Amazon Echo

7.8/10 AVG.
RATING

  • Amazon Echo
  • Amazon Echo
  • Amazon Echo
  • Amazon Echo
  • Amazon Echo
  • Amazon Echo
  • Amazon Echo
  • Amazon Echo
  • Amazon Echo
  • Amazon Echo

If you're just looking for a speaker, chances are you wouldn't have read this far, or signed up on a waiting list just for an invitation to purchase one. The Amazon Echo is more than just a speaker, and yet I don't want to exaggerate its additional features too much. After all, there's really nothin...

- PC Magazine team , PC Magazine 

The Amazon Echo is more than a Bluetooth speaker — it’s a bedtime buddy.

- Joe Brown , Re/code 

Specs / Features


Plays all your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice. Fills the room with immersive, 360º omni-directional audio. Allows hands-free convenience with voice-control. 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, and more using the Alexa Voice Service. Controls lights, fans, switches, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, locks, a... More

Plays all your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice. Fills the room with immersive, 360º omni-directional audio. Allows hands-free convenience with voice-control. 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, and more using the Alexa Voice Service. Controls lights, fans, switches, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, locks, and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, ecobee, and others. Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Domino's, and more.

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Specification

Brand Amazon
Model SK705DI
Size 8 x 8 cm (3.2 x 3.2 in)

Reviews summary

7.8/10AVG.
RATING
Based on 42 reviews

What's good  

  • Voice assistant can play music, make lists and answer questions
  • Small – can fit almost anywhere in the house
  • Doubles as Bluetooth speaker and voice assistant

What's bad  

  • No access to email or calendar services
  • Doesn't always understand commands
  • No onboard battery – less portable

The Amazon Echo might be the first device of its kind, but its outward appearance betrays its hardware and software capabilities. Standing only 9.25 inches tall and a mere 3.25 inches around it is about the same size as many wireless speakers on the market. Circular perforations cover the bottom half, which is where the 2.5 inch woofer and 2 inch tweeter are housed. Reviewers do not suggest using the Echo solely as a Bluetooth speaker as the music was, as The Verge states, "shallow, tinny and compressed…Setting the Echo up is more complicated than an average speaker, too…"

The biggest draw of Amazon Echo is, of course, its ability to understand voice commands. The Echo uses its own voice assistant – Alexa. Like Siri or Cortana, users simply have to say the keyword (Alexa or Amazon) and then issue the command. The Alexa assistant was able to answer numerous questions experts posed such as the current temperature and even the population of Tokyo though Neowin notes that, "…it's hard to predict what it will understand." Experts add that Alexa often didn't recognize their voice when music was playing on the speakers, which proved to be an issue when they wanted to change songs or turn down the volume. As well, they warn Alexa is not as powerful as Siri as it lacked access to services like their email and calendar. So while they were able to set an alarm, they could not schedule a meeting. Even simple things like modifying shopping and to-do lists were not as straightforward as they liked as they could only remove items through the companion app.

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While the Echo can be controlled by voice alone, it also has two physical buttons: one to turn off the microphone and the other to turn on the device. The top of the device twists and adjusts the volume. The Echo also comes with a remote control that can also adjust the volume, pause/skip/rewind music and also has a built-in microphone for when a room is too loud or if you are too far away from the base. As it does not have an onboard battery, it must be plugged into an outlet at all times.

Overall, experts are torn on whether to recommend the Echo or not. PCMag states, "…there's nothing really you can do here that you can't do with the smartphone…But there's something about Alexa that keeps drawing me back." Gizmodo adds, "…the Echo seems like something of a missed opportunity for some ambient sound recognition…But if you buy an Echo today, it'll definitely put a smile on your face."

