The Echo Dot is one of the more basic smart home products you can own and a good building block toward an Alexa-enabled home. Right now it’s as cheap as we’ve seen it—as long as you’re OK trying (or canceling) an Amazon subscription for streaming music.
The 3rd-Generation Echo Dot is Amazon’s most popular smart speaker. It sounds better than the previous generation and also got a fabric face-lift to give it a more pleasing appearance. It sounds good for its size too. It’s not going to blow your Bose or Sonos speakers out of the water, but the Echo Dot is still capable, providing enough sound to cut through a noisy household or pump you up before a party.
The palm-sized gadget is on sale for just $1 if you let Amazon also sign you up for Music Unlimited, which costs $8 per month. You end up paying just $9 for the speaker, which is much cheaper than its usual price of $50, and lower than the $25 price we usually see it going for during major Amazon sales. Plus, with this deal, you get a streaming music service along with it.
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Amazon Music Unlimited lets the Echo Dot play virtually any song, like a Spotify or Pandora subscription—two services that are also compatible with Alexa. If you get tired of asking Alexa to stream songs for you, the Echo Dot also has Bluetooth capability, so you can pair it with your phone or laptop.
Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant lets you check the weather, set timers, make calls, and create alarms, and it can learn other Skills. Many Skills are gimmicky (see Skyrim: Very Special Edition), but there are some useful ones. This year Amazon rolled out Alexa Guard. When enabled, it has Alexa listen for sounds like breaking glass and smoke detectors while you’re away from home, which could provide either peace of mind or a healthy dose of paranoia, depending on your personality.
If you’re wary about giving Amazon a way to eavesdrop on your household, you can press the Mute button to disconnect the microphones, and there are other steps you can take to protect your privacy.
The Fine Print
This is an excellent price, but there is some fine print you should know about.
Prime members only: The Amazon Music Unlimited promotion is only up for grabs if you’re a Prime member. There is a free 30-day trial available. Otherwise Amazon Prime costs about $10 per month if you purchase a whole year at once. Students with valid .edu email addresses could opt for a complimentary six-month trial instead.
New Music Unlimited subs only: It’s also only available to new Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers, so if you’ve given the service a shot before, move along; this deal isn’t for you.
Be sure to cancel, if desired: Your Amazon Music Unlimited subscription will automatically renew at the usual $8 per month cost after the first month. If you don’t want to renew, then canceling a subscription is pretty easy. When logged into your Amazon account, navigate to “Your Account” and then click “Memberships & Subscriptions.” Locate your Amazon Music Unlimited subscription, click “Manage Subscription,” and you should be able to cancel it from there. Consider setting a reminder on your phone (or with your new voice assistant!) to cancel the subscription if you aren’t interested in continuing streaming—or being charged.