Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) review: Thoughts?

By Bradly Spicer •  Updated: 11/04/20 •  5 min read

Has Amazon entirely mixed it up with their new design and sound improvements?

Amazon Echo Dot Review

Audio quality is much clearer and it offers better Wi-Fi connectivity

The new 4th generation Amazon Echo Dot is a complete overhaul on the recent design, it’s a completely different take on the Amazon staple hockey puck styled design but is there much of a reason behind it?

The new Amazon Echo Dot is available in three different versions:


  • A much better speaker
  • Improved connectivity
  • Can work as a Zigbee Hub


  • Not really mountable, more-so for a side table
  • Buttons take a while to get used to
  • Not very discrete

It’s a considerable upgrade in terms of features and quality, if you want a better sounding device that you don’t need to shout at multiple times, the new 4th Generation Echo Dot may be perfect for you.

It boasts a quicker chipset and says it responds quicker than prior models (Although, we couldn’t replicate that), it’s got a design specific for producing better sounds and the entire new orb aesthetic is extremely pleasing to look at.

The 3rd Generation model (Which released back in 2018) was a staple household voice assistant. It was in constant sales from Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Prime Day.

Personally, in my opinion, this is a huge upgrade. If you’ve gone from a 2nd generation even more so. The Orb like design keeps it looking sleek and is a definite competitor to the new Google Home and Apple Smart Hubs.

Here’s the thing though the new Amazon Echo Dot 4th Generation is great due to its new speaker design, however, it’s not quite there if you already have third-party speakers like Sonos.

All-new design

The new Sphere shaped Echo Dot throws away its conventional hockey-puck design in favour of a sleeker and more robust shape.

The 4th generation echo dot comes in its typical three colors; glacier white, charcoal gray and twilight blue. Not revolutionary and if I’m honest, it would be nice to see some different designs like a wood finish.

It’s the exact same width as the prior 3rd generation at 3.9 inches but is considerably taller. At almost double the height of its prior model, you can see why it sounds so much better.

This design is much more about showing off and being clean, it should be the corner of a room or up against a wall to allow for sound to bounce off that wall.

It does still have a fabric exterior, but this time round it covers almost the entirety of the speaker, leaving the back and the bottom as plastic.

The lights themselves take some getting used to, they’re on the bottom of the device now which gives them that RGB light strip diffusion aesthetic. So, whilst it does take some time to get used to, it does look good in a poorly lit room.

Speakers & Sound Quality

Every generation, the new Amazon Echo Dot speaker improves, if you look back to the 1st and 2nd generation Echo devices, the speakers were absolutely terrible and still are to this day.

The new 4th generation Echo Dot has a 1.6-inch mono driver speaker but is positions as a forward-firing speaker rather than up. The speaker itself uses the same wattage (15-watt) power supply, as it’s siblings, so you shouldn’t see that much of an improvement in terms of amplification.

But what I can tell you, is that due to the forward-facing speaker, the quality is infinitely better, I can’t tell you how much nicer it is to listen to my Lo-Fi playlist whilst I work on the new 4th Gen Echo Dot in comparison to my Google Home Mini or my 3rd Gen Echo Dot.

I like to use Lo-Fi as a specifier for my listening tests simply because it offers a clear test of highs & lows along-side a nice repetitive baseline. But, I can confirm it also made Led Zeppelin sound just as good as well and I’m not talking “Stairway to Heaven”, I’m talking about “Communication Breakdown”. From the high pitch screeching from a guitar solo to Robert Plant’s vocal range, it sounded fantastic for a price point of $50.

To put it bluntly, the Echo Dot 4th Gen speaker is above and beyond any other speaker at this price range, so, if you’re a music nut and on a budget, this Smart Assistant is great for you.

Amazon Echo Dot 4th Generation Jack
Just plug in your own speaker for even better quality

If you’re getting this as an upgrade simply for music, I’d highly suggest avoiding that and simply getting a better speaker you can plug into it via the jack in the back.

Alternatively, you can always use a preferred Wi-Fi speaker with your Echo Dot to listen to all your favourite music services, including Amazon Music, Spotify, Deezer, Tidal and more.

The Echo Dot is the best budget smart speaker on the market

Amazon Echo Dot 4th Generation Comparison

The new design is sleek, the sound quality is slightly better and the response time is supposedly quicker. But why is it so good?

Simply put, the price of the device makes it the best on the market at the moment, it outdoes its competitors in terms of features and functionality and will make a fantastic edition to your Smart Home.

There’s been huge leaps and bounds with the overall quality and I love the new design, but the Zigbee features are pretty limited.

There’s still at least another generation to go before we’ve got a solid all-in-one Smart Speaker / Hub.

Bradly Spicer

I'm a Smart Home and IT Enthusiast that loves to check out new technology and gadgets! I enjoy reading your experiences and news, so if you want to share anything or chat smart homes, definitely send me an email!