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I bought one of these when they were still only being sent to select Amazon customers. I had read all the reviews and I was really excited. It was very disappointing. I hope they have come a long way in the 6 months or so since. Alexa hardly knew any questions. They sound quality was great though but not for the price. I was expecting a Siri type understanding. Maybe if Echo and Apple collaborated this would be a great speaker.
I bought one for the kitchen, liked it so much immediately bought another for the bedroom. The wife uses the downstairs one to set kitchen timers, make a shopping list, turn lights on/off, and play music. The upstairs one makes the best alarm clock ever and turns on/off the lights and plays music. Necessary? Hardly. Buy them again? Definitely.
I’ve had one for about a year now, and the functionality keeps coming.
I installed a wifi thermostat earlier this year that was not supported (but was five times cheaper), and just this last week, support for it was added.
I also come up with pretty unexpected questions occasionally, and the team at Amazon has been working pretty hard to come up with some amusing answers. (I mean, who would expect a pre programmed response for: “Alexa, how many licks does it take to get to the tootsie-roll center of a tootsie-pop?”?)
Like the others said. Not a necessity, but it’s got its uses.
I bought one as an early adopter and shared some of the previous posters feelings, but Alexa has come a long way with features and functionality. As was said this is not necessary, but is definitely fun to have around. I also purchased the little sibling to this when it was released to keep in the bedroom and get alarms/briefings in the morning.
Definitely not necessary, but I have one of these and two of the dots and love them. Use it as an alarm, timer, internet radio, information provider. It can link to your Spotify account. I am sure that it could do much more if I explored the opportunities.
I’ve had my Echo for well over a year and love it. I also have the Dot and a second Dot on order. I use my Echo daily. I just moved and don’t have it set up to control lights like I did at old house but will do that soon. I love this thing.
It’s a pretty great piece of tech if you use it to its full potential. It has a pretty mediocre offering of apps that are available to it now. If you are willing to do a little work, it can work with iftt systems and smart house tech.
I wish you could change the wake word so bad.
Although, it is comical to see my two year old screaming at Alexa to do things.
Buy it if you are willing to do a little more than just take it out of the box.
I haven’t tried, but under the settings for the Echo in the phone app, you can change the wake word to “amazon” or “echo”.
I too bought one as an early adopter for less than this. At first you use it all the time for weather, news, traffic, setting cooking timers and silly questions. My son’s girlfriend asks for Cat Facts every time she’s at the house.
Then you forget about it for a while until your lazy butt wants to hear Limelight by Rush and you just ask Alexa to play it. The sound quality is actually very good and can fill a big space.
I don’t have any household items integrated with it yet but can see the value there.
If this is a fully functional refurb that works as new this is a decent price - even if only used as a speaker. It’s definitely a novelty in my house but all use it. Language recognition is also very good.
Bonus comment, the Android app is good and lists every question you ask it. You can also control Alexa from there - meaning you can play a song from elsewhere when you know your wife is home alone :>)
good speaker, complete idiot
I know that name change is one of the most requested features. My Alexa would respond to the TV when it heard any word combination similar to Alexa; “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite understand that question”.
Funny, but after a year, that got old so changed it to “Echo”.
I’ve had an Echo for over a year now. Overall, I quite like it. I use it every day to control a few lights, check the weather as I’m getting ready to leave for work, and play music (through Prime Music or Spotify) or audiobooks through Audible. I also use it as a no-hands-required kitchen timer (“Alexa, set a timer for 20 minutes”), measurement converter, and random-question-answerer.
The sound quality of the speaker is quite good, but the amazing thing is how well it can hear you say “Alexa” from across the room, without shouting, while music is playing.
