September 8, 2018

Best Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus

Reviews  On Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus

Amazon recently announced the Echo range of smart speakers Echo Dot, Echo, and Echo Plus in India.

What are Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus?

Amazon Echo is a brand of smart speakers developed by Amazon. The devices connect to the voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service “Alexa“.

Amazon’s Alexa-controlled Echo Speaker is a wireless speaker. You can adjust the volume of the speaker by asking Alexa to set the volume level (from 0 to 10) or by adjusting the top of your Echo device like a knob. A ‘microphone off’ button at the top of each Echo turns the light on the top to red, indicating it is no longer listening for the word ‘

The device is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audio books, and providing weather, traffic and other real-time information. It can also control several smart devices using itself as a home automation hub.

Echo can also play music from streaming services such as Apple Music, and Google Play Music from a phone or tablet.

Echo devices offer weather from AccuWeather and news from a variety of sources, including local radio stations, iHeartRadio, NPR, and ESPN from TuneIn.

Echo will respond to your questions about items in your Google calendar.

Echo devices also have access to ‘skills’ built with the Alexa Skills Kit. These are 3rd-party-developed voice experiences that add to the capabilities of any Alexa-enabled device (such as the Echo).

Examples of skills include the ability to play music, answer general questions, set an alarm, order a pizza, get an Uber, and more. Skills are continuously being added to increase the capabilities available to the user.

Which Echo should I buy?

Echo Dot:

If you are just getting started with the smart speaker, the Echo Dot makes for a perfect introductory device. For most people, the cheapest option – Echo Dot – is the one to get.

The Echo Dot is tiny and the speaker (a 0.6” tweeter) is not loud enough to fill a big room, but you can pair it any speaker of your choice via Bluetooth or 3.5 mm stereo cable to play music and Alexa’s voice via your preferred Bluetooth speakers.

So, upgrade your audio setup without needing to buy another Echo device.

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Reasons to buy

  • Highly affordable price
  • Small design makes it easy to move around your home
  • You can connect it to your existing sound setup via wires or Bluetooth

Reasons to Avoid 

  • The Echo Dot is a tiny speaker. So, playing music from the Dot, you will need to have an external speaker connected.
  • When it comes to Amazon Echo vs Dot, the price gap just got much smaller making the Dot a bit less interesting

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Amazon Echo:

The Amazon Echo is family friendly. The Amazon Echo is perfect, if you want a speaker that’s loud enough to fill the room. It comes with a 2.5” woofer, in addition to a 0.6” tweeter, and while it can get fairly loud, the quality won’t be good enough to keep audiophiles happy.

If you just want a standalone device that’s loud and offers a super-convenient way of playing music, then this is the one for you.

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Reasons to buy

  • Decent speaker
  • Far field voice recognition
  • Voice activation support

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not portable
  • Pricey

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Amazon Echo Plus:

The Echo Plus is the most-expensive Alexa-enabled device. It comes with a bigger speaker (0.8” tweeter and 2.5” woofer) in addition to a built-in smart home hub. This allows you to add ZigBee-enabled smart home products like the Philips Hue Bulb without the need of buying an additional smart home base controller.

The Echo Plus corresponds to all the features from the standard Echo and supports smart home hub as an extra. The new Echo Plus will allow you to connect with smart home devices like Philips Hue. Additionally, it can perform all regular tasks like checking news and weather, setting up alarms and more.

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Reasons to Buy

  • Improved Sound-In Any Room
  • Smart hub functionality

Reasons to Avoid

  • You’d rather get a more full-fledged smart hub than an all-in-one solution

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Note that external speakers can be connected to the Amazon Echo and Echo Plus as well.

 

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