Longest day ever at work yesterday. I was notified early in the day that my Echo had been delivered.
Got home last night and unboxed. The Echo itself is a surprisingly heavy and sturdy-feeling thing. About the size of a Pringles can, a little bigger around. Also in the box were a power cord, remote and remote holder, batteries for the remote, and a couple of strips of cardboard with “getting started” and “things to try” instructions.
This will be a relatively brief review, I’ve only fooled with it for a couple of hours.
My first impressions are mostly good, though.
Setting up pretty much consists of downloading the Echo app and setting up wi-fi. It took me a couple of tries to get the wi-fi to connect. I tried it using the app on my Fire tablet, no good. Tried again using the app on my Galaxy S3. Again, fail. Finally succeeded using the web browser version of the app on my desktop computer.
Alexa (the wake word, so, also what I’ll be calling the Echo) says “Hello.”
I immediately ask “Alexa, what time is it?”, and it tells me. It makes me laugh.
I go through the app, set my zipcode as my location, associate my iHeart and tuneIn radio accounts, choose the news I want to hear as part of my “Flashnews” briefing.
I say “Alexa, play KHITS 96.” It does (Tempted, by Squeeze, was playing). “Alexa, stop.” The music is off.
I tell it to add milk and coffee to my grocery list, then open up the grocery list in the Echo app on my phone, and milk and coffee are listed, with handy check boxes beside them.
I ask what the weather is, to play a local talk station, even to turn the volume up and down. It does everything very nicely. And the speaker’s pretty decent, too.
Then, it loses the wi-fi signal, and politely tells me so. I try reconnecting via the app, but for whatever reason, it’s not even seeing my wi-fi signal. I check phone, tablet and laptop all in the same spot, and they’re all seeing my network just fine. I unplug the Echo from the power outlet and plug it back in. When it starts back up, wi-fi is connected again.
By now, I’ve got to go to bed. I take the dog for a last quick walk and lie down.
“Alexa, wake me up at 6 a.m.” “Alarm set for 6 a.m.”
“Alexa, play classical dreamtime playlist.”
“Alexa, volume 3.”
Not too bad. The alarm woke me up at 6 a.m., even. This morning, while I was getting ready for work, it lost the wi-fi signal again, though. I’ll have to look into that a little more closely over the weekend.
So, from an average consumer’s point of view, for the most part, I like it.