Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Amazon updates Echo Dot, Studio with sound improvements

Amazon’s biggest and littlest speakers are seeing updates this year, ideal if you like either a bit of bedside music or a lot of sound elsewhere.

It’s not just Apple that uses September as a launch month for big products at the end of the year. While you might think of the iPhone launches as the September big event, Amazon has stuff on, too, and there’s a bit of it to talk about.

That starts in sound this week, which will see two updates in Australia, as the 2020 Echo Dot sees updated internals, while the three-year old Echo Studio gets changes, as well.

Now in their fifth-generation, the Dot and Dot Clock will be the updated Echo in reach of most budgets, retaining the compact spherical design from the model launched a couple of years ago, but with a new driver on the inside which aims to improve the bass performance.

There are two models of it — one with an LED clock one the front and the other without — and it will also act as a mesh extender for Amazon’s Eero wireless networking devices, which is a neat edition, plus get a temperature sensor, something you can find on the larger regular Echo which isn’t seeing an update.

Echo’s new Dot with Clock will be able to do a little more than just show the time, though, with a higher density dot technology with song titles, weather, and even event times.

However, both will also support more tap gestures and motion detection, acting a little like an alarm clock, so you can get the thing to stop playing music when you want to get a few more zzzs.

The other Echo speaker to get an update is the Echo Studio, the biggest model in the range, and that sees the same design in either black or white, while the main changes are all in the inside.

New internals aim to improve the sound with better spatial thanks to improvements in the processing and frequency range, sticking with a a 360 degree design that may or may not be like the spatial idea Sony tried in its 360 degree spatial speakers.

Of particular interest is how the 2022 Echo Studio will play spatial audio, and for that, we’re guessing you’ll need Amazon’s Music Unlimited. That would be a shame if so, because Amazon’s service isn’t the only place to find spatial audio on, given Apple was one of the first companies to bring spatial audio to Australia in Apple Music.

As to whether Apple Music’s spatial audio is supported on the Echo Studio, that remains to be seen, but we’ve asked the question all the same.

Both Echo variations do look like they’ll see release soon, though, with the 5th-gen Echo Dot costing $79 while the 5th-gen Echo Dot with Clock will be $20 more at $99, both expected to ship from October 20. Meanwhile, the 2022 Echo Studio sees release in Australia for $329 from November 17.

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