Echo connects to Alexa-a cloud-based voice service-to play music, make calls, set alarms and timers, ask questions, check your calendar, weather, traffic, and sports scores, manage to-do and shopping lists, control smart home devices, and more-instantly
Just ask for a song, artist, or genre from fan-key Music, Spotify, Pandora, and more. With multi-room music, you can play music on compatible Echo devices in different rooms. Echo can also play audiobooks, radio stations, news briefs, and more.
Call or message anyone hands-free with your Echo device. Also, instantly connect to other Echo devices in your home using just your voice.
Powerful speakers with Dolby processing that fill the room with immersive, 360° omnidirectional audio, and deliver crisp vocals and dynamic bass response
With seven microphones, beamforming technology, and noise cancellation, Echo hears you from any direction-even while music is playing
Just ask Alexa to control your compatible smart lights, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, and more
fan-key Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, ask questions, make calls, send and receive messages, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. All you have to do is ask.
Echo is also an expertly tuned speaker that can fill any room with immersive sound. It has seven microphones and beamforming technology so it can hear you from across the room — even while music is playing. When you want to use Echo, just say the wake word “Alexa” and Echo responds instantly.
The 2nd generation Echo has a 2.5” downward-firing woofer and 0.6” tweeter to deliver crisp vocals and dynamic bass throughout the room. You can play music from fan-key Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more. With fan-key Music, you can search by lyrics, time-period, or let Alexa pick the music for you. You can also listen to audiobooks from Audible, podcasts, radio stations, news briefs, and more.
Want to play music on an Echo in another room? Now with multi-room music, you can tell Alexa to play across your compatible Echo devices. Tell Alexa to play jazz in the kitchen, top pop in the family room, or play the same song throughout your whole homeEcho Dot can also directly connect to speakers using a 3.5 mm stereo cable or using Bluetooth to add voice control to your home stereo system in the living room or den.
Use Echo to switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, turn on the coffee maker on your way to the kitchen, or dim the lights from the couch to watch a movie—all without lifting a finger. Ask Alexa to turn on the TV, turn up the volume, change the channel, or play your favorite movie. Echo can control your Fire TV, and select devices from Sony, Dish, and Logitech.
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. Echo works with lights, locks, switches, thermostats, and more from WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, Nest, ecobee, and Wink.
Hands-free calling and messaging
With Echo, you can instantly talk to 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
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.
Far-field voice recognition
Tucked under the light ring is an array of seven microphones that use beamforming technology and enhanced noise cancellation. The 2nd generation Echo has improved wake-word performance to hear you ask a question from any direction—even in noisy environments or while playing music at loud volumes.
When you want to use Echo, simply say the wake word, “Alexa,” and Echo lights up and connects to the cloud, where the Alexa Voice Service recognizes and responds to your request instantly.
Alexa has skills
Echo uses tens of thousands of skills and counting. 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, and more. To enable new skills, just ask Alexa.
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.
Always getting smarter
Alexa is always getting smarter — the more you use Echo, the more Alexa 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, multi-room music, and reminders, along with skills from third-party developers.
Suit your style
Customize your Echo for any room with Echo Shell, available in a range of fabrics and finishes
★★★★1924 real customer reviews average rating: 4 stars
5 Stars By B. FromSeattle on 2017-11-02 Sound quality has been improved again! 3rd time's the charm. So it’s been an interesting first few weeks with the Echo and am happy to say Echo 2nd Gen has finally delivered on its promise of improved sound quality over 1st Gen Echo, with the 3rd firmware since launch. If you are confused about a lot of the negative reviews, old firmware is the likely cause of most of them regarding poor sound quality.
Want to keep this short and spare all the gory details, but there was a bug in the launch version of the firmware, which was fixed after a few days, but the first fix, while satisfying some, was not, in my opinion a full fix and left the mid-range frequencies muted and tinny. Today I noticed that Alexa’s voice in this unit sounded much more like Alexa’s voice on Gen 1 Echo’s I own and, after playing some music, suspected they had upgraded the firmware again, and indeed they have. The current firmware is 592452720 and it’s a massive improvement over both the original and updated version 592452420.
