The revamped, fourth-generation Echo Dot has arrived, and it comes with a spherical design that sets it well apart from its smaller, flatter predecessors.
But while it boasts an all-new look, the latest Echo Dot is essentially the same speaker as the (now steeply discounted), complete with onboard Alexa, stellar smart home capabilities, impressive communication features, and the ability to keep an ear on your home via Alexa Guard. And while we’re pleased with how the new Dot sounds, its front-firing driver doesn’t deliver a quantum leap over the older Dot’s audio quality.
So yes, the fourth-gen Echo Dot is technically the best Dot yet, but only by a narrow margin.
As with previous Echo Dots, the new Dot is outfitted with volume up/down, mic mute, and action buttons that peek out from the fabric at the top of the speaker, although the buttons are now more tightly grouped together than they were on previous Dots.
When you tap the volume buttons, a white ring appears, and it either grows or shrinks in length depending on whether you’re adjusting the volume up or down. Pressing the mic mute button makes the Alexa ring glow red, indicating that Alexa isn’t listening to your conversation. Pressing the “action” button wakes Alexa, or it can silence an alarm or reset the speaker if you press and hold it for 25 seconds. But since you can wake Alexa with your voice or ask her to snooze an alarm, most Dot users (myself included) never bother with the action button.