Amazon Echo - Black
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|Echo Dot (2nd Generation) - Black
|Portable Battery Base for Echo (Use Echo anywhere) - New Version (White)
|TP-Link Smart Plug Mini (2-Pack), No Hub Required, Wi-Fi, Works with Alexa, Control your Devices from Anywhere, Occupies Only One Socket (HS105 KIT)
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most helpful customer reviews
11819 of 12245 people found the following review helpful.
Uber 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!
26149 of 27060 people found the following review helpful.
Already 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.
48490 of 50593 people found the following review helpful.
Alexa, my love. Thy name is inflexible, but thou art otherwise a nearly perfect spouse.
By E. M. Foner (SciFi Author)
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.
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.
E. M. Foner - Author of Date Night on Union Station (EarthCent Ambassador Book 1)