So I decided to do some more side-by-side comparisons with the Gen 1 Echo and can honestly say in many areas the sound quality is now actually better than Gen 1 Echo. This is how the product should have sounded at launch! If I have any complaints at this point it’s that the low-frequencies loudness could stand to be bumped up just a tad. (Better yet, PLEASE add an EQ feature to the Alexa app so users can adjust EQ for the room and music type they prefer). I did my comparisons at volume level 8. Anything above that and Gen 1 Echo dynamic range starts to break down, while Gen 2 maintains quality but doesn’t get quite as loud and Gen 1. It’s the right trade off, I would rather it sound good than be louder and sound harsh. At that volume level I went thru a range of music, streamed over Bluetooth, switching between Gen 1 and Gen 2 devices, and found Gen 2 to be an improvement over Gen 1 for the vast majority of the music I tried. I’m impressed with the quality of the audio coming out of this form factor, and impressed how quickly fan-key has responded to feedback on the problems. Kudos, this Echo is a keeper.
5 Stars By Bob and Sherry on 2017-11-02 Audio Now Sounds Great after Software Update - Read Review for Details Update: fan-key has pushed a software update and sound quality now sounds great.
I was originally disappointed in the 2nd Gen as my original review (below) shows. Shortly after posting the review fan-key reached out to me for additional information. They contacted me again today and said they took my, and others, feedback regarding the sound quality seriously. The fan-key rep informed me my Echo was selected to be part of a test group asked me if I would want to install a new software update to address the problem. She walked me through the steps to ensure the update was applied and asked me to test the audio (she stayed on the phone while I did this).
With my 2nd Gen and original 1st Gen Echo in a multi-room group (that's a really nice feature) I had Alexa fire up my playlist. I was surprised to find the 2nd Gen now sounded much improved. As I walked between rooms with the two Echo's I was also surprised that the 2nd Gen sounded better than my 1st Gen, the bass and mid-range had a better quality. Not believing my own ears I had my wife also give it a listen and she agreed.
The fan-key rep said they were working with a small group of customers like me to verify the update and they would be pushing the update to all customers very soon (update to my update, looks like fan-key is now pushing out the software broadly!). You can check your software version by using the Alexa app and looking at your Echo device settings. FYI, after the update my Gen2 shows Device Software Version 592452420 (the original was 592452320).
Other than audio, the Gen 2 is nearly identical to the original Gen 1 with exception of form factor. The Gen 2 is shorter (5.9") and wider (3.5"). For comparison Gen 1 was 9.2" x 3.3". The Gen 2 has many 'skin' options, I chose the fabric option. Comparatively the Gen 1 had a look of plastic and metal. The Gen 2 cover is removable so you can replace with other skins.
As for responsiveness, Gen 2 specs show better microphone array. From my use I've not noticed anything improved. That said I was very happy with the Gen 1 responsiveness to commands, the Gen 2 continues to be as responsive.
All other functions seem to be the same as Gen 1 including blue ring that indicates "listening", buttons on top to activate for "Alexa" and button to mute the microphone array. There is also a 3.5mm jack port and bluetooth to connect to other speakers. There is a design change, with Gen 1 you would turn the ring to change volume, that's been replaced with +/- buttons (following same design change as the Dot releases).
fan-key advertises this as 2nd Generation as "improved sound". I thought the original Echo (1 gen) sounded great so I fell for the 2nd gen hook, line and sinker. Unfortunately after listening to it I find it's a sinker indeed, or perhaps a stinker.
I did an informal test with my 1st gen and new 2nd gen Echo. I had them both play a set of songs. I'm just going by what my set of ears tells me, but the 2nd gen is DISAPPOINTING when it comes to sound quality. While it does seem to have a deeper bass, the overall quality sounds tinnier than the 1st gen. Whatever "powered by Dolby" is supposed to bring to the 2nd get unit is not much, this 2nd gen is just not up to par with the original when it comes to audio.
The unit otherwise functions like the original and other than the form factor I see nothing that's an improvement. I haven't seen that it "hears" better. And it doesn't sound better for sure.
Perhaps I'm too focused on the sound of Echo 2nd gen, but when fan-key makes it a point to expressly market it as being "improved sound", I'd expect the sound to be noticeably improved. It doesn't and therefore give it a 1 star rating.
