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Amazon Echo Dot Kids (5th generation) Review

Verdict

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Trusted Reviews Recommended

Available in cute finishes with an improved guarantee and a year’s subscription to Kids+, the Amazon Echo Dot Kids (5th generation) is well worth the extra tenner over the standard Echo Dot. Amazon’s parental controls are brilliant, offering fine, granular control to keep children of all ages safe. However, if you have an existing Echo smart speaker, this can simply be converted to kids mode, which could save you some cash.

Pros

  • Excellent guarantee
  • Funky new designs
  • Improved audio

Cons

  • 3.5mm audio jack has been removed

Availability

  • UKRRP: £64.99
  • USARRP: $64.99

Key Features

  • ConnectionThis smart speaker connects via dual-bad Wi-Fi 5.
  • AudioA 1.73-inch driver improves music quality over the previous generation.

Introduction

Across its range of devices, it’s fair to say that Amazon has nailed parental controls, creating safe environments for kids to play in. Last year, we had the first Echo Dot Kids speaker, but this year, we have a new version with all-new cute designs and improved hardware.

Best for younger children, this device is well worth the extra £10 over the Echo Dot (5th gen) version thanks to the improved guarantee and year of Kids+ subscription.

Design

  • Dragon and owl designs
  • No 3.5mm audio output
  • An Echo Dot (5th generation) on the inside

As with the previous Echo Dot Kids speaker, the Amazon Echo Dot Kids (5th generation) is an Echo Dot (5th generation) smart speaker with a new paint job. Last year, we had a tiger and a panda; this year, the choice is an owl or, as I have, a dragon. That’s enough choice to keep most kids happy, although I have to say that I slightly prefer the choices from last year.

Aside from the colours, the layout and controls on this model are the same as on the standard Echo Dot. On top, there are physical controls for volume, mute and action. 

Amazon Echo Dot Kids (5th generation) controls
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

At the back there’s now just a power input, and the 3.5mm audio output has been removed. That’s not really an issue, as I always thought it unlikely that you’d want to hook up a kids speaker to an external sound source.

Amazon Echo Dot Kids (5th generation) rear
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Bluetooth is available if you do want to do this, and the speaker can be used as a Bluetooth speaker itself.

Features and Amazon Kids

  • 2-year worry-free guarantee
  • One-year of Kids+
  • Impressive parental controls

There’s actually nothing different about the Amazon Echo Dot Kids (5th generation) compared to the regular Echo Dot. In fact, you can take any regular Echo smart speaker and turn on parental controls. So why bother with this model, aside from the fancy paint job?

First, this speaker defaults to turning on kids mode, which makes life a little bit easier. Secondly, it comes with Amazon’s excellent 2-year worry-free guarantee, where the speaker will be replaced with no questions asked if it should get damaged.

Thirdly, it comes with a year’s subscription to Kids+, which gets you a host of books, games and apps spread across any Amazon devices you have, including the Echo, and Fire Tablets. Here, the extras include additional games, educational content and some audiobooks. All of these extras make this product well worth the extra £10.

I don’t find Skills as easy to find on the Echo, as apps, books and videos are on other devices, as discovery is all via voice. Amazon has attempted to make this easier, with the command, “Alexa, open Kids+”, and there’s a list of Echo Kids+ skills online. Of course, all Skills are filtered by age range.

My review of the regular Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation) goes into more detail on the standard features, but here I’ll look at the parental controls, which are available via the Alexa app or the web-based Amazon Parents Dashboard.

With Kids mode on an Echo speaker, a profile has to be assigned to the device. By default, the profile disables voice purchasing but also turns on additional options. First, there’s an option to set bedtimes, which stops kids from talking to Alexa when they should be sleeping. You can also pause Alexa, which can be handy, I find, when a child has homework, and I don’t want them cheating.

Amazon Echo Dot Kids (5th generation) parental controls
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Outside of that, Alexa can be very helpful for kids, helping them learn how to spell words and giving answers to general questions.

I find that my daughter loves her Alexa for music, so the option to limit music choices and remove any songs with explicit lyrics is useful. This works on Amazon Music, Apple Music and Spotify.

In many homes, Alexa isn’t just a device for music and questions, but a tool for controlling the smart home. Fortunately, the kid’s profile lets me disable smart home control, so my kids can’t fiddle with the heating, for example (on purpose or by accident).

I want more granular control. For example, it would be better if an Echo device could be allowed to control devices in the same room. That way, my daughter could ask Alexa to close her curtains and turn off her lights, without being able to control devices around the house.

Likewise, more granular control over communication would be useful. As it stands, communication can be turned on or off. If it’s on, then kids can send broadcast messages; if it’s off, then kids don’t get broadcast messages. I want an option so kids’ devices can receive messages, but they’re blocked from sending them.

The improved tap controls are available too: a tap will snooze an alarm and works to play/pause music. I find the latter particularly helpful with my kids, as tapping is a quicker way to control music playback than using voice commands.

This speaker also has the temperature sensor that the other new Echo Dot models have, which lets you make Alexa Routines based on the temperature in a room.

Sound quality

  • Improved audio quality
  • Clear audio responses

As with the Echo Dot (5th generation), the Amazon Echo Dot Kids (5th generation) has an updated audio system, with a larger 1.73-inch speaker than the previous generation. The difference is impressive and turns the Echo Dot into a capable music speaker.

The high-end can get a bit harsh, and the speaker can’t quite produce the full subtlety on all tracks, but volume and bass are improved to the point where this is a decent music speaker all on its own.

Older kids that are a bit more demanding may prefer the Echo (4th generation), but there’s enough musical prowess here to keep most children happy.

Amazon Echo Dot Kids (5th generation) light on
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Latest deals

Should you buy it?

If you’ve got kids and want them to have Alexa, this is the best (and cutest) way for them to get safe access.

If you’ve got a spare Echo speaker, you can convert it into a kids mode via the Alexa app, saving money.

Final Thoughts

Any regular Echo Dot or Echo speaker can be converted into a kid-friendly version. If you’ve got an old speaker knocking around, then doing this is a good and cheap choice. However, if you don’t have a spare speaker and want your kids to have access to Alexa, then the Amazon Echo Dot Kids (5th generation) is a brilliant choice. Parental controls are excellent, while the addition of Kids+ and the 2-year worry-free guarantee make the extra £10 well worth it.

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FAQs

What’s the difference between the Amazon Echo Dot Kids (5th generation) and the 4th generation model?

The 5th generation model uses the improved Echo Dot (5th generation) with new tap controls, plus a bigger speaker. The new model is available in different skins (owl and dragon) to the original (tiger and panda).

Can any Echo speaker be put into kids mode?

Any of the existing Echo audio speakers can be used in kids mode.

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