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Amazon Echo Smart Speaker and Alexa

Why should you connect your phone to your speakers, select a playlist to play and even control the volume when you can do all of that with a voice command simply? Well, try the new Amazon Echo with the voice assistant, Alexa.

Developed by Amazon, Amazon Echo is a brand of smart speakers, which connects to the voice-controlled intelligent assistant Alexa. The device responds to the name “Alexa”, which you can edit as per your preferences. From voice interaction, music playback, setting alarms and reminders, making to-do lists to providing weather and traffic information, there is a variety of skills which Alexa can perform. I recently purchased Amazon Echo and am completely awed by the speakers. Here is my compact review. For this post, I will consider the benchmarks of user experience listed here.

Amazon Alexa Android App

As soon as you unpack the speakers, you’ll see an instruction card where you’d be prompted to download the Alexa App. Here’s what the app looks like. You can set-up a new device and adjust preferences (language, skills to enable, wake up word, etc).

Alexa App Homepage
Alexa App Homepage

Features:

Usability

Amazon Echo is pretty simple to use and doesn’t require prior technical knowledge. Well, you need to install the Alexa app (which again is a cakewalk) and you’re good to go. Once you’ve set up the device, you can play around; ask Alexa to play your favorite songs, check news, get weather updates, book a cab or even order a pizza online. All of it, just by voice commands.

Valuable

Voice-controlled Bluetooth speakers for less than Rs. 10,000 (or $100)? Want a cab? Say “Alexa, book a cab”. Want to lighten up? Ask Alexa to tell you a joke. Designated party DJ and not sure which playlist to opt for? Ask Alexa to put on party songs! All of it within Rs. 10,000 (or $100). Well, sir, value for money is what I call this!

Findable

Google “Amazon Echo” and you’d be recommended the Amazon listed Echo page. Add it to your cart, buy it or recommend it to your friend! It’s as easy as that to get your own virtual home assistant.

Aesthetics

Amazon Echo comes in two variants of color: Black and Grey. Cylindrical, sleek and smooth! Well, they say “you can never go wrong with black” and grey if you wanna go the more conventional way.

Desirable

Who doesn’t need speakers? Whether you’re working, traveling, working out or just chilling, speakers are a necessity. And what better way to play music than simply asking it to do so!

Echo Dot

A cheaper version, Echo Dot is also available; both in Black and White. Other than size, Echo Dot and Echo differ in their sound. While Echo is taller and broader, Echo Dot is way smaller and portable. However, Echo beats Dot in sound quality and volume.

As all machine learning platforms, Alexa also requires training to give you efficient results. Don’t get disheartened if she doesn’t answer all your queries immediately! Instead, be patient to train her to befriend her. Technology exists to make our lives easier and us lazier! If you can afford to listen to music, audiobooks, book reservations, set alarms, and reminders, make to-do lists and day to day activities by merely a voice command, I’d say the product is nailing it!

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