Amazon Echo is somewhat of a creative merge, taking the functionality of a Bluetooth speaker and combining it with a sophisticated Artificial Intelligence system named Alexa to create a product thatâs both cutting edge and functional.
So just how functional is the Amazon Echoâs AI? Well it boasts a host of intuitive voice activated features, from ordering a pizza from Just Eat to pairing the device to a Smart Thermostat to change the temperature in your house completely hands free. Other functions range from practical like ordering an Uber to apps on the more trivial end like the pick-up lines or daily facts apps
The product had been launched in the US for 2 years before its November 2016 U.K release. Although many U.K tech enthusiasts will have been green with envy of American techies, the stalled U.K release has in many ways worked in advantage of the U.K consumer. In the two years since the Echoâs original launch many of the kinks have been ironed out through consumer feedback and natural technical advancements, Amazon has been constantly upgrading the software using new third-party apps called Skills.
In terms of design the Echo comes in two colours, matte black and white. The simplistic cylindrical design and focus on monochromatic colours give the Echo an inconspicuous aesthetical appeal. In this case less definitely is more. The Echo features an impressive 360° speaker that will pump out your favourite music around the room. The Echo also features a light up rim that changes colour intuitively dependant on the state of the device, for example if Alexa is receiving a command the rim lights up cyan and if Alexa goes offline the rim lights orange.
Of course for a product that relies so heavily on voice recognition microphone quality is a key aspect for the functionality of the device. The Echo features a total of 7 microphones with far reaching usability, wherever you are in the room the echo will pick you up, even if music is being played from the device. The quality of command recognition is where the echo really shines, and sets itself apart from similarly priced competition. Even mumbled or oddly worded commands are often deciphered by Alexa, making interaction with the Echo a million times more natural and intuitive than many other AIâs on the market.
You could argue the functionality of the Amazon Echo is dependent on the sophistication of your domestic technology. For example the device offers the ability to control smart lights and smart thermostats around the house, you can also stream music through Spotify or other music streaming apps providing you have a subscription. If you donât have these paired devices that work so seamlessly with the Echo and donât have Spotify the practical application of the product becomes somewhat redundant. However, if your house is kitted out with gadgets that work in tandem the Echo will seem like a god send, allowing you to seamlessly control so much in your life all through intuitive and effective voice control.