What is an echo point?
Amazon’s Echo Dot is one of several products in the Amazon Echo family. It is a popular smart speaker that uses a virtual assistant called Alexa which is developed based on AI. There are many generations of the Echo Dot, including the original 1st generation, 2nd generation, 3rd generation, and 4th generation.
Starting at $50, the Echo Dot is the cheapest Echo speaker. For example, the Echo Studio costs $200.
You can access Alexa through your Echo Dot by using the . to say wake word near the device. The wake-up word is the name the device listens to when you call it. By default, the activation word is Alexa, but you can change it to “Echo,” “Amazon,” or “Computer.”
Once you say the wake word, you can follow one of Alexa’s voice commands. Of course, you need to be close enough to your Echo Dot for it to pick up your voice – it works best if you’re within 10 meters. Your Echo also needs to be connected to Wi-Fi to function.
With your Echo Dot’s Alexa, you can learn and use new skills that can add security, convenience, and fun to your life. You can view all your Alexa skills and search for new ones in the Alexa app. Once Alexa has learned a skill, it can be accessed via voice commands.
Here are some of Alexa’s best skills:
- Control other smart devices. If you own other smart devices that support Alexa, you can set them up and control them through your Echo Dot. This is perfect for smart TVs, lights, plugs, locks, thermostats and cameras.
- Playing music. Alexa can play music from Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music and many other music services. You can even ask Alexa to play a style of music or genre.
- Offer Alexa Guard. The skill configures your Echo to listen for signs of trouble. It will act as a security device listening for breaking glass, alarms and other potentially dangerous sounds. You will receive a notification on your phone and can contact the emergency services.
- Weather forecast. You can ask Alexa for a weather report when you get ready in the morning so you know what to wear. You can also request future weather reports.
- Answering questions. Alexa will scour the web and gather reliable information to answer any questions you may have. The virtual assistant is more capable than you might think, so don’t be afraid to ask complex or difficult questions.
- Improve your productivity. You can set reminders, create to-do lists, read and reply to emails, make phone calls, and more to increase your productivity.
There are a myriad of voice commands and features you can use with your Echo Dot, and you can read all about them on Amazon’s website. As Amazon’s machine learning models continue to improve, you can do even more with your Echo Dot.
How the Echo Dot differs from other Echos
If you’ve ever shopped for an Amazon Echo product, you’ve probably noticed that there are several Echo devices in addition to the Echo Dot.
It is important to note that there is only one Alexa. Any Amazon Echo or third-party device with Alexa built-in shares the same features and capabilities as the AI. However, a device that “Supports Alexa” or “Works with Alexa” will not share the same features and capabilities. It just means they can be controlled with Alexa’s voice service.
Take, for example, a smart plug that supports Alexa. Yes, you can control the smart plug with Alexa, but you can’t talk to the plug to use Alexa’s features or skills. The most you can do is turn the plug on or off, track the power usage, and create a schedule for it to work with Alexa.
Amazon Echo products are no different in terms of Alexa capabilities, as they all have Alexa built in.
The main differences are the design of the devices, which makes certain Echos better than others for specific activities.
A good example is the Amazon Echo Show. It has a 5.5-inch smart display, making it the perfect Echo to use if you’re trying to follow a video recipe with Alexa, call family and friends with video, or show a beautiful slideshow of photos.
The compact screen makes the Echo Show ideal for these activities. You can still talk and access all of Alexa’s features and skills, just like with the Echo Dot.
The Echo Dot has no display, so it cannot display a video recipe or photos. For recipes, Alexa will verbally list the steps to follow a recipe or ask for the recipe to be sent to your phone so you can view or read it there. Alexa doesn’t support photos on the Echo Dot, so you’ll have to look for another Echo device that does.
And of course, larger Echo devices have room for more capable speaker hardware, improving sound quality.
Other Echo devices besides the Echo Dot and Echo Show include:
- Echo Auto: Designed for your car.
- Echo Studio: Designed for professional quality and optimal sound.
- Echo Spot: Designed as a mini display.
- Echo Plus: designed as a speaker like the Echo Dot, but better in sound quality. It also supports Zigbee products.
- Echo Flex: Designed as a mini speaker, with USB ports that plug into wall outlets.
- Echo Input: Designed to add Alexa to an external speaker by plugging it in.
- Echo Link: Designed as an enhanced Echo Input, with a volume knob and additional output ports.
- Echo Sub: Designed as a subwoofer that connects to other Echo speakers for dynamic music and sound.
- Echo Wall Clock: designed as an LED wall clock.
- Echo Frames: designed as smart glasses.
Should You Get the Echo Dot?
If you’ve never tried Alexa before, the Echo Dot is a fantastic and affordable smart device to try. With the features and skills we mentioned earlier, you’ll see just how valuable and fun Alexa can be.
For starters, to keep it simple, use Echo Dot as an alarm clock, play music, set reminders, and create to-do lists. You can also treat the device like Google by asking Alexa all your questions. This is a great way to break into the world of smart devices.
From there you can play around with other Alexa features and browse the skill list. With over 100,000 Alexa skills (and growing), you can fully personalize your Echo Dot’s Alexa.
If you’re interested in Alexa and Amazon’s Echo product line, the Echo Dot is the cheapest hardware you can buy. We highly recommend it, although the larger Echos offer better sound quality if that’s what you’re looking for.
A great smart speaker
Echo Dot (4th generation)
Amazon’s Echo Dot is an inexpensive way to add a smart speaker with Alexa to any room in your home.