When Amazon first released the Echo Dot a few months ago, the company made it so that only owners of the original Echo could purchase it. This certainly did limit the availability of the Echo Dot, but Amazon looks to have made some nice, subtle improvements so that the overall experience is better than ever. First off, since the majority of folks out there probably don't have one, the Echo dot is essentially a little hockey puck-like gadget that you either plug in or connect via Bluetooth to an existing pair of speakers that you own.
The Echo Dot has all of the same functionality that the larger Echo has, but uses your own pair of speakers to kick out its audio responses. This means that you can use the Echo Dot to play music on Spotify, hail a car with Uber, get your local weather report, control other aspects of your connected home (e.g. lights, fans, thermostat, etc.), and so much more. The original version of the Echo Dot was reported to have some issues with its speech recognition when talking to it, but Amazon has improved that with the new model so that shouldn't prove to be an issue at all.
However, unlike the original Echo Dot, the new model is much more affordable and widely available. The device is currently up for purchase on Amazon's website for just $49.99 and is available to all Amazon customers in both the US and the UK. It's great to see Amazon not only make the Echo Dot available for non-Prime customers, but also cut the price by so much.
The Echo Dot is shipping now, and if you're in the market to start making your home smarter than ever while staying on a budget, this is easily one of the best choices that you currently have.