Amazon Echo review

amznecho

(Don’t judge my liquor selection)

Introduction

I really wasn’t in the market for an Amazon Echo, but after hearing a couple of people saying how much they liked their Echo, I went and bought one from Staples when it was on sale using some of my Staples Rewards.  I’ve had it now for about a month and I’ll tell you what I use it for:

 

Playing music in the kitchen

This is probably the main use case for the Echo – so you can play music in the kitchen.  So when my wife is making dinner, she’ll tell it to play music.  We don’t have Amazon music, so we linked it to my Spotify account (you’ll need a Premium subscription.)  We’ll usually just say “Echo play spotify” and it’ll play the last song or playlist that you listened to.  That’s about as advanced as I’ve gotten with it.  I know it can play Iheartradio and Pandora too, so you could ask it to to play NPR.

 

Shopping lists

I think we tried this once where my wife told it, “Echo, add eggs to shopping list.” Then on my phone app, I could open the app the next time I’m at a grocery store to see what I needed to buy.  We haven’t used this feature again, but I feel like we should.

 

Best use case – turning on and off lights

This is really the main reason why I kept the Echo.  I had bought some Philips Hue lights a while back for my canned lights in my living room.  The reason I bought the lights was so I could dim the lights.  Sure, I could have gotten a dimmer switch, but what’s the fun in that?  I also want to be lazy and dim the lights from my phone!  Plus a secondary benefit – turning my living room into a disco.

Anyway, the Echo is able to control my Hue lights with voice commands so I can say, “Echo Living Room ON” or “Echo Living Room Dim.”  The reason why I say “living room” is because after I saw how awesome this feature was, I went ahead and bought some cheaper GE Link lights for my kitchen.  That’s why I have to preface which lights I want to turn on.  The other benefits of changing my kitchen lights are 1) they are now LED and 2) my wife keeps forgetting to turn the lights off, so now I can at least tell Echo to do it while I’m on the couch.  The GE lights are a bit flaky (sometimes only half would turn on, but it works 80% of the time, which I’m okay with.)

 

Conclusion

I’m sure there are other use cases that I haven’t explored, but right now, I would buy it again just for the lights part.

  • Kumar

    Nice Summary, Vinh.

  • Jordan

    I’m diggin the bar.

    • Miles per Day

      It’s unfortunate I rarely use it these days. Only when friends come over.