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Is Amazon Echo worth buying?

Humans have evolved so fast, especially in the recent times. We have come a long way since the invention of the wheel. From building dams for electricity to internet for building a global village, humans are creating all types of equipment to make lives easier.

One such creation is Amazon Echo. Ever thought of how cool it would be to have a running speaker assistant wherever you are which can answer all your queries, do things and tasks for you like calling someone, set alarms, check weather and update you on news. It is like an assistant who will do as you ask.

You can check this review out to understand the device better, so as to buy it in future. There are some amazing amazon promocode that will not only make you want to order it right away but also help you in saving money without burning a hole in your pocket.

Design 

Amazon Echo is a smart speaker with a cylindrical shape, about 5.8-inch-tall and is approximately 2/3 the height of the original version. It has a black cover but also comes in various other colours like grey, walnut or oak finish, or metallic silver finish. On the top of Echo you will find physical buttons to start a voice command, control volume or mute a microphone. The body of Echo is surrounded by a removable fabric cover. You can find a light ring along the border of the upper surface to let users know about the status of Echo.

Amazon Echo is a hands-free smart speaker that works by the control of the person’s voice. On switching it on, it connects to Alexa – a cloud based voice service. Alexa is like your online assistant and you can ask it to do tasks like play music, videos and TV, make phone calls, check weather and news, set alarms, control smart home devices, and much more.

Features

The most amazing feature about Amazon Echo are 360° omnidirectional Bluetooth speakers. With the immersive speaker quality and 7 internal microphones that are installed inside it, these speakers make Amazon Echo way better than any other smart speaker in the league. The sound quality is so brilliant that the room is filled with its amazing voice and will give anyone a feeling as if Alexa is sitting with you in the room and conversing.

Other than its powerful speakers, Echo also boasts of various other cool features. The Echo is getting smarter by the minute, learning and adapting from its environment, adding new set of skills and tricks, with the most amazing features that you won’t believe. Amazon has also recently expanded its ecosystem with the Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, Echo Spot, and Echo Show.

Amazon has also added the Multi-Room Audio feature who was long demanded by customers to be added in Echo speakers. The Alexa App has various echo skills too to make lives easier for its owners. Amazon Echo is like a tech assistant that listens to all your commands and does as is told. It is a great addition for a family as you can set multiple timers and alarms on it. You can also control your smart home by installing echo-adaptive appliances like Philips lights, Nest and Sensi. One can also receive news, weather or traffic updates through Alexa. You can give your shopping list and to-do list and Alexa will check items off the list for you. The best part about Amazon Echo is its association with amazon, which helps make things so easy for its users to be connected with amazon, for online purchases, tracking orders or using Amazon Prime.

These incredible features make Amazon Echo one of the strongest contenders in the smart speakers’ competition. You can get yourself one through various online stores using amazon offers today that will help you save big on the purchase.

Performance

It is really easy to use Amazon Echo. You just have to install Amazon Alexa App on your phone and purchase your Amazon Echo. Then you head to settings, set up your device and follow the setup instructions.

First things first, the speaker quality. The sound quality of Amazon Echo is pretty good, as the audio sounds clear and crisp. Amazon has installed a 0.6-inch tweeter and 2.5-inch woofer into the device, which is powered by Dolby. It is this that makes the sound quality so detailed and clear. But at high volumes, you can experience a little distortion. But at this price, it’s a fantastic buy that one shouldn’t miss out on.

Then comes the App, Alexa. The Alexa app is wonderful and very easy to use. Its quick and responsive user interface makes working with Alexa very convenient. Amazon has invested a lot in smart home integration and this can be seen through Alexa as it works great with a number of smart devices than any other voice assistant around. At the skills level, it maintains the same level as other smart speakers. As a result, you can now control some devices directly from the app.

Amazon offers many other options like Echo with different price variations. Echo obviously stands out as it is the medium ranged speaker providing both basic voice assistant support or have a separate stereo and also gives you high-end features like more smart skills and better sound quality. It is a fantastic buy for anyone who is looking for a smart assistant for home control, plus well-amplified, crystal clear audio system. In this price range, it is really the best purchase.

