Lots of us have cloud-based virtual digital AI assistants in our homes, with the most popular being the Amazon Alexa voice-activated smart speaker. An innocuous device that has been around since 2014 (2016 in the UK) that sits in the room, always listening like a digital spy, and ready to carry out your commands – everything from playing music or the radio, telling you the time, the weather and the latest news, help you to shop online, an intercom system between rooms, calling an emergency contact for help and then there are the jokes, quizzes, recipes and even being able to control other smart tech such as lights, and plenty of other functions. In fact, Alexa has over 100,000 skills available and is growing all the time.

I still have my Echo Dot 2nd generation puck-like smart speaker, and it is still working perfectly. When I was redecorating, I decided that I wanted to replace my smart speaker with a newer version and being happy with Alexa I decided to go with the newer Echo Dot with Clock (5th generation). There were several reasons why I decided to swap out my still working Alexa – I wanted a newer, more up-to-date one, I wanted one with a clock display on the front, and the different colour options appealed so I could blend it with the room décor better. And it has better quality sound that my old 2nd generation puck (which has now been moved into my spare room/office and still being used – not bad after all the years of use I have had out of it). And if you are going to upgrade and don’t want to repurpose your older model, Amazon will give you a trade in where you can save 25% off the cost of buying a new one!

Now I was used to my little puck-shaped Alexa Echo, but the 5th generation of this popular virtual digital assistant looks vastly different. It is bigger for a start and looks like a dome rather than a hockey puck. You can purchase with or without the clock display and it comes in different colours. And it sounds a whole lot better too. I purchased the clock version in Cloud Blue, which is perfect for any room in the house.

This version of the popular smart speaker still does everything that its predecessors do including streaming music and radio, sets timers and alarms, runs Alexa Routines, controls smart home devices, plays games/trivia quizzes, tells jokes, and works as a home intercom and telephone. It also has a faster processor, better quality sound, a temperature sensor, ultrasound motion sensor, device pairing so that you can pair it with other Echo devices and Bluetooth speakers, tap functions to play/pause a song or snooze an alarm and an LED display that shows you the time, alarms, weather, song titles and more.

In the box:

  • Echo Dot (5th generation) with Clock
  • Power Adaptor (15 W)
  • Quick Start Guide

Overall, I love this generation of the Echo Dot smart speaker. The sound is much more vibrant than my 2nd generation version and the voice commands are faster and much more responsive. I love the dome-shaped look of the speaker and I absolutely love the LED display that not only shows me the time but tracks that are playing, timer countdowns, temperature display and more. The cloud blue colour is very understated and looks great and fits in with the room extremely well, not too bight or dull.

I use this version of Alexa in the bedroom so love that the brightness of the display can be adjusted to get it just right for the room (you can also set it to use adaptive brightness so that it automatically adjusts based on ambient light). As well as a smart speaker, it has now become my bedside clock, alarm clock, radio and I can even tell it to turn on the main light (I have a smart bulb that is compatible with Alexa routines). And because it has replaced my bedside alarm clock, I have one less device plugged in so I’m even saving a bit on electricity!

And it still has all the same fun features that everybody loves; playing trivia games, burping and farting (yes, I know its juvenile but it’s funny), and if you tell her that you love her, she will sing a very cheerful thank you song.

This version is a big improvement over the puck-like generations and definitely worth upgrading to. It is faster, more responsive and with a much better richer sound. I do love the time display on the front (I’m not sure that I would want one without the clock). You do pay about £10 more for the clock version than without it, but I think that it is worth it.

I haven’t used the ultrasound motion sensor, but this allows automation of routines such as turning on the light when it hears someone entering the room (Alexa compatible smart bulb is required).

And for privacy issues, if you don’t want it listening in all the time (when going to bed for instance), you can turn off the microphone with a tap of the button on the top of the speaker – although this does display a bright red light around the base of the device and a small light on top, which doesn’t seem to turn off. And you can set Do Not Disturb modes which only allows timers and alarms, so you won’t miss your morning wake up call.

So far I haven’t experienced any negatives. Some might miss the 3.5mm audio jack for connecting external speakers etc. When I use an external speaker, I use the Bluetooth option and pair them using the Alexa app, so the omission of the audio jack hasn’t been an issue for me.

I’m glad that I have decided to upgrade from my 2nd generation to the 5th generation. It works better and faster and I love that it has not only replaced my old Dot, but has also replaced my bedside alarm clock. The shape and the calmer colour option also look much better in the room.

Rating: 5/5

RRP: £64.99 (with clock) / £54.99 (without clock)

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DISCLOSURE: All thoughts and opinions are my own. This review uses an affiliate link which I may receive a small commission from if you purchase through the link (it helps with running costs of the website).

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