Amazon Echo Dot (2nd Gen) UK First Impressions


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When I first saw the Amazon Echo, I thought it looked like a neat piece of kit, until I saw the price and the fact that it was unavailable in the UK without some special import wizardry.

Fast-forward to October 2016 and Amazon releases the Echo and Echo Dot in the UK, complete with well spoken voice, and with a much cheaper price-tag for the dot. With Bluetooth Audio, Line Out and a (smaller) in-built speaker, it seemed a No-Brainer, as the real clincher for this device is the ever-evolving software, only to be rivaled by the more expensive Google Home.


Initial setup failed for me the first time, however I was able to connect to the wifi network provided by the echo "Amazon-XXX" to complete the setup after restarting it. A few updates later and the echo dot is good to go.


I live in a relatively small flat, so I went into the bathroom as far away as I could (with an extractor fan humming) and said "Alexa", which was picked up promptly by the unit. I proceeded to fire some questions and noticed the clarity of the woman's voice is excellent, even when compared to the US version.

I jacked the volume of the inbuilt speaker up to 10, the unit's maximum, and have found that the unit sounds good throughout the entire flat (to me it seems to output the same volume as a bluetooth speaker), enough for me to not worry about connecting it to any external speakers.

Initial Thoughts

I have used Google Now and Cortana for voice commands previously and hate the initial "warmup" the devices have to do, especially when an unlock of the device is required for any decent data. This negates that with the additional benefit of not needing a gap when it wakes up, you can say "Alexa what's the weather" quickly and the dot responds in kind.

I am yet to try any smarthome products yet and will report back in due course, many have raved about this, and the "Skills" so far seem to be very niche and not too useful, but I'll keep going with the device and see if the novelty wears off or if this is a device that can be integrated into my life.