We already knew it was coming –thanks to an accidental tweet Amazon posted earlier this week – but now it’s official: Amazon’s connected speaker Echo Dot is back in stock and at a lower price point of $49.99. The Alexa-powered device offers many of the same features that you’ll find in its larger counterpart, the Amazon Echo, including access to Amazon’s voice-based assistant who you can ask to do things like play music, read the news, check the weather, turn on your lights, set timers, use apps, and more.
First unveiled in March of this year, the Echo Dot along with Echo Tap, were Amazon’s first attempt at expanding its Echo family of connected speakers by making them available at lower price points.
The Dot in particular came about because many Amazon customers were asking for a way to connect their own speakers to Echo – by doing so, you can enable voice control of your own home entertainment system, or you can use it on its own to talk to Alexa.
The device connects via either Bluetooth or a 3.5 mm stereo cable to your entertainment system, then allows you to use your voice to play music from Amazon Music, Prime Music, Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, TuneIn and others.
In addition, the other big benefit to the Dot is that you can buy multiple devices and place them around the house, so Alexa can respond to whichever device is closest to you. This is an advantage in busy, noisy homes, where kids may be shouting or the TV is blaring. Having more speakers nearby means Alexa can hear you better.
This function is improved with the new Dot thanks to a faster speech processor combined with Dot’s feature called ESP (Echo Spatial Perception). The latter helps the device figure out which Dot is closest to you and should respond to your voice query. Amazon says ESP’s performance will improve over time, so it will resolve the problem of multiple Echo devices answering you simultaneously.
Other than that, Echo Dot is a lot like the larger Echo. It has the same array of seven microphones found in the Echo, and works to control all the same smart home devices that Echo supports.
Before, at $89.99, the Dot wasn’t exactly a no-brainer, and buying more than one would have likely given more budget-conscious shoppers pause.
At $50, price becomes less of a concern.
Amazon is also making the Dot available in discounted packs to encourage buying in bulk. If you buy the six-pack, you’ll effectively be paying for 5 and get 1 free. If you buy the 12-pack, meanwhile, you get 2 free.
The Dot is also now available in either black or white in order to better match the decor of your home, and has a new, more compact design, says Amazon.