Hello everybody

I’ve been silently watching this one for about 5 months now, and tonight I 
placed an order for one. It isn’t just a speaker that you can listen from, it’s 
a “Listener” that you can talk too. You add all your commands verbally, and you 
can now have it do quite a wide range of tasks for you. It’s the first step 
along the way towards a “Smart” home; read on:

Amazon's voice-activated smart home speaker is undeniably futuristic, but it's 
also practical and accessible. With a rapidly growing slate of features and 
integrations, it's easy to get excited about the Echo's potential.

THE BAD The Echo's sound quality is uneven at times, with weak bass at high 
volumes. The growing list of "Skills" in the Alexa app could also benefit from 
better organisation.

THE BOTTOM LINE More than a year after its debut, the Echo is smarter than 
ever, and one of the best connected home products money can currently buy.

Autumn 2016 update
Since introducing the original Amazon Echo in November 2014, Amazon has 
continued to refresh and expand its lineup of hands-free, voice-enabled 
speakers. In April, the company introduced the Echo  
<https://www.cnet.com/products/amazon-echo-dot/>Dot, which is a smaller version 
of the Echo, and in September returned with an updated version of the Dot, 
simultaneously cutting its price almost in half to $50(US) or £50 (UK Sterling).

This new Echo Dot, has a slightly sleeker design than the original, though it 
comes equipped with the same array of seven microphones and advanced 
noise-cancelling technology. Amazon says that the new Dot features a more 
powerful speech processor, which delivers improved far-field speech recognition 
accuracy. It's currently available for preorder and will ship on 28 October.

The original, more expensive Echo can fill a room with sound. The Dot features 
much of the same functionality as the Echo, just with a less powerful speaker 
and a line-out plug on the back. In April, also Amazon introduced the $130.00 
Echo Tap. Because it runs on a battery, you need to hit a button to initiate 
interactions; it's less convenient than the always-listening Echo and Dot, but 
it's also portable. And once you do push the button, you can issue voice 
commands to Alexa, play music from your phone or stream it over Wi-Fi, check 
the weather or news, and issue commands to control your smart home.

I can’t wait! I’ve ordered the full Echo, so if there’s interest I shall 
produce an extensive audio demonstration to show it off in all its glory.


My compliments and kindest regards
Gordon Smith:
<gor...@mac-access.net <mailto:gor...@mac-access.net>>

Accessibility & Information Technology Support Specialist.
+44 (0)7907 823971


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