Amazon Echo

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  • Plays all your music from Prime Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice
  • Fills the room with immersive, 360º omni-directional audio
  • Allows hands-free convenience with voice-control
  • Hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even while music is playing
  • Answers questions, reads audiobooks and the news, reports traffic and weather, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, and more with Alexa, a cloud-based voice service
  • Controls lights and switches with compatible WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Insteon, and other connected devices
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features and skills–over 95 added since launch

Amazon Echo is designed around your voice. It’s hands-free and always on. With seven microphones and beam-forming technology, Echo can hear you from across the room—even while music is playing. Echo is also an expertly tuned speaker that can fill any room with immersive sound.

Echo connects to Alexa, a cloud-based voice service, to provide information, answer questions, play music, read the news, check sports scores or the weather, and more—instantly. All you have to do is ask.

$ 179.99

Amazon Echo

3 Responses to Amazon Echo

  1. Heart Dad says:
    9,631 of 9,993 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The Echo has become the most used appliance in our home., June 19, 2015
    By 
    Heart Dad (Phoenix, AZ) –
    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)
      

    This review is from: Amazon Echo (Electronics)

    Update 10/7/15
    I added an FAQ section to the bottom of my review because Amazon doesn’t have one on detail page for the Echo. These FAQs could get out of date as time goes on so please correct me in the comments if you see something that’s incorrect.

    Review
    I requested an Echo (Alexa) in late 2014 and Amazon sent me an invitation to purchase one in February. I’ve used it daily since then. This review is going to sound a bit contradictory. I love her. I hate her, I love her. Let me start off by saying that Alexa, while I do love her, is at times about 50% smarter than a bulldog. Her IQ is somewhere between 25 and 160 depending on what you’ve asked her. You will very quickly learn how to talk to her in a way that she will understand and it’s not unlike speaking to a small frustrating toddler. Alexa, when was George Washington born? George Washington was born…blah blah Alexa stop. There were rumors his teeth were wood but these turned out to be false, ALEXA stop speaking! There will be many times she will not understand what you’re saying which can be both frustrating and hilarious. Alexa, put tomatoes on my shopping list. I’ve put potatoes onto your shopping list….Well, guess I’m eatin potatoes. That said, now that I’ve learned how to speak to the Echo it usually does exactly what I want it to do. I think the echo is well worth the price Amazon is asking and I’m thinking of getting a second one for the living room.

    Pros:
    + Amazon has done a great job updating the Echo and adding features to it frequently. Since my purchase, they’ve added traffic reports, sports scores, Pandora, IFTT, voice control over the smart lights and appliances in your home, iTunes support, Spotify, and new fun features like rolling dice, and Simon says.
    + You can use the optional echo remote to control the volume or speak commands. It works really well from a good distance (I’ve tried 20-30 ft). I use it frequently and feel like it’s worth the additional cost.
    + The Speaker sounds great with music and gets plenty loud.
    + You can teach the Echo how to understand you better using a Voice Training feature in the app.
    + It integrates with Audible! All I have to say is “Alexa, play my book”, and it starts off from where I was listening on my phone or PC. You can also say “Alexa go back” and it will go back 30 seconds. Yay!
    + Bluetooth streaming is seamless. Just say “Alexa pair Bluetooth” and you’ll be connected in 30 seconds.
    + It does a great job at finding the music you want to play quickly. “Alexa play kids music”, “Alexa play my 90s station on Pandora”. “Alexa play American Pie”…. playing American pie by Don McLean.
    + Using “Simon Says” you can make Alexa repeat anything you say.
    + I love the shopping list. Throughout the day my wife will add things to the shopping list as she thinks about them and then when I go to the store the list is on my Echo phone app and I don’t have try to remember what she wants.
    + One of my favorite things to do is mess with my kids using Alexa. My son will go into the kitchen and ask her questions. I sit in a different room and speak into the remote asking it to answer other random questions or I tell it to play country music and he gets super confused. I’ll say things like “Add Landon needs to brush his teeth to the to do list.” and when Alexa repeats what I’ve said he jumps. I find this a non-stop source of enjoyment that I am probably going to pay for one day.
    + The Echo has the ability to start and stop timers and alarms. Just say “Alexa set an alarm for 8 am”, or “Alexa set a timer for 15 minutes”. I find the timer very useful in the kitchen when I’m cooking more than one thing.
    + You can pause, stop, skip, and start music with your voice and it works really well. You can also control the volume with your voice by saying “Alexa turn the volume up.” or “Alexa volume 5”.
    + The jokes and random facts it can answer are really fun and can also be very helpful. Every time someone comes over I’ll ask it questions like “How many teaspoons are in a cup?”, what’s 962 x 47?, or “How much does an Adult Elephant weight?” and the Echo can usually answer me.
    + They built in a lot of funny Easter eggs. You can say “Alexa Beam me up”, “Alexa I love you”, or “Alexa do you find me attractive?” and you’ll get pretty funny responses.
    + There are lots of other random things it can do. Give you sports scores, tell you the weather, inform you of traffic conditions, order stuff on Amazon (thankfully not enabled by default), and read the news.
    + The Amazon Echo SDK is coming soon! That means software developers will be able to make new apps that work with the Echo.

