Amazon Announces Echo Dot 4: New Spherical Look & AZ1 Neural Edge Chip
The Echo has landed. Amazon’s hardware event has revealed a radically new design for the Echo Dot 4 and Echo Dot with clock: the Dot is now a sleek sphere.
On top of a radically different look, Amazon’s also made changes under the hood with the inclusion of a new AZ1 Neural Edge processor to power its machine learning capabilities. This translates to smoother, faster, and more natural interactions with Alexa; you can expect the assistant to respond to corrections and changes in instructions mid-conversation without the need to address Alexa by name.
When will the new Amazon Echo Dot be released?
Pre-orders on the new Echo Dot 4 and Dot with clock begins 24 September, as announced at the Alexa-themed hardware event which took place at 1pm ET (6pm UK time) on 24 September. Shipping is expected on 22 October for the Echo Dot, and 5 November for the Echo Dot with Clock.
Amazon traditionally releases its Echo Dots in the latter part of the year, the only exception of which was with the first-generation Dot that arrived in March 2016. Following on from that the second-gen model was released in September 2017 and the third-gen Dot arrived in September 2018.
How much will the Echo Dot 4 cost?
Pricing has been another area where Amazon has been consistent with its Echo range. All of the previous versions of the Echo Dot have cost £49.99/$49.99, with only the Amazon Echo with Clock upping the ticket price to £59.99/$59.99.
The Echo Dot 4 costs £49.99/$49.99 while the Dot with clock and Kids Editions costs £59.99/$59.99. Pre-orders begin 24 September and will ship later this year.
What new features will Amazon add to the Echo Dot 4?
Let’s start with what you won’t get: the new Dot devices won’t support battery-powered operation, which is something we speculated about. It will however support a Low Power Mode to reduce energy consumption as a part of Amazon’s Climate Pledge. The devices will also be built with recycled materials.
In terms of what you do get, you can look forward to faster language processing, better bass and a brand new look across the board.
AZ1 Neural Edge processor
Perhaps the biggest change introduced to the Echo Dot 4 is on the software front, which now features a first-generation AZ1 Neural Edge processor.
Amazon describes it as a “custom custom-designed silicon module built to accelerate machine learning applications and make Alexa even faster” which is useful for households that have embraced and integrated the device into their homes (with smart lighting, thermostats and TVs), but may have had frustrations with Alexa’s responsiveness.
The Echo Dot 4 will feature 1.6in front-facing speaker and promises a stronger bass.
When Amazon upgraded the 2nd Gen to the 3rd Gen it added improved speakers, with the newer model boasting a 70% increase in volume.
The Echo Dot Kids Edition
The Kids Editions now feature Panda and Tiger designs on the exterior and a new experience that’s designed for children.
Kids can ask questions, set alarms that sound like animals, get homework help and call friends who are approved by parents. Parents can also create voice profiles for their children. This allows Alexa to switch to a parental control mode when interacting with a child.
A new Reading Sidekick feature, which will be available “in coming months” according to Amazon, will also help children with reading accuracy and fluency.
New design and colour choices
Apart from the new shape, the new Echo Dot 4 will feature a familiar fabric finish which will be available in Charcoal, Glacier White and Twilight Blue.
See also: The best Amazon Echo chart
Hasn’t there already been an Echo Dot 4?
It’s true that in November 2019 Amazon updated its Echo Dot 3 to include a clock, but we don’t see that as a new generation, but rather an alternative version as all of the internal technology remains the same. If you want to know more, read our Amazon Echo Dot with Clock review.