Echo Dot vs. Echo Dot Kids Edition: Which is the better option?

The Amazon Echo Dot is a puck-shaped smart speaker designed to be used as a smaller alternative to the full-sized Amazon Echo. Since the original Echo’s release, various iterations of the device — from the Echo Dot to the video-enabled Echo Show — have become mainstays in homes around the world. However, with these devices come privacy concerns, safety concerns, and having your children hear things you’d rather they didn’t (like explicit song lyrics).

Enter the Echo Dot Kids Edition. You can now purchase a family-friendly version of the Echo Dot. How exactly does the kids’ version differ from the standard Echo Dot? We’ll break it down for you.

The same design, but more colorful

The first version of the Echo Dot Kids Edition, which comes in red, blue, and green, looks very similar to the older Echo Dot models. Amazon updated the Echo Dot Kids Edition recently, and it now comes in rainbow or blue. The third-generation Echo Dot comes in charcoal, heather gray, or sandstone. The Kids Edition is based on the third-gen Echo Dot, offering better sound than previous Echo Dot models and a sleeker, fabric design.

Both devices have the same light ring on the top that illuminates when you say Alexa’s wake word, as well as volume up, volume down, mute, and on/off buttons.

The third-generation Echo Dot blends into its environment more easily than the Kids Edition. The Kids Edition looks a bit more like a colorful, high-tech toy, while the 3rd-gen Dot has a sleek and modern look.

Tech specs

Echo Dot vs. Echo Dot Kids Edition: Which is the better option?

The original Echo Dot Kids Edition measures 3.5 inches in diameter, 1.5 inches tall, and it weighs 6.7 ounces. It has a seven-microphone array for voice detection, and it has a 0.6-inch driver for sound. It also has 3.5mm stereo audio output for use with external speakers, as well as Bluetooth capabilities.

The new Echo Dot Kids Edition has the same specs as the 3rd-gen Echo Dot. Both devices measure 3.9 inches in diameter, 1.7 inches tall, and weigh 10.6 ounces. Unlike the previous version of the Echo Dot Kids Edition, which had a seven-microphone array, the new Kids Edition and the 3rd-gen Echo Dot both have a four-microphone array system for voice detection, but they have a larger speaker driver, at 1.6 inches. Each of the devices has the same 3.5mm stereo audio output for use with external speakers, as well as Bluetooth capabilities.

Kid-friendly features and parental controls

Echo Dot vs. Echo Dot Kids Edition: Which is the better option?

Right out of the box, you can tell the device is tailored toward children because of the bright colors and kid-friendly user guide. Alexa is also more friendly in this version, responding with stories and age-appropriate responses. One of the main differences with the Kids Edition is that it filters out explicit lyrics on Amazon Music, and it disables voice purchasing, news, and adult-themed question-and-answer scenarios. Parents can indicate their child’s age bracket to help filter out content based on their child’s age.

You can also activate parental controls, which allow you to limit the number of hours your child can use their Echo, track communications, and limit the hours when Alexa will respond to them (so they can’t goof off when they’re supposed to be sleeping). You can access a parental dashboard, where you can track and set limits for how much time your child spends accessing entertainment and filter content based on different age groups.

The Echo Dot Kids Edition may be more kid-friendly, but it is still an Internet of Things device that is attached to the cloud, so your kids can control smart devices like lights and plugs, and the device will always be vulnerable to hacking (as is also true for the standard Echo Dot). One huge benefit is that the Kids Edition’s features will help make it so you aren’t surprised by boxes of cookies showing up on your front porch or songs filled with F-bombs blasting through your speakers.

FreeTime Unlimited

The Echo Dot Kids Edition currently retails for $70 (which is $20 more than the 3rd-gen Dot). However, you can often find the new Kid’s Edition on sale for $50, and the 3rd-gen Dot is often on sale for $30.

The Kids Edition comes with a year of FreeTime Unlimited included, making it a better deal in the long run. FreeTime Unlimited gives you access to thousands of books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games, as well as the parental controls that allow you to monitor how your children are using the device. Kids can access FreeTime Unlimited content across multiple devices too — Fire tablets, Kindle, Android devices, iPad, and iPhone.

You can get FreeTime Unlimited on your existing Echo devices, but you’ll need to pay a fee to do so: $3 per child or $7 per family per month if you have Amazon Prime, or $5 and $10 respectively if you’re not a Prime member. With the included year of FreeTime Unlimited, this could equal around $100 in savings during that first year. After the first year, though, you will need to subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited to continue to get the same features and options you were using before, at the same prices as listed above.

Warranty

Echo Dot vs. Echo Dot Kids Edition: Which is the better option?

The Kids Edition comes with a two-year, worry-free warranty, compared to a 90-day limited warranty on the Echo Dot 3rd Gen. With the Kids Edition, if your child breaks the device (or it stops working during those first two years) Amazon will send you a new one for free.

Which device is better?

That depends. For young children who want a smart speaker, the Echo Dot Kids Edition will provide some added peace of mind over the Echo Dot 3rd gen. However, keep in mind that the device’s designation as a “Kids Edition” does not guarantee your child’s safety or privacy. As we discussed above, this is a cloud-connected device, just like the regular Dot smart speaker.

The Kids Edition is also tailored toward younger children as opposed to teens or adults, so that’s also something to consider when choosing between the two devices.

Check out our reviews for more information about the Echo Dots Kids Edition or the Echo Dot 3rd gen.

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