Amazon has updated its Echo Dot smart speaker with a new design and a more powerful speaker. Here's everything you need to know about the new Echo Dot. Plus, here's what separates the Echo Dot 3 from the Echo Dot 2.

Amazon's Echo Dot is one of the most popular smart speakers out there. At under £50/US$50, plenty of people who would otherwise avoid new-fangled (and expensive) gadgets have bought one and are dipping their toes into the smart home waters and playing with Alexa.

Amazon is putting its full weight behind Alexa, the AI assistant which makes its Echo speakers smart. It is constantly updating its capabilities and even enabling it to answer seasonal and event-based queries such as the World Cup and Father's Day.

The range of products you can now buy with Alexa baked in is staggering, and thanks to Amazon's announcements on 20 September it has just grown substantially. We expect it to continue to grow in 2018 and beyond.

Now the range of Amazon-made Echo products includes the new Dot, a new Echo Plus, the Echo, the Echo Spot, a new Echo Show, the new Echo Sub and a new Amazon Smart Plug.

The range of products you can now buy with Alexa baked in is staggering, and it’s only likely to grow in 2018.

In a YouGov survey published in April 2018, it was revealed that Amazon Echo's family of devices still holds a staggering 75% of the UK market, at least among those surveyed.

When is the Echo Dot 3 release date?

After being unveiled by Amazon on 20 September, the new Echo Dot is available to pre-order now, ahead of its release date on 11 October.

How much does the Echo Dot 3 cost?

Just like the Echo Dot 2 before it, the third generation smart speaker costs £49.99/$49.99. Amazon also offers the option to spread the cost over five months, with five payments of £10.

In the US, you can buy two to save $10 here.

You can buy the Echo Dot 3 here.

There are various bundles available for the Dot 3, too. You can buy it with Philips smart bulbs or the Smart Plug as a sort of smart home starter kit.

What new features does the Echo Dot 3 have?

The first thing you'll notice about the new Echo Dot is its design. It now has a more modern look and feel, available in three shades with a fabric cover rather than the previous plastic casing. You can choose between Charcoal, Heather Grey and Sandstone.

Amazon has said that the speaker inside the Dot is improved and is now more powerful, with tech that makes it 70% louder according to the company.

Nothing much else has changed, but all of the features you loved from the previous Dot remain. You'll be able to ask Alexa to play music, answer your questions, set alarms, read the news, check the weather and control your compatible smart home devices.

You can call other Echo devices, even those in different households, and Amazon says Skype is coming soon.

You can also connect it to your own speakers using Bluetooth or a 3.5mm audio cable.

We expect this to be one of the most popular Christmas gifts this year. Pre-order yours from Amazon here.