Replace Your Echo Dots. All Of Them.

Dave Zatz —  October 23, 2018 — 18 Comments

The new Amazon Echo Dot is out. And Alexa’s reviews have been exceedingly positive. From The Verge:

I’m going to cut right to the chase: the new Echo Dot smart speaker is so much better than its predecessor that it would not be totally out of line to replace a whole houseful of old Echo Dots with new ones. The new Echo Dot looks better, works better, and, most importantly, sounds much better than the prior model. And it still costs the same $49.99.

Beyond the 3rd generation Dot’s vastly superior audio (including stereo pairing), Amazon also up the style quotient with a (larger, but) more refined presentation, including Google-esque fabric-covered speakers… that I’m a-OK with.

While I frequently vacillate between Alexa, Google Assistant, and nothing at all (stop listening to us!)… prior gen Dot audio quality is atrocious and, lately, has only been used to entertain my daughter. Fortunately, Amazon is running a nice Echo upgrade program: get some cash by trading in your prior devices plus 25% off any future Echo device purchase – including these low ticket Dots ($50) and even the new Echo Show ($230). Amazon also covers the return shipping, so it’s a pretty pain-free transaction. As such, I pocketed a whopping $10 Amazon credit by offloading two unused 2nd gen Dots and will hang onto my 25% discount until the inevitable Echo device sale.

18 responses to Replace Your Echo Dots. All Of Them.

  1. Surprisingly – That trade in also includes much older speakers like the Bose and Jawbone, which is much more back in your pocket than the dots!

    Good idea saving the credit for the upcoming Black Friday sales. Also, Amazon is doing bundles with Hue bulbs and subwoofers too.

  2. They sound soooo much better, BUT, I find that it doesn’t hear me as well as the Dot it replaced. And it feels slower to respond. I hear the “bloop” from devices in other rooms before the new Dot indicates it’s heard me.

  3. I don’t like the cloth and don’t use the dots for listening to music. I went the other way and bought an additional prior generation dot at a reduced price after the new ones were announced.

  4. I am still in the “I don’t want you listening to me” status. These items are so much different that the TV remote analogy (no I don’t walk over to the set to change the channel)… the trade off seems so scary. If hackers can get past any kind of web security from the biggest companies around (Experian, FB, the US Gov) don’t we think it highly likely they can hack these devices? What is the real benefit? The ability to reorder detergent with my voice?

  5. Can you use both generations, second and third, together

  6. Wouldn’t you be better off with a bluetooth speaker that you could pair with your existing dots? Or is the audio on the new models better than what you’d get with a $50 speaker?

  7. Barbara, yes – multiple generations can coexist. I kept one of the older 2nd gen models for my daughter as sound quality and design considerations don’t matter to her.

    Alan, the cost of a decent Bluetooth speaker makes it a awash. In fact, I sometimes use a Google Home Mini purely as a BT speaker with the mic turned off.

  8. I am still looking for a real review of the audio other than “it sounds better than the other one,” although the Upgrade program may justify just purchasing it and finding out for myself. The particular BT speaker I have tends to lose the connection and need to be re-paired, plus it is yet another thing that needs to be charged. I’d rather just have one thing.

  9. Thanks Dave Zatz, you’re a peach

  10. Yes, replace all your Echo Dots with Google Home Minis and get a smarter assistant! ;-)

  11. I’ve got two Home Minis and two Insignia clock speakers… :) Alexa does more but in several areas I prefer *how* Google does things – like in how I refer to my lights or fine adjustment of audio volume by specific percent. Percolating an article on the new Hub.

  12. Google Assistant — as multiple studies have shown — is also a little better at answering general questions than Alexa. (And both are far superior to Siri.) Plus, it integrates with Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Calendar. And Google Assistant also exists natively on most Android phones. Amazon is great at selling stuff but they’re just not as good as Google when it comes to search, AI, or software design. Yes, there are more smart home devices that work with Alexa but Google is quickly catching up. I tend to think that if you have and will always keep an Amazon Prime membership and you use Amazon’s services a fair amount, then you’ll be better served with Amazon Echo. For the rest of us, Google Home is superior.

  13. WTH? Replace all your Dots because this other tiny speaker sounds better? Are you really using these as sound systems? I really don’t understand you people on the quest for some miraculous tiny speaker that you think sounds good and you get all excited about it. What happened to people who had real hi-fi sound systems in their homes? You will NEVER EVER get a tiny speaker to sound like a large/medium format speaker system with a large dynamic range at a decent loudness. I don’t care what magic they tell you is inside it. The only reason headphones can sound good is because they are millimeters from your ears. To get the same dynamics in a speaker at any distance you have to have 100 times more air moving, and unless someone changed the laws of physics without telling me, the same laws of physics apply now as did forever ago. It’s just silly. There’s no magic speaker.
    Get a real sound system and hook it up to that. You can use any Gen Dot and it will be great.

  14. Uhhh… pretty sure I suggested replacing lesser Dots with superior Dots vs trying to replicate some sort of high fidelity sound system. I’ve got no need for your “real sound system” in my bathrooms and I expect my mom will appreciate her kitchen Flash News morning briefing narrated with fuller sound.

  15. I don’t use my Echo Dots to play music.

    I used to have one mounted in the bathroom but replaced it with a Google Home Mini because the sound was so weak I couldn’t even hear it over the shower. But the Home Mini sounds vastly better than the 2nd gen Dot, and while the 3rd gen Dot reportedly sounds better, I would need to get a new mount and spend a bunch of money for very little reason.

    The poor sound quality was the one spot where Google’s hardware vastly outperformed Amazon’s, and they rectified that. Good for them. But I’m not replacing my sole remaining Dot 2nd gen, because I only use it to turn on the lights and tell me the weather.

  16. glad to see these improvements. wish they had farther BT reach and that they could be couple as to play the same music in different rooms.

  17. Dave wrote: “I’ve got no need for your “real sound system” in my bathrooms…”

    Actually, the Sonos One in my bathroom is my favorite and most used device. It’s built for use in high moisture environments and it’s perfect for voice control when you’re in the shower. And since it’s a Sonos One with Trueplay, it sounds amazing.

    I’m struggling to figure out why I would replace my 2nd gen Dots with a $50 3rd gen (less $5 and 25%) as opposed to getting something with a display like a Spot or 2nd gen Show. Parents with an older Echo might appreciate getting a Show for the visuals, doorbell integration, and conferencing with family, provided they’re not too creeped out by it.

  18. We’ve got a 2nd gen Dot in the master bath and waterproof Bluetooth speaker, with suction cup, in its shower… that’ll likely both be replaced by a single 3rd gen Dot. My daughter has a Sonos Play:1 in her bedroom and a 2nd gen dot in her bathroom, which I think we’ll leave be. 3rd gen Dots will run $25-35 at the end of the month – I’ll definitely parlay the $5 and hopefully get the discount as well. If the Spot didn’t have a camera, I’d get one for the nightstand.

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