Pros and Cons

There are a great number of pros and cons to Echo that are discussed here. First comes the pros or the good things about Echo. At the price given, it is of excellent value. It is very easy to set up, and has a wonderful voice assistant Alexa who has expandable range of skills that develop day by day. Its clean audio and simple voice control is a breeze to the ears and makes Echo a worthy buy.

One of the features that limits Echo is that the speaker quality could be better. Alexa is great but it is hardly a competition to Google home.

Review

There are a number of mixed review for Amazon Echo that will surely help customers make the right choice. Techradar says that there are a variety of plus points to the latest Amazon Echo (2nd generation), like how the smart speaker is a refreshing update to the Amazon range, its price has dropped and the design has also become very elegant. Additionally, the voice assistant app Alexa gets better and learns new skills with each passing month.

IGN also states that although Amazon Echo’s audio quality isn’t as good as Google Home’s, but the Skills are what really sets it apart. Echo can work with so many devices and services that makes it more versatile for its uses.

TurboFuture also has similar views on Echo’s performance that in the price range given, Echo is one of the best smart speakers and definitely more versatile than other devices.

Conclusion

Today, speakers have long overthrown by smart-speakers. Now we have virtual assistants coming in in the form of small pods that not only help us in our daily tasks, but also keep us updated about news, weather and traffic. Amazon is known to be the best in its league for online shopping store, and now it has successfully expanded to tech sector as well. Echo is one of the best smart speakers in the market and with the audio system quality, and the virtual assistant features as good as that, it’s a hard to miss deal that one should definitely go for. At the price range given, it is a clear winner.

Google Home Vs Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo vs. Google Home: Which is best for India?

While Smart Home Speakers are still to mature as a fully grown product, they are creating a good buzz around themselves. In India, the market of smart home speakers features only two major players, Amazon and Google. While Amazon entered the Indian Market with its Amazon Echo much earlier, Google has recently unveiled its Google Home in India. So now Indian buyers do have options, but to choose one from these two isn’t an easy task. Both of these have some amazing features while both miss out on some qualities also. So the question is, how should one go about buying a smart speaker? Well, to answer this question, we need to dig deep and find out the pros and cons of each of them.

Amazon Echo vs. Google Home: Which is best for India?

Price and Availability

Indian Market is one of the most price sensitive ones. So, the first thing that everyone would be looking to know is the price comparison. Well, on the price front, both Google, the late entrant, has played smartly and kept the price exactly the same as Amazon Echo. Both Google Home and Amazon Echo cost Rs 9,999. The other versions, Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot also cost INR 4,499 each. However, Amazon has introduced some discounts on its products and one can avail various Amazon coupons as well.

Availability is also not an issue with both. While Google Home is easily available on Flipkart, Amazon Echo can be bought on Amazon.in. Both the companies have tied up with offline stores also and you can get these at Croma, Reliance Digital and other offline outlets.

Design

On the design front, Google Home feels much more pleasing to the eye as compared to Amazon Echo although it is also a good one. The top half of Google Home is covered with white plastic, which the bottom half is more round-ish and is covered with fabric. At first instance, it does look like air-freshener or fancy lamp and doesn’t make you feel that it is a highly technical product.

On the other hand, Amazon Echo has a basic cylindrical shape, but it does give a swanky industrial look. Since the design is pretty basic and minimalistic, there isn’t much to talk about. However, this nowhere means that Amazon Echo doesn’t look good.

One more thing to notice is that Amazon Echo has mechanical buttons on the top, while Google Home touch-sensitive buttons. Also, Google Home comes with 4 colored LEDs on the top, which gives it some brownie points when it comes to design. But again, not all the people will love a single design. So both are good looking, but Google Home does a little better on design.

Features

We’ll talk about Google Home first. Since, Android is the most popular OS in the country, using Google Assistant isn’t a tough job to learn. Just say ‘Hey Google’ or ‘Okay Google’, and the speaker wakes up. You can set reminders, play music and do some basic searches on it. If you have Google Chrome cast installed in your house, you can sync both the devices and control chrome cast by voice command only.

