Amazon Echo - Black (1st Generation)
- Plays all your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice
- Call or message anyone hands-free with your Echo device. Also, instantly connect to other Echo devices in your home using just your voice.
- Fills the room with immersive, 360? omni-directional audio. Play music simultaneously across Echo devices with multi-room music (Spotify and Sirius XM support coming soon).
- Hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even while music is playing
- Answers questions, reads the news, reports traffic and weather, reads audiobooks from Audible, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, controls Amazon Video on Fire TV, and more using the Alexa Voice Service
- 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
- Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Domino's, DISH, and more
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Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, make calls, send and receive messages, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. All you have to do is ask.
Echo has seven microphones and beam forming technology so it can hear you from across the room—even while music is playing. Echo is also an expertly tuned speaker that can fill any room with 360° immersive sound. When you want to use Echo, just say the wake word “Alexa” and Echo responds instantly. If you have more than one Echo or Echo Dot, Alexa responds intelligently from the Echo you're closest to with ESP (Echo Spatial Perception). Learn more about ESP
Amazon Echo provides hands-free voice control for Amazon Music —just ask for your favorite artist or song, or request a specific genre or mood. You can also search for music by lyrics, when a song or album was released, or let Alexa pick the music for you. With multi-room music support you can play music across multiple Echo devices simultaneously (Spotify and Sirius XM coming soon, Bluetooth not supported for multi-room music). Learn more
Amazon Echo also provides hands-free voice control to Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn. Plus, Echo is Bluetooth-enabled so you can stream other popular music services like iTunes from your phone or tablet. Echo has been fine-tuned to deliver crisp vocals with dynamic bass response. Its dual downward-firing speakers produce 360° omni-directional audio to fill any room with immersive sound.
With Echo, you can call anyone hands-free—no tapping or searching required. Your contacts will see your number when they receive the call so they know who is calling. Additionally, you can send messages via voice or text to anyone with a supported Echo device or the Alexa App. Learn more
Let your household know when dinner is ready, ask someone for help with a chore, or remind the kids to go to sleep—without having to raise your voice. With the Drop In feature enabled for room-to-room calling, instantly connect with compatible Echo devices in your home.
Tucked under the light ring is an array of seven microphones that use beam-forming technology and enhanced noise cancellation. With far-field voice recognition, Echo can hear you ask a question from any direction—even while playing music
When you want to use Echo, simply say the wake word, “Alexa,” and Echo lights up and streams audio to the cloud, where the Alexa Voice Service is leveraged to recognize and respond to your request instantly. Learn more about voice recognition on Echo.
Alexa—the brain behind Echo—is built in the cloud, so it is always getting smarter. The more you use Echo, the more it adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences. And because Echo is always connected, updates are delivered automatically.
Just in the last few months we’ve added Alexa calling and messaging, exclusive voice-shopping deals, far-field voice control of Amazon Video on Fire TV, and thousands of new skills from third-party developers. Explore more things to try with Alexa.
Skills add even more capabilities like ordering a pizza from Domino's, requesting a ride from Uber, tracking your fitness with Fitbit, controlling your TV with DISH Hopper, and more. Enabling skills lets your Echo do even more—simply discover and enable the skills you want to use in the Alexa App.
New skills are being added all the time. You can also see ratings and reviews to learn what other customers are saying about the thousands of skills available in the Alexa App. Discover and enable skills.
Use Echo to switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, turn on the fan or space heater while reading in your favorite chair, or dim the lights from the couch to watch a movie—all without lifting a finger. Control multiple devices at scheduled times or with a single voice command, like locking the doors and turning off the lights when you go to bed (Coming soon).
Echo works with devices such as lights, switches, TVs, thermostats, and more from WeMo, Philips Hue, Sony, SmartThings, Insteon, Nest, ecobee, and Wink. Learn more about compatible smart home connected devices, including starter kits for easy setup.
With the free Alexa App on Fire OS, Android, iOS, and desktop browsers, you can easily setup and manage your Echo. Use the Alexa App to connect music services you already use like Spotify and Pandora. Link your calendar from Google, G Suite, iCloud, Outlook.com or Office365. Setup your smart home devices from Philips Hue, TP-Link, ecobee, WeMo, SmartThings, Insteon, Wink, Nest, Lutron, and more.
Make calls, view your conversation history, manage contacts, and get notifications when you receive a message (calling and messaging features available on iOS and Android only). See which books are available to read from your Kindle and Audible libraries. View shopping and to-do lists while on the go. Control your timers and set custom tones for your alarms, and much more. The Alexa App is also where you discover third-party skills.
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I am a regular Amazon Prime shopper and reviewer, if my review helped you in making up your mind about whether to purchase the Echo, please mark the ‘Helpful’ button, it tells Amazon that folks are in fact reading reviews like this. Thanks!
We use the shopping list feature a lot, and my husband has added things to the list that he remembered, while I was already at the store. Should I mention he adds things like chocolate bars when I'm not looking? No more paper lists! I just look at the app on my phone and things disappear as I check them off.
We transport Echo from the living room to the bedroom, since it is easier for him not to have to use the remote, plus it is always there for his favorite music, an update on news, and to check the weather. Or, when he needs cheering up, I ask for a joke. Tosave plugging in behind his lift chairs, I have ordered a second plug. I love the easy reconnect to the WIFI.
