The Amazon echo is another addition to the Echo family ( 3rd generation ), which were released in 2014 and grown in models offerings. On a basic level, the Alexa is voice-controlled assistant that allows you to talk to the Alexa assistant for general queries from the time, weather, set timers alternative it could be classed as a glorified speaker. Whether voice assistance / a hands-free speaker this comes out on its own when used to control a smart home. It performs useful tasks such as setting alarms, finding out the weather, and controlling smart devices etc.
On a basic level other than the physical size of the Echo, compared to the Dot or Echo flex is the audio quality with the Amazon echo using Dolby sound which is not available on the lower models, The Amazon Echo is almost identical to the second-gen Echo Plus which was reviewed at TechBuzz in https://techbuzzireland.com/2019/01/16/review-amazon-echo-plus-2nd-gen-amazon-iot-tech-alexa/. The Echo 3rd generation is physically larger than then echo dot / Amazon Echo Flex which increased its price but has a larger speaker which is noticeable in a large room.
- Echo (3rd generation),
- Power adaptor (30.0W)
- Quick Start Guide.
Amazon Echo (3rd-gen): Specs
- 148 x 99mm
- 3in subwoofer & 0.8in tweeter
- 3.5mm audio input
- Far-field beamforming microphones
- Available in four colours
Warranty: 1 year, which is on all the range which is a disappointment.
Amazon echo flex :
The Amazon echo flex has similar features as the Echo (3rd generation), but can be plugged directly into a plug socket with a built-in USB-A port, to charge your phone. The echo flex is marketed towards been used in another room allowing access to you information, weather, traffic, control your smart home: turn on lights, adjust thermostats, lock doors and more, with compatible connected devices. This has audio output but not designed to listen to music, As with the Echo, this is designed privacy: built with multiple layers of privacy protection and control, including a Microphone Off button that electronically disconnects the microphones. ( If the Echo range was 100% secure, this feature should not be required ) The Amazon echo flex has the advantage of no trailing power wire or needs for an adapter. The two Fairfield mics can pick up your voice even when there’s noise, and the speaker is loud enough to hear Alexa most of the time.
Setup: (this is the same for the range of the Amazon Echo)
The setup was standard, plug in the Echo device wait for the blue ring which covers the top of the cylinder around 45 seconds. Then the unit is paired with the wifi/smartphone easily and quickly.
Amazon Alexa app:
The Amazon Alexa App is setup using your Amazon account, (similar to Google Gmail account for Android) The allows personalized feature, including stop-start a resume from previous actions. the app allows control of Alexa-enabled devices, eg smart lights, locks and thermostats at home. The app connected allowed to connect to music services Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio. As linked into your amazon account, ‘if you order a parcel from Amazon Alexa knows the status of your parcel and can advise via green light, e.g. you parcel is out for delivery today, you can even ask what’s in the parcel. ( This may be a worry if ordering a present for a family member to keep as a surprise )
Music can be transferred directly via Bluetooth to the Amazon Echo using a subscription service e.g. Amazon Prime membership which has access to about 2 million songs, Spotify free version does not work while the paid version does connect direct
The key benefits of the smart speaker are the connection to a range of smart devices from a range of providers that support to Alexa. At TechBuzz we have connected these to a variety of compatible products to include, Tapo Mini, Tile Sticker and Robus via the skills section in the Amazon app. The range of Manufacturers that can connect to Alexa’s skills is growing and includes to name a few include Nest, Philips Hue, Logitech, Ecobee, Belkin, TP-Link, and Samsung SmartThings families of products.
TechBuzz Ireland has reviewed numerous Amazon models over the last few years and the demo model returned, we can’t give a live demo in the comparison of the older models of the Alexa, This model looks very similar to the second-gen Echo Plus in terms of size and output.
The Echo has privacy features which has wake word technology, streaming indicators, microphone off button, the ability to view and delete your voice recordings. These are concerns raised by many that use this technology. This concern has been raised by The Revenue Commissioners which have issued guidance to its own staff working remotely warning them about having a smart speaker nearby. The potential of cybercriminals accessing your data is always a possibility but on the odds of this occurring at present is minimal having a firewall, antivirus etc helps to decrease the possibility.
The Amazon Echo 3rd generation is an ideal premium speaker when connected to a paid subscription, allowing all the features of voice commands to provide 360 spherical sounds in the vocal, chorus, piano, guitar, and great bass. The Amazon echo flex does not have the audio experience but has the same features to use your voice control in the smart home: turn on lights, adjust thermostats, with compatible connected devices. The smart home option is the future without having to hardwire cables through a property, the cost of compatible devices has reduced and the number of products has increased in choice and features.
Amazon Echo 3rd generation would be the first choice of model with the echo flex used in a smaller room or bedroom. The echo flex provides value for money and no trailing cables, contains the fairfield mics to control your smart home but not recommended to listen to the radio station or music playlist. Both the Amazon Echo 3rd generation & Amazon echo flex are the future. The decision is not to get an Amazon Echo, it’s what’s the budget would allow and your preference in terms of music requirement. Great features and affordable when used as part of a smart home, Highly recommended,