4 Stars By Frederick on 2017-11-02 Audio is IMPROVED after software update! See below for how to check it --------------------------- UPDATE 11/4/2017 --------------------------- After all the negative reviews and feedback on the poor sound quality of the 2nd generation Echo it appears that fan-key has taken quick steps to help remedy the issue. I spoke with an fan-key representative on the phone who confirmed that there has been a software update which is rolling out to Echo devices. After getting the update my Echo does indeed sound better! I still wouldn't call it audiophile-quality by any means, but the bass is fuller and the sound is less "tinny" overall.
To check which software version you have, select "Settings" on your Alexa phone app, choose your Echo device, then scroll down the page to where it says "Device software version." The updated version (as of 11/4/17) is 592452420 (previously it was 592452320).
You don't have to do anything to get the update; it will be sent automatically by fan-key. You may see the indicator light on your Echo will pulse blue as the update is installed. The representative I spoke with said you may get it more quickly by not using your Echo for several hours. I hit the mute button on mine and received the update within a few hours. I'm very impressed by fan-key's quick response to this issue!
----------------------------- ORIGINAL REVIEW ----------------------------- As a very happy owner of three Echo Dots (2nd generation) I was glad to see fan-key release a 2nd generation of the Echo as well. After using it for several days I can say I'm quite pleased with it, and even though it doesn't have any radical new features compared with the 1st Generation Echo or the Echo Dot, there are some notable improvements. I'll summarize these differences first and then describe the new Echo in a bit more detail.
Improvements over the Echo 1st Generation: - More color and texture choices - A swappable outer shell - Ability to output audio to another device or stereo system via Bluetooth or an auxiliary cable - Dolby-powered speakers - Significantly lower price!
Differences from the Echo Dot (2nd gen): - Larger size and swappable outer shell (these are probably obvious) - 2 speakers (tweeter and woofer) vs. 1 - Power adapter sits flatter against the wall
--------------------------- Overall appearance --------------------------- I purchased the "Heather Gray Fabric" version. The cloth is a polyester woven fabric made up of lighter and darker shades of gray which certainly gives it more visual interest than if it were just a solid, uniform gray. The neutral color blends in with nearly any decor, and the cloth gives it a softer look which is great for areas of your house where you don't want something that screams "I'm a device!"
In terms of size, the Echo 2nd Generation is almost the same diameter (3.5") as the 1st Generation Echo (3.3"), but it is several inches shorter. To me the original Echo looked like a tower; this shorter version is much less ostentatious.
The top of the device is identical to the 2nd Gen Echo Dot: it has four buttons (volume up, volume down, microphone off, and an "action" button), a multi-colored light ring around the edge that tells you about the Echo's status, and seven tiny holes below which the microphones sit.
A new feature of this Echo is its swappable decorative shell. Simply press a button on the underside of the device and the shell slides right off, allowing you to replace it with any of the other shells that fan-key sells. I'm not sure how many people will take advantage of this feature given that additional shells are $20-30, but it could be useful if you want to change your Echo's look to match a different location in your home.
A final note on appearance: the power adapter for the Echo sits fairly flat against the wall, protruding maybe 1.5". By contrast, the Dot's adapter sticks out from the wall 2-3 inches. The flatter adapter of the Echo is nice if you want to plug it into an outlet that is behind a piece of furniture.
-------------------- Audio quality -------------------- I did a side-by-side comparison of the 1st and 2nd Generation Echos, and despite the new Dolby-powered speakers I did not notice a significant difference in sound quality with either music or spoken text. I certainly wouldn't call it "room filling sound" in any case. Clarity isn't bad, but bass is nearly non-existent. However, the real potential improvement in sound quality comes not from the speakers themselves but from a new feature for 2nd Generation Echo devices: using Bluetooth or a 3.5mm auxiliary cable (not included), you can play the audio through a nearby speaker or stereo system. Yes, this does means you are using two devices to accomplish one thing, but in a sense it's no different than plugging any other sound source into your stereo system. To be honest, I don't generally think of the Echo primarily as a music playback device anyway other than for very casual listening (but I realize that puts me in a minority... admittedly I'm a bit of an audiophile).
