Review of the Amazon Echo Family of Products

Echo by Amaon

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The Amazon Echo
Overall Ranking: 4.8 out of 5
Price: $139.99
Owners: Amazon is a publically traded company
Website:

INTRODUCTION
The Amazon Echo family of products are trend setters in voice controlled home entertainment, information and home automation that continually evolve as new cloud services are enabled.  Our family has been using the Echo as part of Amazon’s Beta test group.  We were included in this group because we have a Prime account with Amazon.com and I am part of their developer network. Initially the Echo skill set was music and weather and there was only one model.  At the time you better like it in Black.  As you can see below the model options have increased and for the fashion conscious you can now buy a white Echo too.  For most of us, more importantly, the skill set has grown rapidly.

As a quick overview the Echo is only 9.3 inches tall and 3.3 inches in diameter.  Amazon manages to pack a 2.5 inch reflex woofer, a 2 inch tweeter and a 7 microphone array as well as wifi and bluetooth connectivity in this small tower.  In practical terms this design means the Echo can hear you from any direction many feet away, respond to your commands or questions, connect to the internet and play music with surprisingly good fidelity while occupying very little space where you choose to put it.

 

I know many of you are thinking something with that much power sounds cool but it must be hard to set up and use, and you would be wrong if you are thinking that.  Setup is simple comprising only 3 steps.  First take it out of the box, attach the power cord and plug it in.  Second, download the free Alexa smartphone app for IOS, Android or Fire OS from the Appstore, Google play or Amazon depending on which phone you own.  Third, use your Alexa smartphone app to connect to the internet. Enjoy!

 

To use the Echo you use the wakeup word Alexa.  Upon hearing it being called a pretty blue light around the top  of the Echo lights up to signify it is waiting for your command.   The Echo does many activities but for organization I will group them into the following categories

 

  • Entertainment
  • Organization
  • Information
  • Assistance

Entertainment

Alexa can play music from your personal Amazon Account, Amazon Prime Music, Pandora, Spotify and IHeartRadio to name several.  Amazon has musical themes such as Christmas songs or Classic Rock available to provide you with continuous play without much effort.   Have you purchased any Audio Books from Amazon?  If you have an Echo it can read them to you.  Echo can play various vocal games and bring a smile with a joke upon request.

Organization

There are a number of skills Echo has designed to help you stay organized from timers and alarm clock functionality to creating and updating To Do lists and a grocery shopping list.  It even interacts with FitBit to track you daily workouts.

Information

Echo rocks here!  Headline news, current and forecasted local weather, weather from anywhere in the world, sports scores, stock market averages and individual share prices, transportation schedules are all among the information that is just a question to Echo away.

Assistance

Three areas where Echo can assist you stand out,  Home automation from control of lighting to managing heating and cooling are all part of the current Echo skill set.  If the Alexa application is installed on an Android or IPhone you can use Echo to call or text someone in your Smartphone contacts list simply by saying Alexa, call NAME OF CONTACT.  You can now have a hands free conversation with whomever Echo called for you, How Cool is That?! Likewise you can tell Echo to answer an incoming call.  Finally Echo is now connecting with a number of cloud connected service providers such as Uber so just ask Echo to get you a ride.

PROS

The Echo is extremely helpful in our everyday life. It gets better week to week as more cloud services are developed.

CONS

The only things we do not like about the Echo is it doesn’t do everything, yet!

WHO IT IS FOR

The Echo can help anybody who is not afraid to adapt to new cloud services forms of help.

SUPPORT

Amazon accepts returns and exchanges, but this device is so helpful and easy to use it is difficult for me to imagine anyone needing support.

PRICE: $139.99

FINAL OPINION
In summary Echo rocks and shows more moves every day!  It is not a high end stereo system but the sound quality is surprisingly good.

To buy Echo in its original black form you can do so by clicking here.  If you prefer the stylish classic white model you buy to by clicking here instead.
 
The Echo Dot
Overall Ranking: 4.5 out of 5
Price: $39.99
Owners: Amazon is a publically traded company
Website:
 

INTRODUCTION

The Echo Dot is designed to extend Echo’s functionality throughout the house.  It comes with both wifi and bluetooth connectivity but the major difference between the Echo Dot and the original Echo is sound quality.  This is caused by the Dot only having one small speaker installed that does work when used in applications like an alarm clock, a timer or a handsfree voice call but comes up short when trying to reproduce music.   To solve this shortcoming the Dot can be connected to remote speakers by either bluetooth or 3.5 m stereo audio cable which is not included and must be acquired separately.

