Amazon Echo Dot Review

I got an Amazon Echo Dot for my birthday. This allows me to command a computer, using voice, to do things. The voice response on the echo is amazing. It does not get much wrong, and you can speak in a fairly normal voice from another room and the mysterious entity that apparently lives inside the Echo (known to me as Alexa) will hear you.

There is an Amazon Echo and the alternative, Echo Dot. The price difference is very large, and the differences are fairly small. The regular Echo is tall and has high quality speakers, the dot is short and has OK speakers. If you have nice speakers that you can plug the Dot into, that's the way to go. You can get inexpensive Echo's refurbished)

HAL The Amazon Echo from the top. Or is it?????

(I should mention that just about now, Amazon is ramping up to Prime Day 2017, which starts on July 10th and runs through July 11th, which is when they produce all sorts of sales (currently you can get $10 by streaming a Prime video for the first time on your TV, and get a substantial discount off of Kindle Unlimited, which I do not use but some people swear by.))

The Echo/Alexa thing can be very handy. I can easily create and update a shopping list that is mirrored on one of two list keeping apps available for the phone, on that is fancy and not free and the other that is less fancy and free. The Echo can generally be set up to interact with the Internet of Things. We are building a very intelligent robot and I assume I'll be able to use the Echo to command the robot to do whatever the Robot can do. The other day I played a podcast, but I was unable to rewind backwards a few seconds, to hear a part I missed, but I'm sure that can be done somehow.

The Echo can be sufficiently integrated into your Amazon account to use it to order thing and to check the status of orders. I've chosen to not do that at this time. I'll wait until Huxley is away at College.

The other big deal voice actuated device like the Echo is, of course, the Google Home. Since Google interfaces with the Android OS, and Google and Android are in a steel cage death match, Echo does not automatically do a lot of things it should do. For example, it should work flawlessly with a lot of different Android apps, so, for instance, I can send shopping or to-do list items to my Simplenote app, which is what I use for such things. There are indeed ways to make Echo work with other machines, and probably to make Home do the same thing, as there is an API, and neither device is made by Apple (which will take your first born if you try to integrate with any other company's products). But at the moment it is medium level hacking. I expect that problem to go away in a matter of months, however.

The single best thing about the echo is its excellent mic and whatever software/hardware magic is being employed to pick up voice from far away and understand it clearly. I can't compare it to Google's device because I never tried one. I look forward to bending Alexa's abilities to my will, and eventually taking over my kitchen!

More like this

I had mentioned before that we are enjoying our Amazon Echo, one of those robots that listens and then responds with a certain degree of intelligence. We don't use the Echo for very many things, but that is partly because we are not in the habit. For example, if I'm sitting in a certain chair in…
Amazon FreeTime Unlimited is a subscription service that covers children. I normally avoid subscription services of any kind. But, I have a six year old, and suddenly it made sense. Huxley is very tech savvy for a newly minted first grader. Last night I was reviewing a new tablet that had multiple…
The merging of Alexa and your Internet experience appears to be happening as we speak. You know about the "Echo" by Amazon, similar to Google Home (which apparently you can buy at Target, which presumably does not have a similar device). This is the machine that listens for you to say its name…
This is a review of the Kindle Fire with 7" Display and Special Offers by Amazon. In short, this is a tablet/eReader that a lot of people will want, as long as certain needs are extant and certain expectations understood. I have one, and I'm very happy with it. It would take very little…

I don't trust those robots, and I'm surprised Jeff Bezos is still shipping the product after seeing the problem first hand:

"Alexa, buy me stuff from Whole Foods."
"Buying Whole Foods."

"I can’t compare it to Google’s device ..."

I have a Google home (my son got it for me). Reasonable speaker, access to my calendar and other bits of my Google account. Pair it up with the "if then then that" (IFTT) app and it's quite handy.

I'm not an Amazon prime customer, don't use their music or streaming stuff, and only occasionally but stuff from them, so the Echo has never interested me.

I have an Echo Dot, which I received as a Christmas gift. I have it hooked up to the AUX port of my old component stereo. Sound quality is acceptable, and it knows a few tricks, such as the time in various cities throughout the world (I have verified this by checking for São Paulo). However, there are definitely some bugs in the system.

1. It knows of many but not all of my Amazon music purchases. In some cases there may be an issue of rights for replay via this kind of device, as opposed to CDs or MP3s. OTOH, it seems not to know of the purchase I made from Amazon last month.

