1

Title pretty much says it all; do you own one of these and have anything you can tell me about them?  Are they worth having?  Would you recommend them to anyone?  Are they accessible and if so, by how much?  Set up process?  I really can't wait to hear from you if you have one... Go!

I do not know what my future holds, but I do know who holds my future.

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2

I do not have an Echo, but I have had a Google Home for around a month and a half now, and I couldn't be more satisfied with the product. There seems to be a lot of negative feelings towards the home, but I don't see why that is. I think both products are great, but one may be better for you depending on what you want out of it. If you are an avid user of Amazon's services  then the Echo would be the perfect device to help you get the most out of them. If you are like me and don't use Amazon's services as much and are more familiar with Google's services, then the Google Home might be for you. Like I said, I am more than satisfied with the product myself. As far as the accessibility goes, I would imagine that the set up process for both devices would be similar. On the Google side of things, an accessible mobile app guides you through the set up process with no trouble at all. I had the device up and running in no time at all without any assistance. (any product that allows me to do that gets a plus from me) I can't speak for Amazon's products, but as for the Google Home, developing your own services to integrate into your Home (and any other Google Assistant supporting device) is also pretty easy as well. smile

Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company. - Mark Twain

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3

I own both an echo and fire tv stick with alexa support.

I will focus on the echo and it's setup process, since the fire tv stick comes set up with alexa when you buy it.

As for echo setup, it's rellatively simple. You plug it into the wall and wait for the nice chimey logo to tell you it's on. She'll then tell you to open the alexa app on your phone of choice, and setup a new device.

Setting up a new device couldn't be simpler. I have gone through this on both IOS and android. IOS seems to have a smoother time of it, but the android app isn't bad either.

You'll go through some obligatory screens. I'm not entirely sure now, but I think the only thing you have to do is connect to the echo personal network in phone settings, then find a wifi network for it to connect to. Voila! You have a fully working echo. I usually ask mine the time to confirm this.

As for skills, I highly recommend going through and taking a look at what you can find. There are a lot. The accessibility of this is good, fantastic even, so there should be little problem.

Things to note, however.

If you use/subscribe to tunein premium, it won't work on the echo. Don't even bother. We've been getting on them to fix this but they don't seem to care so much.

If you haven't got amazon music but you do have spotify, you'll have to change your default within the app. Otherwise, you'll be stuck saying play X from spotify all the time.

Hope this helps!

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4

My brother bought me an echo dot last christmas,  thus far my attempts to use it have been pretty disasterous. The voice assistant part of it is not as efficient as siri, music service seems pretty crap unless you want the top fourty (hell it couldn't even get a simple radio station), and there wasn't much by way of skills available in Britain that really did anything that actually was of any use since I'm not interested in playing the national lottery or using the London underground.

Since I switched to Chrome and suspect Amazon's own site is more user friendly, I do intend to setup my amazon account, update the credit card and see if I can get the echo to actually do! something vaguely useful, but I do confess my experiences with it so far have been less than positive.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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5

@dark
Keep in mind that the skills database in UK has gone from around 1000 entries to around 15000? I think?

As for the voice assistant part of it, that's debateable. Usually saying echo, play X station from tune-in works wonderfully. Music can be done by simply saying echo, play genre of music, or artist, or album, or song. I've never had any problems.

Underworld Tech.
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6

My experience with my echo has been mixed. Most of the times it's great, but at times the Alexa service can make you want to tear your hair out in frustration, from problems with voice recognition no matter how carefully you enunciate each word, to simply not doing as you asked.

But since I've been living in the Amazon econoverse for over twelve years now, I can't imagine not having an Echo around now a days.

And with the second generation being just over half the price of the first generation and having a fabric skin, I'm glad I got a first generation model. The considerably lower cost makes me question the build quality, and I'd imagine that that fabric skin not only attracts dust but also makes it harder to clean off.

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7

If the Clazio Spark were out by now, I'd tell you to get that. But it's not, so I'll just say the best product to get at this point, if you're looking for a compact one, is the google home mini. Especially if you want just as powerful a smart speaker without investing too much at first. You can buy it at Walmart for $29 for the rest of the year, and when you buy it you'll get a $25 coupon towards your next Walmart purchase, in other words, you're spending next to nothing for the device considering what you get back. Despite its only having two far field microphones, it's more impressive than the echo dot. It's doughnut shaped, funnily enough, and has a non-skid rubber base, with a fabric-skin but surprisingly impressive speaker. It won't shake the room, but its surprisingly basey while still keeping a balanced sound, no doubt a custom enclosure for the speakers to accomplish that. Even though it doesn't have mics surrounding it, it can still hear you from a relative distance. It has a single mute switch, as well as a visibly hidden factory reset button on the base that you must hold down for a considerable amount of time for it to actually take effect. It surprisingly has more ram than the original google home, apparently. But Google vs Alexa? I honestly prefer Google because the engine is smarter and the voice recognition is pretty top notch. When the Clazio Spark comes out, that will probably be the product you'll want. It's a speaker/tablet all in one, with Alexa and the Google Home always available. It has 2 5watt speakers, quite surprising for its size. 5 hours of battery life, which for a smart speaker ain't that bad at all, certainly better than the 0 hours of battery you get on the echo and the home. lol It also runs Android Nougat, but by the time it gets released I would expect it to run Oreo. It has an octacore processor, which for a smart speaker, packs quite a punch. It has a 5mp camera, so if you really wanna use knfb reader on it, that's possible. It has 16gb of flash storage with a micro sd card reader to boot. And I should hope it has talkback, I don't see why it wouldn't though. The msrp for this crazy speaker/tablet hybrid is $265.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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8