My biggest complaint is the “skills” system that Amazon uses to let third parties add custom voice commands. While Amazon actively encourages this, and there are quite a lot of these “skills” available (and they’re all free so far), the voice interface for accessing them is incredibly clunky. You can’t just say “Alexa, get me an UberX” or “Alexa, switch to channel 10” – you have to say “Alexa, ask Uber to get me a car” and “Alexa, ask Harmony to switch to channel 10”. This means that you have to remember the name of each of these skills, which is very much against the point of natural voice communication. The whole selling point of the Echo is that you just talk to it as you would to a person, and it can understand you. Third party skills break that, and there’s currently no hint of Amazon changing this voice interface.
That being said, Google has now announced Google Home, which is a direct competitor that builds on the already pretty impressive Google Now. I’m hoping that this and other developments in this space will push Amazon to be more competitive, seeing as they no longer have the market entirely to themselves.
All in all, I’m definitely happy with my purchase of the Echo. From the time I got it to this point, there have been no other products really like it, which means that regardless of downsides, it has been the best thing out there for this type of natural-speech, long-range, voice-controlled home automation. It’s evolved quite a lot, and is definitely getting better over time. However, as I mentioned, within the year, Google and others will offer alternatives, and if you aren’t sure that you really want a home voice control device right now, waiting might make sense.
Had my Echo for a year and finally bought a Phillips Hue bridge with two light bulbs. Easy to setup and I can schedule the lights remotely from the app. It’s fun to walk in the door and say, “echo, living room 40 percent”
Bulbs are $15 at HomeD and Amazon. I bought a Cree bulb and it linked to echo through the Phillips hub. Phillips bulbs are same price and a little easier to set up, so bought two more.
I had already installed under-cabinet strip lights, so I bought a wi-fi smart plug to control through echo.
Echo skills and connectivity to devices have expanded since released. I haven’t ordered a pizza yet, but echo is ready to take my order!
I’m buying the refurb for a friend’s B-day. I still have the impressive box the new one came in, so…
Got mine through the “lottery” when they first came out. Paid $99 but also got a $10 credit because they changed my ship date so delivered it was $89(new).
I don’t use it every day but I love the Echo. They keep making it better and I think it sounds great.
This “girl” CAN be necessary if someone like me who is somewhat non-functioning, as it can make it very easy to turn the overhead fan on/off and lights and set thermostat. It’s also very good for fast and simple entertainment, all without having to get up. Faster to do Internet research than grabbing my tablet on phone. So, necessary? Maybe!
I bought one and use it to control my hue lights. it also works well with belkin wemo stuff. there are some things that it does well (giving an NPR update, playing music from amazon prime, telling jokes, giving local weather, controlling connected technology) and things that it does not do well (answering questions related to sports, politics, or anything else, really; OK Google is much better in that regard). i did buy a second echo for my basement and set it up to answer to “amazon”…but it does not wake up as easily as the upstairs echo that answers to “alexa”. being able to control lights from anywhere in the house is really, really convenient. the speaker quality is good. and you can set it up to buy things on amazon, but i’ve disabled that feature since i don’t want anyone ordering things on my account (yes, there is a pass code that can be set up to prevent other people from making purchases, but right now i’d prefer to err on the side of caution). i did use it to order a dot, though.
i also have the tap, and that is nice for road trips and portability. that device wakes up with a tap (no surprise, given the name). these devices have potential, but don’t believe the hype from the advertising. that level of understanding is not there yet.
overall, i am happy with the echo, mainly because i don’t expect it to do what it cannot do (like the stuff in promotional videos), and have enough tech to take advantage of the things that it can do.
Can someone explain if the Echo Dots are stand alone or require a full size Echo to work?
I have a FireTV already and lots of speakers so I thought a $90 Dot might be cheaper.
Too much for a refurb. 1. They sold them new for $99 and made a profit. 2. These are refurbs (profit twice -sale and resale). 3. Woot is owned by Amazon and it’s an Amazon product so there was never a middle man at any point of this purchase so it’s ALL profit. Had these been $79 I’d have picked one up. More than the price I could have purchased it for new when they were released? Never going to happen.