“I live a highly scheduled life. There's absolutely no time wasted. I'm very focused. And I have a great assistant.” ~ Madonna
Amazon Echo has been a game changer at my house. I find it a great selling point for new homes I’m working on as well. I use “Alexa” to turn on my lights, my television, set the thermostat and basically anything that’s connected to the system. It’s been really helpful around the holidays too, baking with the family has been a breeze while “Alexa” sets up the timer and converts measurements for us.
I’ve talked about other systems, like the Ring for the doorbell answering service, but Amazon comes to a new level with Echo. Technology won’t solve all our problems but it does make things a bit easier. While baking holiday cookies with the kids, I do have a bit of trouble in the kitchen. It’s just that Echo made small tasks easier like setting the timer and changing the measurements from weight to cups. Small hiccups were easier to get through when the tech was literally a voice command away.
Amazon first came out with the original Echo system in November 2014. It’s been upgraded a few times over the past two years. The line has expanded in a line of hands-free and voice-enables speakers. In April there was the launch of the Echo Dot, which is a smaller model of the original. Amazon has a habit of bringing up new updates that coincide with a price break, once the Dot was relaunched in September it also saw a price decrease.
The latest version of the Echo Dot comes in black or white, it’s also a little smaller than the first iteration. The product includes seven microphones and noise-cancelling tech. The speech processor is stronger, making it vastly improved in speech recognition.
The original Echo fills the entire room with music and sound. The Dot and the Echo have a lot of similar tasks they are capable of, but the Dot isn’t as powerful in terms of sound. The Dot has a line out plug, which is handy if you need it. This could be great for a smaller apartment or someone who is on the go. Amazon also debuted the Echo Tap for under $150 in April, this iteration runs on a battery. It needs the user to hit a button to engage in interactions. This is less convenient than the ever-listening Echo or Dot. But it’s the most portable option compared to the Dot. Once the button is pressed, the Tap works much like the Echo and Dot.
To utilize this tool to the max, you do need to have a paid premium subscription. I can get an Uber, order food or stream music from my Spotify. Amazon also adds apps to the Echo regularly, so it is ever expanding into new territory.
Echo has become an invaluable tool for me every day. From checking the weather to reading my emails, “Alexa” is my new helper around the house and my personal assistant at work. It’s been great at helping me accomplish smaller tasks, like making online purchases and looking up phone numbers, which frees up more time for me to do other things.