Choosing a home assistant is a task for your smart home since it’s an expensive adventure with long term investment in nature. Surely, one would like to go with the best one but how will you decide which is the best among all the three available in the market i.e. Amazon echo, google home and apple HomePod. We try to answer all your queries and clear all your doubts in our echo review below
I will come straight to point for you – the best one among the three is Amazon Echo owing to the depth of its features, integration with Amazon services, the different type of echoes available, Alexa and the wide range of skills available.
Echo Review – Let’s talk about Echo by Amazon in detail and why it’s the best home assistant
In appearance, Amazon Echo will seem just like a normal speaker with Bluetooth/Wi-Fi which can stream music for you but the key difference is it’s powered by Alexa. Alexa is an AI powered home assistant which takes your voice command and perform a range of functions for you like playing music, making calls, interacting with third party apps, help you with shopping & re-ordering, sending and receiving messages, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. All one has to do is simply ask.
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Echo Review – Key Highlights
- Far-field voice recognition: Echo has the ability to hear you out even while music is being played owing to its inbuilt seven microphones and beam forming technology
- Audio is Omni-directional: Echo is an expertly tuned speaker which has the ability to immerse the room with 360° immersive sound
- Voice based Command: Echo works with voice commands i.e. Echo can be used or activated by just saying the word “Alexa”
- Echo Spatial Perception: In case, you have more than one Echo or Echo Dot, Alexa responds intelligently from the Echo you’re closest to with Echo Spatial Perception
- Controlling smart home gadgets: It has the ability to control smart home gadgets like lights, locks thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, locks, and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Sony, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, and others
- A Music Streaming Device: Echo has the ability to play your favorite songs from streaming services like Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, etc. and one just has to say ‘Alexa’ play the music
- Alexa can call and message for you: Alexa calling and messaging feature allows to call or message anyone with an Echo, Echo Dot, or the Alexa App by voice command
- Personal organizer: Alexa can also act as your personal organizer and can add items to your to-do list as well as shopping list
- Few other things Alexa can do for you: Reading newspaper, traffic updates, news updates along with weather and traffic updates, local business information, etc.
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Echo Review – Pros
- Elegant & Beautiful Design: Echo has a cylindrical and neat design with speaker grill in the lower half. Also, there is a light-up rim on top of the device whose enlightening signifies echo is microphone is picking up the sound
- Expanding Skills Marketplace: Skills are like apps for your mobile, so you don’t want to end up with a device that has limited apps. Skills have grown tremendously over the last two years and the list keeps on growing with more and more businesses launching their skills to connect through Alexa with you. Thus, a growing list of built-in capabilities and third-party skills means that your Alexa device keeps improving the longer you own it.
- Voice-recognition: Its voice-recognition tech is the best among all the home assistants available in the market. Further, it improves as you use it over time due to its ability to personalize according to one’s voice.
- You can control your smart devices: Echo provides you the ability to control your smart home appliances/products through voice based commands given to Alexa. Thus, you just need to tell Alexa to turn off the smart thermostat, smart light switches, etc.
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Echo Review – Cons
- Inferior Sound quality: The sound quality of the speakers are inferior in comparison to speakers in a similar price. Remember, Echo is not a pure sound system. Its role is more of voice enabled home assistant with ability to provide decent sound quality which it does
- Lacks Music Streaming Range: Limited choice of music streaming services is a big drawback. But remember you are not buying a streaming device rather a home assistant with music streaming ability.
- Inability to Simultaneously Perform Multiple Commands: Alexa has the limitation of taking one command at a time. Thus, one just can’t give multiple commands in a single sentence. Like, Alexa switches on the lights and play music. This is a bit of drag but I am hopeful Amazon will address it in the near future. Also, it’s not only Echo no other home assistant can take multiple commands. So, not a real reason to not buy Echo.
- No doubt about this, Amazon Echo is the best home assistant available in the market. Two main reasons that make Echo the best
- Voice recognition is far superior compared to others and Alexa voice recognition improves with time & usage
- The Amazon Echo continues to become smarter with new upgrades and new range of skills
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Is Echo for me?
The answer is definitely Yes if you are looking for voice command based home assistant. However, if one wants only a music streaming device. I would suggest you should go for streaming only devices which provide superior sound quality on a smaller/similar budget.
The main reason one should buy an echo is Alexa, Amazon AI powered voice based command platform. So, if you are looking for the best home assistant for your smart home. I would strongly recommend you to buy Amazon Echo only.
Five capabilities Echo should have but it still doesn’t have these capabilities
- Despite owning multiple Echo, you cannot use Echo’s for intercom or speaker phone purpose
- Echo can’t be used to command other Echo or Fire TV devices remotely. Like you ask Echo in the bedroom to play music on Echo in the hall or adjacent room.
- Lacks the ability to function simultaneously with multiple echo’s in a room or across rooms for multiroom audio playing
- Echo can’t give you notifications or reminders for everything. Currently echo can give only timers or alarms as well as there are no skills/apps available to address this. Further, you can’t customize the music/sound of alarms/ reminders and can only use default sounds available on the Echo.
- Thinking of placing your customize trigger word for Echo, you can’t do it. Echo becomes active only when it hears one of the three words only i.e. Alexa, Amazon, and Echo.
Don’t worry if these features are not there but these are likely to come with upgraded verison soon. Also, it still can perform a whole range of functions apart from these which is very vital for us.
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