I was a bit worried at first about his word slurring with his Parkinson's, but it has worked the opposite way! I notice he focuses his words much better while giving commands. After he forgot her name early on, we added it so he could remember using the Zink hAppy App.
My granddaughter was happy to check her math problems using Echo, and in addition to the music stations and Amazon play lists, Echo is a breeze to use as a Bluetooth device. I have used it to play my meditation apps and iTunes music. In case you aren't aware, Amazon even allows you to upload your iTunes library and save it in your Amazon Play list. There is a limit for free songs, but we didn't even come close.
I won't say it revolutionized our lives, but it has made our lives much more normal. We have recommended it to two Occupational Therapists, and his Home Healthcare director has recommended it for others. I am so excited it is now available for everyone. Amazon didn't intend this as an assistive device, but it is an awesome one.
A couple of things I'm hoping for in the future: the ability for her to call 911, and the ability to give storm alerts. I looked for an IFTT configuration on the storm alert, but currently she is only the trigger, not the recipient. You can't have her do something in response to outside events, you can only have other things happen as a result of your interaction with her.
Funny, when he was in the hospital, I almost cancelled my long awaited order. I am SO glad we got it.
Edited - July 17, 2015 - my husband started TENS therapy for pain two weeks ago and is responding well. Two areas where Echo has been very helpful are setting a timer, and playing background music so he can focus on something else. He is now able to use the muscle, albeit weakly, and is taking steps with close monitoring and a wheelchair behind. He also uses the timer to remind him to stand and to time him for length of time while standing.
We also added a second Echo for me to use, so we are a two Echo family.
You can set up multiple Echos on the same account and share things like music and shopping lists.
Edited November 2, 2015: I am happy to report that Echo (and Gary) have only gotten better. I personally love the multiple alarms, since they are the first thing we do each morning, setting them for medication times. It is the perfect reminder! Echo has also been happy to keep us up to date on favorite sports teams when they aren't on TV. The other night, I found Gary playing his own version of a memory game with Alexa. He was trying to come up with songs he remembered and hadn't heard for awhile and would ask her to play them.
In addition to Gary's increasing strength, he now has an electric wheelchair I purchased that allows him access to the bathroom and makes life easier for us. And, Alexa keeps his speech in line. When he realized She had been understanding him less, he went back to doing his speech exercises.
Our lives have settled into a new normal, and the Echo is a huge part of what makes normal easier.
*** IMPORTANT UPDATE DECEMBER 1, 2015 - In case you aren't in the loop, Amazon has added "Ask My Buddy" to Echo. It permits you to register an account and up to five contacts. Each contact can have email address, text address (cell phone), and Voice Phone. With the simple words "Ask my Buddy," Echo will immediately ask who you want to contact. You may contact an individual or everyone on the list, and Ask My Buddy will immediately send an alert to those who you request. It states that it is "free in this beta version" and you have up to 120 contacts in a month for now. (Each person, text, and email counts).
Edited February 28, 2016 - We were able to buy a lift van (used) so we are able to more easily get around. I am trying to get Gary out of the house at least once a week.
We are currently planning a trip (by Amtrak) to visit family. It has taken a million details (OK, maybe not a million, but it feels like it) to try to do 36 hours on the train and to set things up my Dad's house. I have a list of things that we are taking with us. Alexa is at the top of the list. I suspect by the time I leave my Dad's home, he will have one on order. I may actually bring Hue light bulbs with me, or at least a WEMO plug.
Edited July 2016 - the trip was successful, if stressful on all of us. My Dad is now on Hospice, so I am grateful we went when we could. Sadly, Gary's health has continued to deteriorate, and he would no longer be able to make the trip. We have a hospital bed in our living room where he can be with us more. He is now believed to have a Parkinson's Plus disease called Multiple System Atrophy. Alexa seems to understand him better now using the remote, so we keep it handy. His current Physical and Occupational Therapists love Alexa as well. My greatest pleasure is reading the comments of others who also have disabilities who have been encouraged by my posts. Thank you.
Edited September 6, 2016 - Sadly, we lost my Dad shortly after I posted. He really enjoyed Echo during our visit, since he was a huge techie buff. It was fun sharing this important part of our lives with him. Gary continues to have a strong support system medically, although he is getting progressively weaker. An MRI shows he has had at least one stroke, which is probably why Alexa has a harder time understanding him.
And yes, all of the new home health members love seeing what we have done with our Echo. I have moved a twin bed into the living room to be with Gary at night, and when he needs help, it is easy to have Echo turn on the light for us. Our daughter and granddaughter moved in to help, and it is ESPECIALLY nice to control all of the lights in the house so easily.
April 2, 2017
If you aren't aware, TAP, Echo's sister, will now respond to a wake word. As Gary's speech deteriorated, Tap has helped him to more easily turn off the alarm, and having the wake word made it easy for me to control as well using my voice.
I have also added Nucleus to our Alexa family, which allows me to do video calls to check on Gary when I am away from home.
Gary continues to get weaker, but Echo has been a huge part of our journey. Reading back over my review, it is interesting to note that none of the therapists who visit us now are unfamiliar with Echo, although they enjoy seeing how we use it.
We are now at the point where Hospice is stepping in, and we are grateful for the support they offer.