The holidays are coming.
Everyone wants the new hot product for their friends or family.
So, getting to the point:
Is Amazon Echo worth it?
We’ll tell you in a minute, but first, lets check out what the Echo has to offer.
- Plays all your music from Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more.
- Fills the room with a 360 omni-directional audio.
- Allows hands-free convenience with voice control.
- Hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even when the music is playing.
- Answers questions, reads audiobooks, news, reports, traffic, weather, info on local businesses, and provides sports scores.
- Controls lights, switches, thermostats and compatible with many smart home systems such as WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmarThings, Insteon, Nest, and Ecobee (and a few others)
- Always getting smarter (new features always being added)
So, let’s break this product down into a few categories, FAQ’s, and everything you need to know through our experience to see if buying one is worth it.
What can it do? And how is it useful?
The Echo device will do these things:
1. Order an Uber
If you’re in a rush or you frequently use Uber, just speaking to the Echo device and say “Alexa, order an Uber” and having an Uber come shortly, saves you a few minutes from actually opening up your phone and going through the app itself.
2. Doing a 7 minute workout.
This might sound stupid, like “Oh wow, this talking robot can force me to work out!!”
It’s nothing like that.
Some people have trouble with morning routines, or they may be just too busy or caught up to find a morning routine program on Youtube or another media.
If you’re a person who’s striving to do a morning routine, I completely understand how having this Echo can help you do your morning exercises during your morning routines faster.
3. Add and check events from your Google Calendar
Now you can ask Alexa to add events to your calendar, and see what events you might have coming up. It syncs up with your email so anytime you can ask the Echo to do this for you.
4. Order a pizza
This only works for Dominos right now, but ordering a pizza through the Echo was pretty easy and a cool feature if you tend to use Dominos once in awhile.
5. Play audiobooks
The Echo device does a great job playing audiobooks through Amazon’s service Audible, you can ask the Echo to play them to you. One thing we enjoyed about it is that it resumes where you previously left off, and you can also resume through any chapter that is marked on the audio book.
6. Read Kindle Books
A feature that a lot of people will highly enjoy is if you have a Kindle book collection, the Echo can read it just like an audio book. We found the quality of speech to be well done, it doesn’t sound like Siri or a choppy robot. (Not saying that Siri sounds bad) but we are going off a stereotype here.
7. Suggesting drinks
The Echo can act as your bartender as you can ask it how many different cocktails it knows, it will read out the recipe for you. (Be responsible with this feature)
8. Track your Amazon packages
A great thing about the Echo device is that it can track your packages when ordered through Amazon. Just say “Where’s my package” and it will let you know the current location of your current Amazon orders.
Is it battery operated?
The Echo must be connected through it’s AC adapter. So it is not battery operated. It is intended for home (or whatever room) use.
Why is everyone going crazy about it?
We think the Echo is definitely getting some hype pushed on it by preferred media. But overall we found the Echo to be useful for reading out weather and traffic (sometimes we hate pulling out our phone)
Calling an Uber was convenient, however we always like to see where the Uber is by watching the map on our phones.
The overall message of the product is, how it can save you time by avoiding to input your query over your phone. It’s becoming a little of an annoyance pulling out your phone sometimes just to look at a Yelp review or look at the weather.
So the Amazon Echo is definitely on this path of alleviating this problem.
How good is the sound?
For voice, the sound was great, very clear and impressive.
For music, it was good, but it isn’t going to be a Bose system. On a scale of 1-10 we give music quality a 7.5.
If you want a better Echo device dedicated for music, we highly recommend the Amazon Tap that is a great portable speaker dedicated to only music quality.
Can it hear me over music?
Yes it can, it looks like Amazon’s Lab 126 department (at least we believe that’s the team responsible) did an amazing job with voice recognition over sound. This technology alone is phenomenal. When you’re playing music, it can detect your voice over the noise no problem.
The Echo is too big, is there a small version?
Yes there is, the All-New Echo Dot. It is the smaller version of the Amazon echo and here’s the picture below.
Can it answer the phone?
Yes it can through the Ooma voip system.
Does it have AM/FM radio?
Yes it does with the TuneIn app.
If you’re looking for a hot Christmas gift, or a device that will free up some of your time, this looks like a good and solid tool and it looks like it will have lots of support and new applications for the next few years to come.
It’s in high demand right now so make sure you get yours before they completely sell out. (The Echo Dot is already taking huge pre-orders and will be released October 20th)
You can buy the Amazon Echo here: Amazon Echo
The Amazon Echo Dot is here: All-New Echo Dot