I have one of these and I love it. Most of the time, I use it in the morning for weather, news, music, and podcasts. We have our Gen 1 in the kitchen as the speaker is pretty good. Alexa has many uses, but in the kitchen it’s particularly handy with timers, grocery list, and measurement/math questions. These things really are super handy. After trying other services, Alexa is the best one out there.
As far as the built-in hub in concerned, we are in a new house and I have not set it up, but in the old house, I had many devices using this. It worked great and was really pretty straight forward with set up. The NEW Echo Plus though… it looks better and has a built in temperature gauge, which can be set to do things automatically. For instance, you could set up an AC to turn on if the house reaches 70-degrees. It’s pretty nifty. Personally, I would hold off and just buy a new one during the next Prime Day sale, or Christmas time. Amazon products go on sale all the time anyway.
If the hub means nothing to you, then just go with the Dot. The speaker is decent for a small room, looks good (small), and frequently goes on sale for $25.
This first generation speaker sounds great for $29 when Woot has these on sale. I’m not all that impressed with the 3rd generation Dot.
I have 2nd gen Dots and they have been fine for small rooms. Quiet music, news, weather, time and alarms are my main functions.