I bought the standard Amazon Echo (not plus), around 6 months ago. It is the newest edition, 2017 to be specific. Initially, I was just using it as a Bluetooth speaker. Really, that was my main use of the Echo. Reasons being, most of the things that Alexa could do in the U.S., she couldn’t do in India. This was 6 months ago. What has changed now?
A lot of things actually. What I mostly use Alexa/Echo for are:
1. Setting music alarms – yes, you can do this now in India. You can set your favourite song as an alarm now. I personally do not recommend doing this as you might end up hating your favourite song. We use it actually to play devotional songs early in the morning. I know, now you can use routines to play songs too, which brings us to the next point
2. Routines – if you have a smart home with Alexa/echo controllable appliances, setting up routines to automate your smart home will feel heavenly. You can now use routines to play music at specific times too. Can be used to give you traffic info just before you leave home. Can be used to just wish you good morning!
3. Bluetooth speaker – it still is a very good speaker to play music from your phone. It is Dolby enabled too. I’ve read though that Apple pod sounds much better.
4. Misc – randomly asking Alexa for info on anything and anybody, to calculate stuff for me, setting reminders, timers, creating shopping lists, ordering stuff from Amazon, booking a cab from Ola or Uber
If you have contacts who have an Echo at home, you can make Echo to Echo calls. Echo supports texting too now.
The echo has a few glitches
Songs added to play as part of a routine dont start at times for some reason.
Although much improved, Alexa, at times has trouble recognising the Indian accent. So you end up repeating things. The frequency of this happening has definitely reduced.
The answer to some queries is still :I do not know that one
I’m not going to compare it with Google home as I haven’t used it yet.
Even with a few shortcomings (which can definitely be solved by software updates), the Echo is an amazing device which is able to fuse hardware with a fabulous software with Alexa at its heart.