Amazon Echo Review

Amazon Echo Review: A Must-Have In Your Home?

Written by   (author of Obvious Conclusions)
Amazon Echo Review

Amazon Echo: A Must-Have For Your Home?

The Amazon has has been around for several years now and sold in excess of 100 million units since it’s inception. So, in this Amazon Echo review, let’s take a look at this little device that people love so much.

With little fanfare, Amazon introduced the Echo in 2014.  It was called a Smart-speaker and nobody had really heard that term.

But once people tried it, they loved it and now all of the other companies, like Google, are trying to catch up with Amazon.

In this Amazon Echo review, we are going to take a look at this little device by Amazon and tell you whether it is something spectacular or whether it is something that you can just leave on the shelf.

Also, be sure to check out the video review of the Amazon Echo below and view all the cool things that you can do with Alexa.  Did you know you can even turn on the lights?

As Google has often done, Amazon has created a “buzz” by not trying to create a buzz.

They simply placed the Echo on the Amazon website with no pre-announcements. Do you know what this tells me? It tells me that Amazon thinks this product is going to be huge! Why the secrecy then?

They did not want any competition because they have, potentially, created a whole new product line. To understand this, we have to take a look at just what what this product is.

Inside The Amazon Echo: What Is Echo?

Amazon placed the Echo on the front page of Amazon.com with a simple headline above all others: “Introducing Amazon Echo” as you see in the photo below.

amazon introduces echo

I simply followed the link out of curiosity. The photo of Amazon Echo is completely underwhelming; it simply looks like a Bluetooth speaker. Then, I continued my investigations and my excitement piqued quite a bit and I thought: “Amazon may really be onto something here…no wonder why they kept this device such a big secret.”

How can this be little innocuous looking device create a who marketplace of products? To understand this, let’s take a look at just what is Echo?

I like to think of the Amazon Echo as a bunch of the technologies that we already use perfected and wrapped up into one little underwhelming looking omniscient device.

To understand Echo, let’s ask a few questions: Do you use a Bluetooth speaker with your phone? If you answered yes, this is just one of the many things that the Amazon Echo can do. It can be your speaker and, by all accounts, a good one at that. Do you check the weather everyday? Echo does that. Do you set an alarm clock? Echo does that? Do you want to know who won the World Series last year? Echo can tell you.

Big deal, you ask? Well, it seems like it’s not a big deal at first because I have the ability to do all of these things on my phone. However, with Echo, it does all of these things better because you never have to type anything or tap any screen. Echo is completely voice-controlled.

To do any of these tasks outlined above, you simply need to say the wake word, “Alexa”, and you’re on your way. “Alexa, how old is Richard Gere?”. It’s like having a friend with encyclopedic knowledge at your disposal. And, this is quite literally the case. Echo is always connected to the Internet with access to virtually everything. Given the way voice recognition and processing is evolving, Echo will continually improve and be able to update itself automatically.

Echo is positioned to be a device in your house that is always on. Thus, when you are walking around your house, you can just throw out questions to Alexa and she/he/it (whatever is your preference) will be able to hear your question and respond. Even with loud music playing or if you are in another room, the Echo can hear you because it is equipped with something called “Far-Filed Voice Recognition“, a fancy term meaning that there are 7 speakers on the Echo with enhanced noise cancellation that are able to listen very carefully.

Though Echo is meant to me static in the household, I could see myself bringing this with me on vacations. Once you get use to just throwing out questions and having them answered, it might be hard to go without my smart new best friend.

How to Configure the Amazon Echo

Since we are talking about a device with no keyboard or screen, how do you even go about setting this up?

Well, we can accomplish this in one of two ways.

Amazon has an Echo app for Android and FireOs that will allow direct interaction with the device for setup and many other interesting tasks like shopping lists.

For those without the App, the Echo can be setup via a standard web browser. And, the setup is really nothing more than putting in your Wi-Fi ID and password as you’ve done for many devices already.

What is the Cost of the Amazon Echo

While there was initially only one version of the Amazon Echo, now there are many at different price points.

Most people begin with the standard Echo Dot, now in its 3rd generation, to see if they like it.  This product, currently priced at $49.99, literally has over 350,000 ratings on Amazon, nearly all of them perfect.

People love their Echo Dot Amazon Smart Speaker!

Then, after experiencing the standard Echo Dot, many will upgrade to a higher-end speaker version.  The latest version of this is called the Echo Studio and sounds amazing!  This high-end version comes in at  $199.

You can also often get discount with a Prime Membership.  Find out if Amazon Prime is right for you.

The Amazon Echo Review Conclusion: A Must-Have Device for Your Home

When I first saw that Amazon was introducing something called a Smart-speaker, I thought it would probably be another attempt at an existing product-line: a new e-reader, phone, or tablet-y device. I wasn’t too enthused by this.

And then I started reading and reviewing the Echo…and seeing its usage potential. This is a completely new product that we haven’t seen.

It may just be the perfect combination of many technologies that we have seen in awhile. Much how the iPod revolutionized music, might this little device revolutionize how we interact with our digital products?

Perhaps I could just ask Alexa: “Will the Amazon Echo do anything I want?”

“Of course I will,” she responds knowingly.

Get your Amazon Echo today!

Amazon Echo Dot 3 Video Review: Bigger, Better, & Still the Same Price

 

In this 4 1/2 minute video review of the Amazon Echo Dot 3, Ry Crist takes us through the advances that Amazon has made with this the latest Echo Dot.

Video: 10 Great Everyday Things That You Can Do With Your Amazon Echo

 

Our presenter Craig walks us through 10 fantastic everyday things we can do with our Amazon Echo.

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Richard Cummings

Richard Cummings is a writer, traveler, and web content developer.

Get your copy of his latest book entitled Obvious Conclusions, stories of a Midwestern emigrant influenced and corrupted by many years living in San Francisco and abroad. It just received its first outstanding review "...reminiscent of David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs" on Amazon UK.
Richard Cummings
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