The Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition is, inside and out, an Echo Dot for kids. There's a clue in the name, and also in the child-friendly cloth cover. It's really no surprise that such a thing exists; Amazon is in the business of selling Echo devices, so the company would very much like you to have an Echo in every room.
That makes sense for you, too – with multiple Echo devices you can use the really rather handy drop-in, calling and announcement functions to communicate throughout your home, no bellowing down the hallways required, and your kids can do the same.
But is the Echo Dot Kids Edition really a special device, or will a regular Echo Dot do just fine for your children? What makes the Kids edition different from the others? Lets break down the critical factors of the Amazon Echo Dot Kids, before you break down and potentially pick one up alongside the best Amazon Prime Day deals.
- Bag a bargain with the best Amazon Prime Day deals around
- Maybe a bigger fourth-generation Echo is in order? Echo vs Echo Dot
- Here are the best smart speakers of all kinds
- Perhaps Google alternative suits better? Google Nest Audio review
Echo Dot vs Echo Dot Kids Edition: Hardware and price
There's an obvious difference on the outside of the Echo Dot Kids Edition: while the fourth-gen Dot comes in three different cloth shades, the Kids Edition comes wrapped in one of two cute cloth skins, with the friendly face of either a tiger or a panda helping it blend into its younger surroundings.
Go back to the third generation (and if you're looking at Amazon Prime Day deals, you may well find the third-gen Kids Edition going cheap) and the cloth covering is either a colourful rainbow or a somewhat less gaudy blue. You'll also be able to get it a little faster, as the fourth-gen doesn't fully drop until 22 October.
Beneath that skin the hardware is functionally identical, with the same speaker and the same controls. There's not even a requirement to have a Kids Edition to use the neat little Echo Glow nightlight; you can set that up to work with any Echo device.
Things do differ in the cost department, though. The Kids Edition demands a price premium of $10 over the standard Dot, coming in at $59.99 as opposed to the Echo Dot's $49.99 price point. Note that we're only listing a US price there - Amazon did not release the third gen Echo Dot Kids Edition in the UK, and we're currently unsure if it will drop alongside the company's Amazon Prime Day deals or not arrive in the UK at all. Stay tuned.
Echo Dot vs Echo Dot Kids Edition: Extras
That extra money does get you some extra functionality, technically. Included with the Echo Dot Kids Edition is a year's subscription to Amazon Kids+ (formerly known as Freetime Unlimited), which would usually cost $2.99/£1.99 per month. This nets your kid over 1,000 age-appropriate Audible books, a whole load of ad-free kid-friendly music, premium Alexa skills from the likes of Disney, custom kids alarms, and a lot more besides. It's particularly useful if they have another Amazon device like a Fire tablet, which can use the Kids+ subscription to access a ream of free apps and books too - you can also take advantage of it on Android and iOS devices, too.
A device registered to an Amazon Kids account also gets a host more parental controls, which means you can lock down that device via Amazon's Parent Dashboard, filtering explicit songs from a host of streaming services, disabling shopping controls, and setting time limits. That's neat, but not exclusive to the Echo Dot Kids Edition; any device can be set to use parental controls with a non-plus Amazon Kids account, so you can repurpose an old Echo Dot if you wish.
The additional spend also gets you an extended warranty, which (depending on your kids) might well be a big benefit. The Echo Dot Kids Edition comes with a two-year replacement plan, which Amazon says will entitle you to a new unit if it breaks for whatever reason. Presumably that would extend to your kids giving Mr Tiger a bath or hurling poor Panda across the room? Presumably. With a standard Echo Dot offering just 90 days, picking up a Kids Edition could make a big difference.
Should you buy the Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition?
That's about the sum total of all the differences between the Echo Dot and the Echo Dot Kids Edition. One is built for kids, one isn't, but really that 'built for kids' aspect isn't a hardware thing. They're functionally identical apart from the outer skin.
But you're not buying a special device, as such, you're buying a bargain way to access the Amazon Kids+ plan.
If you're buying a Dot for grown ups, get the normal Echo Dot. If you're looking to save a little money, you could equally get a standard Echo Dot for your kids and apply parental controls through the basic Amazon Kids plan. But if you think you may have some use for Amazon Kids+ (and there's a lot on offer there) then the extra spend on the Echo Dot Kids Edition is well worth it, with the two-year warranty acting as the icing on the cake.