Amazon is arguably the most popular place to shop online, with millions of products ranging from office supplies to outdoor gear and just about everything in between.
While shopping on Amazon, or even just in general conversation with tech-savvy friends, you’ve probably heard about Amazon Echo.
So what is Amazon Echo exactly, and why is it so popular? I wanted to learn more about Amazon Echo and why this technology is so popular, so I did some research, and here’s what I found out!
What Is Amazon Echo In 2023?
Amazon Echo is a smart speaker device made by the eCommerce giant Amazon as of 2023. Amazon Echo connects to Amazon Alexa, the voice assistant that responds when someone says the wake word “Amazon” or “Echo.” There’s a lot you can do with Echo, such as ask questions, play music, set alarms, stream podcasts, and make to-do lists.
If you want to know more about Amazon Echo, including how it works and how much it costs, keep reading my complete guide!
How Does Amazon Echo Work?
Amazon Echo is an innovative smart speaker that connects to Wi-Fi and uses smart voice control to complete a variety of commands to make your life easier.
Also, it’s easy to setup Echo in a few simple steps:
- Download the Alexa app and sign in before plugging in the Echo.
- The LED ring on the outside of the Echo will glow blue and then orange. Once it lights up and turns on, follow the onscreen prompts to connect to Wi-Fi.
- Usually, the app automatically starts the setup process, but if not, you can select the “add Alexa device” option to proceed.
- Start setting up your voice commands by confirming your wake word in the app, which is the term that turns the Echo device from sleep mode to awake mode. The default is “Alexa,” but you can change it to “Echo” or “Computer” if you prefer.
Once your Echo is ready to go, you can see for yourself how it works using a seven-microphone design to ensure voice recognition across the room.
That said, Echo developers carefully tested and developed this device so you can talk to it no matter where you are in the room, so long as it’s on.
Think of it this way; Echo is always listening for its wake word.
Therefore, it ignores background noise and conversations until it hears a particular sound wave pattern and picks up on its wake word.
Once Echo hears “Alexa,” it wakes up to quickly process whatever words come next.
The speaker records your question, sends it to the cloud to analyze, and then answers as best it can.
However, not only can you use Amazon Echo for standard Alexa prompts like asking about the time or weather, but you can also pair it with a smart home hub to control lighting, TVs, doors, and more.
With that, smart security cameras and thermostats work with Amazon Echo and Alexa, so you can check your entryways or turn on the heat with a simple voice command.
Are Amazon Echo And Alexa The Same Thing?
There’s a common misconception that Amazon Echo and Alexa are the same.
While they go hand in hand, there’s a critical difference between Amazon Echo and Alexa, as Echo is the physical speaker device and Alexa is the virtual assistant.
In other words, Amazon Echo is the actual speaker you buy and connect to your home internet, while Alexa is the AI technology that makes Echo a smart speaker.
Still, you need the two to work together for a seamless smart home experience. Initially, Alexa was reserved exclusively for Echo speakers.
But, now it’s used in some other smart speakers, too, as it’s become a bestseller and one of Amazon’s most impressive tech innovations.
Also, there are a few different Amazon Echo models to choose from, as the smart speaker collection is now in its fourth generation.
So, you can pick and choose which Echo speaker works best for your home, but they all pair with Alexa.
Essentially, you have more options when it comes to picking out an Amazon smart speaker for your home, and no matter which Echo you choose, you’ll be able to take advantage of Alexa and its impressive artificial intelligence.
How Much Does Amazon Echo Cost?
Many Amazon shoppers find it amazing how much they can do with an Echo smart speaker, especially considering the relatively low cost.
Plus, people of all ages can use Echo, so long as they can say “Alexa” to activate the speaker and use commands.
Amazon Echo costs vary with each model, as the newer Echo generations cost more than the original ones, just like with other popular gadgets.
Additionally, there are certified refurbished Amazon Echo speakers that cost less than brand new ones.
For example, the newest Amazon Echo Show 8 2021 model costs $129.99 in the US.
In comparison, the Echo third-generation costs around $40, so there are affordable options at many price points.
Sometimes the Echo goes on sale, and it’s one of Amazon’s regularly advertised products.
Further, Amazon is constantly tweaking its technology and comes out with a new and improved Echo model every year, so you can wait for the latest and greatest version that’s usually between $100 and $200 or choose a smaller or older model for less.
How Many Different Amazon Echo Speakers Are There?
Amazon first revealed the Echo to Prime members in November 2014, and since then, there have been four generations and several variations with special features.
Also, almost 70% of smart speaker users in the US use an Echo, so if you’re in the market for the most popular smart speaker, you have all of these options currently available:
- Echo 1st Generation
- Echo Dot (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Generation) is a hockey puck-sized version of the original Echo.
- Amazon Tap: smaller, portable version of the Echo is powered by batteries, so you can take it with you when you travel.
- Echo Show: the smart speaker has a tactile liquid-crystal display screen for video calls and media streaming in addition to all the normal Echo features. The first version had a seven-inch screen, and there are five, eight, ten, and 15-inch versions.
Additionally, you may come across a few Echo versions that were discontinued in the US but remain available in the UK and other regions.
For example, Echo Spot and Echo Plus were smaller models with similar features to the original, but they didn’t take off as much as the others.
In comparison, the Amazon Echo Show 15 is the latest smart speaker unveiled by Amazon, and its dynamic design combines Alexa abilities with a larger version of the Show’s impressive screen.
Moreover, Amazon remains heavily invested in its tech development and is expected to release new Echo varieties in the coming years.
Amazon Echo is the smart home speaker device first introduced by Amazon in November 2014.
Also, Amazon Echo accounts for 69% of smart home speakers sold in the US over five years, compared to 25% for Google and 5% for Apple.
Further, Amazon Echo can answer questions, take down lists, connect to smart home systems, and so much more, as it’s powered by Amazon Alexa AI that responds to voice commands.