I really want to like the Dot. I got it on Black Friday so at the price I couldn’t resist. I did not get it to control smart switches or the temperature or anything like that. I got it mostly because my parents have the original Echo and this seems like the same thing in a smaller form. A few of my opinions and reactions to other reviews:
• I am not sure why there are so many complaints about the speaker volume in this?? I have it in my living room and no matter where I am in the room I can hear Alexa just fine. In fact, most times I don’t have the volume set above level 5. I don’t know what others are doing that they say it is hard to hear, but for me I have zero issue with that!!
• I knew it was small, but this thing is like the size of a coaster. I find that to be a plus because it can go basically anywhere and not even be seen if you prefer.
• Set up and syncing with Wi-Fi was incredibly simple and I have had no issue since then.
• I am slightly disappointed at what appears to be limitations on the Dot’s vocabulary or word recognition. Alexa far too often confuses what I say, or is unable to provide answers to questions that should be easy to answer
• The Alexa skills through the Alexa app are nice ways to add capabilities to your Dot, but I don’t like how you then have to remember a different phrase for each individual skill you have enabled. I wish that enabling a skill became part of the Dot’s natural interaction instead of having to identify it by stating the skill you want it to do.
• Alexa is very useful in many ways. She is very good at math which my daughter found out doing her homework one day. Being able to call for an Uber or look things up on Wikipedia is fantastic. Getting the daily news in the morning, playing some Jeopardy, hearing the weather, or setting an alarm is great as well. I really like adding things to my to-do list. What is interesting is that Alexa’s vocabulary does not seem stifled for this task as she will add verbatim whatever you say.
• Alexa only Prime deals is another added benefit, although I have yet to actually find a deal I want to take advantage of I know that there have been some in the past that were truly great deals and only available with an Alexa enabled device.
The final thing I will say is that I am glad that there is the ability to change the “wake word” from Alexa. For a few days I could not understand why it seemed like Alexa was talking when I would speak to my daughter. It finally dawned on me that when I would say my daughter’s name, Alyssa, sometimes Alexa would interpret that as me saying Alexa!! (Amazon Promo Code 20 Off) She would also respond at times if the TV commercial for the Dot came on so just an fyi that her hearing can be sensitive!! Overall I think this is a fun gadget to have. I hope that it will continue to evolve in it’s capabilities and that eventually it will do many more things without having to search for a specific skill to add to enable it to do things.