The Amazon Echo has been evolving since it launched in 2014 and it will probably continue as technology catches up, but for now it’s a wireless speaker slash virtual assistant.
If you haven’t heard of it yet, the Echo is a sleek little device with several entertaining features.
When it first came out there was a lot of confusion around the real purpose of Alexa, the name for the voice inside the cylinder, but the confusion seems to be clearing up.
Keep reading this Amazon Eco Review if you like the idea of having a conversation with your wireless speaker.
Meet Alexa – The Interactive Wireless Speaker
There isn’t anything really special about the design of the Eco, but for something that’s just a basic cylinder shape it looks pretty good. It’s light and can easily be moved from place to place. Currently the Echo is only available in black, although this will probably change over time.
The thing that makes the Echo such a popular item is the voice control. Instead of pushing a button on a smart device somewhere, all you have to do is say “Alexa” and the volume light at the top comes on, indicating the she is ready for instructions. From there you can start giving orders.
You can tell Alexa to play your favorite playlist or tap into certain radio stations if you feel like listening to random tunes. Note that she is still limited in this area. You can also ask her to set alarms and create to-do lists. You can even connect her with the rest of your home and have her switch on the lights in addition to a few other goodies, such as getting a weather or traffic report.
But her talents don’t stop there. Alexa can read your audio books, answer questions and she can tell jokes. Thanks to the seven microphones that are installed she is by far one of the best voice recognition devices on the market today.
The voice that is used sounds as natural as they come, but you won’t be at liberty to change her name or the gender for that matter. This isn’t much of a hick-up considering she is created inside a cloud, which means she gets smarter the more you use her.
She will also become more accustomed to your voice as you go.
Amazon Echo Specs
In terms of technical details, Alexa stands at 9.25 inches and has a radius of 3.27 inches. She weighs about 1045 grams and comes with a 2.5 inch woofer along with a 2 inch tweeter.
Thanks to the dual band, dual antenna Wi-Fi she has a much stronger connection than the average Wi-Fi device.
If you wondered about giving orders from a distance, the Echo also comes with a remote that has a built-in microphone. Unfortunately it has to be plugged into a socket the whole time, seeing as there are no battery options. You should also be aware that without a Wi-Fi connection the Echo is nothing more than a regular Bluetooth speaker.
Features That Aren’t So Great
Alexa does have her faults and the most obvious will probably be the quality of the sound. The moment you put the volume too loud it starts to distort a little and one might even say there is an imbalance regarding the sound.
You should also prepare yourself for a little frustration, because the voice recognition technology has yet to be perfected. For the most part Alexa will get what you’re saying, but there are instances where she won’t register commands.
Apart from the lack of a battery option, you’ll need to re-install the Echo every time you take it to another hot spot. Even though this is a rather straightforward and simple process, it might irritate some people.
The Bottom Line
After taking everything into account the Echo is a very useful and entertaining wireless speaker. If approached with a little patience it’s difficult not to make it part of your everyday life.
There’s no need to pick up a device or push a button in order to get relevant information or listen to your favorite music. If you were wondering about the “next best thing” then the Echo is probably it.