Further, Google Home can read aloud the news for you, can even speak the recipes for you, and can also play podcasts. However, one big disappointment with Google Home is that cannot make calls. Despite Google already having the access to calls and contacts in your phone, not being able to make calls through Google Home is certainly dissatisfactory.

On the other hand, Amazon Echo has the assistant named Alexa. It wakes up by just saying ‘Alexa’, which feels more natural and comfortable to say. While Amazon Echo can also do routine tasks like playing music, setting alarms and reading news, but it cannot read aloud recipes or podcasts. However, it can definitely read e-books for you, which definitely compensates the deficit of podcasts. Also, Amazon Echo can make calls for you, which gives it a big plus over Google Home. Moreover, you can do shopping through Amazon Echo, and Track delivery status also, which is another amazing feature.

But more than all this, what gives Amazon Echo a big lead is ‘Skills.’ Amazon allows Alexa to be linked with third-party apps. So which Amazon Echo, you can book a cab on Ola, order food on Zomato and do a whole lot more of things, which Google Home isn’t even close to doing.

Also, Amazon Echo has a feature named ‘Routine’, which does some customized tasks for you on saying a specific phrase. For example, whenever you say ‘Good Morning Alexa’, it can start reading the news for you, remind you all of the meetings for today and can even turn on the lights. You just need to customize it and you can do much more ‘routine’ tasks. So feature-wise, since Amazon is the early mover as it gets a clear advantage over Google Home.

Sound Quality

If you’re looking for sound quality as you get in those JBL speakers, you’re seriously expecting a lot. The music playback on both the speakers isn’t the most impressive one and is more of a pastime rather than some serious entertainment.

However, when it comes to accent, Google has tried to give its assistant an Indian accent, but it fails miserably. The sound output of Google Assistant feels robotic and unnatural, which distorts the comfort. However, Alexa’s accent is much more natural, and it actually feels like talking to someone when you’re using it.

Both of the speakers do not have the support of any Indian language like Hindi, Tamil or Punjabi. However, both of these do recognize proper nouns like ‘atta’ and names of Indian singers and movies, which makes their usage very smooth.

Although, Google Home does better than Amazon Echo in sound output, it struggles to recognize the voice of user while playing music on high volume. One has to nearly shout to make Google Home recognize the voice, which becomes slightly irritating. Amazon Echo has 3.5 mm audio jack support, while Google Home misses out on this feature.

Privacy

Imagine a device from a multinational internet company is listening and saving everything that you say at your home, sounds a bit strange right? Well, if you are placing a smart speaker in your home, the privacy of your conversations is a big concern.

Amazon Echo records each and every conversation you do with Alexa. All the conversations are converted into an audio file, and stored in your Amazon account. Although this is to improve your future searches, but the fact that everything is getting recorded might feel uncomfortable to some. However, Amazon does give you the option to delete all these recordings also, but that will impact Echo’s performance.

On the other hand, if you want to use Google Home, you’ll have to turn on features like Web & App Activity, Device Information and Voice & Audio Activity, which is definitely going to cause uneasiness to a lot of people. Many people prefer to keep these settings off, and for Google Home, it is mandatory to turn these on. Further, turning on these setting for Google Home also turns them on for Chrome Browser and your phone too, which again a mess. Although, Google has maintained the trust from so many years about data privacy, but being aware of these facts related to privacy is a necessary thing.

Verdict

So here comes the final call, Amazon Echo or Google Home, which one you should go for? Well, both of them are amazing devices and offer great functionality, but in Indian Context, it seems like Amazon Echo is slightly ahead of Google Home. Amazon has been there in the market for a while and has introduced some worthy changes to make their device better. Many features like making calls, better privacy, and better accent, shopping and routine make it a much smarter device that Google Home, and that is why it wins the race.

However, it must not be forgotten that Google has just entered the market. It is pretty obvious that Google will introduce many improvements to make Google Home a device better than Amazon Echo. So at the moment, Amazon Echo seems like the clear winner. But 6 months down the line, the answer to this question can change.