Amazon’s second generation of the Echo Dot is currently available for pre-order on the shopping website. The cylindrical gadget is a voice-controlled home assistant which features include playing music, controlling smart home devices, telling the news and much more.
Starting at $49.99, the new Amazon Dot launches on Thursday, October 20. In the meantime, customers can pre-order the Echo Dot alone or in a combo with a Bose Sound Link Mini II (Carbon or Pearl Edition) for $214.
A third bundle option includes an Echo Dot with an ecobee3 Smart WiFi Thermostat for users to control their room’s temperature with their voice. The pair is selling for $249. The company first introduced the new home assistant on September 14 almost a month before its scheduled release.
Amazon’s 2nd Gen Echo features
The new Amazon Echo is reportedly smaller than its predecessor, and as stated above, considerably cheaper. It has two buttons for volume, one for power and one for mute. All of them at the top, where a LED light also activates whenever the user summons Alexa.
The speaker grilles are located at the bottom. A review from Tech Crunch reports the sound quality is not very good, and that connecting the Echo Dot to a bigger speaker is necessary for both understanding Alexa and playing music. The device is powered and connected through a microUSB port in the back and has a 3.5mm audio jack.
Amazon’s mobile app controls the home-assistant. The Dot connects to the phone via WiFi, and the app helps connect it with other smart home devices and user accounts for orders and accessing content.
Alexa can answer to a thousand different commands
Amazon’s voice companion has obtained a much-needed upgrade with seven far-reaching microphones that allow the user to activate the Echo Dot from across the room.
New hardware features include a revamped voice processor and Echo Spatial Perception. This technology allows Alexa to know which Echo Dot a user’s speaking to (when there are multiple ones).
Alexa’s commands, as seen in the promotional video, now include making Amazon orders, getting pizza from Domino’s, or hailing an Uber. Core competencies like telling the weather or the time were also improved.
Alexa is now able to perform most of the tasks attributed to mobile voice assistants like Siri and Google Now. According to the official website, Alexa can remind people of events, play music from Amazon Prime, tell users their Flash Briefing and many other options from up to a thousand commands.