Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th generation) Review
Better audio, smarter display
With better audio and a smarter display than the original, the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th generation) is an overall improvement and the best choice if you want a smart alarm clock. I love the new tap controls, although it would be better if there were a way to completely stop an alarm rather than just snoozing it. For owners of the previous generation device, upgrading could be hard to justify.
- Improved audio
- Better tap controls
- Display shows more information
- 3.5mm audio jack has been removed
- UKRRP: £64.99
- USARRP: $64.99
- ConnectionThis smart speaker connects via dual-band Wi-Fi 5.
- AudioA larger 1.73-inch front-firing speaker improves audio quality, particularly for music.
Launched in tandem with the Echo Dot (5th generation), the Echo Dot with Clock (5th generation) takes the same basic design and throws in a smart LCD screen.
The display has been updated from previous versions, and now shows more information, as well as being slightly larger and easier to see.
For those that want a smart speaker and bedside clock, this remains the best overall choice.
- Spherical design
- Physical controls on top
- No 3.5mm audio output
The Echo Dot with Clock (5th generation) looks exactly like the Echo Dot (5th Generation) and the previous version, the Echo Dot with Clock (4th generation). I don’t mind this at all, as the spherical body still looks fantastic, built to look stylish and fit into a home, rather than looking like a smart speaker.
This clock is available in Cloud Blue and Glacier White, but not the dark blue that the Echo Dot (5th generation) is available in. This model is made of 95% recycled plastic and 55% recycled fabrics.
Plugging this smart speaker in shows the difference between this and the regular model: the LCD screen on the front. By default, this shows the current time based on the location that you set in the Alexa app.
There’s a slight variation in the display compared to the previous version. While the previous model displayed numbers in the traditional digital clock way, with long bars, the new clock uses dots. A slightly larger display on the new model makes it slightly easier to read, too.
Outside of the display, there’s the same range of features as on the regular Dot: volume, mute and action buttons on top. Amazon has removed the 3.5mm audio output that the previous generation had, although you can connect this speaker via Bluetooth (or use it as a Bluetooth speaker).
The light ring on this model, which glows different colours to show different things, such as yellow for notifications, shines down. I prefer this light to the upwards-shining lights of older Echo devices, as it’s not as intrusive and doesn’t light up the entire room.
- Display now does more
- Improved tap controls
- Does everything other Alexa speakers can do
The display on the old Echo Dot with Clock was quite limited: it could show the current external temperature when asked, the time, and any current timers, but that was it. The improved display on the Echo Dot with Clock (5th generation) does a lot more.
As the display uses dots, it can show icons. Ask for the weather report, and the Echo Dot with Clock (5th generation) will show an icon of the current conditions, such as cloudy, plus the display scrolls to show the maximum and minimum temperatures.
Play music and the display scrolls to show you the artist and track name, which is really useful. I did find that this feature didn’t work when I first plugged the speaker in, and I had to remove the power and reboot the speaker. I didn’t have issues after that.
Amazon has improved the tap controls on this model. While the old model supported a tap to snooze an alarm, the Echo Dot with Clock (5th generation) lets you play and pause music, too. I find that this is often a faster way of controlling music playback than using my voice. I would like to see an option to completely stop an alarm, maybe with two taps.
The display is set to react to ambient light automatically, dimming down when it’s dark and getting brighter when it’s light. The lowest setting was good enough that I could easily sleep through the night with the display on.
You can also ask Alexa to turn the display off, but doing that is a little pointless as it effectively turns this speaker into a regular Echo Dot.
This smart speaker has a low power mode, which the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th generation) enters automatically when not in use.
In the US, the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th generation) can act as part of an Eero system, boosting Wi-Fi coverage. That feature is not available in the UK at the moment.
There’s also the same temperature sensor as in the Echo Dot, which can be used to kickstart Alexa Routine, such as turning on a smart heater if it gets cold.
As Alexa is cloud-based, this speaker can do everything that other Echo speakers can do, and you can read more about these features in my Amazon Alexa guide.
- Front-firing 1.73-inch speaker
- Improved dynamic range
As with the standard Echo Dot (5th Generation), the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th generation) has a larger 1.73-inch front-firing speaker than its predecessor. This delivers a far more engaging audio experience.
I found that bass had more attack and depth, and audio was generally louder, better defined and clearer. Sure, with just a single speaker, the Echo Dot with Clock can’t resolve the full detail in tracks, and the high-end can sound occasionally harsh, but overall this is a pleasant speaker for listening to music.
It’s possible to pair two Echo Dot (5th Generation) speakers into a stereo pair, and they can be a mix of Clock and regular models.
Should you buy it?
If you want a bedside clock and smart speaker, then this is the overall best value device you can buy.
If you have the previous generation model, there’s not much reason to upgrade.
If you don’t care about the display, the regular Echo Dot is a better choice. If you want a handy bedside companion, then the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th generation), like its predecessor is an excellent choice. I love the upgraded display, and the fact it can do so much more makes the overall experience better than with the older model. That said, if you have the previous generation, there’s not much here to justify upgrading.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every smart speaker we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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We test smart speakers with a variety of smart devices to see how well they control them
We test smart displays with a variety of video streaming services to see how good they are for entertainment.
We use the same test tracks for each smart speaker to see how well each handles music.
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The new version has an improved screen that can show icons and the current artist/track title, plus there’s a larger speaker.
Yes it can, and it can also use Bluetooth to send audio to an external speaker.
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