Compared with the Echo Dot, however, there IS a noticeable difference in sound. This shouldn't be a surprise given that the Echo has two speakers (a tweeter and a woofer) while the Dot has only one. To my ear the difference isn't so much in clarity but rather in fullness. With two speakers and a bit more acoustic "heft," the Echo's sound has more presence than the Dot's, which to me makes it more tolerable to listen to for a period of time. The difference is even more appreciable with music than with newscasts or other spoken text.
------------------------- Voice recognition ------------------------- This is one area where I must confess I'm disappointed. Like the 2nd Generation of the Dot, the Echo 2nd Generation uses seven microphones beneath its top surface to recognize voice commands spoken from any direction. My wife and I both found this Echo to be slightly LESS proficient at detecting our voices and recognizing vocal commands than our Dots are. We did side-by-side comparisons of the Echo and the Dot in several locations around our house and the Dot was nearly always better at picking up our voices (and yes, we only had one plugged in at a time!). I'm not sure why this would be since both devices use similar technology, but the difference was pretty consistent. One possible explanation I can think of is this: Both devices have their microphone openings on their top surfaces, effectively pointing upward. Because the Echo is taller than the Dot, if you put both devices side by side and speak to them from several feet away, your voice will hit the Dot's microphones at a slightly more downward (i.e., direct) angle than the Echo's, which may help the Dot pick up your voice better. Obviously I'm only speculating here, but in support of this theory I have noticed that both devices have difficulty detecting my voice if I speak from below them (for example, if I'm sitting on the floor and the device is on a table).
------------------- Functionality ------------------- The bottom line is that overall functionality -- what the Echo 2nd generation "does" -- is nearly identical to the 1st generation Echo and the Dot. Keep in mind that the Alexa assistant software on which all Echos operate is run on fan-key's cloud, not your individual device. This means that as fan-key adds features to Alexa they automatically become available on all Echo devices. So, you can use any of them to:
- Stream music via WiFi from multiple sources - Control smart home devices - Make hands-free calls to other Echo devices or phone numbers in North America - Make purchases from your fan-key Prime account - Listen to news feeds, podcasts, etc. - Do anything else in Alexa's ever-growing skill set, such as make shopping lists, set timers/alarms/reminders, play games, tell you your daily schedule, and any other skills fan-key dreams up for Alexa in the future.
Personally I have two favorite Alexa skills: the Flash Briefing and the drop-in feature. The flash briefing is fully customizable daily "digest" of news and other information which you can hear any time by asking "What's my flash briefing?" There is a huge list of content you can add to your briefing including news updates, weather forecasts, sports and traffic updates, and educational snippets along with many that are just humorous or entertaining. Using the Alexa phone app or your Echo account page you can select exactly what content you want in your briefing and in what order you want to hear it. For example, I configured mine with NPR news, BBC news, the weather, and a word of the day. I love having an on-demand synopsis of the latest news from my favorite sources.
My other favorite feature, "drop in," essentially opens a two-way communication channel between any two Echo devices, sort of like an intercom. Simply ask Alexa to "drop in on [the living room, the kitchen...]" and you are instantly connected. My wife and I use this feature all the time when we need to communicate from opposite ends of the house. You can turn drop-in capability on or off for each of your Echo devices individually, and you can also choose whether each device can drop in with ANY Echo device or only those in your own home.
[Note that the drop-in feature is NOT the same thing as Alexa's hands-free calling feature. Hands-free calling allows you to call most phone numbers and Echo devices in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada from your Echo by saying your contact's name or number. Just like with a phone call, the other person must choose to answer your call before you can communicate. By contrast, with the drop-in feature communication is instantly established. For this reason you will probably want to use drop-in only with your closest family and friends, and probably only for certain rooms in your home!]
----------------------------------- A few (minor) complaints ----------------------------------- Unfortunately the Echo 2nd Gen shares an annoying trait of the Echo Dot: widely varying volume levels within the daily Flash Briefing. As you listen to the briefing, some components (such as One America News) come through quietly while others (like Fox News) are much louder. I don't know whether this variability is due to differences in how each component of the feed is produced or whether it has to do with the device itself, but in any case I hoped the phenomenon would be less pronounced with the 2nd Generation Echo than it is with the Dot. Unfortunately, it is not. Just be prepared to adjust the volume at the beginning of each segment.
