So, Amazon released a whole bunch of new Alexa-based virtual assistant products at a media event last week. I was debating posting anything about this (I am an Amazon employee) but decided I would like to simply give my initial impressions of each product. I’ll be rating each announcement product with a positive (YAY!), negative (Nope…), and middle of the road (Eh, maybe!) rating. These are just some “hot takes” on the products. Again, I do want to note that I am an Amazon employee and the views in this post are my own personal opinions and my opinions alone. Additional note: I’m only focused on Amazon-branded devices. I’m not going to focus on Ring or Eero at this time. Alright, lets get started.
Echo Buds: YAY!
I think this makes the most sense out of all the Alexa-enabled wearables announced. Earbuds just make sense for Alexa-integration. I think these are the answer to the Apple AirPods for those who favor Alexa over Siri.
Echo Frames: Eh, maybe!
These are available with and without a prescription. While I wouldn’t considered these true augmented reality devices (they lack any viewable information), it is a neat thing for those folks who want to be able to have access to Alexa services without having to put in earbuds or have to talk to their hand. Yeah, more on that next.
Echo Loop: Nope…
Sorry, but this one seems a bit silly to me. I don’t really know how many people will be willingly walking around wearing a ring, whispering to their hand, in order to get Alexa services. With the release of the buds and the frames, this one just seems like overkill. Who knows though, I could be wrong.
Echo Dot w/ Clock: Yay!
This one seems long overdue. I mean, the original Echo Dot should have had this. It is the perfect replacement for a clock radio. Sure, it may not have the greatest sound quality but it is a perfect replacement for your bulky clock radio. And you can add another speaker if you want super crazy sound quality for music. Speaking of sound quality…
New Amazon Echo: Eh, maybe!
So, here’s the thing. The Echo is a great device! I mean it, really! However, I think at this point I would be leaning more towards the Echo Dot OR the Echo Studio. The Dot is perfect for places that don’t need the best sound quality but want to have Alexa in the room. The Echo Studio (to be mentioned next) allows you to have an excellent audio experience with Alexa built-in. I’m not sure where the “regular” Echo device falls into the ecosystem as much as it did in the past. I’m thinking that this may end up being the “middle-child” of Echo devices.
Echo Studio: Yay!
As mentioned above, this one is for the audiophiles. The Echo Dot is small but doesn’t provide a good audio experience. Sure, you can get the Echo… but for some extra money you can get room-filling Dolby Atmos and an audio profile calibrated to the room that the Echo Studio is in.
Echo Show 8: Eh, maybe!
I don’t have much to say about this one. Yep, its another Echo Show. Yep, they are still cool as hell. Nope, I don’t really need one yet.
Echo Glow: Eh, maybe!
This one seems kind of neat. It is meant to introduce kids to Alexa. But it doesn’t have Alexa built in. So, it can only work when paired with an Alexa-enabled device (e.g. Echo Dot). It has some neat little modes, like “campfire mode,” but this isn’t really a Philips Hue replacement. Although for the price ($30), it may not really matter. I may pick one of these up just for a little night lighting in some bedrooms.
Echo Flex: Yay!
This one is pretty cool. It’s a cheap ($25) Alexa-enabled device that plugs into an electrical socket. It provides motion detection and a USB charging port. I can see this being used in garages, workshops, basements, laundry rooms, and other places that a full Echo device wouldn’t really be warranted. Pretty excited about this one.
Amazon Smart Oven: Nope…
Ok, this one just seems pretty silly to me. Almost silly-er than the Echo Loop. I mean, yes… it does have the ability to be a microwave, convection oven, air fryer, and food warmer. In fact, that is pretty cool. However, I think that having an Alexa-enabled oven/microwave is kind of unnecessary. Most folks purchasing something like this will likely already have some Alexa-enabled device in their kitchen. In fact, there are a lot of marketing materials out there that showcase the Echo devices (including the show) in the kitchen area. I think this could be a little redundant. I could be totally off base on this, but I’m gonna pass at this time.
So, what do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments!