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on June 14, 2018
I regretfully have to award this product 2 stars...

Let me start off by saying I LOVE my original Echo and Echo Dot, and I am knee deep in smart home tech so I am by no means a novice when it comes to this stuff. I was on the original pre-order for the first launch of the Echo and have been an avid supporter ever since. We have Fire TVs, Kindles, Kindle Fires, etc...

So when Amazon announced a Kid's Edition Echo Dot, I was ecstatic to get my 3.5yr old daughter her "Very own Alexa"

What a disappointment, I've been messing with this thing a better part of 4 hours and can't even get it to stop playing "Hoochie Coochie Man - Muddy Waters" any time my daughter asks it to "play music". Why would you not default to children's music??? Why are you pulling from my library, how do I make this stop? Out of all the Amazon devices I've purchased, I expected this one to be a breeze however this is the most convoluted mess I've encountered. I finally forced it into opening "iHeartRadio Family" and it immediately started playing "Nick Radio" blaring "Monster" by Eminem. I get it, it's edited i'm not an overprotective parent but seriously? Where are preschooler songs? I set the age to 2-3 on the app, do SOMETHING that is catered to that age range (I am fully aware that Amazon does not control what iHeartRadio chooses to broadcast on their "kids" stations, my issue is the fact that it defaulted to a broader age range station rather than something actually for my preschooler daughter).

Here is an example of one of the most simple of requests:
Me: "Alexa, play kids music"
Echo Dot Kids Edition: "I'm sorry, I cant find any kids songs"

O__o Wat? What would you say... you do here Echo Dot Kids Edition?

Everything is excessively complicated, it either needs excessive context and extra steps for everything or it'll provide no feedback when commands are accepted so I or my daughter never know whats actually going on. See how asking to be told a story went...

Daughter: "Alexa, tell me a story"
Echo Dot Kid's Edition: "The family all jumped in the car, the girl had a snake in a cup, the dad slammed the breaks and veered off the road"

I can't even figure out what story this is, I ask Alexa "What story is this?" she begins to define WHAT a story is WHILE the story is still being told in the background of Alexa's response. I resort to the app finally to discover the story is called "The New Pet", how is this kid friendly?

I really should have tried this out BEFORE giving it to my daughter, now I can't get rid of it because I'd feel terrible taking it away.

Honestly you guys, this thing is a nightmare. The only reason why I gave it 2 stars is because at the end of the day it still is an Echo device and as I said before, I love our Echoes just think the whole kid edition is a joke in its current state.

What's even crazier is that I can't remember if I have ever left a review on anything I've ever bought on Amazon (That's a LOT of things we are talking about) but this is such a disappointing mess that I wanted to help others avoid the frustration I'm now going through. Give it a year for this to get fixed and maybe they can update it into something friendly for preschoolers.
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on June 3, 2018
We have a number of Alexa devices in our house and they work very well. We bought the Kids Edition for our 4-year old son. We told it "play bedtime thunderstorm" and instead it played erotica. See the attached screenshot showing it correctly understood the request. On a normal Alexa, this plays white noise.

How they could they possibly build a Kids Edition that ignores the normal requests and instead plays erotica??

I contacted support who told me we should say "play bedtime stories". How is that the solution?
review image
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on May 13, 2018
Updated Review: Look below for original which was 2 stars.
So the morning after posting my review I received a call from amazons research team for the new kids dot. She asked me a lot of questions about what I didn't like and what things could they fix. She said they would be pushing through updates quickly to address the issues that parents gave them in feed back. I don't think that they pushed them this quickly. But here is what happened. I was trying to control my sons dot from the Alexa app which gave me little to no control over his content and I thought this meant these things just were not possible. So Here is what I learned today. The kids dot setting you need to control from parents.amazon.com... Hopefully they will connect this to the app soon! But everyone of my complaints were solved by going into the "free time settings". Here I can add any "skill" I want not just the kids one that are preloaded (again- I can not add skills to the kids dot from the alexa app) So I was able to add skills that he was really excited about that was on our dot plus a few others (like the night light) which address my concern that the pre-loaded skills were too young for him. Also you can control when he is on it and even lock it so he is not playing on it at all times of day. And I was able to open amazon music up to him in the "free time" setting giving him a lot more freedom with his music and still controlling explicit content. Also I found once you set an alarm for the dot, you CAN go into the app go to "reminders and alarms" and add repeat setting and days of the week to that alarm's settings. Which is great since I could not figure out how to do this at first and really made it seem pointless- but again I think amazon can stream line this process allowing alarms to be set from the app and or at settings from the unit. Also today I have the option to set reminders from the app. Like I said I don't think they have changed anything in the last 24 hours but suddenly today I have the option to add reminder when I didn't see it yesterday so I don't know if I changed something in the setting or what. No idea, but I will say this does now work! End of day today, I am actually really happy with this product. But there is a learning curve that amazon is going to have to figure out since there is no how to information out there. So if there is something you can not figure out I encourage you to either reach out to amazon or this Q&A here. And again Amazon because I know you are listening (because I was so impressed with the call I got this morning!)- you need to link the parent dashboard to the app ASAP!

Original Review
Fairly disappointed in this product and I cant decide if I should just return it now or wait and see if they fix any issues. It seems very much geared toward a young child 3-5 maybe. My son is 7 and it just seems too baby for him. He does not have near the amount of freedom with it that he would want. He cant just say play They Might be Giants and have a music play. He can listen to the IHEART radio but he cant select what he wants to hear played.The "free time skills" available for this version are not functionally thought out- like the night light skill doesn't work on the kids version. Nor does white noise or sleep sounds. I want to be able to select what skills he has not just have a bunch of already enabled games (most of which are geared to very young children. And I cant set a reoccurring alarm like on the regular dots where you can set a repeating alarm for certain days like 6am weekdays would be a great FUNCTION for kids. And I do not have access to his reminders or alarms from the Alexa app like the regular dots have- Wouldn't it be nice to set a reminder for him to do something without having to go up to his room to set it up? What I do like? I like the free time for the access to audio books and these do seem to be level appropriate books at least for a year or two. But is this something he can grow with for a few years. I just don't think so. I think in a year once the novelty of joke telling wears off it will be an expensive alarm clock he forgets to set every night. I want a dot with full content I have parental controls over. Maybe if I didn't have and echo and dot already we wouldn't have been so disappointed in the limitations of this version.
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on May 12, 2018
We already have a 2nd generation Echo Dot and really like it. We were very excited when we found out about the Kids Edition so there would be parental controls to protect our children. The Kids Edition was received on the 9th. Upon opening the box you'll find that the Kids Edition is also a 2nd generation Dot in a child safe case. There is no difference in the Dot itself. By adding Freetime to the Kids Edition (or any Dot) you get to control what is accessed. However, Freetime prevents one from using other functions such as setting an alarm. I feel duped for paying twice as much for virtually the same product. Plus, after the 'free' 1 year subscription of Freetime expires, it becomes quite expensive. Can't deny that we really love the case and hope they will eventually be sold separately.
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on May 11, 2018
Update: now that smart plug controls are enabled, our daughter is enjoying her dot much more that she can control her lamp. If Spotify compatibility rolls out this week as I have read, the device will be even better! Let me decide if I want my child to be able to control a light with a smart home voice control. I bought so she could easily turn on and off her light in the middle of the night, only to find out that those smart home controls are restricted from the kids edition that is $40 more than the regular dot. It would have been nice knowing that going into this. One sad 7 year old that now can't do the one thing she was really excited about doing with her own echo dot.

Update: I am glad to see that Amazon has now noted that the control of Smart Home features will soon be enabled through an update. Once that is confirmed and working I will change my rating. The device has some great features, once all of the kinks are worked out it should be well worth it!
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on May 17, 2018
Man Amazon, you certainly pulled a quick one on us. It was a really great idea, if you had waited until the product was READY to roll out. $80 for a product that I’m gonna have to wait for you guys to do what should have been done before release. I understand that new products will have a period of bug issues. But this isnt that. This is Amazon jumping the gun and not thinking everything through.

FreeTime isn’t even something I have access to. Apparently it’s on there, but there’s no way for me to know what’s available. Apparently you have to ask for whatever book BY NAME...yet the customer service rep I spoke to was just as shocked as I to find out amazon doesn’t even have a list of available content. Their response was to either return it or wait it out and it could be months before any of this is worked on.
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on May 13, 2018
This is just an Echo Dot with a hard protective case on it and a years subscription to Free Time Unlimited. Yes the free time unlimited is pretty neat for kids and the subscription itself does offers many things with it; Disney Books that Alexa will read, she also plays kids music and a lot of other kid features. The one thing I was really interested in most for my son was access to most of the other features that are offered with the Free Time subscription, such as access to PBS kids, Cartoon Network, etc, where I’m assuming they have access to watch videos and such. What I did not know was that those features are only available on ANDROID devices because to access about 85% of the subscription your getting, you will need to download the app in google play, which I don’t have because we all have Apple devices in our home. So pretty much if you don’t have an Android device, your only able to use 15% of the Free Time unlimited subscription through the Kids Echo/ Alexa you get and the other 85% of the subscription is unavailable until you get an Android device to access it!
Yes I could have read more into this Kids editon to find this out but I really didn’t think Amazon would offer such a ridiculous advertising scheme on these. Why would I buy this when I could buy a regular Alexa, hard case plus the subscription for less then what they charge for this thing?! Most upsetting it’s extremely unfair not to offer this app for other devices! Extremely disappointed in Amazon over this one.
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on May 13, 2018
I love Echo products. This was our 4th device in our house. We were thrilled to have a kids version. After trying for HOURS to set up a connection with our smart home devices, then another hour with tech support, I googled and found that the Echo Dot Kids now has in the description that Smart Home skills are not currently available. This would have been good to know before pre-ordering the device. But, as Amazon is amazing, they are returning it and gave me a credit for the hassle. Now, I'll apply that to a standard Echo Dot.
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on May 29, 2018
The product itself, the Echo Dot is a 5 star product. The Freetime service itself is also great and if you DON'T ALREADY HAVE FREETIME this is a great thing to buy.

But if you already have Freetime then the price difference really isn't justified. Freetime is, essentially, just a parent control suite, albeit a VERY good one with a lot of customization options. There is nothing in this hardware that is different from an off the shelf echo dot except the case (and you can find comparable cases for less than the price difference.

Amazon has been pretty cagey about this. This is an Echo Dot that comes with a case and a year of Freetime. But if you already have Freetime service you can just turn it on on any existing Echo device, no need to purchase the special "kid's edition" there's NOTHING different about the hardware itself.
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on May 17, 2018
Owner of two 2nd gen dots, 4 echo shows, 2 kids editions, and about 25 smart home devices.

DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS.

It’s a second generation dot that’s limited by the programming not just limited in ways I would like it limited as a parent. You’ll pay twice as much for a device that you can monitor and limit access to but after a year that price isn’t worth much because you’ll have to pay for free time which is expensive.

Horribly disappointed in this. I honestly had very high hopes for this product and was excited to have it delivered to my front door the day it was resleased.

Customer service took an hour to believe me when I told them the problem wasn’t my Phillips hue lights, the problem was that the dot won’t let me or my child turn on any of our devices from it.

One positive note is that the case is great for kids.

Amazon, you guys let us down on this one. Which was honestly extremely surprising. I’ve been adding smart devices through your system for awhile now and even bought echos devices for family so we could all stay connected. This was disheartening.
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