There Are New Echos in Town But Are They Worth the Upgrade?

The new Amazon Echo Dot comes with an LED display that shows the time, alarm and temperature.

Published14 Nov 2019, 02:09 PM IST
Tech Reviews
3 min read

Amazon might have updated its lineup of smart speakers in India, but it seems there's only so much you can talk about with what's new in the "all-new" Amazon Echo (3rd Gen) and the Echo Dot (3rd Gen).

With the exact same design philosophy and minor updates in terms of sound quality, there doesn’t seem to be a major overall in the new Echo devices. Rather, there are just incremental updates.

But considering that the new Echo and the Echo Dot aren’t much different from the second-generation devices, does it make sense for you to upgrade your Amazon smart speakers? Let’s find out.

The Echo Dot (3rd Gen) With Clock

I suppose the headline does give it all away. The new 3rd Gen Echo Dot with a clock is the same as the earlier launched 3rd gen device, only this time it comes with an LED display that shows you time, temperature, alarms, and even a timer.

The new Echo Dot 3rd gen now has an LED clock. 
The new Echo Dot 3rd gen now has an LED clock. 
(Photo: The Quint)

You can manually adjust the intensity of the light via the app as it does get too bright in the dark. Unfortunately, there isn’t an option to change the colour of the LED.

It comes with the same button setup at the top. The 1.6-inch speakers have been carried forward from the older models.

Another new feature introduced is alarm snooze where users have to just tap the top of the device. To cancel the alarm completely you still have to press the action button or command Alexa to turn it off.

The new Echo sports the same design as the 2nd gen device.
The new Echo sports the same design as the 2nd gen device.
(Photo: The Quint)

Overall sound quality is good enough for a small room, but treble does seem jarring at high volume. I like the design though the white variant is likely to get dirtier (for obvious reasons).

In terms of sound quality and design, there is absolutely no difference.

Echo 3rd Gen

The 3rd Gen Echo is a mirror image of the 2nd Gen Echo Plus, which leaves us wondering why would Amazon do that? This completely renders the 2nd Gen device moot.

The Echo 3rd Gen comes with all the bells and whistles that you’d want in a smart speaker. It has a much-improved architecture compared to its predecessor and also better sound thanks to Dolby.

The new Echo 3rd gen comes with Dolby sound.
The new Echo 3rd gen comes with Dolby sound.
(Photo: The Quint)

This helps with 360-degree sound output and better sound quality. The bass as before is good with very crisp vocals. You can also control your smart home devices as the 3rd gen Echo also supports that feature.

What I feel is missing is an LED display (like that on the 3rd Gen Dot) which Amazon should have added to the new Echo. It would have been a complete package then.

Should You Upgrade?

As standalone devices, both the new Echo and the Echo Dot are good. The improved sound quality of the new Echo does improve the overall experience while the added LED display on the Dot is a welcome addition indeed. The Echo 3rd gen is priced at Rs 9,999 while the Echo Dot 3rd gen with clock comes in at Rs 4,999.

So, should you upgrade? Not really.

Amazon may have updated its lineup of Amazon smart speakers but the upgrade seems like overkill. Many OEMs are introducing their own Alexa and Google-enabled smart speakers and that's where I feel that Amazon is trying too hard to play in a competitive market.

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