Skip to main content

3rd Gen vs. 4th Gen Echo Dot Kids Edition

The entire Amazon Echo family is getting a makeover! At a recent invite-only hardware event, Amazon introduced the world to its fourth-generation devices, as well as entirely new platforms like Luna, Amazon’s own subscription gaming marketplace. One major hardware standout was the radically redesigned Echo speaker. Both the standard Echo and Dot models are losing their trademark puck appearance in favor of a bigger, rounded design. Bowling balls and snow globes come to mind.

Another Echo product that received a transformation is the Echo Dot Kids Edition. If you’re wondering what changes are coming, whether or not you should upgrade your old Kids Edition, or which is the better speaker, we’ve got you covered. In this side-by-side, we’re pitting the third-gen Echo Dot Kids Edition against the recently announced fourth edition.

A bump in size with animal overlays

Image of Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th gen)
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The third-gen Kids Edition sports the original puck-shaped Dot design, but with a bright and colorful rainbow wrap for kids. As part of Amazon’s major Echo redesign, the fourth-gen Kids Edition gets a top-heavy overhaul. From a puck to an orb, the new model also drops the rainbow overlay in favor of two quite adorable animal wraps — one a tiger, the other a panda.

Get your weekly teardown of the tech behind PC gaming
Check your inbox!

Tech specs and speaker

The third-gen Kids Edition measures 3.9 inches in diameter and 1.7 inches tall and weighs 10.6 ounces. Like the regular third-gen Dot, the Kids Edition has a 1.6-inch speaker driver and a four-microphone array for picking up voice commands. Inputs are power and a 3.5mm for connecting to devices like your phone or a pair of headphones. There’s also Bluetooth pairing for wireless music from your tablet or an external speaker.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The latest Kids Edition measures 3.9 inches in diameter, 3.5 inches tall, which is almost twice as tall as the previous edition. At 12 ounces, the new version is a bit heavier, too. While it may look like the speaker would be bigger, it’s actually the same 1.6-inch driver, except the driver is front-firing. External audio capabilities (3.5mm and Bluetooth) are the same as the previous Kids. One minor change is the movement of the Alexa light ring from the top of the speaker to the bottom.

Features tailor-made for kids

Image of Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th gen) w/ Echo Glow
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The third- and fourth-gen Kids Editions share the same great suite of kid-friendly features (only some of them have new names). Both third- and fourth-gen speakers come loaded with a year of Amazon Kids+ (formerly FreeTime Unlimited), which gives kids access to thousands of Audible audiobooks, music, games, learning skills, and more. After the free year, the subscription jumps to $3 per month. As part of Amazon’s commitment to a kid-friendly interface, all Echo Dot Kids speakers filter explicit song lyrics, block news and adult-oriented podcasts and games, and give mom and dad access to intuitive parental controls. Parents can impose device curfews, limit the hours the Dot is used, and monitor their child’s Alexa usage.

Parental controls are also applicable for Alexa’s Drop In skill. Think of this as Alexa’s ability to walkie-talkie with other Echo speakers and displays in your home. Kids can also make external Drop In calls to approved (and compatible) Drop In devices. Let’s say Aunt Ruth has an Echo Show. If she’s an approved Drop In recipient, your kid can phone Auntie to their heart’s desire.

Privacy and user data

As we’ve discussed in previous Dot comparisons, privacy can be a major concern for families, especially for the Internet of Things devices made for our kids. While no device is hack-proof (and no spoken word un-quantifiable), both Kids Edition generations boast the same privacy features. These are things like the microphone off button for disabling the array mics, the ability to delete and manage voice recordings, and encryption of our Alexa voice commands. Parental controls also go a long way in limiting device exposure, creating additional layers of privacy.

Pricing

In terms of good deals, there’s never been a better time to nab the third-gen Kids Edition. The speaker is currently on Amazon for $35. Amazon plans to offer third-gen Echo speakers for the foreseeable future, but it’s hard to say if the current price (or supplies) will last. That being said, if you’re in love with the new design or just want something newer, you can pre-order the fourth-gen Kids Edition for $59 on Amazon. The official Kids Edition release date is October 22, 2020.

