If you can imagine a little kid opening up their presents on Christmas day, then you could imagine the pure enjoyment that I got when my new Amazon Echo was delivered to my apartment.  I do love technology and gadgets of the sort, but I purely bought this on a whim.

Better known as Alexa, I had a few people tell me that I was wasting my money when I purchased the Echo.  But I can tell you that the Echo, which runs for $179.99 on Amazon, is more than just a speaker to play music.

ALEXA’S SLIM BODY

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To start off with the basics, the Echo’s structure is very unique and simple at the same time.  The body of Alexa stands at about 12 inches high and has a width of about four inches.

At the top, there are two buttons spaced equally a part.  The button with the SPEAKER symbol is to mute the microphone that is used to hear you when you talk to it.  The button that just has the dot is used in place of the wake word when trying to get Alexa’s attention.

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Also, at the top of the body is a light ring that will light up when Alexa is awake and when she is thinking after you ask her a question.  You can tell Alexa to turn the volume up or down with your voice, as well as by spinning this light ring counter clockwise to turn the volume down, and clockwise to turn the volume up.

The bottom of the unit has an adapter port to insert the power plug.  One thing that I dislike about the Echo is that it is not wireless and always has to be plugged into the wall.

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MUSIC PLAYER

Probably what most people use the Echo for, and what I get the most use out of is the idea of playing music.  Through Alexa, you can play music with Amazon music, Spotify, Pandora, as well as connecting your phone by Bluetooth and playing it that way.  It is very easy to play music just by saying, “Alexa, play music!”

Alexa plays music through her speakers that surround the entire top of the body.  It doesn’t matter where you place her, she sends the music out all different directions.

VOICE RECOGNITION

Most people wonder how well the microphone picks up your voice when trying to ask Alexa a question or asking her to do something.  Alexa is equipped with seven omni directional microphones located inside the top portion of the body.  With the seven different microphones, it helps to hear you better than something like Siri.

I personally have a deeper voice and mumble sometimes and for the most part, Alexa understands what I am saying.  The only time I have really had problems with her hearing me is when the volume of the music is at full blast.  Around the volume of eight, nine, and ten, she has a hard time hearing over the music, but that is what the button at the top is for.

SMART HOME

One of the best features, and the main reason I really looked into the Echo was for the smart home technology.  I live in an apartment so I don’t have a lot set up right now, but I do have Alexa set up to my lighting in my room.

With the smart home technology, you can sync Alexa up to special wifi lights, or with special wifi plug adaptors.  I personally have a wifi adapter for the wall as that was much cheaper than paying for the actual lights.

Other things that you can do with the smart home technology is setting it up to control temperatures in your home, controlling the television, setting and turning off security alarms, etc.

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Over all, I would say that even if you plan to just use the Echo as a bluetooth speaker, it is worth spending the money on.  If you are someone that is into gadgets like myself, and want to control all of your smart home devices through voice activation, the Amazon Echo is the way to go.  Besides, who wouldn’t want another friend?  Alexa is always there for you!

The foundation of this article is to express and go into depth with the features that I have had the opportunity of experiencing when using the Amazon Echo and the App on my phone.  If you would like to know more about the Echo, or where to purchase it, Amazon is the place to go.