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Amazon Echo review: Betcha can't buy just one of these voice-activated connected-home controllers

Michael Brown | Aug. 3, 2015
Amazon's Echo is the best voice-controlled product that I've seen at the consumer level. It's versatile, powerful, and amazingly quick to recognize your speech and then do something, whether that's answering a trivia question, playing music, giving you the weather forecast, or controlling your home's lighting.

Having one in my home office would be terrific for doing basic research. And putting one in the kitchen would be great because it's a central location where the entire family could use it. Hmm. I wonder if recipes are on Amazon's roadmap?

If you want to buy just one Echo and move it from room to room, you'll be happy to know that the device is ready to use within 35 seconds of plugging it into a power source.

As an audio system, the Echo pales in comparison to the Sonos ecosystem, but it doesn't sound terrible; it's a fine speaker for background music. Still, Amazon would do well to develop relationships with more audio services (it'll probably be a cold day when the Echo supports Apple Music, but there are plenty of other candidates, including Spotify, Google Play Music, Tidal, Rdio, Deezer, and so on).

If I buy an Echo, I won't take full advantage of its capabilities for a couple of reasons. First, my lighting system is already tied to my home-security system (Z-Wave systems can have only one master). Second, I've invested heavily in a Sonos audio system, so I wouldn't use the Echo to listen to music. Despite all that, the Echo has enough other capabilities that it would be worth the price of admission for me. The Echo is a powerful and very well designed product with a bright future. Good job, Amazon.


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