Amazon Echo, Tap and Dot

So there is a new offering for the Amazon Echo Dot, and a nice price tag to go with it. It’s the new 2.0 version, although I’m not sure what they’ve done under the plastic to warrant a 2.0 revision. The original Echo has been software updated multiple times I’m sure and doesn’t bear a 2.0 moniker.

Nevertheless, a new model is out, this time in white and at a price of $49.99, which is significantly lower than the introductory price. I got my first Echo Dot at the higher offering. However, I did jump on board and ordered another. I decided to get the white one and it will go in the living room.

So why exactly get an Echo Dot? What is it good for? Well, it makes a perfect alarm clock that’s for sure. The original is in my bedroom and is set every night. The alarm is far more pleasant that the horrific buzzing of a regular clock or the static filled music of the radio.

It’s also great for setting a timer and playing a playlist before bed. The speaker is nothing to write home about, but it sounds fine for lite listening.

I also bought the Tap when it was introduced. That went in the kitchen and works great for playing music while cooking and cleaning. Additionally, you can pick it up and wander around the house. It’s been quite nice to take it outside on the deck without having to worry about cords and resetting the network connection.

I’ve seen a lot of people ask, what is the difference between the three? The original Echo, is the best and largest of the lot. It has the better speaker for improved sound. Next, is the Tap, which has a decent speaker and is cordless so you can move it around with ease. As long as there is a network connection it will keep playing. Third, is the Dot. It’s great for asking questions, getting information, checking the time, setting timers and adding items to a list. The speaker is miniature to say the least, but you can hook it to a bigger set.

From a functionality standpoint, they all work the same. They have the same voice, hook into the same system and have the same level of accuracy in voice recognition, which for me, is pretty damn high. It rarely gets something wrong.

Are they worth it? Absolutely. I love these little rascals. I think the Echo is a fantastic piece of technology that has evolved from a glorified speaker to an impressive piece of hardware. Once you get used to it, you’ll be asking Echo or "Alexa" as I know her, all sorts of questions such as when is the next full moon, when is daylight savings, when is Autumn, flip a coin, roll a 20 sided die, and set a timer for 30 minutes so this chicken doesn’t burn.

I don’t know anything about the Smarthome technology such as adjusting thermostats and turning off lights, but I can only imagine it works as flawlessly as the rest. Ironically, it seems like Apple should have been the one to build Echo, not Amazon. Having Siri in a stand alone device, other than a phone, would have been something Apple was keen to make. I guess that wasn’t on their radar. Or maybe they got beat to market. Or maybe Siri is trapped in the Apple TV.

But the Echo is a very useful device. And since we are coming up on the holidays and the price has dropped a few times, it makes a great gift for yourself or someone else. They really are very useful and entertaining.

And just so you know, Alexa does seem to know how much wood a woodchuck can chuck – if the wind is at his back.

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