Warranty

Both the third- and fourth-gen Kids Editions come with Amazon’s two-year, worry-free guarantee. If your child breaks the speaker, send it back to Amazon for a brand new one. Compare that to the new Echo Dot’s 90-day limited guarantee with optional one-, two-, and three-year accident plans.

If you’re still inclined to shoot for the third-gen regular Dot, it only comes with a 90-day limited guarantee.

Bundles

Image of Echo Dot 4th gen with Echo Glow
Image used with permission by copyright holder

So, right off the bat, let’s just say one of the most no-brainer gifts you can give is a Kids Dot with an Echo Glow. This popular bundle launched with the previous generation’s speakers and continues with the next. For $69, you’ll be the favorite aunt or uncle come Christmas. That being said, the Echo Glow is the only bundle item for every Kids Edition package. If you want more bang for your buck, the regular Dot can often be found bundled with smart hardware like thermostats, locks, and other home security products.

Which is the better Echo Dot Kids Edition?

It’s a tough call. If you love the new design, the latest generation is a solid bet. Yes, $59 may be a bit steep for a glorified Echo Dot with an animal mask (especially when its new big brother is $10 cheaper), but if you’re a fan of the bigger aesthetic, that’s something only the newest Kids Edition can deliver.

In terms of bargain deals and the last of the classic Dot design, the third-gen Kids Edition offers both advantages. At $35, it’s a hard deal to pass up.

The choice is yours, friends. For now, we’re calling this one a tie — at least until prices change or new features come into play. In the meantime, check out another one of our Echo speaker side-by-sides.

Editors' Recommendations

Michael Bizzaco
Michael Bizzaco has been writing about and working with consumer tech for well over a decade, writing about everything from…
The best Amazon Echo accessories
The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) Battery Base at a dinner party.

Congratulations! It's not every day that you land yourself a new smart speaker, so do revel in your long-researched purchase. Oh, and it seems you've chosen wisely by going with an Amazon Echo. We're major fans of the Alexa platform's near-limitless capabilities, and the Echo lineup is one of our favorite smart hub families.

With Alexa as the brains of the Echo operation, you can stream music, ask questions, play games, set timers and reminders, check the weather, order takeout, phone your friends, and more. Plus, with Alexa Routines and "if this then that" programming, there are plenty more abilities to add to your all-new voice assistant. But the fanfare doesn't have to stop here.

Read more
Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg helps Amazon launch Echo Dot concepts
amazon launches new fashion forward echo dot concepts midnight kiss 3

Have you looked at your smart home devices and thought, "Gee, I wish some of these were more stylish?" Now you have the chance to add a bit of flair to your smart home thanks to a collaboration between Amazon and the famous fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. This is done through the Build It program, a way for customers to pre-order limited-edition versions of popular accessories. In this case, the device on the table is the Echo Dot.
How Build It works
Build It gives customers a say in what devices are manufactured next. Customers choose from different concepts by pre-ordering the ones they want, often at a special promotional price. After its launch, the concept has a set pre-order goal that must be reached within 30 days. If it meets this goal, Amazon will build it, and those that pre-ordered will be the first to receive the product. If the concept doesn't reach its goal, it won't be produced. Either way, customers aren't charged for the device until it actually ships.

This system means that customers can vote with their preorders without wasting money on a device that may never be built. It's Amazon's version of crowdsourcing style.
Diane von Furstenberg concepts

Read more
Echo Show 8 (1st Gen) vs. Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)
amazon smaller echo show 5 finally gets upgrade 8 glacier white kitchen

Smart displays are one of the most efficient and feature-laden ways to operate your smart home. Today's top displays do everything from offer help in the kitchen, provide answers to your most commonly asked questions, connect you to the news of the days, play your favorite music and podcasts, and more. In the competitive marketplace, Amazon is one of many smart display developers, reigning strong with its Alexa-powered Echo Show displays. While the Echo Show 8 and 5 have been around for some time, two new versions of both smart displays have recently hit digital and brick-and-mortar shelves.

If you're thinking of picking up a new Echo Show 8 or are considering an upgrade to your first-gen Show 8, let us weigh in to help with your decision. In this side-by-side, we'll be pitting the second-gen Echo Show 8 against the first-gen, examining criteria like design, camera, features, and price. Read on to see which display is right for you.
Design

Read more