The new 2020 version is round. What else has changed and whether the bullet purchase is worthwhile, shows the TechStage test report. Amazon is going round in 2020: The fourth generation of the Echo Dot moves away from the puck shape of the Amazon Echo Dot 3 (review) and is now slightly larger and rounder. We took a close look at it and checked whether other factors like the sound have changed besides the looks. Our guide Amazon Echo: All models in comparison provides a complete overview.
Compared to its predecessor, the Amazon Echo Dot 4 (2020) is not only round, but also larger with a height of eight centimeters and a horizontal diameter of 10 centimeters. The surface is mostly covered by a fabric that comes in a choice of black, blue-gray or white. The diagonally cut back is made of a matte plastic that matches the color of the fabric.
We like the rounded look. It looks modern and bold, Amazon does not want to hide the Echo, it clearly stands out from the technical uniformity with its shape. But it also has to fit into its environment. We can very well understand that it does not fit in many living rooms, bathrooms, bedrooms and so on. For such cases, Amazon continues to sell the Echo Dot 3, which is also visually chic, but less eye-catching. The predecessor model is even ten euros cheaper.
The LED ring of the Amazon Echo Dot 4 (2020) reflects on surfaces. The four buttons have a good pressure point and are arranged on the top in a visually appealing way. As usual, buyers can vary the volume here, activate Alexa without a wake-up word or completely deactivate listening. The light ring, which lights up when Alexa is listening, moves from the top to the bottom. Thus, it reflects on surfaces, which creates a nice optical effect in many cases. It is still well visible.
It is minimalistic in terms of its ports. Like its predecessor, it only has a round hollow plug for the included power supply and a 3.5 millimeter jack for audio output. Unfortunately, the power supply is much too big this time. If you plug it into a distribution socket, it usually covers another slot, in some cases even two.
Those who hope for a significantly better sound with the bigger case will be disappointed. Although it is slightly better than in the Amazon Echo Dot 3 (review), the jump is not nearly as big as from the second to the third generation.
This is mainly because the 2020 Dot has the same 41-millimeter speaker as the 2018 model. The only difference: This time, Amazon directs it to the front, which results in a somewhat clearer and fuller sound image in some cases. However, the difference is not big, and you can only really notice it in a direct comparison.
The sound quality is still very good for Alexa’s announcements. The Echo Dot is also suitable for playing music occasionally, for example in the bathroom. Overall, the basses are a bit too dominant and the mid and high tones are underrepresented. Buyers should improve the equalizer. If you want a much better sound, you should go for the larger Amazon Echo.
A red LED strip signals that the Echo is not listening. Echo devices traditionally listen very closely to their activation word. This is also true for the Amazon Echo Dot 2020, which is supposed to come with a new, faster processor.
However, we do not notice a difference. It seems to react just as fast as the Echo Dot 3, which is also very fast. It does not have a Zigbee hub or Bluetooth. Amazon reserves these features for its somewhat higher-quality models. However, it is possible to pair two Amazon Dots for stereo content playback.
The Amazon Echo Dot 4 (2020) costs just under 60 euros. Amazon also sells a variant with a clock for just under 70 euros.
The predecessor is still available and costs just under 50 euros. We expect a price reduction of all Echo Dot models for Black Friday at the end of November. So, if you are interested in the smart mini speaker, you should be patient a bit longer.