amazon echoThe Amazon Echo is essentially a voice-activated personal assistant for your home. People in the house can ask it questions, ask it to read books from Audible, ask for sports scores, set timers and even get it to tell terrible jokes. Some people set it up as an alarm clock, and have it read the day’s news from NPR when it wakes them up. It also is linked to Amazon Prime Music, which means it acts as a credible speaker that will play any music that’s available in your personal Amazon music library or the free music available for Prime members.

The sound quality is akin to what you get on a Jambox or other bluetooth speaker. It’s good, but it won’t replace a high-end stereo. Amazon launched with access to streaming music from TuneIn and Rdio, but it now growing to other services including Pandora. I’m waiting for it to link to Spotify, so I can ask it to play me any song on that particular service. My daughter loves this aspect of the Echo, and requesting the Echo play a song is probably the most used command we give it. Which is why if your music is on Amazon Prime, I think this device is a no-brainer. It gives you a way to verbally access your entire music collection, plus some other fun voice-activated features.

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Information, music, audiobooks, news, weather, traffic, sports, and more–instantly

Controlled by your voice for hands-free convenience

Far-field voice recognition hears you from across the room

Connected to the cloud so it’s always getting smarter

360º omni-directional audio to fill the room with immersive sound

Compatible with Belkin WeMo and Philips Hue connected devices to control lights and switches with your voice

Plays music from Amazon Music, Prime Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more

By Harry