Amazon Echo - Black

Amazon Echo - Black
From Amazon

List Price: $179.99
Price: $99.99 Details

Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

Average customer review:
(4.5 stars, based on 69266 reviews)

Product Details

  • Size: 0
  • Color: Black
  • Brand: Amazon
  • Model: SK705DI
  • Released on: 2015-06-23
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 9.30" h x 3.30" w x 3.30" l, 2.36 pounds

Features

  • Plays all your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice
  • Introducing Alexa calling and messaging, a new way to be together with family and friends. Just ask Alexa to call or message anyone with an Echo, Echo Dot, or the Alexa App.
  • Fills the room with immersive, 360º omni-directional audio
  • Hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even while music is playing
  • Answers questions, reads the news, reports traffic and weather, reads audiobooks from Audible, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, controls Amazon Video on Fire TV, and more using the Alexa Voice Service
  • Controls lights, fans, TVs, switches, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, locks, and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Sony, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, and others
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Domino's, DISH, and more

What is AMAZON ECHO?

Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. All you have to do is ask.

Echo has seven microphones and beam forming technology so it 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 360° immersive sound. When you want to use Echo, just say the wake word "Alexa" and Echo responds instantly. If you have more than one Echo or Echo Dot, Alexa responds intelligently from the Echo device you're closest to with ESP (Echo Spatial Perception).

Voice Control YOUR MUSIC

Amazon Echo provides hands-free voice control for Amazon Music—just ask for your favorite artist or song, or request a specific genre or mood. You can also search for music by lyrics, when a song or album was released, or let Alexa pick the music for you. Listen to any song with Amazon Music Unlimited.

Amazon Echo also provides hands-free voice control to Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn. Plus, Echo is Bluetooth-enabled so you can stream other popular music services like iTunes from your phone or tablet. Echo has been fine-tuned to deliver crisp vocals with dynamic bass response. Its dual downward-firing speakers produce 360° omni-directional audio to fill any room with immersive sound.

Far-field Voice Recognition

Tucked under the light ring is an array of seven microphones that use beam-forming technology and enhanced noise cancellation. With far-field voice recognition, Echo can hear you ask a question from any direction—even while playing music.

When you want to use Echo, simply say the wake word, "Alexa," and Echo lights up and streams audio to the cloud, where the Alexa Voice Service is leveraged to recognize and respond to your request instantly.

Always Getting Smarter

Alexa—the brain behind Echo—is built in the cloud, so it is always getting smarter. The more you use Echo, the more it adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences. And because Echo is always connected, updates are delivered automatically.

Just in the last few months we've added local search from Yelp, movie showtimes, Samsung SmartThings support, Google Calendar, Audible audiobooks, text-to-speech for Kindle eBooks, and over 100 new skills from third-party developers.

Echo has Skills

Skills add even more capabilities like ordering a pizza from Domino's, requesting a ride from Uber, opening your garage with Garageio, and more. Enabling skills lets your Echo do even more—simply discover and enable the skills you want to use in the Alexa App.

New skills are being added all the time. You can also see ratings and reviews to learn what other customers are saying about skills in the Alexa App.

Control Your Smart Home

Use Echo to switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, turn on the fan or space heater while reading in your favorite chair, or dim the lights from the couch to watch a movie—all without lifting a finger.

Echo works with smart home devices such as lights, switches, thermostats, and more from WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, Nest, ecobee, Wink, and more.

Do More with the Alexa App

With the free Alexa App on Fire OS, Android, iOS, and desktop browsers, you can easily setup and manage your Echo.

Use the Alexa App to connect services you already use like Spotify, Pandora, and Google Calendar. Setup your smart home devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, ecobee, and more. See what books are available to read from your Kindle and Audible libraries. View shopping and to-do lists while on the go. Control your timers and set custom tones for your alarms, and much more. The Alexa App is also where you discover and enable third-party skills.


Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

14555 of 15073 people found the following review helpful.
5Uber Awesome, In Fact you can even order an Uber ride from it!!
By Michael S
LOVE OUR NEW ECHO! I have been watching the reviews online and checking with friends that have purchased the Echo to see how much they liked or disliked its features. Last person I talked to went on and on about all the things there were using it for and that persuaded me it was time and Amazon Prime Day was the perfect opportunity to go for it. Amazon did a fantastic job of creating this tubular info-taining command center! There are so many cool and awesome things its able to do that I'll hit the highlights that work for our household. First, we love that it follows your voice in the room (the circle lighting will show which direction it is 'listening'), the speaker is wonderfully balanced, so whether listening to music, the news or to Alexa speaking, I have nothing but high marks for its sound quality, given its size. Next, set up (after downloading the app to our iPhones) was quick, easy and very intuitive. The more you look over the app, the more you will realize a world of 'skills' (as Amazon refers to them - we've nicked named them "echolettes" LOL) that the unit is able to perform once they are turned on and you master the right sequence of keywords to initialize them. We've added things to shopping lists, while asking about the weather and our calendar of events and then asked Alexa to change the temp of our Nest thermostats in various parts of the house, simply by saying her name and then our commands, sometimes sitting in the living room or simply pass through - she is always there listening and ready. We've ordered some LED programmable lights and I can hardly wait for Alexa to help set the mood in the house, room to room, all from a simple voice request. Even though we are fairly tech savvy and have phone, tablets and watches that can control devices, its HUGE to just ask for something and a pleasant voice setting it in motion.
I am a regular Amazon Prime shopper and reviewer, if my review helped you in making up your mind about whether to purchase the Echo, please mark the ‘Helpful’ button, it tells Amazon that folks are in fact reading reviews like this. Thanks!

27840 of 28792 people found the following review helpful.
5Already very practical for overcoming disability issues
By Alex S
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 his speech in line. When he realized She had been understanding him less, he went back to doing his speech exercises.

Our lives have settled into a new normal, and the Echo is a huge part of what makes normal easier.

*** 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).

Edited February 28, 2016 - We were able to buy a lift van (used) so we are able to more easily get around. I am trying to get Gary out of the house at least once a week.

We are currently planning a trip (by Amtrak) to visit family. It has taken a million details (OK, maybe not a million, but it feels like it) to try to do 36 hours on the train and to set things up my Dad's house. I have a list of things that we are taking with us. Alexa is at the top of the list. I suspect by the time I leave my Dad's home, he will have one on order. I may actually bring Hue light bulbs with me, or at least a WEMO plug.

Edited July 2016 - the trip was successful, if stressful on all of us. My Dad is now on Hospice, so I am grateful we went when we could. Sadly, Gary's health has continued to deteriorate, and he would no longer be able to make the trip. We have a hospital bed in our living room where he can be with us more. He is now believed to have a Parkinson's Plus disease called Multiple System Atrophy. Alexa seems to understand him better now using the remote, so we keep it handy. His current Physical and Occupational Therapists love Alexa as well. My greatest pleasure is reading the comments of others who also have disabilities who have been encouraged by my posts. Thank you.

Edited September 6, 2016 - Sadly, we lost my Dad shortly after I posted. He really enjoyed Echo during our visit, since he was a huge techie buff. It was fun sharing this important part of our lives with him. Gary continues to have a strong support system medically, although he is getting progressively weaker. An MRI shows he has had at least one stroke, which is probably why Alexa has a harder time understanding him.

And yes, all of the new home health members love seeing what we have done with our Echo. I have moved a twin bed into the living room to be with Gary at night, and when he needs help, it is easy to have Echo turn on the light for us. Our daughter and granddaughter moved in to help, and it is ESPECIALLY nice to control all of the lights in the house so easily.

April 2, 2017
If you aren't aware, TAP, Echo's sister, will now respond to a wake word. As Gary's speech deteriorated, Tap has helped him to more easily turn off the alarm, and having the wake word made it easy for me to control as well using my voice.
I have also added Nucleus to our Alexa family, which allows me to do video calls to check on Gary when I am away from home.
Gary continues to get weaker, but Echo has been a huge part of our journey. Reading back over my review, it is interesting to note that none of the therapists who visit us now are unfamiliar with Echo, although they enjoy seeing how we use it.
We are now at the point where Hospice is stepping in, and we are grateful for the support they offer.

