible from a far distance.

It has not been even a decade since the launch of the first Amazon Echo but today it has already become a popular choice for smart speakers across the globe, offering tons of exciting features and holding lots of surprises for its users.

Since the release of the first Amazon Echo, Amazon has done extensively good work in improving the functionalities of its Echo Series and has arrived with its new Echo Dot 4th Generation on 24th September 2020.

The new Amazon Echo 4th Generation comes with a new and fresh look in a larger sphere shape. The functionalities of Alexa has not changed much but the sound quality has definitely improved from its earlier generations. Most people consider Alexa as an entry point into the world of voice assistance and building their smart homes, so let’s find out why you should include and welcome this small ball of surprises in your daily life.

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Specifications:

  • Name – Amazon Alexa Echo Dot 4th Generation
  • Model – Echo ( 4th Gen )
  • Brand – Amazon
  • Type – Smart Speaker
  • Product Dimensions – 100 mm x 100 mm x 89 mm
  • Net Weight – 986 g
  • Color – Black, Blue, White
  • Speaker – 1.6” built-in speaker, 3.0″ woofer and dual 0.8″ tweeters, 3.5 mm stereo audio output
  • Microphone – Four far field microphones for voice wakeup support
  • Light – LED ring light at the bottom
  • Network Connectivity – Dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5 GHz), Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your mobile device to Echo Dot or from Echo Dot to your Bluetooth speaker. 
  • Voice Assistant – Alexa
  • Controls smart home devices – Yes
  • Support System – Android and iOS
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In the Box:

Echo Dot (4th Gen), Power Adaptor (15W), Quick Start Guide

The New Build and Design of 4th Gen Echo Dot:

The Amazon Echo 4th Gen arrives with a new and refreshing look and design in a sphere shape and is larger in size than its hockey, puke-shaped predecessor. The speaker is available in three different distinct colours in the market – Charcoal Black, Glacier White and Twilight Blue.

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The sphere-shaped Echo Dot is made up of recyclable fabric mesh at the top where the bottom is made up of plastic and rubber which has a flat surface to support it in tripods or so. Amazon is doing a great job indeed by building its products with recyclable materials.

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At the top of the speaker, we have the conventional four buttons to increase/decrease the volume, enable/disable the mute mode aiding in privacy and the action button to wake Alexa. The signature LED ring light now surmounts at the bottom unlike the 3rd gen and it glows in red, yellow and blue according to the commands given to Alexa.

I loved the blue light which gives a futuristic look and the sultry red hue when the microphone is muted. At the back, we have the output for power and a 3.5mm input jack.

It has a built-in Zigbee receiver which compliments to build your dream smart home. Unlike its predecessor which was built with a MediaTek processor, the new Echo Dot has been built with the AZ1 neural edge processor, a silicon module that has accelerated the speed of Alexa to answer your queries and respond to your commands by hundreds of milliseconds per response.

Alexa is the brain of the Echo Dot and it can send both the audio and interactions to the cloud to be processed. The Echo can blend with the environment seamlessly and give you company and assistance whenever you need it.

Setting Up the Echo Dot:

To set up your Amazon Echo Dot, all you need to do is plug in your smart speaker and download and install the Alexa app. The Alexa app shall guide you through connecting your new friend and introduce you to its various other functionalities and features which shall amaze you definitely.

Though this is a smart speaker enabled with voice assistance and can be used without the Alexa app the app will help you explore a lot of other functionalities and assist you in controlling almost everything!

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The Amazon Echo is also compatible with other smart home devices and can be used to dim your lights by sitting on your couch or control the ac temperature by lying on your bed. By connecting it with the Wi-Fi, you can do so much more with your small spherical friend by listening to your favourite podcasts and music getting notified about what’s going on across the world and getting alerted before it starts raining.

It can also be used simply as a Bluetooth speaker by connecting it through its Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your mobile device to Echo Dot or from Echo Dot to your Bluetooth speaker.

Amazon Alexa and its Capabilities:

Like all other Amazon Echo smart speakers, you can interact with the speaker through its voice-assistance Alexa simply by saying Alexa followed by the command. Alexa can answer general questions, help you play your favourite tracks and podcasts once connected with Wi-Fi as it natively supports your favourite music streaming platforms like Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible etc., keeps you updated about the weather, learns your favourite recipe instantly from Sanjeev Kapoor’s kitchen and informs you regarding the trending news across the world.

