A few days ago I ordered an Amazon Echo Dot device. I got my invitation to order it last week. It’s somewhat strange that one have to get an invitation to spend money though… Anyway, it arrived today.
Do I need it? No.
I already saw some videos of it showing useful and useless use cases and I wondered how this device could integrate with my toys I already have at home. I don’t have any smart home facilities yet, just a few cloud services I am using regularly. So first of all Echo is another way of gathering information from the web, play music or radio (which I do during the work day), do some searches, weather forecasts and so on. I think I’ll order some home automation stuff soon, like light bulbs, heating controls or smart power sockets.
I am using Echo with German language. As expected it is not as versatile as it works with English language settings. The general setup was flawless via the Amazon Echo app on my iPhone/iPad. You can also use a web interface after the initial setup - which is exactly the same as the app with a horrible unreadable font. It is ok to use on a Mac but not usable on Windows.
The first thing I disabled was the Amazon shopping function. After some funny news during the past week I wanted to make sure that this device won’t accidentally order stuff from Amazon.
The next thing was to pair it with my Bluetooth speakers on my desk - no big deal. The internal speaker of the Dot is too small to sound good. It’s ok for the voice responding but not for music.
I added some new Skills to the device. A Skill is a functionality added to the vocabulary of Echo that gives new options to control various stuff. I am not finished with that process, yet. It's like an app you install on top of it.
After dabbling around during the day I have a favourite function: enable and disable music playing and switching radio on and off with just a few commands.
I really don’t need this device, I guess no-one does. I bought it for 59 EUR. I had a 20 bucks Amazon gift card (thanks to my team leader Marco for this ) which I spent, so this investment is acceptable. The price for the big brother, the Amazon Echo, is ridiculous: 179 EUR for the same thing but with a built-in Bluetooth speaker. That’s 120 bucks. Add another 80 and you get an amazing Bose Soundlink Mini II Bluetooth speaker, which corresponds perfectly with the Echo Dot - and sounds much better (I bet!).
Overall it’s a shiny new toy - and I like toys.