Another complaint I have is the inability to listen to certain feeds outside of the Flash Briefing. One America News is an example here: you can listen to the channel's live feed any time, but you can only hear the channel's "top stories summary" as part of your Flash Briefing. This issue is probably more software than device related, but still, it bugs me.
-------------- A few tips -------------- 1) The Echo seems to pick up voices best when placed at or below eye level (i.e., roughly the level from which your voice emits). Mine has trouble detecting voices coming from below it, so I don't recommend placing this on a high shelf.
2) When you select news feeds for your Flash briefing I recommend picking one U.S. source and one international source (I use NPR and BBC - both are excellent). If you add too many feeds you'll get a lot of overlap and hear the same story several times.
3) If you have multiple Echo devices in your home, sometimes speaking to one will cause others to respond as well, especially if they are in close proximity (like in adjacent rooms). One way to prevent this is to change the wake word of one of the devices to "Echo" or "fan-key." The only downside is that you then have to remember which wake word you assigned to each device!
4) Some speakers have a bit of a "burn-in" period, so in an attempt to improve my Echo's sound I left it playing music for much of the first few days I had it. The sound did seem to improve a LITTLE, (the lower frequencies filled in some), but it's still not stellar. But if you're not happy with the sound at first, let it play frequently for a few days and it may improve a bit.
-------------------------- Which one to buy? -------------------------- If you are trying to decide between the Echo and the Dot, think carefully about how you plan to use the device. The single biggest practical difference between the two is that the Echo has fuller, better quality sound. So if you plan to use the device mostly for listening to music, news, podcasts, or whatever, you will probably appreciate the Echo's better acoustics. On the other hand, if you want to use it mainly for voice control of smart home devices, the Dot is more than sufficient. I have a Dot in our home theater room that I use exclusively to control the lights in that room. For that type of single-purpose application anything more than a Dot would be overkill.
========== Bottom line ========== Although the Echo 2nd generation may not have any earth-shattering new features compared with the 1st generation, its significantly lower price and ability to send music to another speaker or stereo system make it a winner. If you already own a 1st generation Echo there probably isn't a compelling reason to upgrade because the difference in sound quality isn't significant. But if this is your first Echo device you will probably be very pleased with it. And if you are deciding between the Echo and the Dot, which one you purchase comes down to how you want to use the device. For heavy listening, the Echo may be preferable for its better acoustics; otherwise, the Dot is a great deal -- especially at half the price of the Echo!
3 Stars By DRM on 2017-11-05 Hoped to replace our small bluetooth speakers. Not so much Sound is not great. A review of the Echo as a music speaker.
We are new Echo users and have never owned the 1st generation products. We have two 2nd gen Dots and one of the new Echos. While the Echo sounds better than the dots, it's inferior to even mid range bluetooth speakers. I understand it's not supposed to be a stand alone speaker but fan-key touted this as "Dynamic bass throughout the room." Not even close. The low end is not very good and the sound starts to distort at max volumes. My comparisons are based two older model speakers, JBL Charge 2 and Bose Mini while listening to Classic Rock, Pop and Classical music.
All other features work as advertised.
4 Stars By Ender on 2017-11-02 Not "better" sound So I can't give a full 5 stars. After the update it sounds BETTER but not better then the generation one. But the biggest improvement is the mic... At a full level 10 plugged into a surround sound at level 60 it can hear "Alexa" at a normal voice! It's really unbelievable how much better it is on hearing me. *Old review Side by side with the original echo and the original sounds much better. They definitely did not improve the speaker. If you can not get the generation 1 this would be alright. The mic is definitely "improved" she can now hear me with the volume maxed out. The audio jack is a nice improvement also. I guess I just thought generation 2 should be better all the way around especially when words like "better" and "improved" are used about the sound. fan-key is taking note though and called me out of the blue to get my take and the different tests I did to determine my judgement so maybe there is hope??