You can also create your own personal skills & responses with Alexa skill blueprints. Alexa can also help you control your smart home devices, transcribing your commands to your devices. You can make announcements from your phone too to all your Echo devices in your home. Alexa supports English and Hindi languages, there are other languages available too but it might not be supported on all the devices.

You can also make calls to family and friends who have the Alexa app or the supported device all through your voice. If operated in the Brief mode, Alexa shall speak less and will play a short sound instead of giving a spoken response and in the whisper mode, when you whisper to Alexa, it shall whisper back to you.

Alexa also makes it easier for you to shop on Amazon by getting information and prices regarding the products, checking out the latest deals, reordering your past purchases, notifying you with delivery status etc.

Alexa has more than 30,000 skills and it also makes your life easier at home during this current ongoing pandemic situation and helps you stay productive by setting up alarms for you, helping you pay utility bills on time, creating to-do tasks, routines and reminders for you.

Another useful feature with Alexa is Alexa Guard which uses the microphones in the speaker to listen to things like glass-breaking or smoke alarms and send you alerts immediately. The new low power mode will reduce the Echo’s power consumption when it’s idle. It’s brand new motion-sensing feature can detect when people enter or exit a room through its ultrasound detecting feature.

Audio Performance and Experience:

Apart from the difference in design from its previous generation, another improvement is the audio quality in the latest Echo 4th Gen. The new Echo has 1.6” built-in front-firing speakers, 3.0″ woofer, dual firing 0.8″ tweeters and uses Dolby processing to deliver great sound quality.

You can enjoy loud music from your Echo Dot till the time you expect heavy bass from it. It offers better-refined audio and it is surely louder than its previous generations.

As the Dot is now spherical and larger in shape, it is capable of providing fuller and wider audio and because of the presence of larger chambers, it now gives more resonance to the bass. It offers both balance and clarity in the sound and the audio remains clear and crisp even at high volumes.

Microphone Performance and Responsivity:

The microphone performance is another noteworthy thing to notice in this generation. It contains four far-field microphones to locate your voice and filter out the background noises.

The mics are excellent at picking up commands and the new AZ1 neural chip makes the device very efficient and responsive. Alexa responds at the very same time when Wake word is called out to it. And if you want some privacy, you can always enable the mute mode that electronically disconnects the microphones.

The Echo can interact with other low power smart home devices without the need for an intermediary hub and it works really fast.

Usuability:

The Alexa enabled Echo Dot is easy to use and can be interacted with either English or Hindi languages and it does not feel accented at all. It can be paired with the Alexa app within a few seconds and can be used to do various things. It can also be used to connect with Bluetooth enabled devices and it shall act as a Bluetooth speaker.

It can also be used to control your other Alexa compatible smart home devices and Alexa is quite good in picking your commands to dim your chosen light or lower your room temperature almost with no latency.

The Alexa app acts as a gateway of opportunities for you and the loud and crisp sound quality and responsive far-field speakers give you an excellent experience while using your new ball of surprises.

Sustainability:

Keeping in mind the environment and the various rising environmental issues, Amazon has used recyclable materials to build its new Echo Dot.

50% of the plastics used are post-consumer recycled plastics, 100% of the fabric used is post-consumer recycled fabric and 100% of the aluminium used is recycled die-cast aluminium. The low power mode shall reduce the power consumption when the device is not in use.

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Verdict:

The Amazon Echo 4th Gen which is priced at 4k offers a plethora of exciting features along with great sound quality and rich audio experience accompanied with fast responsivity with its powerful microphones.

The Echo Dot can be placed at any corner of your house and will seamlessly blend with the environment and be used to build your dream smart home by effortlessly controlling your other smart home devices.

Buy from here: https://amzn.to/3GUJz1j


Read More Reviews:

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Build and Design
Audio Experience
Microphone and Responsivity
Alexa
Usability

SUMMARY

A small ball of surprises which comes in a fresh look from its previous generations and improved sound quality and enhanced responsivity, offering a wide range of functionalities at a very reasonable price of only 4k. It is your gateway to build your smart home and enter into the exciting world of voice-control.
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Anushka De
Anushka De
An ECE engineer exploring the world of technology, coding during the day-time and writing during one's own time.

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A small ball of surprises which comes in a fresh look from its previous generations and improved sound quality and enhanced responsivity, offering a wide range of functionalities at a very reasonable price of only 4k. It is your gateway to build your smart home and enter into the exciting world of voice-control. Amazon Alexa Echo Dot 4th Gen Review: Sphere is the Future

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