PROS

The Echo Dot provides the information and organization services of the Echo for a much lower cost. Ideally it can be used to extend the Echo’s services throughout the house.

CONS

The Dot does not provide a good musical interface.

WHO IT IS FOR

The Echo Dot extends the range of the Echo and is meant to be added to rooms that benefit from cloud connected support, but do not require high quality musical entertainment.

SUPPORT

Amazon accepts returns and exchanges, but this device is so helpful and easy to use it is difficult for me to imagine anyone needing support.

PRICE: $39.99

FINAL OPINION

The Echo Dot provides the information and organization services of the Echo while lacking the ability to deliver quality music fidelity for $100 less out of pocket expense.

If Organization and information services are your main objectives and good sound quality is not important then the Echo Dot is for you. You can purchase one from Amazon.com by clicking here.

Introducing Echo Show – Black
Overall Ranking: 4.9 out of 5
Price: $229.99
Owners: Amazon is a publically traded company
Website:

INTRODUCTION

The Echo Show is the soon to be released flagship of the Echo line of products. Scheduled for release on June 28, 2017 and available for preorder today the show will be here shortly.  Two major enhancements to Echo’s already admirable technology and services available are Streaming video, including video calling with other Echo Show owners, and enhanced sound powered by Dolby.  

PROS

Like the the Echo the Echo Show is extremely helpful everyday life plus it offers the ability to make video calls to other Echo Show owners.

CONS

The only things we do not like about the Echo Show is it doesn’t do everything, yet! It does offer streaming video services to Echo’s already formidable abilities.

WHO IT IS FOR

The Echo Show can help anybody who desires streaming video, face to face video telephone calls and who is not afraid to adapt to new cloud services forms of help.

SUPPORT

Amazon accepts returns and exchanges, but this device is so helpful and easy to use it is difficult for me to imagine anyone needing support.

PRICE: $229.99

FINAL OPINION

In summary Echo product line rocks and shows more moves every day, hence the Show!  It is not a high end stereo system but the video streaming and sound quality is surprisingly good.

To be one of the first to own the Echo Show you can preorder it by clicking here.

Amazon Tap – Alexa-Enabled Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Overall Ranking: 4.8 out of 5
Price: $99.99
Owners: Amazon is a publically traded company
Website:

INTRODUCTION

The Amazon Tap is an Echo enabled Dolby powered bluetooth speaker that can access all of the same music and other Audio book features the Echo offers.  It will stream music from your telephone or tablet via bluetooth.  If you want to bring your music on your smartphone and play it like the life of the party you can do just that by buying the Amazon Tap here.

PROS

The Tap is a good speaker with the added abilities to access cloud services including music and audible books.

CONS

The Tap is more expensive than some competing bluetooth speakers, but it also offers cloud connected services that the alternatives do not

WHO IT IS FOR

A good speaker for anyone who wants to take their music with them.

SUPPORT

Amazon accepts returns and exchanges, but this device is so helpful and easy to use it is difficult for me to imagine anyone needing support.

PRICE: $99.99

FINAL OPINION

The Tap is a good addition to the Echo family of products and can be purchased from Amazon.com by clicking here.

 





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4 thoughts on “Review of the Amazon Echo Family of Products”

  1. I definitely love my amazon echo in black so far.

    It has amazing functionalities and it simply rocks! I love the ease of having Alexa play my iheart radio music tunes. I just have to order it what to play and it shockingly does play the right music.

    Forget about the news! I love that feature as well. I don’t have time to be watching the news in the mornings or nights so I now rely entire on Alexa to update me on breaking news, weather forecast around my area (which is pretty accurate) and so forth.

    I would highly recommend the Amazon echo original to anybody. I know the price seems kind of high but for everything it does, I think it is fairly reasonable.

    1. We use ours for music, news, alarms, timers, and services.  As we automate our house, we look for products that work with the Echo 

  2. Hey Maria Isabel and Robert!

    The Echo Family looks amazing!

    I was actually looking for some info around these guys, since I’ve seen them around and was kinda curious about the features.

    Man! They’re awesome, we really are going towards a world were technology makes everything easier and funnier.

    I’ll give them a go! I specially like the first one.

    Thanks for the complete review! 😉

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