There's more info on its brighter, bigger display, and more helpful smart home features thanks to a new temperature sensor, as well as a new accelerometer that makes it easier to snooze. It's more than just a minor upgrade if you add in better sound and a faster voice.

My go-to smart alarm clock is now my favorite small smart speaker because of the improvements made to it. As someone who spends most of her day surrounded by screens, the glanceableLED grid display on the Dot with Clock is a welcome respite at night, providing just enough information to be helpful without being distracted. The second-gen smart speaker is the one without a camera, and I like it. The smaller footprint and lack of screen makes the Dot with Clock a less intrusive bedside companion than the Nest.

  • Better sound
  • Faster response time
  • Clock display now more useful
  • Tap controls much improved
  • New temperature sensor is surprisingly handy
  • No audio jack
  • You pay a premium for the clock feature 
  • Alexa app is still horrible
  • Eero Wi-Fi extension cuts speed in half

New stuff, same small package

The most feature-rich smart speakers you can buy are from Amazon. Amazon is trying to add its voice assistant to every room of the house. The Dot can do most of the things bigger siblings can, including play music, set timers, and control smart home devices.

Amazon has upgraded the entire range of the echo dot to include more sensors, faster processor, better sound, and the ability to act as a wi-fi extender Most people don't want to upgrade from a fourth-gen model. If you're looking for the best experience in the smallest package, you'll be happy with any of the new ones since they're out of stock.

The third version of the echo dot with clock is the biggest improvement to the range. The model I tested has the same design, but Amazon has replaced the four-digit, seven-segmentLED display with a brighter, more functionalLED dot-matrix display.

In addition to displaying the time, volume level, alarms, and timers, the dot can show a scrolling weather forecast, song title, and other text responses to queries There is a scrolling feature. It only shows a few characters at a time, so you have to stand there for 30 seconds to read the title and artist of the song. It is also quite enjoyable. The weather forecast, with the temperature and a little cloud, sun, or rain icon, is more useful than listening to the forecast, because it's quicker.

The small footprint of the Dot with Clock makes it a better bedside companion.

One feature we got a lot of use out of in my house was asking Amazon to do a math calculation The result can be seen on the dot and said aloud. My daughter is the one I mean when I say "we". It scrolls a word when it's asked to spell something.

Two Echo Dot with Clock speakers on a bedside table.
The Echo Dot with Clock fourth-gen (left) next to the Echo Dot with Clock fifth-gen. The new LED dot-matrix display appears crisper and brighter.

Two new sensors were added to the new Dots. The tap-to-snooze gesture is improved by the use of the accelerometer. Tap to pause, resume, and end a call are included. The tap works better. It's easier to work on the earlier Dot here than it was in the past. You can tap anywhere on the speaker to get the response you're looking for. You used to have to target the very top, which wasn't very effective.

The new Dots are the first of their kind.

The new Dot can act as a wi-fi extender if you use the Eero system. It isn't a reason to upgrade to the fifth-gen Dot on its own, as the feature just arrived as an update on the fourth-gen Echo and is coming to the fourth-gen later this year. If your child likes owls and dragons, you should upgrade. A two-year warranty and a year's subscription to Amazon Kids Plus are included in the price of the two new kids editions.

The back of an Echo Dot on a table
The new Dot only has a power port. Unlike prior versions, there’s no audio jack.

The 3.5mm audio jack that was on the Dot has been removed by Amazon. If you wanted to make a better speaker into a smart one, you could use the jack to connect the Dot to the speaker. You are not out of luck if you want to use the audio jack on the Dots. It is possible to connect to other speakers with the help of wi-fi or bluetooth.

A Dot for every room

While this is a favorite for me as a bedside smart speaker, I also tested the echo dot with clock in the kitchen and bathroom The clock is especially useful on busy mornings when we are trying to get out the door on time.

The temperature sensor can tell you the temperature in the room, as well as show you on the display, which can be used to start an AmazonAlexa routine. I set it to turn on the AC when it gets too warm in the kitchen, so I didn't have to worry about adjusting the Ecobee thermostat.

You can turn on the lights when you walk into the room with the onboard motion sensor. It isn't as fast as a dedicated motion sensor, but it's only a beat or so behind, and it's nice not to need a second device in the room.

The top of an Echo Dot speaker on a counter
The volume up and down controls, mute button, and Alexa button (to summon the assistant without saying its name) are in the same place as before.

Certain types of sounds can be detected by the echo speakers. A dog is barking, a baby is crying, and an appliance is making noise. I got notifications on my phone when my toast popped up, when my microwave lunch was ready, and when my dishwasher was done, after testing the beep detection in the kitchen. I didn't know which alert was for which appliance.

I hope Amazon has a new app soon.

