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Old 07-07-2015, 07:11 AM  
ChiTown ChiTown is offline
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Any review's on the Amazon Echo?

Wondering if anyone here has purchased one, and what your thoughts are on the application and technology of the Echo. TIA
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Old 07-15-2017, 02:45 PM   #31
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I've got a Dot and I like it, even thought I'll probably pick up a HomePod from Apple this winter for better sound quality and integration with Apple Music since I already subscribe to that and not Spotify.

You can stream Pandora without paying anything, which is good enough for my use case. I'm not terribly particular about specific albums or songs when I'm cooking or eating dinner. My use from the other day:

- Arrive home, Alexa reads me the news and the weather.
- I start chopping up some tomatoes and realize I'd like some music playing. Without stopping, "Alexa, play my Louis Armstrong playlist on Pandora". Music starts.
- Realize I'm running low on olive oil. "Alexa, add Olive Oil to my shopping list". That item then gets pushed to the list app that both my wife and I use.
- "Alexa, turn the lights in the kitchen all the way up" because it was a little dim.
- "Alexa, set a timer for ten minutes" for the skirt steak to marinade for a little while

I've heard it said that "luxury is a series of small delights." Even without my fancy light bulbs, the $40 Echo Dot delivers a lot of those.

The Dot leaves a good to be desired in terms of sound quality, but what do you expect from something that's so small, light, and cost $40? If you listen to old timey jazz while you're cooking, you won't even notice.

In terms of privacy, the app does store recordings of your commands on their servers. You can clear that history out, but it looses data that it uses to recognize your voice. If you think she fired off and recorded something you don't want recorded you can selectively delete that if it's that much of a concern.
I think the Echo is pretty decent in terms of sound quality (but haven't compared it to a Dot) and I can hear it throughout the house... and it can hear me when I walk in the door on the other end of the house, which is great for starting up some music.

They did a great job with the app, takes the guesswork out of whether issues are with functionality or not hearing you correctly. Plus it's pretty similar to Google Now, giving you the links for each news item, scores, etc. I use Prime Music, so I can easily add stuff to my library and it's pretty spot on when I just say "play music".

The easter eggs are kind of fun... it also has random bits of info if you tell it good morning, and knows several common phrases/responses.

Only a few issues so far... I've had to press the button a couple of times after it would light up, but ignore me. It wouldn't play music earlier, but I couldn't pull up Prime Music on my phone either, so that was probably a broader issue.
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Old 07-15-2017, 07:46 PM   #32
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I didn't really care for the echo. I have a Google home on the way that I hope I will like more.
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:27 PM   #33
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^^ Hopefully without derailing this to the DC forum, but if the last election has shown me anything, it's that there are so so many more important things to argue about on the internet than their choice in cell phone or internet connected home speaker.

The fact of the matter is on just about any technology front, there's some really cool stuff going on. Pick an ecosystem, whether it be Amazon, Apple, or Google and get in there and play around. It's a lot of fun right now and it's all a lot more accessible to normal folks than technology was just 10 years ago.

And after what Apple showed off with their AR kit stuff earlier this year...buckle up because the world is about to turn on its head again like it did when the first iPhone came out.
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Old 07-16-2017, 09:15 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveNull View Post
^^ Hopefully without derailing this to the DC forum, but if the last election has shown me anything, it's that there are so so many more important things to argue about on the internet than their choice in cell phone or internet connected home speaker.

The fact of the matter is on just about any technology front, there's some really cool stuff going on. Pick an ecosystem, whether it be Amazon, Apple, or Google and get in there and play around. It's a lot of fun right now and it's all a lot more accessible to normal folks than technology was just 10 years ago.

And after what Apple showed off with their AR kit stuff earlier this year...buckle up because the world is about to turn on its head again like it did when the first iPhone came out.
Where do you see an argument? Its a discussion thread for opinions on an item.
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Old 07-16-2017, 10:20 AM   #35
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Personally, the two things I'm missing for Google integration is Keep and Maps (not so much the latter though). The Echo pulls in my Google calendar, but apparently there's no public API for Keep.

I do wish it was a little better at searching, but I'm not sure Google Home would be much better anyway. The Echo knows what day Labor Day is this year, just like if you Google search it, you'll get a card at the top of the page that shows you. If you Google, ask Allo, or ask the Echo when the MLB trade deadline is this year, none of them know... they'll just give you general MLB/trade deadline news. I've heard Home is better at deciphering... I asked Echo something the other day and it picked up 'of' instead of 'a' and couldn't figure it out without me restating it. I think Google Home is better with that kind of stuff.

If I ask the Echo how long it would take to drive to San Diego, it gives me the mileage and says "I don't know how long it'll take you because I don't know how fast you're driving".... and if I include the speed, it doesn't get it. Google Allo/Assistant knows though, which would be nice (I'd rather just have the map though).

I use both Google and Amazon quite a bit, but in the end, Echo is less redundant for me since I have an Android phone... plus I use Prime Music (just haven't tried Google's yet).
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Old 02-28-2018, 12:58 AM   #36
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Came across a cheap Amazon Echo Tap. Nice little portable speaker. Definitely does not compete with the Google Home in everything it can do but nice sound for a small speaker.
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Old 02-28-2018, 07:22 AM   #37
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Update because I kind of like what I wrote about the Echo in July. I replaced the Dot with a HomePod and it's working very well. It's microphones are incredibly good at picking up commands from almost anywhere on my main floor (and I can even yell from across the house).

Siri does have limitations, but after over a year with the Echo I never really did much beyond timers, lists, and music. Having access to the full Apple Music catalog is rad, and it can dip into my personal catalog of stuff too. I still need to figure out how to properly call for dates...I've got a lot of live recordings that have album names like "1972.04.14 - Tivoli Concert Hall - Copenhagen"
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Old 03-01-2018, 08:28 PM   #38
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Bought my wife one for Christmas. Good for music and weather. Little stuff like asking the time and setting alarms/reminders is cool too. Havent fully integrated it yet to order pizza, etc. We do have it synched up with our fireTv in the room and that's also pretty cool to use. Seems like you need to have a SmartHome set up to tap it's full potential.
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Old 03-02-2018, 05:25 AM   #39
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I haven't really utilized Amazon Music Unlimited until now. Not very impressed with their service. When I play a "station" I hear repeats quite often. Its almost as if it is only the same playlist in a different order each time you play it. Really surprised by that being "unlimited" and all.
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:05 PM   #40
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Quote:
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if the last election has shown me anything, it's that there are so so many more important things to argue about on the internet than their choice in cell phone or internet connected home speaker.
I agree.

We should trade Alex Smith.
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