Amazon has a new twist on its popular cut-price Echo Dot smart speaker, now setting its sights squarely on your beleaguered bedside alarm clock with a new LED display embedded in the side.
The Echo Dot with Clock is one of those true Ronseal products – it says what it does on the tin. It is literally the same as the excellent third-generation Echo Dot, but is only available in white and has a white LED display showing the time peaking through the fabric side.
It’s formally priced at £60 – £10 more than the regular Echo Dot – but is frequently discounted to about half that.
You get the same four-way buttons on the top: volume up and down, mute for the microphones and an action button. New is the ability to tap the top of the Dot to snooze alarms but you have to press the action button or speak to Alexa to cancel them completely.
The light ring shines electric blue when Alexa is active and listening or flashes yellow when you have notifications or messages waiting. It’s lit red when you have the mics muted. It’s an attractive design.
Alexa can still hear you well, but due to recent updates it activates less frequently by accident. The speaker still sounds pretty good for the money: great for Alexa’s voice and alarms and perfectly fine for radio and simple background music. You can even pair two for stereo sound, or output to a Bluetooth speaker or via the 3.5mm socket.
The LED screen shines white through the mesh at the front of the Dot showing the time, your alarms, timers or the outside temperature. Two dots next to the clock show pending timers or that an alarm has been set.
You can manually adjust the brightness, via voice or the app, or set it to automatically adjust depending on ambient light. At night I found the screen was still quite bright, even at level zero, but it wasn’t enough to keep me up and made seeing the time at a glance in the middle of night easy.
You can set various different tones, volumes and even ascending volumes for alarms. If you want to be woken up by the Grand Tour trio you can, or chants of “Come on City” if you’re a Manchester City fan. Setting alarms via voice is easy, but you can do it in the Alexa app too, with recurring options for daily, weekly, by weekday or weekend.
Routines are useful too if you have smart home equipment, being able to trigger groups of lights and other bits when you wake up or go to sleep with a single command.
The Amazon Echo Dot with Clock has an RRP of £59.99 and is only available in sandstone (white).
For comparison, the Echo Dot without clock costs £49.99, Google’s second-generation Nest Mini costs £49 and the Echo Show 5 costs £79.99.
But note all these products are the RRPs, and you will find lower prices without too much searching.
Simply adding a clock to the side is one of those small but mighty changes that has made Echo Dot with Clock my new favourite bedside alarm clock, displacing the Echo Show 5. Its small footprint, surprisingly good sound, lack of camera and attractive design make it a winner for the bedroom.
Whether you want a smart speaker in the bedroom is another matter and comes down to whether you trust Amazon. If you do, and want an Echo Dot with Clock, do yourself a favour and don’t buy it at full price.
The regular Echo Dot is so frequently discounted that paying the full £50 RRP seems like a bit of a rip-off and it’s the same for the Echo Dot with Clock, which has been discounted to £45 from £60 at least once since its launch just a few weeks ago.
Pros: can always hear you, small but loud enough, great device support, clear when muted, activity can been seen from across the room, Bluetooth, 3.5mm audio socket, LED time
Cons: music distorts at max volume, no real bass, general knowledge not quite as good as Google Assistant
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