Wow. You guys know about my love of Amazon’s Echo, my forays into developing Alexa skills, the thrill of trying out the ISY-994i integration the first time, and even the warnings about the placement of the Echo.
The Amazon Echo Dot definitely amps up my gadget-lust. While the Echo is great in the “main room” (the kitchen) in my house, pumping out solid beats and all kinds of useful info like weather and news, the Dot – at half the cost – is a great addition to the nightstand in the bedroom:
The Dot can only be ordered by those of us who already have an Echo (as of this writing at least – unless you are a bit sneaky). When I pre-ordered it last month they were down-playing the built-in speaker; they’re really positioning it as a device that should be paired with a Bluetooth speaker. In fact, I wasn’t even sure it had a speaker at the time – but I can assure you it does, and it’s perfectly adequate for basic usage. Think of the sound quality on par with your typical clock radio: passable, but not crazy good. In fact, in the past few days I’ve stopped watching the Commercial News Network (seriously, how does CNN get away with 40 minutes of commercials in a 1 hour news broadcast!?) and started just listening to my Flash Briefing instead during my morning routine.
In terms of size, the Dot has the same footprint as the Echo with a tacky bottom so it doesn’t slip when you’re rotating the volume ring – but it’s about 1/5th the height:
Finally, if you haven’t been keeping up with this ecosystem, the Echo Tap is a battery powered version of the Echo that can function as a portable Bluetooth speaker – the only drawback with that guy is that because it’s battery operated, it’s not always listening to commands, so you have to push a button on device to make a request. If you’re willing to make that concession, perhaps you’d be interested in building your own Echo from a Raspberry Pi?