Amazon Echo Review (1st Generation) – The Best Alexa Enabled Smart Bluetooth Speaker

Life is busy and we all secretly wish we had an extra pair of hands and eyes to get things done faster! Or, may be a best friend who would stay with us all the time and get things done as we told them! Well, looks like Amazon has already granted your wish and Echo is here to make your life easier and more fun!

All you need to say is “Alexa, find me a family restaurant” or “Alexa, play my favorite music for dinner” and you wish will be granted! Amazon’s Alexa now has a whole new definition!

Sounds too good to be true? Let me take you through a detailed review of the latest smart product by Amazon. Let’s start with what is Amazon Echo.

It is a hands-free smart speaker developed by Amazon and you can control it with your voice. When you say something, Echo connects it to Alexa voice service. So whether you want to find a restaurant nearby, check the current weather status, get the latest sports news or listen to your favorite music, you just need to ask Alexa and your wish is Alexa’s command!

[Recommended: Amazon Echo Review (2nd Gen)]

amazon echo review

Amazon Echo Review

This smart gadget comprises of 9.25 inch tall speaker that has an array of seven microphones tucked smartly underneath a bright ring. It uses enhanced noise cancellation and beam-forming technology to bring you a one-of-a-kind experience. As mentioned above, it is connected to the brilliant personal assistant service named Alexa.

The system responds when you say ‘Alexa’ and this word may be changed to ‘Echo’, ‘Amazon’ or ‘Computer’ based on your personal preference. When you say ‘Alexa’ the Echo lights up and streams the sound to the cloud for the system to recognize your voice and respond.

The Amazon Echo hardware includes a DM3725 ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 4GB of storage space, and 256MB of LPDDR1 RAM. It comes with a Bluetooth Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) and dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n for audio streaming. It also helps in managing sound for the connected mobile devices.

Amazon Echo is capable of performing a variety of other functions that include voice interaction, creating to-do lists, streaming podcasts, streaming podcasts info, music playback, playing audiobooks, setting alarms and much more.

The Echo can be transformed into a home automation hub as it is capable of controlling a plethora of smart devices. So, you will have one control for all devices!

Echo is Amazon’s first successful attempt at expanding its range of devices beyond the humble Kindle e-reader. It also found its place in Amazon’s first-ever Super Bowl ad rolled out in 2016. Let’s take a look at the technical specs of the product:

Why Should You Buy An Amazon Echo?

If you are a fan of Amazon products and have a fetish for the high end gadgets then probably you don’t need to find a reason to buy the Echo. However, if you are apprehensive then you should take a look at the various features offered by Amazon Echo that make this product a winner in true sense.

When you want a smart wireless speaker, you can’t go wrong with Amazon because this is one product that has been painstakingly developed in the offices in Cambridge, Silicon Valley, and Massachusetts since 2010. It has taken a long time for the manufacturer to create a product that meets the expectation of users.

amazon echo alexa-based smart bluetooth speaker

The best thing I like about it is that the features are so carefully and calculatedly included to make life easier. It is as if the makers actually went into the shoes of the users to realize what an individual actually wants from a device like this. What are a common man’s issues and hassles that he would like to tackle with his decision of buying an Amazon Echo?

From setting timers for exercise and yoga sessions to getting weather updates before planning a surprise trip, you can do so much and more with Echo.

If you take a look at the various features offered by Echo like playing music, creating shopping list, setting up alarms and so on, you will probably think there are other devices that can do the same thing. So, what’s new about Amazon Echo?

Well, the special thing about Echo is that you get control to a plethora of features and options right at one place. You can listen to music and voice command Echo to search a high fashion boutique for you at the same time. You don’t have to use an iPod for music and set alarms in your mobile and so on. You actually have access to a whole lot of things under one umbrella and that is the Amazon Echo.

The best part – you don’t even have to hold the device in your hand or toggle the keys to be able to set a timer or play your favorite music for dinner. You just need to command with your voice and Alexa will do it for you. How cool is that? It is like having a best and loyal friend by your side all the time and not demand anything, except Internet connection of course!

I can safely say that the Amazon Echo you see today is still pretty much in its nascent stage. Amazon is adding more skills to it so make the device do much more than you can imagine. Perhaps a few months from now, you will be able to command Alexa to order a pizza from Domino’s while you are busy working or listening to your favorite music.

You may even be able to hire a cab ride using the Uber app or open your garage using the Garageio app. To use the different skills on the device, you would just need to enable or activate the skills that you want to use in the Alexa app.

Take a look at the features below that will give you enough reasons to get your Amazon Echo. Before we delve deeper into the features, let’s take a look at the technical specs.

