Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)’s Echo speaker with its built-in voice assistant called Alexa may not be as odd as initially thought, a review of the product by Digital Trends’ Caleb Denison points out.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) launched the Echo wireless speaker in November and while it was understandably a futuristic device catering to the trend of connected homes, some derided the machine as just fancy speaker with artificial intelligence.
That artificial intelligence part is mainly due to Alexa, the voice assistant which lives inside Echo, or shall we say what Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) wants you to call your Echo. Denison himself was also admittedly freaked out by Echo its Alexa voice assistant particularly how the device always listened for prompts from its users.
Acknowledging that his curiosity outweighed his fears, Denison submitted a request for an invite to buy Echo and luckily, he was given an invitation. Given that this device is essentially just in a testing phase, people cannot just buy the speaker if they want to. There’s an invite process and Amazon will chose who they allow to buy the speaker.
Denison said that as for build quality, the Echo appears to be solid though “unremarkable looking”. The packaging was well done and the setup was easy enough, Denison noted, as there are guides included in the package and the user’s Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) account is already loaded on the device out of the box.
As for Alexa, it’s the main control for the device. It worked well, Denison’s review suggests, save for some confusion when it hears a similar sounding name. Alexa even answers questions for its users when asked.
Alexas is not Siri, Denison writes, as he found the former’s voice more natural than Apple’s voice assistant. He found it eerily endearing because of this. Furthermore, Alexa is more intuitive, he said, but Siri is better at dictation and the number of sources of information it has.
“We prefer interaction with Alexa, though, perhaps because she gives better feedback. My family had only used the Echo speaker for about three days at the time of this writing, but I have to admit, we had somehow turned into that creepy family that had adopted Alexa like a family dog or cat. Maybe Amazon’s whacky commercial wasn’t so far off after all,” Denison writes.
As for sound quality, Denison said that there’s really no point in comparing Echo to other wireless speakers out there simply because of its capabilities that other speakers lack. However, he said that sound quality was “good enough”.
“The Echo speaker is Amazon’s most interesting experiment yet. I poked fun at the marketing efforts around the Echo and its voice-driven assistant, Alexa. But once I had the speaker in my home, I couldn’t deny it was extremely fun to use,” Denison concluded.
Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management owned about 2.46 million Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) shares by the end of the third quarter of 2014.