Amazon unveiled the Echo Dot alongside the full Amazon Echo at a launch event in London a few weeks ago, but its release was staggered. The full speaker version was made available first, but now the smaller, cheaper Alexa-based hardware is available too.

The Amazon Echo Dot is essentially an Amazon Echo but without the speaker drivers. It has a single speaker so Alexa can respond to your queries, but for the full audio experience it plugs into your own speaker system.

It can also hook up to a Bluetooth speaker wirelessly, so you don't necessarily need to cable it to an AV receiver, speaker or amp of some description. And if you only plan to use it to control other smarthome gadgets, you can just plug it in somewhere out of sight.

Pre-orders of the Amazon Echo Dot have started shipping and you can now order one for yourself on Amazon.co.uk. Prime members can have it delivered tomorrow.

For those who want to spread Alexa voice assistants around their homes, Amazon offers a deal on the Echo Dot whereby if you order five you get a sixth free. Buy 10 and you get two extra Dots free.

The Amazon Echo Dot is available now for £49.99 and it comes in either black or white.