Refining an already successful smart speaker

TechRadar Verdict

Working just like the latest Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation), but with a rather neat-looking clock feature, this is the ideal smart speaker for most homes.

Pros

  • +

    Clock feature looks good

  • +

    Useful tap gestures

  • +

    Reasonable sound quality for the size

Cons

  • No more 3.5mm port

  • Do you really need the clock?

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Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th gen): Two-minute review

The Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen) is, unsurprisingly, more evolution than revolution – but Amazon has done a great job over the years of providing some of the best smart speakers (opens in new tab) that don’t cost a fortune, and it keeps up the tradition well.

The new Echo Dot with Clock is probably not worth upgrading to if you already own an earlier Echo Dot (particularly the 4th generation). However, many of us own more than one Echo Dot. After all, these are the ideal devices to scatter around your home to make things smarter.

The Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation) with clock takes mere seconds to set up. We set it up half paying attention to the Alexa app on our phone and half paying attention to something on TV. Of course, this is extra quick if you already have an existing Echo setup at home. Still, even if you don’t, it’s remarkably intuitive. 

As with the non-clock Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation), you now get a room temperature sensor that ties in nicely with specific Alexa skills. In the US, Eero is built-in to extend your Wi-Fi, but that feature has yet to make it elsewhere. 

There are also new tap gestures alongside the existing buttons up top, which allow you to do things such as snooze an alarm (and only snooze – no disabling allowed) or pause music. It’s inessential, but a nice bonus if you need a bedside alarm. 

The main strength behind the Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation) with clock is the seemingly endless supply of Alexa skills. Whether you’re looking to entertain the kids with a spoken word game, check sports scores, or find different radio stations, there’s a skill for you. 

And, of course, you can set up routines tying into your smart home. For instance, you can be woken each morning by an alarm, followed by your favorite radio station and your lights coming on.

Regarding the listening side of things, the Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation) with clock is slightly better than before. It now has a larger 1.73-inch front-firing speaker that provides more bass and better range than the 4th generation version. It’s not as strong as the pricier and chunkier Echo (2020), but we’d hardly expect anything else at this size.

There’s also its clock feature. An LED display in the middle of the speaker can show the time, alarms, weather, and even song titles. Most of the time, it will display the time, but it’s a nice extra feature for those moments when you don’t want to keep asking Alexa what time it is.

The Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation) with clock is a reliable all-rounder. Its audio quality won’t satisfy audiophiles, but that’s not the point of this cute, unassuming speaker. Instead, it’s all about convenience and making your home smarter for you and your family. It succeeds easily on that front by simply working, and working well.

audio visual

(Image credit: Jen Allen)

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen): price and release date

  • Available in the UK, USA, and Australia
  • Price: $59.99 / £64.99 / $AU99
  • Available in two colours

The Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation) with clock is available directly from Amazon and is frequently discounted. While its MSRP is well-priced, you’ll often find it discounted as part of any Amazon sale. That goes for all colour schemes, with the Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation) with clock available in glacier white and cloud blue. 

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen): Design and features

  • New temperature sensor
  • LED display on the centre
  • Tap gestures as well as buttons

The Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation) with clock offers the same spherical design as the previous generation. It measures 3.9 x 3.5 inches and weighs just over 300g. You can hold it in one hand being slightly bigger than a tennis ball but not as big as a soccer ball. 

Its design means it fits pretty much anywhere in your home, from the kitchen countertop to the bedside cabinet. It only has one cable – the power cable – with the 3.5mm audio jack no more. 

On the top of the Echo Dot are the volume buttons, an Alexa action button, and the mute button for those times you don’t want to be heard. The bottom of the sphere illuminates red any time this is activated, so you know when you’re being left alone. 

The Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation) with clock now also has tap gestures. If you tap the top of the speaker, it pauses a song, ends a call, or snoozes an alarm. There’s no way of turning off the alarm through taps, but it’s a timesaver over speaking to it. 

A new temperature sensor is also perfect for anyone with a smart heating system. You can assign certain Alexa routines to be performed once the temperature dips or goes too high. 

The LED display across the centre of the device shows the time, any alarms set, or a song title if you’re listening to music. It’s bright and vibrant without being distractingly so. Again, perfect for the bedside cabinet. 

Using the Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation) with clock is super-easy. Simply saying ‘Alexa’ followed by seemingly any request and Alexa does the hard work for you. Even when spoken quietly, we were still heard. The Alexa app is similarly easy to use and regularly keen to suggest new things you can do. That’s great if you’re new to Alexa and need help figuring out where to start. You’ll soon be impressed at the breadth of options here. 

Features score: 4/5

audio visual

The latest Echo Dot offers the same spherical design as the previous generation (Image credit: Jen Allen)

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen): Sound quality

  • Well-balanced sound
  • Support for all major music services
  • Improved bass

The Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation) with clock supports seemingly every music service you can think of. That includes Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, Deezer, iHeartRadio, Pandora, SiriusXM, Spotify, Tidal, TuneIn, and Amazon Music. While it won’t provide you with the highest music quality, if the service supports it, the device certainly simplifies things. 

Like the Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation), it’s a bit bass-heavy, but that does mean you get a louder experience than you would expect for the size. Be cautious turning up the volume, though, as while playing songs like Hysteria by Muse, we discovered distortion was an issue at high volumes. 

More subtle music like Beach Boys’ God Only Knows and The Beatles’ Yesterday comes across as a little weak. If you’re looking for crispness and a speaker that conveys the complexities of Under Pressure, you won’t find it here. Not that we expect it really. The Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation) with clock is all about accessibility rather than music quality. 

Sound quality score: 3/5

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen): Value

  • Well-priced… and there’ll be lots of deals
  • Ease-of-use makes it a great buy

The Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation) with clock makes owning a smart speaker very accessible in terms of price and ease of use. 

You’ll soon wonder how you lived without that kind of speaker, and having a clear clock on the front further helps.

Value score: 5/5

Should you buy Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen)?

Buy it if…

You want an easy-to-use smart speaker
Incredibly easy to use, neither you nor your household will need to spend time mastering the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen). It all simply works and works well.

Don’t buy it if…

You want great sound quality
A smart speaker first, audio system second, the Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation) with clock won’t wow audiophiles. It’s fine but never anything special here.

Also consider…

Jen Allen

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