Overview & Price

The Amazon Echo is an incredible smart speaker that has a new revamped look, lower price alongside some fantastic new Alex features.

In this Amazon Echo review we will give you all of the information you need, as well as showcasing the best place to buy the Amazon Echo.

This device is great for those that want to take the edge off their stressful daily routine, it helps to manage emails, set appointments and can give you real time weather/news updates.

The Amazon Echo colours are great, plenty of options to fit into any interior design effortlessly.

The Amazon Echo is currently priced at £89.99 here in the UK, this is slightly cheaper than the competition, the Google Home.

Since the first edition of the Amazon Echo back in 2015, Amazon has upped their game significantly and this new 2017 models really caught our eye.

Lets take a closer look..

Design

When it comes to the Amazon Echo design, we are big fans. It doesn’t look quite as modern and stylish as the Google Home, however it does well to blend into any environment without cramping the style.

Amazon has gone for a more functional design, with a speaker at its core wrapped in a fabric. The Amazon Echo colours are Charcoal, Grey or a Sand.

If you are happy to pay £100 instead of £90, you also get the choice of Oak, Walnut or Silver. We were lucky enough to get our hands on the Charcoal for just over a week to conduct this review.

The Amazon Echo weighs a heavy 821 grams; this is almost double the Google Home.

However we did find that throughout this review, we didn’t move it around move at all, it lived in the living room for the whole of the time we had it.

Amazon has also reduced the size of the Echo from the first generation device; this newer model is now 148mm tall, making it two-thirds of the original model.

 

amazon echo colours

Image: Arstechnica

On the top of the Amazon Echo there is four buttons, a volume up, volume down, microphone mute and an action button. These are self-explanatory and do exactly what they say on the tin.

Around the edges of these four buttons are 7 microphones that are used to pick up your voice to control Alexa.

These microphones coupled with Amazons beam forming technology allow the Echo to clearly hear you no matter where you are in the room, or how loud the surrounding environment is.

Around the outer edge of the top of the device, is an LED light, which lights up different colours depending on the command the Echo is given.

One cool feature of the light is that when you say the wake word, the Echo will light up the brightest part of the ring nearest the microphone that it heard your from.

This is awesome and we found that the Echo is able to hear you with the faintest whisper, whilst having TV on in the background or listening to music from an alternative speaker.

The ring lights up different colours depending on which button you press, for example pressing the mute button will change the LED to red.

Around the back of the Amazon Echo there is a 3.5mm audio output, allowing you to hook it up to an external speaker if you wish.

Performance

The Amazon Echo performance aspect is impressive, and this smart speaker does everything you would expect of a £90 speaker.

Configuration takes place in the Alexa app, taking only a matter of minutes to get fully set up and connected to your home Wi-Fi.

Alexa is a cloud-based assistant, meaning that it reaches into the cloud to pull any information it needs to help with your queries.

We found Alexa to be great for helping you keep an eye on our calendar for upcoming appointments, however the Google Assistant is definitely better at every day tasks.

The limitations with Alexa do get somewhat annoying, for example it can only give you a traffic update between two locations, where as the Google Home can give you an update on any journey you request.

Now because Alexa is cloud based, this means that it gets updates automatically, and is continually learning new information.

buy amazon echo

Image: ForTheSmartHome

Over time the Amazon Echo learns your speech patterns, vocabulary and personal preferences.

This is fantastic, as over time we did notice Alex would respond faster to our queries, as it could understand us more.

One feature we love about Alexa is that it works perfectly with other Smart Tech we have in our home, we have smart bulbs in our home and Alexa does a great job at managing these.

For example if we say “Alexa, turn on the lights” it will turn on the lights, and say “turned on the lights”.

This can get annoying as the device speaks back to you every time you ask for a simple command.

That’s why Amazon has a built in ‘brief mode’, instead of Alexa saying it has turned the lights on, it will show a sequence of lights to let you know that it heard, and dealt with your request.

The Amazon Echo works seamlessly with Amazon Prime too, making it super easy and convenient to order your favourite items, for example simply say “Alexa, order coffee” or “Alexa, order some socks” and that’s it your good to go.

The Amazon Echo does not have a display, so it uses your previous purchase history to determine which products you are most likely to buy, this is incredibly smart and when used in practice we found it works extremely well.

Prime also allows you to stream over 2 million songs with their Prime Music feature; this is great as the Echo is a fully functional speaker that sounds awesome, but we will come to that shortly.

The Echo has serious skills too, it can order you a pizza from Dominos, order you and Uber and much more.

Because it is cloud based there are always new features being added all of the time, to ensure your Echo is the smartest, more accurate device it can possibly be.

The Amazon Echo works in tandem with other Alexa devices you have in your home too, for example the Amazon Echo Dot.

Allowing you to play music from each device individually or together, another cool feature is that the Echo allows you to make FREE calls to UK mobiles and landlines from your Echo.

This is great and we found ourselves using this feature regularly to connect with friends and family.

Throughout our Amazon Echo review we were seriously impressed with the performance of the device, it’s a great smart assistant that is handy for keeping you in control of your day.

Sound Quality

The Amazon Echo sound quality is impressive, that it when its at low-medium volume.

The Echo has a 0.6-inch tweeter speaker and a 2.5-inch woofer, powered by Dolby.

We found the sound quality to be crisp and clear when used on a medium setting, however when the volume is cranked up, the quality does take a hit.

Everyday usage from the speaker is absolutely fine, however if you were going to be using this device purely as a speaker, then we wouldn’t recommend it.

When using the Amazon Echo for voice calls, the speaker is absolutely great and voices sound great.

If you really are looking for the best audio experience out of the Amazon Echo, then we recommend buying two, so you can have a stereo set up.

Alternatively investing into a pair of Amazon Echo Dots to place in different rooms.

Summary

So should you buy the Amazon Echo?

Well if you are looking for a smart assistant that can help you stay on top of your day, then yes!

However if you are going to be using this device primarily as a speaker, then no.

The Echo offers some fantastic features such as helping you with your shopping, ordering Dominos and streaming music.

The Amazon Echo has plenty of colours to choose from, ensuring it fits into any room or interior easily.

It really is easy to see why so many people here in the UK love the Amazon Echo, that being said the Google Home Hub offers much of the same features and even has better smarts, with more accurate information at a quicker speed.

We hope you have enjoyed our Amazon Echo review, and feel free to leave a comment, share with friends and check out the best place to buy the Amazon Echo at the top of the post.