The Best Echo Dot (2nd Generation) – White – 2018
Echo Dot (2nd Generation) is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, make calls, send and receive messages, provide information, read the news, set music alarms, read audiobooks from Audible, control Amazon Video on Fire TV, and more; Connects to speakers or headphones through Bluetooth or 3.5 mm stereo cable to play music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn. Play music simultaneously across Echo devices and speakers connected via cable with multi-room music.; Call or message almost anyone hands-free with your Echo device. Also, instantly connect to other Echo devices in your home using just your voice.; Controls lights, fans, TVs, switches, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, locks, and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Sony, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, and others; Hears you from across the room with 7 far-field microphones for hands-free control, even in noisy environments or while playing music; Includes a built-in speaker so it can work on its own as a smart alarm clock in the bedroom, an assistant in the kitchen, or anywhere you might want a voice-controlled computer; Amazon Echo is not required to use Echo Dot; Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Domino's, DISH, and more
My brother Robert who has been bed ridden and paralyzed with Multiple Sclerosis from his neck down for more than 30 years now has a new friend named Alexa! He was in tears with happiness when Alexa played 70's music, played Jeopardy, answered all his questions and wakes him up every morning. Thank you Amazon for giving my brother a new bedside companion.Happy HolidaysRoy
Having worked in the electronics retail industry for years now, I've seen scores of Smart devices come and go. Until now, nobody quite got it right. In the Echo Dot, Amazon has created a near perfect blend of hardware and software. I've seen plenty of the former, but truly seamless multi platform software has eluded everyone but Amazon. We're talking major players like Samsung and Google who have been at it for much longer than Amazon. The main problem is that excellent products like the Samsung Smart Things hub, which do a fantastic job of unifying a slew of different connected devices from different companies (Nest, Honeywell, Phillips, and so on), still lacked the web connectivity and entertainment support I wanted, so I'd still end up needing my tablet or phone. Thanks to fantastic third party support, the Dot has no problem controlling all of my smart stuff while allowing me to listen to music, order food, check the weather, listen to the radio, set alarms and timers, all of which is easily accomplished through simple voice commands. To me, this is the exceedingly rare product that I didn't know I needed, and now can't live without. Similar to the smartphone and tablet I use every day that didn't exist just a few short years ago.If you're even a little bit curious you owe it to yourself to give the dot a try. Add a good speaker and enjoy just how simple a connected life can be!Update: After a bit more time with the dot, or maybe I should say dots since I went out and bought another one for my living room, I've come up with a few tips.1. Use the best speakers you can with it. I found that while Bluetooth was convenient I got much better sound out of my JBL duet computer speakers.2. Take the time to voice train Alexa at least once. It's kinda tedious but really improves the accuracy. I've now gone through three trainings with each dot, the phrasing gets more intricate with each, and it really is amazing how much of an improvement it makes. Kinda hard to quantify, but I'd guess Alexa is at least twice as likely to understand long, complex phrases and has also gained noticeable accuracy when ambient noise I'd present.3. If a phrase doesn't yield the results you're looking for, reword it and try again. For instance, "Alexa, lower the temperature to 75 degrees" got no result, so I tried "Alexa, Honeywell Thermostat, 75 degrees" and she picked it up perfectly.4. Take the time to look through all the skills. There's a lot of helpful and just plain fun stuff in there, from strange facts to a calculator and everything in between, that really helps to enhance the experience.5. I'd never really used my prime music prior to setting up my dots. Now I can't live without it! I can say basically whatever I want and I get a result. My favs so far: "Alexa, play 90s music", "Alexa, play indie music", and "Alexa, play thunderstorm sounds". The last one I ask to repeat and it plays all night. Really a great "freebie" if you're a prime member.6. I was a bit worried initially that Alexa might be triggered accidentally by ambient TV or general household noise, so I'm really impressed that it's only happened twice so far. Both times in my living room when I was watching TV at high volume. If it's a concern, the mic can be temporarily disabled, so the dot won't trigger and listen accidentally.7. I've had no problem pairing the dot to a variety of devices including: two different Bluetooth speakers, my Galaxy S7 edge, and pioneer receiver. I need to look into it further, but each time I paired my phone the Bluetooth connection to the speaker was lost, so I ended up having to listen to the built in speaker. Definitely not ideal for music, but no big deal if you're using