5 Stars By Steven M on 2017-11-02 Looks Great, Sound Has Improved Since the Initial Release Date ***Update 11/4/17: I wish I hadn't raised my review to 5 stars yesterday, because I got the firmware update that other reviewers have commented on last night on 2 of my 3 new Echoes (version 592452420), and I'd like to be able to bump it up another star now that I have. These speakers sound great for their size, better than the original Echo. And they are definitely a great speaker at the $99 price point (and an even better deal if you get them cheaper). It's unfortunate that these speakers didn't ship with this version of the software. It would have saved fan-key a lot of returns. I'm glad I had faith that fan-key would fix it, because they certainly did.
***Update 11/3/17: raising my review to 5 stars from 3. The more I listen to the new Echo, the more I like the sound when playing music (perhaps my ears are just getting habituated to them? Perhaps, but the sound really does seem to be richer than when they came out of the box). These speakers sound is just very different than the first generation. As you can see from reviews so far, those of us who had the first generation Echo have been unusually harsh, while those who are just buying this Echo as their first full Echo product generally love it. I think it’s all about expectations.
—- 11/2/17: I purchased the three-pack of the All-new Echo because I wanted to grow my family of Echo products now that fan-key allows for multi-room audio syncing, which already included 3 of the original Echoes as well as an Echo Dot that I have hooked up to the Klipsch 2.1 Promedia speakers via a line-in connection.
I think my impression of the new version of the Echo is in line with some reviews I've read online from some of the tech magazines, which is that the audio quality seems to be a step down from the original Echo rather than an improvement. The instrumental parts of a song get muddied together while the vocals get pushed forward a bit too much, and the bass is much weaker than it is with the original Echo. However, the size and looks of this speaker is a huge improvement over the original Echo (and it actually makes me much more aware of how ugly the grill on the original Echo really is [unfortunately, this had to be preserved on the non-cloth shells of the new Echo).
That said, I noticed that the more I listened to one of the new speakers over a few hours, I started to notice that I was appreciating the sounds more. I'm not sure if my ear was just habituating to the speaker or if the speaker has a bit of a break-in period. But, when I went back to one of the other new speakers that hasn't been used much, I still noted a difference.
I will also say that when I bought my first original Echo, I was likewise not very happy with the sound (and I had similar complaints). Yet, over time, the speaker seemed to sound better, and I eventually decided to buy two more on Prime Day last year. I think that fan-key regularly updates the software on their products, and I believe that they tweaked some of the EQ on the original Echo to make it sound better (however, I can't find any documentation to back that up; I have found the latest Tap update specifically says it was partially made to improve the bass on that speaker).
Overall, I'd probably give this four stars if the "improved" sound hadn't been so hyped, only to see that they sound worse to me. I'm still impressed by Alexa and the ease with which I can play pretty much any music I want just by asking for it via fan-key Music Unlimited. I also love the multi-room audio feature. I'd love to see the ability to pair two speakers in a stereo mode, but just being able to sync them at all is pretty great for now. I also love the fact that fan-key appears committed to adding useful features, such as the ability to make voice calls with a simple voice prompt, which I've really appreciated when I'm trying to take care of my 8-month old.
I will update my review as I use these speakers more, particularly if I notice any improvement in audio quality.
5 Stars By 😱Chetter Hummin😱 on 2017-11-29 😱😱 My first echo was so good I bought four more😱😱. They play great full sounds, blend into decor and are just FUN😱😱 🙉🙈🙊I received my first echo and set it up. 😱Liked it so bought another.😱 Liked them so just bought 3 more.
Edit. December 7. All five configured using app on both iPad Pro and iPhone X. No issues whatsoever. Have app figured out now. Using drop in now for whole house intercom. Everyday I learn a new skill. Not sure who is training who here.
Purchased the black as I want them to just disappear into my home. First two placed one in library and one in kitchen. Next 3 will go in two guest bedrooms and media room.
I only mention all of this for context. I have cox cable running at 100mbs on a multi AirPort Extreme network. WiFi from echos to network is strong and consistent. 3500 square foot house on one level.
