Amazon Echo Dot Kids (2022) hands-on: Cute, smart, and plenty of fun for kids
The Echo Dot Kids picked up a slew of new hardware improvements, but the Owl and Dragon designs might steal the show.
Smart speakers have become so common in many households in the past few years, and it can all be traced back to Amazon with the original Echo in 2014. But as time has passed and popularity has risen, the Echo has evolved into many forms and for more users. The Echo Dot is the least expensive smart speaker in the line, and the new Amazon Echo Dot Kids (2022) is the latest in the lineup with a focus on children.
While Amazon could have just put a cute design on the spherical speaker and said it's a kid's edition, it takes it a step further than that. Of course, the Echo Dot Kids speakers look cute, and the inclusion of kid-appropriate content is at the center of it all, thanks to Amazon Kids+. This feature not only makes the kids happy but parents too because it also brings a host of safety features. So with all of that out of the way, let's get into what's changed in the new Amazon Echo Dot Kids (2022).
Amazon Echo Dot Kids (2022) hands-on: A smart speaker the whole family can enjoy
Just some housekeeping here; I will refer to the Amazon Echo Dot Kids (2022) simply as Amazon Echo Dot Kids moving forward for simplicity. However, I'll be sure to differentiate when comparing to other models.
Not long ago, Amazon held its Fall 2022 Devices and Services event, in which there were some really great announcements. One of them was the new Echo Dot Kids alongside the standard Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock, which we also reviewed. These three speakers share nearly everything short of the LED clock display, Amazon Kids+ features, and color choices. But the speaker, sensors, Alexa, and more are all the same for each device.
To get all the details of the new sensors and what's changed from the 4th generation Echo Dots to the new 5th gen models, check out the Echo Dot with Clock review. I'll try briefly describing what changed from the Amazon Echo Dot Kids (4th gen) to the 5th generation here.
Amazon added touch controls to Echo Dot Kids to go with the familiar buttons. These new touch controls allow you to tap the speaker to pause music, stop a timer, snooze an alarm, and more.
For folks with additional smart home devices like thermostats, lights, etc., the built-in temperature sensor can trigger routines like turning on a smart fan should the room reach a specific temperature. But to make all of those smart features work even better, the Echo Dot Kids is compatible with all of the best eero routers — except the first generation — to expand your Wi-Fi coverage up to 1000sqft. The new models are the same size as before but have a larger speaker.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Echo Dot Kids (5th Gen)|
|Size||3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches|
|Processor||AZ2 Neural Edge|
|Wi-Fi||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz / 5GHz)|
|Buttons||Volume up and down, Mic off, Action button, Tap to control|
|Pair for stereo sound||✔|
|Light ring||Runs along base of speaker|
|Compatible with eero routers||✔|
|Built-in temperature sensor||✔|
|Amazon Kids+||1 year included free and two-year worry-free warranty|
The sound quality is impressive, considering the device's small size. Kids will love listening to their favorite music, audiobooks, and other fun, safe content from Amazon Kids+. If you're unfamiliar with the service, we have a helpful guide on Amazon Kids+ to get you up to speed. In short, it is a specially curated library of apps, games, videos, books, and more for kids. Purchasing the Amazon Echo Dot Kids gets you a free year of service that can also be used on the excellent Amazon Fire Kids tablets.
Some things like videos and apps won't work with the smart speaker because it doesn't have a display. For a smart display, you could consider the Echo Show 5 Kids. So even though using Amazon Kids+ on the Echo Dot Kids won't have the full library available, it still provides a lot of great content for kids. Plus, Amazon Kids+ is about more than just the content.
Using Amazon Kids+ on the Echo Dot Kids also provides parents with plenty of controls to set when the speaker is available to interact with, the age range of accessible content, kid-appropriate Alexa responses, and more. These safety features get even more helpful when applied to devices like tablets.
A feature that's been talked about for over a year now but still isn't available is the "Hey, Disney" voice assistant (opens in new tab). This is supposed to let you access Disney content specifically designed to work with Echo devices. However, the feature is still missing despite getting another plug during Amazon's Fall 2022 event.
But even with the Amazon Echo Dot Kids missing out on the fun of Disney, the speaker is still the best option for parents that want to let their kids use a smart speaker. My kids have enjoyed using the Dragon model we've been testing. Parents still get all the Alexa features that we're used to, and kids get safe, entertaining interactions with the voice assistant.
Once the speaker is set up and Amazon Kids+ is enabled, nothing further needs to be done for your kids to interact with it. We changed the wake word in the Alexa app from the standard Alexa to Ziggy to make it a bit more fun when talking to the cute dragon speaker. But that's a personal choice that isn't required in order for kids to use the Amazon Kids+ features.
Amazon continues to do a great job at offering devices the whole family can enjoy while ensuring kids aren't exposed to inappropriate content. The hardware improvements in the Echo Dot Kids over previous generations only solidify Amazon as a leader in the smart home space with some of the best smart speakers, kids or otherwise.
While the kids may not fully appreciate the improved sound quality, built-in temperature sensor, eero router compatibility, and other techie changes, they are helpful changes regardless. But the fun new designs and ever-expanding Amazon Kids+ library are bound to make your children smile.
- Fun Owl and Dragon designs
- Better sound quality than previous models
- Built-in temperature sensor for smart home routines
- Can expand your Wi-Fi coverage up to 1000sqft
- Amazon Kids+ brings fantastic parental controls and kid-appropriate content
- The "Hey, Disney" feature still isn't ready
- Missing character-specific responses at launch
- Some Amazon Kids+ experiences are underwhelming without a display
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