Reviews (7.8/10 Avg. rating)


The Wirecutter

The smarter smart speaker

from The Wirecutter
If you care at all about smart-home controls, or if you’re a frequent user of Amazon Prime, Amazon’s Alexa platform is the best option for your home. In addition to its built-in features, the Alexa platform includes a growing list (more than 10,000 at last count) of “Skills,” akin to apps on a smartphone, that unlock capabilities such as reading recipes, ordering pizza, or calling an Uber... Full review
PC Magazine

Excellent voice recognition, works with many third-party devices

from PC Magazine
The Amazon Echo is so much more than a wireless speaker. It's part voice assistant, part home automation hub, and its abilities continue to expand steadily. And it's a blast to use... Full review
PC Advisor

Alexa is one of the best personal assistants around

from PC Advisor

The Echo is one of the most exciting gadgets in years and has huge potential. There’s a decent range of ‘skills’ available in the UK already, but you should check if your smart home kit is supported before you buy an Echo as it’s only half as useful otherwise. Sound quality from the large version of the Echo isn’t up to the standard of a £150 Bluetooth speaker, but the £49.99 Echo Dot is great value if you already have such a speaker or a convenient set of hi-fi speakers to use with the Dot. Voice recognition is very good, and it still works even if... Full review

The Guardian

Combined speaker, voice assistant and smart-home controller

from The Guardian
The Amazon Echo is a device that once you get into your home you’ll find more and more uses for it. The question is really whether it does something that’s interesting or useful enough for you to buy it. It’s a pretty good speaker, but not the best. It has fantastic voice recognition and can hear you from anywhere over anything. It will pretty much always understand what you’re saying but can’t always help you out with it. It has third-party apps for most things and more appear each day... Full review
PC Advisor

One of the best tech gadgets you can buy right now

from PC Advisor

The Echo is one of the most exciting gadgets in years and has huge potential. There’s a decent range of ‘skills’ available in the UK already, but you should check if your smart home kit is supported before you buy an Echo as it’s only half as useful otherwise. Sound quality from the large version of the Echo isn’t up to the standard of a £150 Bluetooth speaker, but the £49.99 Echo Dot is great value if you already have such a speaker or a convenient set of hi-fi speakers to use with the Dot. Voice recognition is very good, and it still works even if... Full review

The Telegraph

The most exciting new gadget in years

from The Telegraph
I’ve found it a little difficult to explain the appeal of the Echo to friends since I’ve been using it, because the things you can do with it aren’t particularly revolutionary - setting timers, playing music and turning the heating on are all rather simple, so spending £150 on a device to do this seems like an extravagance... Full review
IT Pro

Great speaker quality, highly accurate voice recognition

from IT Pro
The Amazon Echo is a great speaker, but it's Alexa that really shines. Amazon's AI assistant shows us a world beyond touch interaction, and does it with so much polish and panache you'll wonder how you ever lived without it... Full review
TechRadar

A fantastic addition to any home

from TechRadar
The speaker itself is smart and is a fantastic conduit for Alexa. Alexa bristles with intelligence and speaking to the Echo soon becomes second nature - give it a day or two and using Alexa goes from being a little strange to the norm. There's niggles and sometimes the Amazon Echo will draw a blank but these issues were few and far between... Full review
Alphr

This is Siri for your home

from Alphr
Amazon has got many of things right with the Echo. Personally, I find it far more convenient and useful than other digital voice assistants. With the Echo in my bedroom, I can wake up and check the weather, enquire about train delays, and start music playing without moving a muscle. I can simply ask a question and Echo will give me an answer. The fact that it’s a competent speaker certainly doesn’t hurt either... Full review
TechRadar

Stunning, sleek and slowly becoming more sentient

from TechRadar
As purely a Bluetooth speaker, the Echo leaves a lot to be desired. Paired with a natural, engrossing AI, however, Amazon's grand experiment in artificial intelligence is one of the most interesting gadgets I own... Full review

Amazon.co.uk Reviews Summary

7,097 from Amazon.co.uk

7,097 Amazon.co.uk shoppers shared a review for the Amazon Echo. Ratings are generally positive, averaging 4.2 out of 5 stars. See all Amazon.co.uk customer reviews.

8.4/10

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