Directions for setup are included BUT you really have to download the Alexa App. This is not a standalone product. My first echo required a firmware update. (Ran on its own). My next echo had it all ready installed. The Alexa app is pretty good. Short learning curve. Still have yet to unlock all features. It will take time. Running the app on my iPad Pro 12.9 since it is a lot easier to see. Runs fine in iPhone X.
Pretty much most of the issues I read here are caused by user mistakes. The app takes time to figure out. Consistent issues such as awakening without warning etc...are things setup in app. Frankly if you have little experience with true technology and app usage you will have a lot of bumps in the road. You can do it just be patient. I am blind so I have to use voiceover yet I did it. So can you. Don’t let the naysayers talk you out of this. It’s a fun thing to have.
Love the ability to create groups and play music either throughout house or selected areas. Changed wake word to echo as it seems more intuitive to me rather than some proper name.
Sound is pretty darn good. No not as good as my Sony sound system in the library but still full and immersive. It does truly deliver 360 degree sound. It can be cranked up loud but I prefer the more immersive low sound volume on many devices.
I am using amazon music paired with uploaded albums from my 400gb iTunes library. I was holding out for the Apple Music speaker. Then they delayed it again and it will cost 3 times the price of one echo. Echo quickly recognizes the command to select music from My Music. Not a perfect solution yet it works. Time to stop buying music and just pay amazon 7.99 a month to rent.
Microphone works well. Can activate it from other side of room and even from the entry it hears me in the library.
Not sure if I will ever go into the automation world. Nice idea but I can remember the clapper. So amazing just clapped your hands and a light cane on or the tv fired up. Then ther were all those wonderful remote controls....then harmony remotes. Yet now my cox box, Apple TV and fire TVs all have full voice control. I can walk over to turn off a light etc..... my point is that until automation is built into my devices etc.... I choose not to add countless plug in adapters etc...... just my 2 cents. 😀
So I am pleased or I would not have bought 5. They are substantially built and easy to configure once you figure out the app.
My two old granddaughter has already figured it out. She garbles echo and likes to say NO. 😩
3 Stars By A. Johnson on 2017-11-03 Loses connection to Spotify Connect about once a day and has to be reset (unplugged and plugged back in) [11/20/2017 update] The Echo 2 periodically loses its connection to Spotify Connect. It just vanishes from the list of available devices in the Spotify app. My 1st gen Echo and Tap are not affected and they are on the same WiFi network and near the Echo 2. It's still online and I can still say, "Alexa, play playlist <name> on Spotify>. The problem seems isolated to the Spotify app itself. This could be a problem that Spotify has to fix but it's annoying enough to be a reason to hold off on buying an Echo 2 if you regularly connect to your Echo through Spotify Connect. Unplugging the Echo 2 and plugging it back in sometimes fixes the connection problem, but not always.
[11/4/2017 update] I got the firmware update - the Alexa app now shows the software version as a number ending in 5420 (formerly 5320). I noticed a big improvement in the bass and overall richness. It's really quite good now. I really didn't expect them to be able to fix this through software, and I appreciate fan-key getting it out so fast! I was getting my box ready to return it.
[Previous 1-star review, based on poor audio quality in the Echo 2 unit I received October 31st] I pre-ordered it specifically because fan-key promised improved audio. I couldn't believe it - it sounds the same, if not worse, than the Gen 1. Echo. I spent a good hour doing side by side comparisons on a variety of songs, Echo 1 vs. Echo 2, and the Echo 1 was the winner on every single one. The Echo 2 sounds flat and hollow, especially at lower volumes!
This is the same disappointment I felt after buying a Tap. I don't think fan-key knows what a good speaker sounds like.
Everything else is as-advertised, though, so I feel like it's probably too harsh to give it a 1 star rating, but I only bought it because of the promise of improved audio (I already have an Alexa device in every room).
5 Stars By Grandma Jackson on 2017-12-06 Living out in the country I can't get radio stations ... Living out in the country I can't get radio stations very well. I am loving Alexa! Crisp sound, any genre I want at any time!
5 Stars By Enrique C. on 2017-12-05 The speaker is decent and it's very easy to set up and use I'm liking it more than I thought i would. The speaker is decent and it's very easy to set up and use.
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