Amazon Echo Review 2021
Amazon Echo was the first smart speaker on the market, and it remains one of the best. It also doubles as a smart home hub for those dreaming of a connected home.
Let’s walk through Amazon Echo’s features and how it compares to competitors like Google.
|Echo*||$99.99||View on Amazon|
|Echo Dot||$39.99||View on Amazon|
|Echo Plus||$149.99||View on Amazon|
|Echo Spot*||$129.99||View on Amazon|
|Echo Show*||$229.99||View on Amazon|
|Echo Studio||$199.99||View on Amazon|
*Currently not sold by the manufacturer on Amazon
Amazon Echo price
Echos cost about as much as Google Homes.
Echos and other Alexa-enabled products come in a gamut of prices. The Echo Dot comes in at $39.99, while the standard Echo Show can sell for over $200.*
That’s similar to Google Home/Google Nest prices if you’re looking to compare the two (which, let’s face it, most people are).
Amazon Echo equipment
Amazon has endless Echo products and several colors to choose from.
There are lots of compatible Echo devices, way more than we can show in our table. The full array includes the following:
- Echo Dot
- Echo Dot Kids Edition
- Echo Plus
- Echo Studio
- Echo Spot
- Echo Show
- Echo Show 5
- Echo Show 8
- Echo Sub
- Echo Auto
- Echo Buds
- Echo Loop
- Echo Input
- Echo Link
- Echo Link Amp
- Echo Connect
- Amazon Tap
- Echo Frames
- Echo Flex
- Echo Glow
- Amazon Fire TV Stick
- Amazon Fire TV Cube
In the past, Amazon also sold an Echo Button for game show–style activities. You can’t get those new anymore, but you may be able to find them used.
You can get your Echo speaker in colors such as the following:
- Heather Gray
- Twilight Blue
- Kids Blue
- Kids Rainbow
- Limited Edition Red
Not every Echo comes in every color. For instance, only the Echo Dot comes in the plum color, and only the Echo Dot Kids Edition comes in the Kids-labeled colors.
Finally, smart displays. If you’re looking for a product with a smart display, you want an Echo Spot or Echo Show. We’re partial to the Show because the screen’s much bigger and easier to use.
Amazon Echo features
You can get stuff done and have fun with Alexa.
There’s a lot you can do with an Amazon Echo. Let’s walk through some of our favorite features.
Alexa has a few different celebrity voice options. You can download skills that allow you to chat with Samuel L. Jackson or Gordon Ramsey.
You can also change Alexa’s accent or language. Right now, you can choose from the following seven languages:
- Portuguese (Brazilian)
While it’s nice to have multiple options, the Echo language choices are way behind Google Home’s, and Google only has 13. We’d like to see more languages added to the Echo for sure.
Happily, a bilingual option for Echo became available in 2019, so at least you can enable two languages at once.
Through your Echo smart speaker, you can listen to the radio or ask Alexa to select random music for you. But if you want to listen to something specific, you need an Amazon Music, Spotify, or Pandora subscription. (Be wary; you might have to cough up monthly fees for these services.)
You can use Alexa to call others. If the person you’re calling also has an Echo, the two of you can talk using your smart speakers.
Also, you can send texts through your Echo. Just know that if you’re not an Android user, you’ll have to download a separate Alexa skill.
Alexa can help you organize your life. Ask her to set timers, add events to your calendars, and remind you of important tasks.
Shopping on Amazon is one of the highlights of an Echo. You can say, “Alexa, order colored pencils,” and Alexa will. (If you’re a picky shopper, we don’t recommend this approach since you won’t be able to see your product before you buy.)
Alexa can also tell you when your Amazon packages are due to arrive and if they’ve been delivered.
With Alexa, you can get recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, linner, second breakfast, elevensies, teatime, and your midnight snack. You can also have her order the ingredients through Amazon or Whole Foods.
Or you can make things easy on yourself and order food using a skill instead. (Alexa integrates with GrubHub, Domino’s, Starbucks, and Panera Bread, among others.)
Alexa’s got a vast amount of games, jokes, riddles, and songs. But to bring out her entertaining side, you have to specifically say, “Alexa, let’s play a game,” or “Alexa, tell me a riddle.” She doesn’t have a random fun mode like Google Assistant’s.
For more detail, check out our guide to having fun with Alexa.
Amazon Echo automation
You can create an entire Alexa-run smart home.
If you want to build an entire smart home that’s compatible with Alexa, that’s not hard. Lots of smart home devices work with an Echo. It’s just a matter of finding them.
Alexa works with some devices from the following product lines:
- Philips Hue smartbulbs
- Sengled smartbulbs
- LIFX smartbulbs
- Amazon smart plugs
- Kasa smart plugs
- Etekcity smart plugs
- Wemo smart plugs
- VeSync smart plugs
- Honeywell thermostats
- Emerson Sensi smart thermostats
- Ecobee smart thermostats
- GLAS smart thermostats
- Hive smart thermostats
- Ring video doorbells
- Ring cameras
- Wyze Cams
- Arlo cameras
- Kasa indoor cameras
- August smart locks
- Schlage smart locks
- Yale smart locks
- Kwikset smart locks
- Ring Alarm security systems
- Vivint security systems
- SimpliSafe security systems
- ADT security systems
- Frontpoint security systems
- Google Nest Secure security systems
- Link Interactive security systems
- Abode security systems
- Scout Alarm security systems
- Brinks security systems
- Cove security systems
- Sonos speakers
Amazon Echo installation
An Echo device is easy to install.
Setting up your Echo is relatively easy. Each Echo has its own variation, but you’ll set up each device app with plenty of guidance through the Alexa app.
Recap: Is Amazon Echo good?
The Echo’s still got it.
Even though a gaggle of smart speakers has gone on the market since the Echo’s first introduction, the original smart speaker is still going strong. We recommend it to smart home enthusiasts, especially those who dig Alexa-compatible products.
Amazon Echo FAQ
Should I choose Amazon or Google Home?
Your choice should depend on what you hope to get out of your smart speaker/smart hub.
With Alexa, you get access to Amazon shopping and music. With Google Assistant, you harness the power of the Google search engine and the entertainment of YouTube.
With Alexa, you get quick-and-easy Amazon product compatibility. With Google Assistant, it’s all about Nest and other Google-branded devices.
With Alexa, your speakers will hear you better, but with Google Assistant, you won’t need to use as precise of wording (according to our tests).
Can I change Alexa’s name?
Yes, but you can’t change it to just anything. Your other options are “Amazon,” “Echo,” and “Computer.”
If you want to change the virtual assistant’s name to something fun like Jarvis or Jeeves, that’s not an option right now.
How is the Echo sound quality?
It varies by device.
The Echo Plus and Echo Studio are specifically designed to have better sound quality than the average Echo. You can also always try adding Amazon Echo Sub to your existing speaker to get a better bass sound. However, the sub is currently unavailable on Amazon, so you’ll have to look at another retailer to get it.
We definitely wouldn’t recommend the Amazon Echo Dot. The sound isn’t bad with Dottie, but it’s too small to have major resonation for a bass line.
Overall, if sound is your main concern, you might want to look at sound-first products like Sonos speakers.
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