Amazon announced a slew of new devices on Sept. 28, including the next generation of some of the company’s favorite Alexa-enabled speakers, the Echo Dot, Echo Dot with Clock and Echo Dot Kids, as well as an upgrade to the Echo Studio.
Not only will you get enhanced designs and better audio, but the company’s handy Eero Wi-Fi mesh technology will be built in to at least two of the products, allowing them to double as Wi-Fi extenders for an existing Eero system.
Ready to upgrade to a new Echo experience right in time for October’s Prime Early Access Sale? Get a load of all the new features you can expect with the latest Echo products — and don’t worry, good ol’ Alexa isn’t going anywhere.
How to preorder the new Echo products
Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen)
These next-gen Alexa-enabled speakers are both more powerful and even smarter. The redesigned audio architecture will not only help you understand Alexa better, but Amazon claims it pumps up the volume by doubling the bass.
New sensors in both products let you improve your interactions with your smart home, while an accelerometer lets you use the power of a tap to do things like control your music, dismiss timers or end a call. Plus, the devices will now let you access information quicker while disseminating what you want to see at just a glance. The new Echo Dot with Clock benefits from higher-density dot technology — so, yes, you’ll still see the time, but now you’ll also be able to view information like the weather, calendar events and the name of a song title or artist.
Lastly, we were especially pleased with Amazon’s addition of its Eero mesh Wi-Fi technology to these Echo devices. As the first Echo products to also serve as Wi-Fi extenders, you can now add up to 1,000 square feet of coverage to any Eero mesh system you already have set up, which if you ask us is a darn good bargain. If you already own a fourth-gen Echo, you’ll get Eero built in on Oct. 20, while Amazon promises fourth-gen Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock owners will receive the functionality in upcoming months.
Echo Dot Kids (5th Gen)
If your kids dig the adorable Panda and Tiger designs of the Echo Dot Kids, they are going to love the newest additions of the Owl and Dragon. Yup, they’ll still get all the fun of using Alexa, including jokes, facts and songs, while parents can sit pretty knowing parental controls are holding strong. The Amazon Parents Dashboard lets you set daily time limits on the Echo Dot Kids as well as filter explicit content and review all of their activity.
A one-year Kids+ subscription, which gives them access to ad-free books, games, videos, songs and dedicated kids Alexa skills, is included with purchase as well as a hearty two-year guarantee.
The powerful Echo Studio is getting a boost with new spatial audio processing and a frequency range extension for deeper bass and more clarity on mid-range. That means you’ll get a better, virtual surround sound feel for movie and TV soundtracks, and Amazon says it mirrors what you’d hear from a hi-fi stereo system for your tunes.
The spatial audio processing, which is already a big hit with Apple AirPods and Beats users, is also available on the Echo Show 15, and the hope is to roll it out to other compatible Echo devices soon. We were already impressed by the great sound quality on the original Echo Studio, and we’re eager to see how the improved spatial audio sounds this time around.
All the new Echo devices will come with a switch to turn the microphone on and off as well as the ability to both view and delete any of your voice recordings, which is great for anyone who worries that Big Brother is hanging out with Alexa.
The fourth-gen Echo Dot has long been our budget pick for the best smart speaker, offering great sound for the price and all of the Alexa smarts of the bigger, standard Amazon Echo. The promise of an even better-sounding, smarter version is compelling for new buyers, particularly the new Echo Dot with Clock model that features a more robust display.
However, the real killer feature here is the fact that the fifth-gen Echo Dot can now double as a Wi-Fi extender, which could save Eero users from having to pay extra for better wireless coverage around the home. Just note that there’s no real rush to upgrade if you’re on the fourth-gen Echo Dot — especially since those models are also getting Eero support this year.