2. The following may be a dealbreaker for classical music aficionados: Alexa doesn't know composers. The iTunes database at least has some information about composers, and the UI lets me organize that music by composer when I deem it appropriate. The Echo Dot doesn't. This is a problem when I want to hear, say, Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, as opposed to somebody else's Symphony No. 5 recorded by the same orchestra. The Echo Dot would list both as Symphony No. 5 by $CITY Orchestra. Furthermore, I may not know or care what orchestra recorded the piece.

3. I once asked for the closest Tube stop to the British Museum. This was a test of Alexa's capabilities, since I already know the answer (Russell Square). But the answer I got involved a river tubing place in New Hampshire. I'll stipulate that it was probably the closest place to what Alexa thought my address was (see below). BTW, it was January when I asked this question. Unless you are a hardcore sailor, ice fisherman, or rescue squad member, you don't do anything involving outdoor bodies of water in New Hampshire in January.

4. It took more than one try for me to get it to recognize my home address correctly. It tends to think that I am at the central station of my ISP, about 60 miles west of my actual location.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 07 Jul 2017 #permalink

The positioning of the Amazon Echo Dot Review right after the post titled: "Affluence Without Abundance" got a laugh out of me. Point:Counterpoint.

I think I'll wait until mind-activated appliances are availalble.

By Tyvor Winn (not verified) on 07 Jul 2017 #permalink

Eric, that could explain what Alexa seems to think about where we live as well.... I'll have to look into that more closely.

I'm having trouble viewing your site. Apparently Word Fence thinks I'm not human. While others have also suggested this, I can at least assure you that I'm not a bot.

What I get is:

Your access to this site has been limited

Your access to this service has been temporarily limited. Please try again in a few minutes. (HTTP response code 503)

Reason: Exceeded the maximum global requests per minute for crawlers or humans.

Important note for site admins: If you are the administrator of this website note that your access has been limited because you broke one of the Wordfence blocking rules. The reason your access was limited is: "Exceeded the maximum global requests per minute for crawlers or humans."...


I assume that if I were being intentionally blocked that I'd be getting a different message.

No need to post this comment.


There is something broken. It has been reported to the technical people. It seems to me that the site is working OK on a desktop browser and not on mobile devices. Is that your experience?


Yes, there was a problem to the extent that I'm on a mobile device. I don't have access to a desktop platform.

Things seem to be working now, except that I'm still blocked on the science books article at the top of your site.

(sorry for the multiple posts)

OA perhaps a side effect of Wow's constant postings.

Ouch I just got the same effect on a PC.

£*#%<*¥ Russian hackers!

Nope, it might be mike trying to block the system and shut down the reaming dick is suffering from.

The block message still appears after the site is visible for a few minutes.

We have since back in December seen some issues on Bluehost because they install something called Endurance cache and some version of this cache is too aggressive and will actually cache the Wordfence blocked page and then serve it to every visitor to the site. This is why it doesn’t change when you deactivate Wordfence. It’s not actually Wordfence that is serving the page, it’s the cache. We believe that it is one of the early versions of Endurance cache that is faulty, but it seems like on many sites it has not been upgraded to newer versions.

The easiest way to solve this may be to contact Bluehost and ask them to remove the faulting Endurance Cache from your website. If you want to try disabling it yourself you can:

1. Look in wp-content/mu-plugins and delete the endurance cache plugins from there
2. Check your .htaccess and manually remove any trace of the Endurance cache…

“Just ran into this issue with a client using Bluehost and just wanted to add that deleting/renaming the endurance-page-cache folder did nothing for me. It just regenerated. The only way to disable was to go to Plugins > Must Use and disable there.…

Perhaps pass this to an administrator as a possible cause.

Who would have suspected George Orwell would get it so wrong. The state isn't forcing listening devices into our homes, we are willingly buying them from a huge, faceless corporation and installing them ourselves. Poor George. He gave humanity way too much credit.

By Go for baroque (not verified) on 18 Jul 2017 #permalink

Nice information.Thanks for sharing.

Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses identical far-field voice recognition as Amazon Echo.
Dot includes a little inherent speaker which can collectively attach together with your speaker over bluetoooth or with the connected capsulate audio cable. Dot connects to the alexa voice helps in participating within the music,provide information,news ,sports scores ,weather ,recent orders and extra instantly. Echo Dot can hear you across the rooms , even supposing the music is participating in .when you have to be compelled to use the echo dot merely say the wake word "Alexa" and Echo Dot responds in real time.

Echo Dot (2nd Generation) could be a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, management sensible home devices, make calls, send and receive messages, give info, browse the news, set alarms, browse audiobooks from audible , management Amazon Video aflare TV, and more. Amazon Echo continually obtaining smarter and adding new options, and thousands of skills like Uber, Domino's, DISH, and more.