Echo Dot With Clock - REVIEW
Alexa can relax. PAT PILCHER won’t be bugging her incessantly for the time now that he’s got an Echo Dot With Clock.
One of the more frequent questions I ask my long-suffering smart assistant (Alexa) is, “What time is it?” I’m waiting for her to get fed up and offer up a snarky response. I’d imagine that it’d go along the lines of, “Buy a watch you cheap bastard!”, but of course Alexa is far too polite and always gives me the correct time. Asking Alexa for the time isn’t all that unusual. Amazon says it is one of the most frequent questions Alexa gets asked.
The Echo Show’s built-in screen has a clock on it, but the Dot in my lounge doesn’t. This is fine, as I wanted a smart speaker that disappeared into the background rather than adding to existing gadget clutter. That said, I’ve just swapped it out with the new Echo Dot, which has a nifty clock display.
Amazon has been churning out new Alexa powered widgets at a rate of knots. It isn’t a big surprise that they’ve unimaginatively named it the Echo Dot With Clock.
Looks-wise, the Echo Dot With Clock (EDWC) looks almost identical to last year’s model, apart from a pretty nifty party trick. This comes in the form of a white LED digital clock display underneath the speaker fabric wrapped around EDWC sides. The clock display is opposite its power supply socket and lineout.
It isn’t just for telling the time, either. It’ll also display other basic info depending on what questions you’re firing at Alexa. Ask for the temperature, and you’ll see the current temperature. Set a timer, and you get a countdown timer. If you set the alarm, you get a dot on the bottom corner of the display, so you know an alarm is set.
The EDWC is a shrewd move. While Amazon has an Alexa lineup that caters for most needs, the EDWC addresses a crucial gap in their product line. It used to be that if you wanted info displayed, you coughed up the extra coin for an Echo Show (which at around $380, is out of reach for buyers on a budget). Budget-conscious buyers are typically going to go for the considerably more affordable Echo Dot. The EDWC is the most affordable Alexa powered smart speaker available, and the addition of a simple display makes it compelling.
Other than the built-in display, little else is new. That’s not such a bad thing and is probably more a case of Amazon thinking, “If it isn’t broken, why fix it?”. All told, the EDWC is basically a third-gen Dot with a clock baked in, with the standard Echo blue status light ring on its top. While it sounds fine given its compact size, Amazon doesn’t appear to have spent much time re-engineering its audio.
This is most probably because they don’t need to, as it already sounds pretty good, especially when its small form factor is considered. The other big selling point of the EDWC is that it also comes with a 3.5mm audio out socket. This handily means you can connect it up to a sound system for even better audio. It’s also got Bluetooth, so users can pair the EDWC up with a phone or Bluetooth speakers. As with the larger Echo speakers, a standard Echo Dot can pair with an EDWC to deliver stereo audio too, and you can also add in an Echo sub for more oonst. Last but by no means least, you can use the Alexa app to tweak audio via a basic EQ, which gives you a modest bump for bass, treble, and midrange. Sound aside, the EDWC display can be customised. Its brightness can be adjusted and it can be turned on or off. There’s also an ambient sensor so it’ll automatically adjust display brightness.
So, is the EDWC all that and bag of chips? While it commands a small premium over the previous generation Echo Dot, it is still affordable, and the clock display is a substantial bonus. If you’re looking at setting up a smart home and want voice control, Alexa’s integration with 3rd party ecosystems is second to none. Adding this into the mix makes the EDWC a very compelling option indeed.