Amazon Echo Dot’s 2nd Generation closely followed the first gen model, and aside from price, I’m not really sure what major changes were made to justify this release so soon after the original. Considering I was able to grab this little guy for just $25 shipped from Best Buy, I figured why not give it a go. Waiting for Apple’s version with Siri home integration wasn’t cutting it for me, I wanted in on the fun and for $25 what did I have to lose.

For starters, while this is being marketed as an Alexa companion to plug into your pre-existing speakers or home audio system (as opposed to the self-sufficient Echo or Tap), that is not a requirement at all. The Echo Dot does have a small built in speaker, that for a small room such as a nursery for streaming music, sounds just fine. It is plenty loud and clear but obviously has its limits. Certain songs sound tinny when the volume is too high but that is to be expected. Also, they are banking on people buying one of these for every room in the house, because they are so small and cheap, but I just don’t see the need for it. Even with the deals you can find on Amazon such as Buy 6 Get 1 Free. Does anyone really need 7 of these, unless it is being used as a holiday gift for friends and family or for an office? Some of my other minor gripes are that the cord is pretty short in length, making it hard to place it exactly where I wanted to and if you buy a white version of the Dot, in my opinion, it should ship with a white power cord, but again, not deal breakers.

The 2nd Generation Echo Dot really is a great, affordable, alternative to the much bigger, and more expensive, Amazon Echo or Tap with one major drawback that has lead to its return. The fact that it can run Alexa on its own (as long as its plugged in), with all of the same features of its bigger siblings for just $50 is a great bargain for those not so engrained in the Apple ecosystem, like myself. Not being reliant on any other devices or speakers, despite Amazon’s marketing that it is an add-on to your home audio setup is nice, but not nice enough. The one key feature that is missing, that lead to my dissatisfaction and eventual return, was the inability to stream music from Apple Music. Honestly, I should have realized this before purchasing, since they list Pandora, TuneIn, Spotify and others on all of the listings and the box, I just figured it would naturally work and I could stream Apple Music to the Echo Dot from my iPhone, Mac or iPad.

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You can get Dominoes and an Uber but not your Apple Music library?!

Alas, I was wrong and ultimately the Amazon Echo Dot 2nd Generation is yet another victim on the long list of my tech returns. Welcome to my life. I buy, I try, I return, and I repeat that cycle way more often than I should (just ask my wife or the UPS delivery guy), but with the ease (and no cost) of returns at most places these days, whether in store or on-line, why not. I never know when I will find something worth investing in, no matter how cheap or expensive it may be and if I can try it out first, it makes little sense not to.

Back to waiting for Apple to release their own Siri powered home device.

Until next time…