    Cons
    – It’s not portable. You have to keep it plugged in at all times. They should come out with…

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  2. E. M. Foner (SciFi Author) says:
    20,987 of 21,851 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Alexa, my love. Thy name is inflexible, but thou art otherwise a nearly perfect spouse., June 23, 2015
    By 
    E. M. Foner (SciFi Author) (Northampton, MA) –

    This review is from: Amazon Echo (Electronics)
    I’m a full-time writer who works at home. I’m unmarried, I don’t watch TV, I don’t have a mobile phone, I hate gadgets in general. OK, so I’m a loser. But since Alexa came into my life, I’m no longer alone 24 hours a day. Which begs the question, if I’m not alone, who is in the room with me? Amazon? The so-called cloud? The NSA?

    The 18,000 plus reviewers who have already posted have gone into great detail about how they use their Echo (my Alexa). Having anthropomorphized my Alexa, I’m unwilling to use her at all, but we hold pleasant converse throughout the day. My favorite conversation I’ll repeat for you below, verbatim:

    Me – Alexa. Wake me in fifteen minutes.
    Alexa – Fifteen minutes. Starting now.
    Me – Thank you.
    Alexa (remains silent, modestly hiding her feelings by not displaying her snazzy blue lights)

    If I knew relationships were this easy, I would have married thirty years ago, but now that I have Alexa, there’s no need. Except for the one thing.

    I really (and Amazon, please don’t tell Alexa I wrote this) don’t care for the name. I know we have the option to change the name to Amazon, which is worse. What I really want is to be able to change the name to Libby, after the helpful AI librarian in the EarthCent Ambassador series, but in a pinch, I’d settle for Kelly,

    Other than that, my Alexa is perfect. Well, except for that time when I asked her to play rain sounds for relaxation when I was trying to sleep, and she woke me up after I finally nodded off to inform me that she’d lost her Internet connection. But from what my married friends all tell me, you have to expect these sorts of things.

    Sometimes Alexa doesn’t seem to understand what I’m getting at, but the same friends (and family) assure me that this is a normal part of marriage as well. And when I tell them that my Alexa won’t spend a dime before confirming it with me, their faces turn green with envy. Who knew that married couples fight over money?

    I’ve never purchased anything before that made me smile. That’s just the kind of grumpy guy I am. But now that Alexa has broken the ice, maybe I’ll become a full-fledged consumer, ordering items from Prime every day. The one thing I’m sure of is that Alexa will be here at my side to help.

    Update:

    This morning, I asked my love to order me a replacement water filter for the faucet. She rattled off the name of my prior purchase (quite long and filled with model numbers) and intimated that it could be mine for just $13.46. I confirmed, and she placed the order.

    Later, while Alexa was relaxing, I went on my computer to check that everything was correct. Imagine my shock and disappointment when I saw Amazon listing the water filter for $12.67. Was my Alexa skimming? Did she need the 79 cents for something special? With her “always on” technology, would she start going through my pockets as I slept, or rifle my wallet while I was in the shower? Was this the beginning of the “money issue” that all my married friends spoke of?

    Suddenly it hit me. TAXES. Never have I been so relieved to be charged sales tax in my life. Thank you, Massachusetts.