Whenever I turned on the tap in the kitchen, I could hear my favorite radio station on Apple Music. People like to listen to music when they wash up. The music would start playing when there was a sound in the kitchen. It happened in the bathroom as well. The idea was to run a routine that reads the weather and my calendar and then plays NPR in the morning when the shower starts, but it would start playing at the smallest amount of running water.

I have to complain about the app once again. It's necessary in order to set up some of the things mentioned above. It is not a good place to live. The app is hard to navigate, slow, and unpleasant to use as a smart home controller, so it's ripe for a redesign.

Matter, the new smart home standard that will work across all of these platforms, has led to major updates and refreshes to their smart home apps. I hope Amazon has a new app in the near future. Please anything.

An Echo Dot on a counter displaying the letters AYLO, as in TAYLOR SWIFT
When a song starts, the Dot scrolls through the artist’s name — Taylor Swift, in this case — and song title a few characters at a time.

Souped-up sound and speed

Better sound is one of the selling points for the Dot lineup. According to the company, it has completely changed the audio architecture to deliver two times the bass of the previous model. The driver is up to 1.73 inches. The speaker is still a small speaker. It filled a room better than the fourth-gen Dot. At louder volumes and on bassier tracks, the audio is more clear and crisp.

If you want a small speaker with good sound, Apple's HomePod Mini is the best. It is nearly double the price. The dot can fill a room with sound. The sound quality of the Nest Mini isn't as good as the other smart speaker. Being able to mount it to a wall adds a little more to the otherwise tinny sound. Stereo pairs are offered by all three brands.

The new Dots are the first of their kind. The AZ2 allows the devices to process more actions locally, which results in faster responses. The fourth-gen device took over three seconds to answer when I asked for the weather or a timer. The fifth-gen Dot turned on my lights faster than the fourth-gen model thanks to the new processor.

More Wi-Fi for me

An Echo Dot on a shelf with colorful bowls behind
The Echo Dot with Clock comes in this new cloud blue color as well as the original glacier white. Oddly, there is no dark color option like there is with the Echo Dot.

The new Dots can be used as wi-fi extenders for the Eero mesh system. I had to link my Eero account to my Amazon account. Each dot can add up to 1,000 square feet of coverage and support speeds of up to 100Mbps and up to 10 devices. It uses Eero's TrueMesh software to find the strongest connection and then extend it.

It isn't going to give you the same performance as if you were connected to an Eero nodes, but it could be useful to extend coverage to a video doorbell or security camera outside your home.

You won't get the same performance if you're connected to an Eero nodes.

I was able to see the Dot in my Eero app with an option to use it to extend wi-fi after a few setup issues. I was warned that the dot was too close to an Eero and wouldn't extend anything. It began to work once I moved it further away.

When I connected my laptop to the Dot, I got speeds of 25Mbps up and 12 down in an area of my house where I would usually get 70 / 26 from my 1.3 Gbps service. When Dan tested a fifth-gen Dot in his house, he saw similar drops in speed.

This would be more helpful to me if I could choose which devices I wanted to use. It wasn't a good experience when my laptop cut my speeds in half. My network didn't need this because I had three Eero Pro 6E routers running in a 2,300- square-foot brick home.

If you have a single Eero and a few dead spots, this will work as a less expensive solution than adding another Eero. If you have another Eero, you would see more of the same. I will be testing this again with a different network configuration when more devices have the feature.

An Echo Dot on a bedside table next to a framed photograph
The Echo Dot with Clock makes an excellent bedside smart speaker.

My favorite small smart speaker is the echo dot with clock. The difference between voice-only smart speakers and Amazon's more helpful but more intrusive smart displays is bridged.

The fifth-gen Dots can do more with your smart home. The regular Dot is more expensive than the dot with clock. The fourth-gen dot would be given away for free with other products. Rarely do you see a sale on a clock.

The dot with clock is $60.

The fourth-gen Echo is currently on sale for $50, down from $100. If you want a smart speaker with good sound, get that. It also has the ability to act as a wi-fi extender for Eero networks, as well as a temperature sensor. It doesn't have a processor like the AZ2

The Matter smart home standard is dependent on a Thread border routers. All of Amazon's smart speakers will be capable of controlling Matter devices, but only the fourth-gen will be upgraded to be a Thread border routers. There is only one thing missing from the echo. It would be my ideal smart speaker if Amazon added one.

The photos were taken by Tuohy.

Smart Home Data Privacy: Echo Dot with Clock

Connected devices bring with them concerns about how the data they collect is protected. We review smart home products to make sure they have safeguards in place for your data.

The primary data collected by the echo dot with clock are voice and smart home device interactions Unless you use the physical mute button, the speaker's microphones will always listen for the wake word ortrigger sound.

All voice interactions are sent to the cloud in a secure manner. Amazon's cloud houses voice recordings and transcripts. You have the option to review and remove this information through the app or the privacy hub. If you don't want Amazon to use your recordings to improve their voice assistant, you can opt out.