What is Amazon Echo? From the commercials it appears to be a little voice in a box that you can interrupt with somewhat annoying questions, however, it is really so much more than that. It is really a bluetooth speaker that makes your house into a smarthome, if you use devices that are controllable via bluetooth. It is also a digital assistant, but if you’re not a fan of Siri, don’t write off Echo just yet. It is controlled by Alexa, a personable digital assistant with a female voice.
The best part about this product so far is that Amazon is always updating the app. Since it hit the market last year it has had more than 95 updates. The device itself is just a bit more than 9 inches tall and 3 inches wide, and it only comes in black. In addition to using your voice, you can also purchase a remote for the Echo, though it’s really not neccessary since the voice controls seem to work well even in a noisy room.
Echo set up is very easy but you will need a smartphone or tablet (Android, iOS or Amazon Fire). Just download the app and set it up according to the directions that Amazon provides, which are pretty straightforward. In the app, after set up, you can access any to do lists and shopping lists you’ve asked Alexa to set up for you, and also access your Echo apps. You can play music through Amazon Music, but also through exterior apps like iHeartRadio. It can also control many smart devices in your home like WeMo lights, however, not all smarthome devices are included. Amazon does have a convenient compatibility list though that is always growing.
The one downside to Echo is that it’s not very portable. It’s really meant to stay in one spot in your house because it doesn’t have a battery, which would only really work if your house is one room. It’s true that Echo is not quite as smart as Siri, but the fact that Amazon seems to be working very hard to develop new features all the time is very promising.
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