Everyone who knows me or has read my work on the site knows that I'm a big fan of Amazon's smart speakers and its voice assistant, so it should come as no surprise that I jumped at the chance to review the new Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen) I didn't think there was much to be excited about, aside from the new spherical shape introduced first with the larger Amazon Echo. I can admit that I was wrong after spending a few days with the two newest ones.

We're on the fourth generation of the devices, and each has improved over the previous version, though the jump from Gen 1 to Gen 2 wasn't that big. I have at least one of the different generations of the DotEcho in my home, and they all work well. The sound has improved as each generation has looked better. My experience with Amazon's sales figures is similar to mine. The best-selling speaker of all time is the lineup, and the best-selling clock is on the site. It's out of all the time machines. Wow!

We decided to combine our reviews of the two new Echo Dots because they are essentially the same device and one key difference is the clock on it. The addedFunctionality is neat, and I'll get into it a bit more below, but aside from that, the two Echo Dots look and sound the same. With all of that out of the way, let's take a look at our review of the fourth- generation Amazon Echo Dots.

Echo Dot Drop In Hero

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

At its fall 2020 hardware event, Amazon announced the Echo Dot (4th Gen) and Echo Dot with clock (4th Gen), along with a larger Echo (4th Gen), and products by Ring and Eero. The Echo Dot with clock started shipping to customers in early November 2020.


On holidays like Prime Day and Black Friday, the Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen) is often discounted below the normal price. Thanks to the announcement of new models at Amazon's 2022 Devices & Services event, the price of the Echo Dot with clock is $35.

The pre-order price is $50 and the Dot with clock is $60. On October 20th, these items will be available.

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Better sound, better design.

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) and Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen): What I like

Echo Dots 3

(Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Most of the pros and cons apply to each device since they are so similar. I will make sure that it's clear when something is specific to one of the devices.

Style is subjective, but I've decided to roll with the spherical shape of the new Echo Dots.

We have to address the design of the speakers. I think the new direction for the speakers is a good one. The spherical shape of the speakers makes them softer and more organic than the previous designs. I like the more subdued tones of Glacier White, Charcoal, and Twilight Blue.

Several of the device's physical components have been rearranged to fit the new form factor. The buttons blend into the fabric and are easier to find and press than in the previous versions. The light ring has been moved to the bottom of the speaker in order to give it a different look. If you have a speaker that's Charcoal colored, you can make it red by pressing the button.

Echo Dot With Clock 4th Gen 1

(Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

You can still see the time, but you can also ask to see the temperature and set the timer and alarm on the clock. If you're trying to sleep in a dark room, you won't be blinded by the clock. That is a nice gesture.

The setup process needs to be moved on. You will be up and running in a matter of minutes if you already have the app installed on your phone, and if you have any other devices that are connected to the app and have a secure password. "hello" in English, Spanish, and French was one of the new-to-me touches that I liked the most. My assistant is very much loved by me.

When you get your Echo Dot set up, it's a good time to appreciate how far it's come. Something about the new shape and special sauce that Amazon baked in equates to much louder output and a richer, more well-rounded sound than is present on the echo dot. The same size speaker found in the previous generation was used to achieve this. The speaker on the newer ones is front-firing. The 3.5mm audio jack is included on these devices. If you want, you can plug in headphones if you want, or you can physically connect your Echo Dot to a larger, more powerful speaker.

I thought the Echo Dot (4th Gen) sounded great on its own, but when I paired it with the other Echo Dot with Clock, I was blown away.

If you want to enhance your audio experience while watching TV, you can pair two of the Echo Dot speakers with a Fire TV. You can use this if you have two regular echo dots or an echo dot with a clock. If the devices are from the same generation, you can't pair an echo dot with an echo dot. I put the review devices on each side of my iMac. I felt like the guy in the Maxell ad from the 80s when I askedAlexa to play music. It was amazing.

The color screen on the Echo Show 5 can be a bit of a distraction, as it is always changing. As I was working on this review, I appreciated just having the clock there to look at.

