Amazon’s Echo family received a major update overnight. Among the changes was Amazon’s smaller Echo device, the Echo Dot, which has graduated from a flat disc-like shape to a spherical one.
Here’s what you should know about each of the new devices.
The biggest change here is the shape, but there’s plenty more going on under the hood — or, uh, cloth — of the Echo as well.
When it comes to the new Echo, it’s almost as tall as the 2019 variant and slightly heavier. While the 2019 Echo offered 360 degree sound, the new driver layout and Dolby Stereo Sound in the 2020 model with two tweeters will allow for more dynamic sound.
While the new Echo model has the same set of Alexa skills as its predecessor, it also includes hardware that was only previously available in the premium Echo Plus model. Basically, it means the new Echo can be used as a hub for more things, allowing you to control and setup more from the device thanks to its built-in Zigbee tech. It’s also designed to give longer range, lower bandwidth connectivity to devices.
The new Echo comes in three colours — Charcoal, Glacier White and Twilight Blue. All of the new Echo devices are made from recycled materials and support low-power modes for energy savings.
The Echo Dot has always been the Echo’s little sister, but this time it’s received the same spherical redesign, just in a smaller package.
Functionally, it does most of what the standard Echo does without the premium sound quality. It also comes in two different variants: the standard Echo Dot and the Echo Dot with Clock, which does what it says on the tin.
There’s also a kid’s version which comes with tiger and panda cloth designs. These will have various “kid-safe” features which stop them from stumbling upon anything nasty and can even help teach them to read. It’s uncertain when these will be made available in Australia.
Both main variants come in the same three colours as the standard Echo: Charcoal, Glacier White and Twilight Blue.
Fire TV Stick Lite
Australia’s first look at Alexa on Fire TV, the Stick Lite offers the convenience of Amazon’s virtual assistant across all things streaming.
The stick allows users to search for and launch content from multiple apps like Netflix, Prime Video, Stan, ABC Iview and more using their voice. If you don’t have a smart TV, the Stick Light can turn it into one, the dongle just plugs into the back via HDMI and you’re good to go.
Alexa’s skills can also be used across other apps that can be accessed on a TV like Spotify and YouTube, as well as answer questions, provide weather updates, set alarms and more.
In other words, it’s like plugging Alexa into your TV.
Echo Show 10
The Echo Show is Amazon’s answer to video calls and TV in places where you wouldn’t necessarily put a TV. While it’s not available just yet, it promises premium directional sound, a 10.1-inch display and a 13MP camera with auto-framing and movement capabilities to make sure you’re always in view.
You can kinda think of it as an Echo with a screen. You can ask it questions as you normally would with the added benefit of visual responses and the ability to watch TV (or Netflix and other streaming services) while you cook away in the kitchen.
There’s no release date for the new Show just yet, but Amazon has indicated that it will be available around 2020’s holiday period. If you’re keen for some immediate visual Echo functionality, the three previous Echo Show models are still available at a discount. You can check them all out below.