the echo music thing just didn't work for me, it kept trying to get me to subscribe to amazon music, couldn't use tunein when I tried that, and when I tried to get it to play peaces all it came up with was chart topping crap, hell it couldn't even play me beathoven's fifth.
maybe it is different if you have spotify or a similar service, though I'm not encouraged by how it worked so far. Besides, I always prefer owning music to streaming it anyway, and quad pc speakers vs one amazon speaker is no contest.

This is why I'm interested to know if there is anything else it can do besides playing music, since the music playing hasn't worked well enough to encourage me so far.

Perhaps though there are more skills in the Uk now to make the thing worth while?

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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9

I know I can supposedly control my robotic vacuum cleaner with it, but that's about it, which is why I wondered if there was anything else about it which was worth finding out before I gave it up as a fairly expensive round piece of plasticky garbage.

I do not know what my future holds, but I do know who holds my future.

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10

I have an echo, I use it for recipes when I cook, play jeopardy on it, and it really delivers earplay well. It is pretty crappy at proper names though and trying to hire adventurers with more or less human names on  Six swords is an exercise in futility. However, I am very optimistic and I have to say I rather like my echo. I use it also to regulate and operate my ADT alarm system and it works wonderfully at that, as long as you remember the rather stilted way you have to tell them with a badly-designed command phrase, but that is the ADT people, not the Echo.

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11

Amusingly enough, when I was buying a new washing machine I did vaguely look at getting a smart version, accept guess what? In order to configure the thing to work with an echo you need to go through an entirely graphical, completely inaccessible interface big_smile.

The two things I do hope the echo does are play games (well obviously), and perhaps help with amazon orders, though i need to get my amazon account sorted with the correct credit card etc.
I've also got a very nasty feeling that you need to pay amazon for the privilidge of using amazon's own technology to order goods from amazon (is it me or is there something wrong with the logic here?), and if so Amazon can take a running jump.

I would like to get some use out of the thing though, since it was a very kind present from my brother to Mrs. Dark and I last christmas and  know it wasn't cheap.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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12

That might be a good description of the second generation Echos, but the first generation are built with a metal shell, probably aluminum, with a rubberized skin.

If you decide on an Echo I'd recommend going on eBay, you can still get brand new first generation Echos for $80 there. I went there to get a seconde echo as a backup to my current echo and to setup in another room.

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13

Dark, I do wonder if some of your difficulties come from being in the UK. Do you have Amazon Prime? I do, and that comes with a more limited version of Amazon music. My boyfriend has some swank business account, so he has Amazon music unlimited and I mooch off that. She'll also play off a free Pandora account. I can tell her to play my classic hits radio station on TuneIn, and she plays it with no problems.

I also use her for cooking timers, especially when I'm doing multiple things. I can tell her to set a chicken timer, and a pasta timer, and a bread timer, and she'll announce each one by name. I also like her for rain sounds or storm sounds when I sleep. She has a gajillion ambiance sound skills. I put the loop on and set her on a sleep timer. She's also good for audible books when we want something louder than the phone. Sometimes you have to figure out how to tell her just right to get the book, but as long as you have it downloaded onto your phone, she'll pick it up.

I also play the NPR (national public radio) from her for news. I can tell her, "Alexa, play NPR from TuneIn everywhere" She'll play on the big echo and on the Dot in the bedroom so I can wander around as I'm getting ready for work and hear it synched up in the two parts of the house. Also works on just about anything else you play.

Sugar and spice, and everything ....

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14

I don't own either, but I have had experiences with the tiny dot device, which actually isn't too bad.  I was at a buddy's house and he was able to talk to Alexa from across his living room, with the dot sitting on a bar that divided the living room and kitchen.      You don't need Prime to do a lot with it, although having a Prime account has it's advantages.  Especially, the free 2 day shipping, music, and what not.  If you have spotify or any  kinda free pandora, it will work with that.    There are some things I'd like to mess with and  I'm not sure what generation I will go with since I'm not biased to one.

Recording artist [ a-t ] Bass Mekanik Records.  Albums available on iTunes.
Drummer [ a-t ] Jaden Farnsworth Band
http://www.youtube.com/dwrhythm

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15

Google home mini has a crappy mik: By that I mean you always sound clippy compared to the echo dot's, not so bad sounding situation. I'd pick Amazon at this point, but things could change.

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