Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th gen, 2022) review: Can't judge a smart speaker by its cover

Doing more with less...space.

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen, 2022)
(Image: © Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Android Central Verdict

Amazon continues to find ways to make its smallest smart speaker an even better value by improving existing features and sound quality and including new ones, like added functionality to the LED display and eero compatibility. The limited color choices and the 3.5mm jack removal are downers, though.

Pros

  • +

    Better sound quality than last year's model

  • +

    New LED display features are helpful

  • +

    Can expand your Wi-Fi coverage

  • +

    The new tap controls bring added convenience

  • +

    The built-in temperature sensor can be used for smart home automations

Cons

  • -

    It lacks the 3.5mm audio jack

  • -

    Only available in two light colors

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The 2022 release of the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock marks the 5th generation of the diminutive smart speaker. While it would make sense for us to wonder what else could be done with such a small device, Amazon continues to find ways to make the speaker even more helpful. I've had some time to test the latest Amazon Echo Dot with Clock and though at a glance it is impossible to tell the difference from the previous model, once you start using it is where the separation begins.

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th gen, 2022): Pricing and availability

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen, 2022)

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Amazon announced the new Echo Dot with Clock in September 2022 for pre-order at a retail price of $59.99, with availability to purchase beginning October 20, 2022. The speaker comes in two colors — Twilight Blue and Glacier White. The smart speaker can be found at Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and more.

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th gen, 2022): What's good

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen, 2022)

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Sticking with the same overall design that was introduced with the 4th generation of Amazon Echo Dot and Dot with Clock, the latest version is spherical in shape with an indicator ring around the speaker's base. From the outside, very little has changed, and unless you ask the speaker a question or play music, you'd never know the Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen, 2022) was the newest model. 

Moving forward, I'm going to refer to the speaker simply as Echo Dot with Clock and will be sure I designate the 4th and 5th gen when comparing.

While it may seem like a small change, the LED display on the Echo Dot with Clock improvements is big in practice.

We can see a difference during moments of interaction because Amazon finally updated the LED display that separates this speaker from all the others in Amazon's lineup. At first glance, the display looks the same as before, with individual LEDs making up a pixelated-style readout. But now, it can show more than just the time.

Now the LEDs can give some visual feedback similar to what you get from wonderful, smart displays like the Amazon Echo Show 8, but it is still limited. For example, when asking Alexa on the Echo Dot with Clock for the weather, the display will show a simple icon of a cloud if it's a cloudy day, along with the high and low temps. If playing a song, it will display the artist's name and song title. These are just some ways the improved display on the Echo Dot with Clock is becoming even more helpful.

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen, 2022)

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

The other change to the Echo Dot with Clock's exterior is something that isn't visible at all. It's the new tap-to-control feature. You still get all of the familiar voice controls we've had for years on all of the excellent Alexa smart speakers, along with the physical buttons to adjust volume, playback, and mute the microphone. But now you can tap the speaker's top to stop a timer, pause a song, end a call, and more. This has been pretty helpful when I'd rather not speak to the device, and a quick tap does the job.

Amazon has improved the Echo Dot with Clock both inside and out, with visible and unseen changes for the better.

Moving to the interior changes, the new Echo Dot with Clock gets improved sound quality with a slightly larger speaker — moving from 1.6 inches to a 1.73-inch driver. It isn't a massive change, but for a device with a small speaker to start with, any growth in that area will result in improvements. While you won't get room-rumbling bass from the Echo Dot with Clock, it sounds really nice, and considering the size, I have no complaints about the audio quality.

Another thing Amazon has managed to squeeze into the smart speaker is an improved temperature sensor. The Echo Dot with Clock can keep track of the temperature in the room it is in, which opens up even more home automation options. I have set it to turn on the Govee Smart Turbo Circulator Fan if the temperature in my office hits 69℉ during work days. By the way, if you are looking for a feature-rich smart tabletop fan, I really like Govee's, which sells for $70 on Amazon (opens in new tab).

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen)
Size3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches
Weight10.7 ounces
ProcessorAZ2 Neural Edge
Speaker1.73-inch speaker
3.5mm port🚫
Bluetooth
Wi-Fi802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz / 5GHz)
ButtonsVolume up and down, Mic off, Action button, Tap to control
Pair for stereo sound
Light ringRuns along base of speaker
LED clock
ColorsGlacier White, Twilight Blue
Retail cost$60
Compatible with eero routers
Built-in temperature sensor

The final feature of the Echo Dot with Clock has been its ability to work as a Wi-Fi extender for eero mesh systems. It is compatible with all eero mesh routers except eero Home Wi-Fi System (1st gen). But if you have one of these fantastic mesh routers, your Echo Dot with Clock can expand your Wi-Fi coverage by up to 1000 square feet. This is debuting first on the Amazon Echo Dot (5th gen, 2022) vs. Echo Dot with Clock (5th gen,2022), but will roll out to the 4th gen models in the future.

