My review of the original Echo in a previous life was my first that merited a perfect 10 rating I ever awarded. The review was quoted by Jeff Bezos in a keynote address and also used in Amazon’s TV ads at the time.
So how does the current generation of the Echo stack up? Pretty well, it turns out. The Alexa software that drives the Echo has continued to evolve over time and is better than ever.
When I moved up north early this year I had to leave everything behind, and that meant my Echo didn’t make the trip. I had come to think of the Echo as my invisible friend, waiting to do whatever I asked. I called out to Alexa more than once after I moved to no avail.
I was able to get a good deal on one and Alexa has come home at last. The Echo hardware has changed more than anything. The cylinder is shorter and a bit fatter. It’s now looks more Ike it belongs with the beige cloth cover. It’s available in several colors, as well as wood veneer. The end result is it looks like it belongs in the living room whereas the original Echo looked like a weird gizmo no matter where you put it.
The appearance is pretty much all that’s different as it is functionally identical to the original. The four buttons on the top of the gadget allow for controlling the Echo manually but I don’t know why you’d do that. It’s just too easy to tell it what to do. Come to think of it, I don’t remember the last time I used the buttons in the few years I’ve owned one.
I find that playing music is plenty loud enough in my small apartment. It’s not the greatest audio quality but sounds fine to me.
I already appreciate getting the current forecast from Alexa more than I ever did in Houston. When planning to go outside, however briefly, it’s always good to check in these cold winters.
I’ll be testing the smart home features soon, as my apartment lends itself to the voice control that Alexa handles so well. I may soon be having Alexa’s little sibling Dot come live with us to make that more practical.