Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2023) Review: Great for the price

Amazon has had a stronghold in the smart devices market with their Echo line of products. The latest in their line of Echo smart speakers, powered by their homegrown assistant Alexa is the Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2023). This tiny spherical speaker comes loaded with features and makes for a nifty addition to your smart home setup. Launched in March 2023, the Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2023) showed up at the Digit Test Centre; as we do with everything that we review, we put it through our rigorous test process. The results, to say the least, were interesting. With the upgrades in both the hardware and software, it did surprise many folks who played around with it, feeding it some really interesting and challenging commands.

Here’s a look at how the Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2023 release) fared in our tests –

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2023): Build and Design

Amazon has definitely worked on the design of the Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2023 release). Coming in line with the rest of the lineup, it comes with a fabric-covered top, with solid and sturdy plastic completing the rest of the body. You have three colour options available – White, Blue, and Black. You can pick and choose between these three colours. There’s a nice heft to the device, and the feet do a good job of keeping it from slipping, even when it is placed on smooth glass-finish surfaces.

If you are a stickler for aesthetics, then one thing that may bother you is the power adapter cable, which is not colour matched with the rest of the device. We have seen brands these days colour-match their cables with the device, especially in the case of ones which are meant to have a certain sense of aesthetics and blend in with the devices surrounding them.  The indicator LED strip covers the bottom circumference of the device.

On the body of the speaker itself, you get a set of four buttons that’ll help you control the device without using voice commands for the most part. You get a pair of volume rockers, an action button, and a mic toggle button, which helps you turn the microphone on and off. With the discussions doing rounds about smart home devices listening in on your conversations when they are not supposed to, this is a nice little addition, which definitely is reassuring for users. Even I was happy to see it being present as a physical control on the device. The button also has a light indicator which lets you easily know whether the microphone is on or off.

The top surface of the speaker is touch sensitive and can be used to snooze alarms or play and pause music in case you do not want to shout out a command to your device. On the front, you get a set of basic LEDs that will get you some basic information, including but not limited to time and temperature readings.

As for the app, the device makes use of the Amazon Alexa app. It offers tons of customisation options, including privacy settings and an equaliser, which is a nice thing to have, given that the speaker can double up as a standalone Bluetooth speaker. It is laden with features, with the interface being intuitive. However, if someone is opening up such an app for the first time, the interface, in my opinion, can be a bit overwhelming. There are instructions every step of the way for the most part, but when they are missing, people can find themselves looking for that one specific setting for fairly long times.

Amazon Alexa App

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2023): Features

Amazon Echo Dot 5th Gen (2023 release) comes packed with features. Amazon has added a couple of sensors, which immensely elevate the functionality of this product. First off, is the motion sensor. If your Amazon Echo Dot is plugged in and turned on, it will automatically trigger a set action as soon as it senses motion. And it works the other way around as well. So, for example, if you are not in a room, it will turn the lights off, and as soon as you walk in, it will turn them back on.

The second is the temperature sensor. This would come in handy, especially for people who find it difficult to get their ACs to the optimal temperature while sleeping. Its functionality is very basic. When in action, the sensor will gauge the ambient temperature and adjust the temperature of your air conditioner accordingly, helping you have an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

Amazon Echo Dot 5th Gen

Other features of the Echo Dot include compatibility with a variety of music providers, including Apple Music, Jio Saavn, and Spotify, ensuring that you won’t have to worry about having your favourite tracks on Amazon Prime Music. You can also daisy chain the Alexa with other Bluetooth devices as well, creating a wireless stereo setup with up to two speakers and a subwoofer. The device can also be used as a stand-alone Bluetooth speaker as well.

In my time using the device, I found the daisy chain feature came in handier than I thought I would. And, the ease of pairing made my life even easier. As for the temperature sensing and motion sensing, it did have its own share of hiccups and was triggered at times that I did not want it to, but otherwise, it worked like a charm. Sometimes it does fascinate me how far IoT and smart home devices have come. And, the way the technology that is packed in these smart devices is progressing, it is only about time that we see ourselves interacting with our smart devices intuitively, exponentially more often than we do right now.

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2023): Performance

Let’s start off this section by talking about the music playback performance of the Amazon Echo Dot Gen 5 (2023 release). In my time listening to music on this device, I found the sound to be great for regular music consumption. As you can see in our sound signature graph, with the readings taken in an environment where such devices are used the most, an open room, both the bass frequencies (especially the high bass frequencies, which trickle into the mids) and the high frequencies between the 2 kHz and the 10 kHz range have a boost, with the mids staying close to our baseline reading of the pink noise.

Amazon Echo Dot 5th Gen

This shows that the sound is well-rounded, and you will not be busy hunting for vocals or instruments in your favourite tracks. It is in no way comparable to a pair of studio monitors which nail every frequency and their response is crisp and precise. But, again, considering their use case, the Amazon Echo Dot 5th Gen will serve their owner well. We played a variety of tracks on this device, and sometimes we did feel the lack of some bass, which is strange because Amazon has specifically advertised the bass response of this speaker. We had to tweak the sound signature in the app, which comes with a triband equaliser, to feel the thump in some of the tracks that we were playing.

Now, coming to the smart voice command capabilities of this device. We tested the voice command response of the device in four different conditions – 

  • – Human close to the speaker in a quiet room,
  • – Human close to the speaker with music playing from the speaker at 50 per cent volume,
  • – Human 10 feet away from the speaker standing in a quiet room, and
  • – Human 10 feet away from the speaker with music playing from the speaker at 50 per cent volume. 


In all these scenarios, the device performed well. I tested the activation time between the command being said and actions being triggered, and almost every time, the response was instantaneous and flawless. One peculiar thing that I noticed was that whenever I asked the Echo Dot to tell a joke while it was playing music, it repeated the same joke over and over again. Otherwise, as stated above, the responsiveness was flawless.

All of this is powered using the 15 W adapter that is included in the box. You can find a barrel plug port at the back of the speaker, which is where you plug in the adapter. Amazon claims that this device has a “Low Power Mode” which gets triggered when the device is not in use, helping it power down, and reduce the overall power consumption, which is a good this not only for your wallet, but also for the planet.

Amazon Echo Dot 5th Gen

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2023): Verdict

All things considered, the Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2023 release) remains one of the best mini smart speakers to get your hands on. Priced at ₹5,499, it has all the features that you could ask for, and the responsiveness is something that would put other manufacturers to shame. The only other viable option in this space right now, with smart assistant baked in, is the Google Nest Mini. In India, it retails at almost half the price of the Echo Dot (₹2,499 at the time of writing). It retains most of the functionality of its pricier cousins but pales in comparison to the Echo Dot in terms of its audio output because of its smaller size. But, if a truly compact solution is what you are looking for, and do not want to go for the dated 3rd Gen Amazon Echo Dot, then you can definitely go for it. For the price, it’s a great offering and can be an awesome gateway for anyone into the world of smart home speakers.

Source link

Leave a Comment