Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition review: This chatty, Alexa-powered playmate keeps tykes entertained and engaged

    If you’re in search of a substitute for unleashing your children on an iPad while you want just a few treasured moments to your self, the Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition makes for an attentive and surprisingly partaking companion. Loaded up with parental controls aplenty and packed to the gills with video games and “skills,” the Alexa-powered Echo Kids Edition retains youngsters entertained whereas spurring their imaginations, all with you in management. 

    The $70 Echo Dot Kids Edition is, for all intents and functions, the identical gadget because the Third-generation Echo Dot, nevertheless it comes with a one-year subscription to FreeTime, an Amazon service that boasts parental controls, hundreds of Audible books, a whole bunch of Alexa video games and kid-friendly abilities, and ad-free tunes on Amazon Music.

    The FreeTime bundle is a $36 worth ($60 for non-Prime members), so provided that the usual Echo Dot prices $50 (though it’s steadily on sale for a lot much less), ponying up for the Kids Edition can prevent some money. Also, take into account that a FreeTime subscription contains hundreds of books and movies which you could entry on an Amazon Fire pill, a Kindle, or an iOS or Android gadget. Finally, the Echo Dot Kids Edition comes with a two-year guarantee, versus simply 90 days for the usual Echo Dot.

    Design and setup

    If you have already got a Third-generation Echo Dot, you’ll already know what to anticipate from the Echo Dot Kids Edition, a minimum of on the {hardware} facet of issues. Basically a 1.7-inch-thick hockey puck of a speaker, each the usual Echo Dot and the youngsters model include 1.6-inch full-range audio system, a fabric-covered circumference, and a quartet of buttons on high that allow you to management the amount, flip off the microphone, and carry out actions similar to silencing alarms and organising Wi-Fi. A skinny, halo-shaped LED indicator lets you already know when Alexa is listening, has ready notifications, or has misplaced its wi-fi connection.

    Indeed, the one actual bodily distinction between the usual Echo Dot and the Kids Edition is the colour choice, and surprisingly, the Kids Edition provides solely two selections: rainbow and blue. While the 1443243rainbow-colored Echo Dot is the extra eye-catching of the 2, we selected blue as a result of that’s my daughter’s favourite shade (or a minimum of it was on the day we picked it).

    The preliminary setup course of for the Kids Edition is identical as for a vanilla Echo Dot: you plug the gadget into an influence outlet, anticipate the halo to glow orange, hearth up the Alexa cellular app, after which use the app to “discover” the Dot and join it to your Wi-Fi community. I had the Echo Dot Kids Edition up and operating inside a few minutes.

    Setting up FreeTime

    Once you could have the Kids Edition related to your Wi-Fi community, it’s time to configure FreeTime’s parental controls. Open the FreeTime Parent Dashboard within the Alexa cellular app and also you’ll discover entries in your children (which was pre-populated in my case, provided that the all-knowing Amazon already is aware of the title of my seven-year-old daughter), and tapping an entry enables you to begin tinkering with the assorted parental settings.

    amazon echo dot kids edition time limits Ben Patterson/IDG

    Thanks to Amazon’s FreeTime service, you may set each day deadlines for the Echo Dot Kids Edition.

    Among the obtainable choices within the Parent Dashboard is the flexibility to set each day deadlines (you may program weekdays and weekends individually). I went forward and select 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. because the deadlines for my daughter Claire, which implies if she tries to summon Alexa at, say, 8:05 p.m., Alexa will patiently say “Sorry, I can’t play right now; try again later.” Naturally, my daughter tends to maintain nagging Alexa for some post-bedtime enjoyable, however after just a few fruitless makes an attempt, she typically offers up and places her head down.

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