The foundation of any smart home is smart speakers. They allow us to control all of our devices with just our voice. Amazon has pioneered in this space to show us what a modern-day smart home can do. With each new iteration of their Echo line of smart speakers, they’re looking for more ways to connect devices together. I’m reviewing the new Amazon Echo Dot and Echo Dot Kids (5th Gen).
Specs of the Amazon Echo Dot and Echo Dot for Kids
The Amazon Echo Dot with Clock and Echo Dot for Kids are nearly two identical smart speakers. The main difference is that one is specifically designed for kids.
Echo Dot with Clock
- Works with Alexa. hear jokes, weather updates, stories, podcasts, etc.
- Calendar integration. Set reminders directly into your preferred calendar
- Built-in eero. Add 1,000 sq ft to a compatible eero network
- Motion and indoor temperature sensors
Echo Dot for Kids
- Includes a one-year digital subscription to Amazon Kids+, designed for kids aged 3-12.
- Kid-friendly Audible books, interactive games, and educational Alexa skills.
- Built-in eero
Design of the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock and Echo Dot Kids
Both speakers feature Amazon’s signature spherical design with a flat base, an LED ring light around the bottom, and four buttons on the top. The Amazon Echo Dot with Clock has an embedded LED display. The Amazon Echo Dot Kids combines a colourful owl or dragon design embedded into the fabric.
The one feature that caught my attention was eero built-in. It comes with both the Amazon Echo Dot and the Echo Dot Kids, and it essentially means that the Echo Dot acts as a Wi-Fi extender for eero mesh networks. With it enabled, it can add up to 1,000 sq ft of additional WiFi coverage. It sports speeds up to 100 Mbps for 10 or fewer connected devices in the 5GHz band.
This is a brilliant idea, especially for large homes multi-floor homes with known dead spots. In fact, I predict future eero routers will also be smart speakers.
The Amazon Echo Dot Kids includes a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+. This provides unlimited access to thousands of kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games. This subscription extends outside of the Echo speaker. The content can be consumed on Kindle, Android, iOS, and Chrome OS devices. For example, kids could watch educational content on Fire tablets during the day, and listen to stories before bed with the Echo Dot Kids.
Kids love to interact with smart speakers. Amazon Echo Dot Kids provides parents with peace of mind with a parental dashboard. Here, parents can set device use limits. Set educational goals, and see how much time their kids interact with the speaker. However, age filters ensure kids see age-appropriate content from Amazon Kids+ content. Voice purchasing is also disabled by default.
Using the Echo Dot with Clock and Echo Dot Kids
I already have older Echo devices connected to my network. Alexa is what I use to turn my smart lights on and off. I even grouped all my house lights together so I can turn them all off from bed. I also use Alexa to play music, set timers, get weather forecasts, and play the radio. With Echo Dot Kids, children have their own Alexa. They can play kid-friendly music, ask questions, or get help with homework.
The setup was easy—the Alexa app recognized a new device and connected it to my Wi-Fi network. All I had to do was select the room it was in and the setup was complete. Compared to my older Echo speakers, I heard a noticeable difference in the audio quality. The vocals were clear, and the bass was deep, with a rich room-filling sound. Both speakers are small but at full volume, they can fill a room. One great feature is the Play Music Everywhere feature. All my Echo devices played the same music—including the Echo in my bathroom. This is perfect for parties or listening to music as you get ready in the morning. Truth be told, I talk to Alexa the most in the shower. That’s when I set reminders for myself in my calendar.
One lesser-known feature is using Alexa as a home Intercom. For example, parents can make dinner announcements on all the Echo devices in the home. This is perfect for large multi-floor homes where everyone is spread out.
Network issues with Eero built-in
I was very excited to test out the Eero built-in feature. However, I ran into some issues. I use the eero 6E Wi-Fi 6 system with three satellite units spread around my house. I added the Echo Dot with Clock and Echo Dot Kids in my living room with the main eero 6E router about 15-20 feet away. Once installed, I started to have network issues. Wi-Fi was cutting in and out for various devices. Therefore, I suspect the reason was the Echo Dot was too close to my eero 6E router in the living room. That was likely causing wireless interference as the eero satellites are incredibly powerful and need to be spread out.
Thankfully I was able to disable eero built-in in the Alexa app. After a reset, everything was back to normal. I wish the Alexa app would detect eero units and recommend if eero Built-in should be enabled or disabled.
Final thoughts on the Echo Dot and Echo Dot for Kids
Smart speakers are the backbone of any smart home. It’s what connects all the different devices together. The 5th generation Echo speakers bring Alexa to the entire family. Parents can use the Echo Dot with Clock as a bedside alarm clock. The kids can use the Echo Dot Kids to ask Alexa weird and wonderful things. Parental controls and Amazon Kids+ ensure content is age appropriate.
Eero integration in the 5th Gen Echo Dots is a huge selling point for people like me. I chose the eero 6E system to future-proof my smart home. However, I underestimated how powerful the system is. The eero integration caused a lot of network issues. It’s probably because my eero router was too close. I’m glad to see it can be disabled in the new Echo Dots.
I think kids will love the Echo Dot Kids. However, after a year parents will have to pay $5.99 a month for the subscription service. I recommend giving kids an Amazon Fire HD tablet along with the Echo Dot for Kids. That way, they can take full advantage of Amazon Kids+. It doesn’t seem to be a good value with just the Echo speaker. Still, it’s a great way to get started with Amazon Kids+, especially with a Fire tablet.
Who is the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock and Echo Dot for Kids for?
If you’re starting a smart home or building onto an existing one, get the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock and Echo Dot Kids. The sound is impressive and Alexa opens up a world of possibility in any home and any age.