Alongside a European launch for its Echo speaker, Amazon announced that an all-new Amazon Echo Dot is coming to the UK, US and Germany soon.

Unlike the fully-fledged Amazon Echo, the Dot doesn't have full speaker drivers of its own, just a smaller speaker for voice feedback and alarm functionality - it's not great for music, for example. Instead, it has a line-out for a wired connection to a separate AV receiver or speaker system. It can also connect to a Bluetooth speaker wirelessly.

It offers the full Alexa voice-controlled system, as with the larger Echo.

Alexa is Amazon's cloud-based information bot, that responds to vocal commands and can be used to find information on the web or control many smart devices around your home.

For example, we used it to control Hue lighting connected to the same network, and to play music through a mighty speaker stack in the corner.

Pocket-lintAmazon Echo Dot-6

The small, puck-like Echo Dot is simple to install and use. You connect it to the power, hook it up to your wireless network and away you go. Bark "Alexa" at it and it wakes up ready to be instructed with other commands.

You can find out football results, forthcoming fixtures, even get it to read books to you.

It has been around in the US for a while, but this new model is faster and more efficient. It also has regional accent variations depending on your location. Our demo was with the UK edition, so it spoke with a British accent - sounding a little like a computerised version of Holly Willoughby.

We will need to give it a thorough test to find out what it's fully capable of, especially in a UK sense considering it can hook up to Sky News and other local services, but for now, its £50 price point seems like good value for something that could change the way you interact with your home.

I can also work independently to the main Amazon Echo, so you can scatter several around the home, but you would, in that case, need multiple separate speakers to get the most from it, something that Sonos users will presumably be able to take advantage of when it launches its tie-in in 2017. 

The Echo Dot is available for pre-order on Amazon.co.uk now, in either black or white, and will ship in the autumn.