Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) review

This Alexa-powered speaker has better speakers and more smart home features

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen)
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) is an affordable smart home entry point with Alexa on standby and good sound for its size. A room temperature sensor and eero built-in make the Echo Dot more intuitive, too. However, we think it’s worth spending an extra $10 to get the Echo Dot with Clock.

Pros

  • +

    Modern, yet simple design

  • +

    Good sound for size

  • +

    Access to Alexa smart home skills

  • +

    Room temperature sensor for Alexa routines

  • +

    Eero built-in

Cons

  • -

    No 3.5mm line out

  • -

    Not that much cheaper than Echo Dot with Clock

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Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) specs

Price: $49 / £49 / AU$79
Colors: Charcoal, Deep Sea Blue, Glacier White
Size: 3.9 x 3.5 inches
Weight: 10.7 ounces
Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5 GHz)
Speaker: 1.73 inch front-firing

There’s perhaps no device as synonymous with smart home as the Amazon Echo Dot. The latest Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) is the best version of the Alexa-powered smart speaker yet, making any space more intuitive for under $50. 

That said, based on its size, the Echo Dot is hands-down one of the best smart speakers for a bedroom or smaller living space. The sound has been upgraded, but that’s not all. The 5th-generation Echo Dot also has two new smart home features: a room temperature sensor and eero built-in.

While I prefer the additional functionality of the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen)’s LED display, it’s easy to recommend the standard Echo Dot for gifts or simply growing your smart home. If you want to know more details about how the speaker works and performs, read the full Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) review below.

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) price and availability

The Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) has been available as of mid-October 2022 for $49 (£49, AU$79), the same price as the previous Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen). It’s available in three colors: Charcoal, Deep Sea Blue and Glacier White.

For $10 more, you can opt for the 5th-gen Echo Dot with Clock, which has the same audio and smart home performance as the standard Echo Dot but introduces a multi-functional LED display. This lets it double as a bedside alarm clock. Similarly, the new Echo Dot Kids Edition costs $59 / £64 / AU$99. The Kids Edition comes in a few fun animal prints and pre-loaded with parental controls.

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen)

(Image credit: Future)

An important thing to keep in mind when purchasing an Echo Dot: Amazon regularly discounts the Echo Dot or bundles it with other smart home products during deals events. Be sure to follow our guide to Black Friday deals and other Amazon deals available now.

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) review: Design and controls

The Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) design is mostly unchanged from the previous model. It’s still a palm-sized, fabric-swathed orb with a flat bottom. The key difference is that the latest Echo Dot ditches the 3.5mm audio line out, so you can no longer pair it to a stronger-sounding speaker.

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen)

(Image credit: Future)

Otherwise, the Echo Dot looks clean and minimalistic — it might be mistaken for some modern decor at a quick glance. It helps that the controls sit rather flush on top: there are volume controls, an Alexa action button and a mute button, which you can enable when you don’t want Alexa listening for its wake word.

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen)

(Image credit: Future)

You’ll know that the microphone is muted if the light up ring on the base of the speaker illuminates red. Alternatively, if the ring is blue, then you know Alexa is actively listening. Our guide on Alexa flashing colors is good to keep handy if you’re ever confused about what the Echo Dot is trying to tell you.

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) review: Sound quality

Though it didn’t seem Amazon had much room to work with, it did increase the Echo Dot’s speaker size from 1.6 to 1.73 inches. The speakers are also supposed to offer double the bass of the previous version, though there’s no additional specs we can share or way to verify that claim.

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen)

(Image credit: Future)

Instead, I listened to the Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) next to a 4-gen Echo Dot to see if I could hear an improvement — and for the most part, I did. Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” thumped better than I’ve come to expect for a speaker this size. It definitely offered a deeper vibration than the older version. The crooner’s voice also sounded a little too forced on the older speaker, as though it was trying to overcompensate. On the 5th-gen Echo Dot, the vocals sounded much more balanced.

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen)

(Image credit: Future)

However, at the highest volume, the speaker’s sound quality and bass performance deteriorates. That’s why the Echo Dot isn’t a whole-home audio solution. If you need something with more power, our favorite smart speaker for sound is the Sonos One, while the larger, $99 Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is also quite good. Amazon’s top-tier smart speaker, the $199 Amazon Echo Studio, is an impressive choice as well.

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) review: Smart home and Alexa features

Of course, the Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) is made for more than just playing music. It’s a vehicle for almost all of the best Alexa skills, minus those that require video. That means you can voice calls with Alexa, get updates on your Amazon deliveries, set alarms, get weather reports, play interactive games and more. It supports everything from Alexa easter eggs to Alexa Guard, a security feature that sends you alerts when suspicious sounds are heard in your home.

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen)

(Image credit: Future)

Amazon Alexa is always getting new skills, not to mention new smart home integrations. Most of the best Alexa compatible devices can be controlled from commands fielded by the Echo Dot, whether it’s unlocking your front door’s smart lock or changing the color of your Philips Hue lights

On the Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) specifically, there’s a room temperature sensor built-in. So, without me needing to ask, the temperature sensor readings could trigger a routine automatically to change the setting on my Amazon Smart Thermostat. Similarly, the motion sensor (which isn’t new, but often forgotten) can automatically trigger one of my smart plugs when I walk into my bedroom. As long as you know how to create an Alexa smart home routine, there are different automations you can assign based on the additional smart home devices you own.

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen)

(Image credit: Future)

The Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) now has eero built-in, too. It acts as a satellite for one of the best mesh router systems to extend your home’s Wi-Fi reach. If you already have a host eero router, like the eero Pro 6e), the Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen) can act as an extending device with up to 1,000 square feet of coverage at speeds up to 100 Mbps.

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) review: Verdict

For most people, the Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) is one of the best smart home devices you can own. Better yet, it’s also one of the best cheap smart home devices, with more versatility than you’ll find from anything else at the same price. Only the Google Nest Mini (2nd Gen) is a truly comparable option for Google Home users, while the similarly-compact Apple HomePod mini has stronger sound, but costs double.

On the topic of price, I might recommend shelling out $10 more for the Echo Dot with Clock version, especially if you plan to use the Alexa speaker in a spot where having the time at a glance offers convenience. Otherwise, the Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) is as well-rounded as its appearance.

Kate Kozuch is an editor at Tom’s Guide covering smartwatches, TVs and everything smart-home related. Kate also appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account (opens in new tab), which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her on an exercise bike, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.