Though not necessarily a feature, Amazon did upgrade the processor inside the Echo Dot with Clock to its latest AZ2 Neural Edge chip. This processor is the same one used in higher-end devices like the Echo Show 10 and Show 15. It provides faster processing and responses to questions, and I have definitely seen an improvement in that area.

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th gen, 2022): What's not good

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen, 2022)

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

When considering purchasing the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock, there are certain expectations that need to be realized in order not to be disappointed. The biggest one is the audio output these small speakers can output. Sure, they sound really good for their size, but if you plan to bump a rager at your house, this isn't your speaker.

For all that Amazon added to the new Echo Dot with Clock, it is unfortunate that the 3.5mm audio jack was removed.

In the past, you could have still used your handy Echo Dot with Clock to manage your music while hosting big parties by plugging in more powerful speakers into the 3.5mm audio jack. Unfortunately, that helpful port is no longer an option. Perhaps it was a necessary loss to facilitate the larger speaker, or Amazon felt it wasn't being utilized by enough people to continue including it. Regardless of the reason, it's gone.

The only other bummer I have with the new Echo Dot with Clock is the color choices. I don't mind the Twilight Blue or Glacier White, but they are both lighter hues that may not work with everyone's home decor. Perhaps you prefer darker shades and the Charcoal or new Deep Sea Blue options for the standard Echo Dot. Not sure the reasoning behind this, but I would have liked those other colors to be available on the Echo Dot with Clock. 

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th gen, 2022): Competition

Lenovo Smart Clock Essential with Alexa

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

The small smart speaker space isn't overly crowded, but the ones in the arena are pretty solid. If you want to stick with Amazon-made devices and want the same features, you'll have to go with the standard Echo Dot. While you'll get all of the new features found on the clock version, you will lose the LED display. You could opt for the 4th generation models, but you will miss the tap-to-control, larger speaker, eero compatibility, and more. 

Stepping outside of the Amazon-branded speakers, the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential with Alexa Built-in is one to consider. I've been testing this device for a while now, and it has some great features. The small display is very nice, with cute animations when the speaker is listening, and shows the time, temperature, and other information. You do lose some Alexa features that Amazon keeps to its own products. But largely, it's the same experience in terms of voice control.

The display is arguably better than the Echo Dot with Clock. The Smart Clock Essential with Alexa Built-in is also cheaper, coming in at about $30 from Best Buy (opens in new tab). Lenovo's option does lack the powerful AZ2 Neural Edge processor, temperature sensor, eero integration, and the larger speaker. Plus, it doesn't get things like access to Amazon Kids+, either.

Nest Mini

(Image credit: Android Central)

The Nest Mini is a great option if you want a smaller smart speaker and are willing to look at a smart assistant other than Alexa. During our review of the speaker, we found that it offered a lot of value for the price. It sells for $49 at the regular price but is routinely found for less. It doesn't have the clock that the Echo Dot with Clock has or Lenovo's offering, but the sound quality is solid, and Google Assistant is super helpful.

Google hasn't packed nearly as many sensors into its puck-sized smart speaker, but the device is snappy and provides plenty of useful features. One that I feel is often overlooked is the built-in hole in the back that allows you to hang it on your wall, clearing up even more desk space. It's not a feature that will necessarily help you get things done, but it's nice nonetheless. 

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th gen, 2022): Should you buy it?

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen, 2022)

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

You should buy this if...

  • You want a great sounding small Alexa speaker.
  • You like to automate your smart home devices.
  • You want a helpful desk or nightstand device that offers more than just a clock.
  • You have an eero mesh Wi-Fi system.

You should not buy this if...

  • You listen to music with a lot of heavy bass.
  • You have speakers you want to plug into it.
  • You don't like light color hues.

The Amazon Echo Dot with Clock is one of the best smart speakers you can buy, thanks to its long list of helpful features. It has been a great buy for years, and the latest model only solidifies that position. The improved speaker makes most listening experiences pleasant. However, if you like bass-heavy music or want to plug your shelf speakers into it, you'll be very disappointed. 

But the new functionality added to the LED display by offering visual feedback to requests and the always available clock is fantastic. I also think the tap-to-control that made its way to the speaker will likely be an unsung favorite, as can the temperature sensor for smart home fans. Being able to automate smart home devices based on the room temperature can really be helpful.

Even though the new Echo Dot with Clock looks nice in the colors Amazon offers, the lighter shades might not be for everyone. But if you can manage to accept the available options and choose to buy this pint-sized smart speaker, I think you'll be quite happy with your purchase.