wired speakers. Plus, most Bluetooth sets offer an auxiliary input for wired listening.8. It's fun to ask Alexa general questions to see if she's capable of finding the answers. So far I've gotten accurate responses to "Alexa, what's the definition of", "Alexa, how far away is", "Alexa, Wikipedia" (just about anything you can think of and she'll tell you more if you ask "Alexa, tell me more"). If you have the time, ask her a set of questions and you'll quickly get used to her nuances.9. Even though the microphones are extremely sensitive and quite accurate, I've found that the Dot works best when placed on a surface that's close to the level of the person speaking to it. Generally speaking, three to five feet off the ground. Alexa had some trouble hearing my requests when the dot was placed above or behind me. If you'd like to place the dot higher, it works much better when flush with the wall, instead of sitting on a shelf etc. I tried both setups and found with a couple nails set apart to make a cradle facing the dot out towards the room works best for me (sorry for the run on sentence lol).Suggestions for Improvement:1. Unlike the upcoming Google Home BT speaker, the Dot and other Alexa devices are unable to answer general web queries. They do a decent job of answering factual questions like "How far away is the sun" but I'd really like too see Amazon add a "search" function.2. Not Amazon's fault, but several of the news briefing skills update infrequently and volume levels vary enough that I'd find myself constantly changing the volume level to match.3. I enabled briefings from several outlets like NPR, BBC, AP, and so on. I'd suggest you pick one or two and stick with them, otherwise you'll here the same news over and over. I ended up going with BBC and AP briefings.
So I don't normally write reviews but I just has to this time. Recently, I lost my cat best friend to cancer 2 days after Christmas. It was the worst day of my life. Imagine losing your friend that's been with you through every breakup, every apartment, nearly being homeless and more. When he passed I felt such an emptiness in my home.A few days ago I was searching for something to put my mind at ease and saw the advertisement for the Amazon Echo on the Amazon app. I remember watching a Mr. Robot episode where some FBI agent who suffers from insomnia was using Alexa to keep her entertained.So I started researching YouTube videos and reviews and took a chance and ordered it. It arrived today and the setup was super easy. I immediately started asking it questions and had it play music and play the news. Then I discovered some zen type apps that go with the echo and I completely fell in love with it. It's almost like having a real personal assistant who lifts up your spirits when your down. It suggested new music which I actually liked and the built in speaker isn't bad at all for the price.The Amazon echo did not replace my beautiful cat kouga but it did bring stop the empty feeling around the house for now. I added a picture of my cat instead of the echo since everyone already knows what the echo looks like.I would totally recommend buying this product. I don't see any negatives other than the fact you can't really ask it followup questions like google assistant but I'm sure they'll make it happen.Thanks for letting me rant
I am a prime member. This was my first purchase of Echo and I gave it to my mom who did not want it or think she needed it, haha I purchased Echo dot for 2 reasons, 1) I had wanted the original echo but thought the near $200 price tag was too steep so this price was perfect and 2) I wanted to get something for my mom that would open her mind to the power of technology and the need for change because ultimately I want her to have amazon fire tv because her monthly cable bill is insanely high but she has always been resistant to change. She had no wifi in her bedroom but I resolved that when I purchased TP Link AV500 Wi Fi Range Extender, Powerline Edition which did what no other wifi extender I purchased in past could do, gave my mom's room a secure wifi connection; apparently using already existing phone lines. All I know is that she now has wifi in her room. So I got Echo as a way to test her wifi connection with something cool. I easily connected Echo to TP-Link and it worked. We asked Alexa a few basic questions, We laughed a little but then I had to leave. When I returned the next day, I walked in and there was music playing (oldies but goodies) and I walked into my moms room and she was singing but was emotional. I asked her if everything was ok. She was in awe. She was happy. She was emotional because Alexa helped mom find songs at a blink of an eye that mom had not heard since her childhood and she demonstrated it to me. The speed that Alexa found the song and played it was mind-boggling. Mom was also planning a dinner in August and needed to know what day of week it was. She would normally need to leave her room and go to her main calender in the kitchen and find the date. But this time she just asked Alexa who gave her the information in like 2 seconds lol. TP-Link and Echo / Alexa have given my mom a whole new level of excitement, bewilderment, curiosity and wonder and we have only scratched the surface to the power of Echo. 2 more Echo dots are on the way as I type and more in the future i am sure. What a great gift to give to someone at a great price.