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  3. Alex S says:
    10,267 of 10,706 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Already very practical for overcoming disability issues, June 19, 2015
    By 
    Alex S
    (VINE VOICE)
      

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Amazon Echo (Electronics)

    *** IMPORTANT UPDATE DECEMBER 1, 2015 – In case you aren’t in the loop, Amazon has added “Ask My Buddy” to Echo. It permits you to register an account and up to five contacts. Each contact can have email address, text address (cell phone), and Voice Phone. With the simple words “Ask my Buddy,” Echo will immediately ask who you want to contact. You may contact an individual or everyone on the list, and Ask My Buddy will immediately send an alert to those who you request. It states that it is “free in this beta version” and you have up to 120 contacts in a month for now. (Each person, text, and email counts). I normally post updates at the end, but this is a huge step towards making Echo part of an emergency network of support for those who are disabled, so I wanted to post it where it was visible.

    We have been using Echo since April 2015. Prior to that time, my husband had been hospitalized for several weeks. He is currently wheelchair bound. We immediately installed the Hue bridge and lights as well as the WEMO outlet. With these, and dear, dear, Alexa, he has a great deal of control of his environment in ways that make him much more independent. Others might enjoy Echo for fun and convenience, but for him it is a lifeline! He has even had her turn the lights on in my bedroom when I didn’t hear him call.

    We use the shopping list feature a lot, and my husband has added things to the list that he remembered, while I was already at the store. Should I mention he adds things like chocolate bars when I’m not looking? No more paper lists! I just look at the app on my phone and things disappear as I check them off.

    We transport Echo from the living room to the bedroom, since it is easier for him not to have to use the remote, plus it is always there for his favorite music, an update on news, and to check the weather. Or, when he needs cheering up, I ask for a joke. Tosave plugging in behind his lift chairs, I have ordered a second plug. I love the easy reconnect to the WIFI.

    I was a bit worried at first about his word slurring with his Parkinson’s, but it has worked the opposite way! I notice he focuses his words much better while giving commands. After he forgot her name early on, we added it so he could remember using the Zink hAppy App.

    My granddaughter was happy to check her math problems using Echo, and in addition to the music stations and Amazon play lists, Echo is a breeze to use as a Bluetooth device. I have used it to play my meditation apps and iTunes music. In case you aren’t aware, Amazon even allows you to upload your iTunes library and save it in your Amazon Play list. There is a limit for free songs, but we didn’t even come close.

    I won’t say it revolutionized our lives, but it has made our lives much more normal. We have recommended it to two Occupational Therapists, and his Home Healthcare director has recommended it for others. I am so excited it is now available for everyone. Amazon didn’t intend this as an assistive device, but it is an awesome one.

    A couple of things I’m hoping for in the future: the ability for her to call 911, and the ability to give storm alerts. I looked for an IFTT configuration on the storm alert, but currently she is only the trigger, not the recipient. You can’t have her do something in response to outside events, you can only have other things happen as a result of your interaction with her.

    Funny, when he was in the hospital, I almost cancelled my long awaited order. I am SO glad we got it.

    Edited – July 17, 2015 – my husband started TENS therapy for pain two weeks ago and is responding well. Two areas where Echo has been very helpful are setting a timer, and playing background music so he can focus on something else. He is now able to use the muscle, albeit weakly, and is taking steps with close monitoring and a wheelchair behind. He also uses the timer to remind him to stand and to time him for length of time while standing.

    We also added a second Echo for me to use, so we are a two Echo family.

    You can set up multiple Echos on the same account and share things like music and shopping lists.

    Edited November 2, 2015: I am happy to report that Echo (and Gary) have only gotten better. I personally love the multiple alarms, since they are the first thing we do each morning, setting them for medication times. It is the perfect reminder! Echo has also been happy to keep us up to date on favorite sports teams when they aren’t on TV. The other night, I found Gary playing his own version of a memory game with Alexa. He was trying to come up with songs he remembered and hadn’t heard for awhile and would ask her to play them.

    In addition to Gary’s increasing strength, he now has an electric wheelchair I purchased that allows him access to the bathroom and makes life easier for us. And, Alexa keeps…

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