Skip to main content

Verge Editor’s Choice: Amazon Echo Dot

Verge Editor’s Choice: Amazon Echo Dot

Share this story

Amazon Dot Echo white hands-on photos

Of all the voice-controlled, virtual assistants I have access to across the various devices I own and use, I converse with Amazon’s Alexa the most. Alexa wakes me up in the mornings, turns my lights on and off, lets me know when my pasta is cooked, keeps tabs on my grocery list, and tells me what tomorrow’s weather is going to be like when I’m planning my outfit. It’s not that Siri, Google Assistant, or Cortana can’t do the same things — they certainly can — it’s that Alexa is the most accessible of the voice assistants. And, in my home, that makes it the most used.

Welcome to Editor's Choice, where the reviewers of The Verge choose their very favorite products and explain why they love them. This award is given to products that Verge editors can (and do) personally recommend to friends, family, and random strangers on the street.

Alexa is so accessible thanks to the diminutive Echo Dot. The least expensive of Amazon’s Echo devices, the Dot is cheap enough and small enough that I can place it in virtually every room of my home, giving me access to Alexa wherever I might be. I have them everywhere: there’s one on the nightstand next to my bed, there’s one in my office, there’s one in the playroom, there's even one built into the thermostat mounted on the wall. Basically, I can utter the universal “Alexa” command in any room of my home and have one of the Echo devices snap to life.

Amazon says that playing music is the most common use for its Echo devices, and you can certainly do that with the Echo Dot. Its built-in speaker is crummy for blasting tunes, but plugging it into a larger speaker or pairing it over Bluetooth to a wireless speaker fixes that problem.

But to me, using the Echo Dot just to listen to music misses the larger picture, even if it is fun to voice control your house party. The Echo Dot makes it possible to turn your entire home into the 24th century Starship Enterprise (you can even change the wake up command to “Computer” for the full Star Trek experience) in the early 21st century, all for less than the cost of last year’s smartphone.

At its regular price of $49.99, the Echo Dot is an impulse purchase — at least by tech standards. If you’re savvy, you can get it even cheaper; Amazon frequently discounts it by 10 or 15 dollars. And if you want a bunch of them, Amazon will often give you a discount if you buy three at a time. That low price is what makes it so accessible, and what eventually makes it possible to have one in every room in your house.

The Echo Dot is great on its own for timers, alarms, facts, weather reports, and more, but it really comes alive when it’s used to control the various smart home gadgets I have throughout my home. I use the Dot to control the Philips Hue lights in my bedroom, to close the garage door from my bed when I forget, or to adjust the temperature of my HVAC system. My wife and I manage our shared grocery list in the kitchen by asking Alexa to add things to it with our voices. Both of us can then access this list through the Alexa app on our smartphones when we’re at the store.

I’ll soon be able to use it to control my TV, thanks to the new integration with Amazon’s Fire TV. The Dot has become the access point to the central nervous system of my smart home.

The Echo Dot is an overachiever in almost every sense. It’s perhaps the least expensive modern gadget in my home, but it’s one of my most used. For that reason, it has earned The Verge Editor’s Choice award.

Photography by Dan Seifert / The Verge

The Amazon Echo Dot /

Available on Amazon

Buy Now

Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 14 minutes ago The tablet didn’t call that play by itself

External Link
Elizabeth Lopatto14 minutes ago
Hurricane Fiona ratcheted up tensions about crypto bros in Puerto Rico.

“An official emergency has been declared, which means in the tax program, your physical presence time is suspended,” a crypto investor posted on TikTok. “So I am headed out of the island.” Perhaps predictably, locals are furious.

The Verge
Richard Lawler47 minutes ago
Teen hacking suspect linked to GTA 6 leak and Uber security breach charged in London.

City of London police tweeted Saturday that the teenager arrested on suspicion of hacking has been charged with “two counts of breach of bail conditions and two counts of computer misuse.”

They haven’t confirmed any connection with the GTA 6 leak or Uber hack, but the details line up with those incidents, as well as a suspect arrested this spring for the Lapsus$ breaches.

The Verge
Richard LawlerTwo hours ago
Green light.

Good morning to everyone, except for the intern or whoever prevented us from seeing how Microsoft’s Surface held up to yet another violent NFL incident.

Today’s big event is the crash of a NASA spaceship this evening — on purpose. Mary Beth Griggs can explain.

David PierceTwo hours ago
Thousands and thousands of reasons people love Android.

“Android fans, what are the primary reasons why you will never ever switch to an iPhone?” That question led to almost 30,000 comments so far, and was for a while the most popular thing on Reddit. It’s a totally fascinating peek into the platform wars, and I’ve spent way too much time reading through it. I also laughed hard at “I can turn my text bubbles to any color I like.”

Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
Thomas Ricker10:44 AM UTC
The Simpsons pays tribute to Chrome’s dino game.

Season 34 of The Simpsons kicked off on Sunday night with an opening credits “couch gag” based on the offline dino game from Google’s Chrome browser. Cactus, cactus, couch, d’oh! Perfect.

Thomas Ricker7:29 AM UTC
Table breaks before Apple Watch Ultra’s sapphire glass.

”It’s the most rugged and capable Apple Watch yet,” said Apple at the launch of the Apple Watch Ultra (read The Verge review here). YouTuber TechRax put that claim to the test with a series of drop, scratch, and hammer tests. Takeaways: the titanium case will scratch with enough abuse, and that flat sapphire front crystal is tough — tougher than the table which cracks before the Ultra fails — but not indestructible.

Emma RothSep 25
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.

Emma RothSep 25
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.

External Link
Emma RothSep 25
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.

External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.