Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (2nd gen) review: The clock-equipped Echo Dot gets a spherical makeover

Like chocolate-covered peanut butter or eggs served with bacon, an Amazon Echo Dot with a built-in clock turns out to be a splendid combination. The second-generation Echo Dot with Clock doesn’t veer far from the original’s winning formula, serving up the same basic LED display baked into an Alexa-powered smart speaker. The only real difference this time around, aside from slightly improved audio, is a revamped spherical design that’s now shared by the standard Echo Dot and the flagship Echo model. While the new Echo Dot with Clock does represent a clear stylistic departure from the original, there’s no real reason to rush out and replace an existing one.

Design

Available in “glacier white” and “twilight blue” flavors, the second-gen Echo Dot with Clock got the same spherical makeover that the standard Echo Dot did. Measuring 3.5 inches tall and 3.9 inches wide, the Echo Dot with Clock is nearly two inches taller than its predecessor, although it’s roughly the same width. The Dot with Clock’s digital display peeks out from the speaker’s fabric covering, and an adaptive brightness setting dims the readout in a dark room. Last but not least, Alexa’s light rings have been moved (quite attractively) from the top of the speaker to the base.

echo dot with clock with 3rd gen echo dot Ben Patterson/IDG

The second-gen Echo Dot with Clock sitting next to the last-gen (non-clock) Echo Dot. Yep, the new Echo Dot with Clock is considerably larger than the original.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart speakers. Click that link to read reviews of competing products, along with a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but If you ask me, the LED display makes the Echo Dot with Clock’s spherical design look considerably more stylish, while also managing to avoid the “huh?” reaction that the standard, now-spherical Dot tends to elicit. Indeed, my wife and daughter (who were decidedly unimpressed with the regular Dot) were quite taken with the Echo Dot with Clock, and my 8-year-old immediately asked if the LED-equipped Dot could go in her room.

Buttons and interfaces

The Echo Dot with Clock features the same buttons as the standard Echo Dot, including volume up/down, microphone mute, and “action” buttons sitting on the top of the speaker. While the volume and mic mute buttons are self-explanatory, the “action” button does a variety of things, such as waking Alexa, silencing alarms, and (when held for 25 seconds) resetting the speaker.

echo dot with clock top buttons Ben Patterson/IDG

The Echo Dot with Clock features buttons at the top for volume, mic mute, and “action,” and you can also tap the top to snooze alarms.

As with its predecessor, the new Echo Dot with Clock has a “tap to snooze” feature that lets you tap the top of the speaker to snooze an alarm, perfect for getting a tad more sleep without having to speak with Alexa. Once exclusive to the Echo Dot with Clock, the “tap to snooze” feature now works on the fourth-gen Echo Dot, as well.

The rear of the Echo Dot with Clock comes with identical interfaces as the new Echo Dot, including a 3.5mm audio jack for connecting a wired speaker (you can also connect a Bluetooth speaker), as well as a barrel-shaped power port for connecting the 5-foot AC cord. That power cable terminates in a chunky, 15-watt power supply that’s (unfortunately, and annoyingly) big enough to block nearby power outlets.

Setup

For details on how to connect the Echo Dot with Clock to your home wireless network, check out my review of the standard Echo Dot. The short version is that setting up the Echo Dot with Clock is a painless process, particularly if it comes pre-configured with your Amazon account (an option you can select while ordering the speaker).

echo dot with clock rear Ben Patterson/IDG

In the rear of the Echo Dot with Clock is a barrel-shaped power port and a 3.5mm audio jack for connecting a wired speaker.

If the Echo Dot with Clock is already set up with your account, all you have to do is plug it in and open the Alexa mobile app; when you do, an “Echo Dot can be set up” banner should appear. Tap it, and the Alexa app will step you through the process of adding the Echo Dot with Clock to your home Wi-Fi network. If the Dot with clock hasn’t been configured with your account, or you’re new to Alexa in general, you can simply tap More > Add a Device > Amazon Echo on the Alexa app to start the process. Either way, you should have the Dot with Clock up and running in a matter of minutes.