Amazon Echo Dot (2nd Gen) A More Portable & Affordable Echo (AMZN)

Echo just got an update – the Amazon Echo Dot 2nd generation is a smaller and cheaper Echo.

Amazon Echo AMZN

The second generation Amazon Echo Dot is a small, circular tube-shaped 360-degree Bluetooth speaker that comes with Amazon.com, Inc.‘s (NASDAQ:AMZN) voice-controlled virtual assistant Alexa. A hockey puck-shaped cylinder, this speaker looks like the shorter version of its forerunner, the original Amazon Echo but without the internal speaker system.

The Dot looks smaller but it is just as powerful as the Echo. It can do everything that its predecessor can, including the far-field voice features, microphone button, action button for WiFi and volume ring control. The virtual service and assistant Alexa is just as efficient; capable of playing music, reading news, checking weather, traffic, and sports update, and many more. Users may also access third-party skills such as FitBit, Stock Exchange, SmartThings, Capital One, Uber, amongst others in the Alexa App. However, Amazon added more features to the newer Echo model.

The hardware of the new Amazon Echo Dot is slightly different. It has 3.5 mm audio output jack that connects to Bluetooth headphones or speakers. It plays music from Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Amazon Music. With its Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), it supports audio streaming from any mobile device to or from Echo Dot to Bluetooth speaker. The Audio and Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) allows also voice control of paired smartphones. However, hands-free voice control is not compatible with Mac OS X and speakers requiring PIN codes.

To summon Alexa, press the microphone or simply use the wake words “Amazon,” “Echo,” or “Alexa,” which can be interchanged according to preference. Amazon Echo Dot is compatible with Fire OS, Android, and iOS devices as well. The device responds to certain commands in natural language. It acts on basic commands like asking for help, “Alexa, help,” or changing the volume, “Alexa, set volume to 3.” (List of Alexa voice commands) Because it is portable, users can buy multiple devices and leave them around the house. With its ESP (Echo Spatial Perception), the device can determine which is closest to the user and can easily respond to voice commands.

Clearly, Amazon listens. Echo Dot is its solution to consumers who want to add external speakers of their own, which is not the case for the original Echo. Although, the Dot has a built-in speaker for voice feedback so there is really no need to add an extra speaker. The Echo Dot is ready to connect to WiFi with its dual-band that supports 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5 GHz) networks, but it remains incompatible to ad-hoc or peer-to-peer networks. It supports several smart home devices including Philips Hue LEDs, Belkin WeMo switches, Insteon, Wink and SmartThings Hub-connected devices, Ecobee3 and many more.

The Amazon Echo Dot is filled with functionalities like that of its $179.99 predecessor. For its $49.99 price tag, it is clearly a steal. In fact, Amazon made it even better by offering six-pack and 12-pack deals. Enjoy these offers by entering the promo code DOT6PACK (buy 5, get 1 free) and DOT12PACK (purchase 10, get 2 free). Amazon Echo Dot comes in black and white colors.

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