Motion Detection was one of the new features that was announced at the September 2021 event. The feature allows the speakers to use an Ultrasonic Tone to detect if someone is in the room and to turn on the lights when you leave.

Echo Dots Stereo Pair

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

I want to talk a bit about sustainable living. Amazon made this a centerpiece of its fall 2020 hardware event and seems to be putting its money where it says it will be. According to the Climate Pledge Friendly program, the new Echos will be made mostly out of recycled materials. Amazon has built-in software that will allow the Echos to operate more efficiently and draw less power when not being used. Customers will be able to better understand and manage their energy usage when the energy dashboard is rolled out in the upcoming months. Amazon pledges to offset its customer's use of power through its devices and to be a net-zero carbon company before its self-imposed 2040 deadline.

I have both the first- and second- generation Echos and they look and work great. The sound is not as good as the newer models, but they can do everything else. The quality craftsmanship and the fact that the most sustainable speaker is the one you already have speak to that.

The littlebois are getting big, but no new functions.

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) and Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen): What I don't like

Echo Dot 4th Gen 1

(Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

I mentioned in my review of the original Echo Dot that there wasn't much to criticize here.

The new design may not be for everyone. The new Echos conjure up images of cannonballs, bowling balls, and shotputs, even though I like the spherical styling. I guess you'll have to decide if the sports metaphor upgrade is worth it for you, since the older Echo Dots looked like hockey pucks.

The massive design change means that the Echo Dot is no longer the svelte little speaker it once was. It's going to be more difficult for these to fade into the background.

The new design means that the echo dots are larger than before. The new Dot is almost three times taller than the older ones, if you look at some of the comparison shots above. Older Dots are denser than the newer ones. The brackets and mounts for the Echo Dots won't be as big as before, and they won't tuck away as nicely. If you want an out-of-the-way echo, you're most likely stuck with the third generation echo dot or echo flex

The new placement of the light ring at the bottom of the device could be a problem. I worry that the light ring won't be as visible for many people, and thus it could be less useful as a visual cue as to when the device is listening or what it is trying to communicate.

The clock feature is finally available. I like its features and recommend it for purchase, but I would have liked to see Amazon make some improvements to it over the previous generation. Only one color can convey the same basic information. Maybe now that the major design refresh has been completed, there will be some improvements to the LEDs.

The competition

Nest Mini Echo Dot Clock Hero

(Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

The smaller category of these devices was pioneered by Amazon in 2015. Since then, we've seen several challengers in this space, but the two most notable competitors are the speakers that are powered by the Google Assistant and the ones that aren't.

The most obvious and direct competitor to the echo dot line has been the mini speakers. These have been roughly the same size, shape, and design for most of the time. It will be interesting to see how the new Nest Mini (3rd Gen) will fare against the Amazon Echo Dots (4th Gen).

The newer black and white Smart Clock Essential is more expensive than the two new Echo Dots, but it is better matched up against the second one. The smart clock is larger and more functional than the one built into the echo dot with clock, and the speaker is on par, though it is back-firing.

If you're going to replace one of the new Echo Dots with an older one, you should look at the older ones. The Echo Dot 3rd Gen is still a great little device that sounds similar to the Nest Mini, and it's still available from Amazon for less than the fourth- generation Dots.

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) and Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen): Should you buy?

Amazon Echo Dot (4th gen)

(Image credit: Android Central)

If you do, you should purchase this.

  • You have a first or second-generation Dot
  • You want an attractive smart alarm
  • You want good sound at an affordable price

If you purchase this, you should not.

  • You want room-filling sound
  • You want or need more display functionality
  • You prefer Google Assistant or Siri

There are two great additions to any Amazon-powered home. They are an improvement on previous generations in many ways. I can't recommend them enough if you're new to the idea of using a smart speaker, or if you already own a smart speaker that needs to be replaced. If you need a clock, the Echo Dot with Clock is a good choice. Stick with the regular echo dot if that's not important to you. The updates that Amazon has made to each should make you happy.