“Alexa, play Barbie songs”, this is the what my 7-year-old daughter says when she reaches home after her school. Our homes are getting smart and to manage them we need a smart assistant and this is where the Amazon Echo Plus comes into the picture. Amazon Echo Plus is a smart speaker which is connected with personal assistant from Amazon, Alexa. It is a cloud-based voice assistant which uses the internet connection at your home or office to retrieve or perform your commands. It is the first voice-enabled service in India and available exclusively through Amazon India. In this post, we are going to review the Amazon Echo Plus.
How to Set it Up?
First thing you need to do is to connect the speaker to your internet connection and for this you need to have the app downloaded and installed on your smartphone. Once you connect the speaker to internet using the app, then it wont need the smartphone app unless you need to check the history or change the connections.
Once the configuration is done, the speaker is ready to use. You can fire in any command by calling “Alexa” followed by the command. For example, “Alexa, what is the temperature today?” “Alexa, when is the next cricket match” etc or even play songs.
What can Amazon Echo Plus do?
Echo Plus connects to Alexa-a cloud-based voice service-to play music, set alarms and timers, provide information, check your calendar, weather, sports scores, manage to-do and shopping lists, control smart home devices, and more. Amazon has tied up with many Indian services like Saavn, Ola cabs, Zomato, TOI, NDTV, Amazon Prime Music and more. Alexa can control your compatible smart lights, plugs and more. Directly set up devices from Philips Hue without the need for a separate smart hub. There are lot of compatible products available on Amazon, you can check them out from here.
How Good is Amazon Echo Plus?
I was quite surprised to see how it performed in India. With Indian accents completely different from US accents, Alexa did not have any such issues in picking up the commands and even my 7-year-old daughter could say her commands and get the task done without any major issues even it did have minor glitches here and there. But for a service launching in India for the first time, this is a really good performance from Amazon Echo Plus. The sound output from the 2.5-inch woofer was good and you can even carry it for small parties. The speaker can also be connected to an external speaker using the aux out function.
For me, the biggest usage of Echo Plus was to listen to songs and it did a perfect job here. But at the same time, it needs to improve on regional content. For example, if I say latest Malayalam songs, it doesn’t pick the latest ones, but if you ask for a Hindi or English, it does a good job.
The ability to read books from the Kindle or turn of lights using the Philips Hue connected are few other capabilities of Echo Plus and Alexa.
Should I buy one?
Probably yes, Amazon Echo Plus is fun to use and it does a lot of tasks and is capable of a good connected or smart home. It comes in three variants and the cheapest of the lot is Echo dot. If you just want to try out the Alexa skills and not used to smart homes, then the base version should be good enough, but we would suggest the Echo Plus priced Rs 14,999.
Amazon Echo Plus is a good connected Smart speaker and it won’t disappoint you. It is fun to play with Alexa and you can explore a variety of commands. The smart home capabilities are good but they are yet to pick up in India especially with high prices. But for a start, Amazon Echo Plus offers great value for the price.
You can buy it from this link.
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