15030 of 15679 people found the following review helpful.
5The Echo has become the most used appliance in our home.
By Heart Dad
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 a wireless rechargeable version.
- I wish you could ask the Echo to do more than one thing without repeating it's name "Alexa". For example I'd like to say "Alexa add milk, eggs, olive oil, and onions to my shopping list" and have it add 4 items to the list instead of 1.
- Currently the Echo only supports English. It will translate words for you but it puts them into your Echo app because it can't speak other languages.
- It would be great if they gave you a second keyword that would let Alexa listen until you tell her to stop listening. Sometimes I don't speak fast enough and the Echo thinks I'm done talking before I've finished my sentence.
- The shopping list is only stored in the cloud, not on your phone. I can't always get an internet connection in my grocery store, especially when I'm in the back of the store. When I lose the internet I suddenly can't access my shopping list. As a work-around you can use IFTT to copy the shopping list to another app on your phone. That said I still think they should copy the list to your phone in the echo app because not everyone is going to set up IFTT.
- When asking questions, the Echo is only good with facts. I can ask it "What is the capital of France?" but I can't ask questions like "How do I substitute Baking soda for baking powder?" or "Read me the next instructions for this fried chicken recipe.". I'd like if they expanded it's question answering capability in the future. Food and drink recipes should be on their short list of features to add.
- I'd like if the Echo had an equalizer built in. Some of my audiobooks sound just fine but others can sound muddy and I'd like to be able to bring out the voice by tweaking the mids, treble, and base on the speaker.

In my opinion, the kitchen is the perfect location for the Echo. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen and I love listening to music or my Audio books when I'm cooking. My hands are usually full and being able to control the music with my voice is very convenient. Overall this is a fantastic device. Amazon has proven they are committed to the Echo by frequently pushing free updates to it so I have no doubt that it's going to become even more useful as time goes on. Great job Amazon! Not every gadget you put out is perfect but you've got a real winner on your hands with this one.

FAQs

Q. Does the Echo speak more than 1 language?
A. No. Right now the Echo is English only.

Q. Does the Echo connect to my iTunes library?
A. Yes. You just need to configure it in the Echo app.

Q. If I listen to an Audiobook on the Echo will it keep my place on my phone?
A. Yes. Amazon Whispersync works really well for Audible between the Echo, your phone, and whatever else you use to listen to Audible.

Q. Is there a subscription cost to use the Echo?
A. No. You just need an internet connection. You'll be able to use more of the features like Prime music if you're an Amazon Prime member.

Q. Is the remote included in the box?
A. No you need to buy the remote separately. It's an optional accessory that lets you turn the volume up and down without speaking and it also lets you speak to the Echo from another room. Ex. You're in the Kitchen and the Echo is in your bedroom. You suddenly realize you need to buy more Olive Oil. You can pick up the Echo remote and say "Add Olive Oil to my shopping list" instead of walking in your bedroom to tell the Echo.

Q. Is the software in the Echo "update-able"?
A. Yes. If you keep it connected to the internet the Echo will automatically get all of the updates and new features that Amazon pushes.

Q. Can you use the Echo to control other speakers?
A. No. According to this Amazon FAQ.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201549660

Q. Does the Echo understand different types of voices or does it only work well for 1 voice?
A. It works well for pretty much anyone that can speak clear English. It has trouble sometimes understanding my 6 year old because he's still having a little trouble with his speech. There is a voice trainer built into the Echo app to help it learn how you speak.

Q. Can I re-name the Echo to something other than "Alexa"?
A. Amazon calls this feature the "wake word" and right now the only two wake words you can use are "Alexa" or using the Echo app you can change it to "Amazon".

Q. Does the Echo have a 3.5mm aux jack?
A. No.

Q. Is the Echo battery powered/portable?
A. No. The moment you unplug it from the wall it turns off.

Q. Do I need wifi to use the Echo?
A. Yes. There is no port for an ethernet cable. You need to have wifi.

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