A dig into the Ocean of Smart Devices #EchoDot #Echo #EchoPlus - TechAtma

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Mar 22, 2018

A dig into the Ocean of Smart Devices #EchoDot #Echo #EchoPlus

Gone are the days when we used to turn on our computers or smartphones to Google anything. It's now time for something so smart that can reply to your verbal questions and this is even better than Google App Voice Recognition. Such things remind me of some SciFi Hollywood movies like IronMan etc. These gadgets are categorized into Smart Speaker segment. But are these devices really smart? This is a big question. Let us try to discuss in this blog about this topic.

Global e-commerce giant Amazon has recently launched 3 such devices in India, namely Echo Dot, Echo and Echo Plus. Amazon launched these products in India around October in 2017. These products are available online as well as offline through various retail outlets. Echo Dot is available on Amazon for 4499, Echo for 9999 and Echo Plus for 14999. You can get some discount on these products at offline stores if you have good bargaining skills.

In this blog, I will try to share my personal experience with the all three of these devices launched by Amazon. Many of my friends were asking whether to buy these or not. So, I decided to write a post reviewing these products.   




Echo-Dot


The build quality and finishing of all the 3 devices is very good and gives a premium feel. Amazon Echo Dot is a small device with a single speaker inside it and has 4 buttons on top of it having some basic functions such volume up and down, microphone mute and one action button. This has a micro-USB port for charging and 3.5mm Audio-Out jack. You can connect your headphones or even external speakers with this 3.5mm Audio-Out jack. The second of these i.e. Echo is also hexagonal in shape but bigger in size than Echo Dot. Look at the table for dimensions. The dual-speaker of Echo is more powerful. It has the same 4 buttons on top of it as the Echo Dot. Echo has a power socket to connect the power adapter and a 3.5mm Audio-Out Jack as well. So, unlike Echo Dot, the Echo must always remain connected to the external power supply.




Echo plus is the biggest of the three speakers. Unlike Echo Dot and Echo, Echo Plus has only 2 buttons on top of it because it has a rotating wheel to control the volume. It has a power socket on its back with a 3.5mm Audio-Out jack as well. There is also a Reset button at the bottom for doing Factory Reset. The most important feature that the Echo Plus has is the built-in Smart Home Hub inside it. So, you can connect your smart bulbs and other appliances with the Echo Plus to control them with your voice command. You can also do that with the other 2 speakers, Echo Dot and Echo with an external Hub i.e. Hue Bridge connected to those devices. Hue Bridge is sold separately in the market. The built-in Smart Home Hub feature gives Echo Plus an edge over the other 2 devices. If you are looking for Home Automation at your residence, go straight away for the Echo Plus.




These devices are connected to the internet through Wi-Fi network and fetch their data from there. Music streaming on these devices is done by Amazon Prime Services, Saavn, TuneIn etc. So, you can only play songs available over these platforms. Similarly, the news is fetched from some other platforms. Also, you can connect your phone to receive or make phone calls and send/read messages using these devices. You can order food, book a cab, book a carpenter and a lot more with these. These devices are so sensitive that they get your voice commands from a great distance. I think I need a table to give a collective view of all the features again.

Echo Dot
Echo
Echo Plus
Price
4,499
9,999
14,999
Overview
Portable Smart Speaker
Smart Speaker with great sound
Smart Speaker with built-in Smart Home Hub
Dual Speakers
No
Yes
Yes
Streaming Music
Yes
Yes
Yes
Connect to External Speakers
Yes
Yes
Yes
Alexa Calling
Yes
Yes
Yes
Smart Home Compatibility
Yes
Yes
Yes
Built-in Hub
No
No
Yes
Speaker Size
0.6” Tweeter
2.5” Woofer, 0.6” Tweeter
2.5” Woofer, 0.8” Tweeter
Device Size
32×84×84 mm
148×88×88 mm
235×84×84 mm
Device Weight
163g
821g
954g


Setting-up
The first thing to be done is to connect your Echo or Echo Dot or Echo Plus device to the Wi-Fi Network. Then, you have to download in your smartphone ‘Amazon Alexa’ App from the Google PlayStore or iOS AppStore. After that, in the app, you have to select which device you are using and many other things. You do not need to be a geek to configure these devices through this App. So, I am skipping this and coming directly to the review.

By the way, Alexa is the name of the bot to whom you have to communicate. Every time you assign a task to the device, you have to call by the name ‘Alexa’. I asked some questions and assigned some tasks to Alexa. The exact conversation I am posting now.



My Conversation with Alexa
Task 1: Alexa, what is the weather like here?
Alexa: Currently in New Delhi, it is 24°C with a mostly clear sky.
Task 2: Alexa, what is 87654 divided by 97?
Alexa: 87654 divided by 97 is 903.649
Task 3: What is the score of the Indian Cricket Team?
Alexa: India is batting at 133 for 5 wickets in 18 overs.                          Bangladesh hasn’t batted yet.
Task 4: Alexa, what is the time now?
Alexa: It 8:55 pm.
Task 5: Alexa, play some Arijit Singh Songs.
Alexa: Song plays.
Task 6: Alexa, play my flash briefing.
Alexa: It plays news from the news feed.
Task 7: Alexa, set an alarm for tomorrow.
      Alexa: Alarm for what time?
      Me: 5’o clock.
      Alexa: Is that 5’o clock in the morning or in the evening?
      Me: In the morning.
      Alexa:  Alarm set for 5 am tomorrow.
Task 8: Alexa, who was the first person to land on the moon?
Alexa: Niel Armstrong.
Task 8: Alexa, call my father?
Alexa: It starts ringing within seconds and phone call is received by my father.



I think this must have given you some idea about the Alexa devices, which I call these. And this is just the beginning, these devices will keep on updating and the technology will keep on evolving and I will keep on writing. Our job is just to make our lives better with the help of resources available in whatsoever form.






‘Technology is never perfect, it keeps on evolving.’
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#Amazon #EchoDot #Echo #EchoPlus


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