Technical specifications:

  • Size: 3″ x 3.3″ x 3.3″
  • Weight: 5 oz.
  • Audio: 5 inch woofer/ 2.0 inch tweeter
  • WiFi Connectivity: Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO)
  • Bluetooth Connectivity: Advanced Audio Distribution Profile or A2DP support for excellent audio streaming using Bluetooth speakers
  • Warranty: 1 year limited warranty and service
  • Item includes: Amazon Echo, power adapter/cable, and beginner’s guide

amazon echo smart speaker review

Amazon Echo Review – Best Features

Quick Weather Update

Amazon Echo offers accurate weather updates from AccuWeather and various other sources that include NPR, local radio stations, and TuneIn. So, you will not be caught in bad weather anymore! You just need to ask Alexa before leaving home to get quick weather updates from reliable sources.

Playing Music Made Easier

You can tell Echo to play your favorite music from Amazon Music accounts. It comes with built-in support for Spotify and Pandora streaming music services as well. It also has support for Nest thermostats and IFTTT. It can also play music from streaming services such as Google Play and Apple using your phone or tablet. You can enjoy your favorite music hands free and you don’t have to worry about changing the playlist or selecting another app, as you can get things done with just a voice command.

Set Your Alarm

With Echo, you can manage your voice-controlled alarms and timers with ease. You can also create your shopping and to-do list using this device. Yes, you can do away with your paper lists and actually use your Echo to create a list of things to buy when you go shopping.

To make it more interesting Amazon Echo allows you to set custom tones for your alarms and much more. So, waking up in the morning will now be fun with your custom tones!

Smart and Intelligent Home Management

Echo will tell you about the items present in Google calendar so you can set your events with ease and never forget an important date again! Echo can be well integrated with devices like BelkinWemo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Yonomi, Insteon, Wink and other smart devices at home. That’s not all, you can even control lights, thermostats, fans, switches, sprinklers, locks, garage doors, and more compatible devices. Whether you want to switch on the bed lamp, turn on the air conditioner or dim the lights while enjoying your favorite movie, you can now do all that without moving an inch from your place.

This not only makes life easier for you but also helps in saving electricity consumed in the house so it is actually a cost effective option.

Smart Technology for High Quality Music

It boasts a high quality 360 degree omni-directional audio for that immersive music that will transport you to a different world. It actually fills up the entire space inside the room so that you can hear high quality music from any corner of the room. The far-field voice recognition technology ensures that Alexa Voice search can hear your commands easily even when music is playing. So, whether you want to hear a Beatles number or play a latest Justin Bieber track, just command Alexa to get it done for you!

Intelligent Voice Recognition Feature

amazon echo 1st generation reviewWhen you use Echo frequently, it actually gets used to your voice, vocabulary, pattern of speech, and personal preferences. This makes it easier for Alexa to understand what you are saying faster than you can believe.

Easy voice control means you can move around hands free without having to touch the device to change music or set an alarm. New features and software updates are added to Echo frequently to make it smarter. Soon you will be able to order a pizza from Domino’s or get a cab ride by Uber using this device.

Alexa can actually do many things for you. The possibilities are endless! From answering your questions, dimming lights, creating shopping lists, waking you up, setting alerts and reading audiobooks to giving you traffic and weather updates, Alexa Voice Service can do so much more. I have a friend who used Amazon Echo only to manage the various smart devices and control the Lutron lights until one day he discovered that he could actually do much more and in a better way using Echo. Since then Alexa is his best and most inseparable buddy.

So, it is more like using Google hands free from anywhere in your house and get the best possible answers sourced from different places on the web.

Software Updates

The features and functionalities of Amazon Echo keep evolving as the company releases new software for it. The new updates are mostly focused on fixing the bugs and at the same time enhance the functionality. The new updates and releases are slowly pushed to the devices so it might take several days to a week for the devices to get updated. As Echo’s intelligence mostly lies in the cloud, the functional and feature enhancements can be made to the device without upgrading the software in which it is running.

Users will soon be able to use the Alexa calling and messaging service which presents a whole new way to get together with family and friends. It’s amazing to see how technology can touch even the smallest things in our lives to make it super easy!

I’m sure many of you have been in situations when you intended to make a call but postponed it for a few minutes because you were busy baking a cake, and then forgot all about it. Well, you will not be in such situations anymore because Alexa calling and messaging will enable you to make calls or send messages hands free. You just need to command Alexa to send a quick voice message or make a call, and it will do it for you! You can call anyone who has an Echo Dot, Echo or simply the Alexa app.

If you have the free Alexa App installed in your mobile, all your conversations will be saved automatically and you will carry your contacts with your wherever you go. When you are away from home, you just need to tell the app to make a call to Echo at home.

Once you get a hang of Amazon Echo, you will be spoilt for sure! Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you! So, let us know if you are planning on buying the smart speaker and if you are indeed going to buy it, then use the Amazon Echo deals and promo codes to ensure you get the best price possible.

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