Amazon Echo

Hanson

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When I first heard the built in speaker, I thought, "hmm, that sounds better than I thought, about as good as my Oontz". Then I plugged it into my Oontz and it was like, "nope, not even close". But no one in the family is much of an audiophile, and my wife has low tolerance for loud music anyway. I wish I had picked up the Anker for $27, but I need to calm down on the spending so I'm content to wait for something to fall into my lap.

Set up the bedroom unit as an alarm clock for tomorrow morning, we'll see how that goes.

The only annoying thing is my kids keep interrupting my music with Simon Says commands and picking their songs. Let the old man listen to his U2 in peace!
 
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Hanson

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I don't know why, but it's nice to be lying in bed and getting the time from Alexa without opening my eyes. Even when I realize I've overslept.
 

Ronald Epstein

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I don't know why, but it's nice to be lying in bed and getting the time from Alexa without opening my eyes. Even when I realize I've overslept.
I do that all the time -- especially when sleeping on my side with my back to the clock.
 

dpippel

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I was an Echo early adopter and have really loved the device over the 2 years that I've owned it. Picked up a Dot over Black Friday and love it as well. The only Alexa-enabled device from Amazon that I'm not impressed with is the Tap. Its audio quality just isn't that good at all IMO, and for a product whose main purpose in life is being a portable Bluetooth speaker it just didn't cut it for me. I'll either be returning mine to Amazon or selling it.
 

Scott Merryfield

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I was an Echo early adopter and have really loved the device over the 2 years that I've owned it. Picked up a Dot over Black Friday and love it as well. The only Alexa-enabled device from Amazon that I'm not impressed with is the Tap. Its audio quality just isn't that good at all IMO, and for a product whose main purpose in life is being a portable Bluetooth speaker it just didn't cut it for me. I'll either be returning mine to Amazon or selling it.
For our master bedroom, I picked up my first Dot during the Black Friday sale, too, and it arrived yesterday. I ordered it via our Echo to get a $10 gift card, so it was only $29 (and I used some Amazon credits, so it cost me nothing out of pocket). I have a Lyrix Rush blue tooth speaker that I got as a gift from a charity golf outing this summer that I tried first with the Dot. It sounded great, but the speaker's lights are so bright that it lights up the entire bedroom with the lights off. I'm going to try making a cover for it (can't tape over the lights, since they are also the speaker's controls). Right now I'm using some very old portable powered Sony speakers I had laying around, but they sound too tinny.

Doug, we have a Tap, too, but we really like ours. It works perfect for streaming music outdoors while sitting on our deck -- our wifi signal covers that area fine. While I agree it does not sound as good as the Echo, I think it's a great solution for how we use it. The battery life has been very good, as we can use it all day outside without charging.

I want to try some automation for lighting, too. Our bedroom will be a little difficult, though, since our primary lighting is via a ceiling fan with an attached light kit that has four light bulbs. I will probably try the family room first, as that is where our home theater is located, and we use floor lamps for lighting in that room.
 
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dpippel

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I've thought about taking a dip in the home automation pool too, but that's an expensive rabbit hole and for now I'm going to stay away. We've been using the Nest for 4 years now, but since I'm a beta tester the thermostat talks to a different back end than consumer accounts do, and it won't work with Echo/Dot/Tap. Unfortunate. Let us know your impressions when you get going with your lighting setup.

As for the Tap, I think its fine for what it is - a small Bluetooth speaker. That market is a crowded one, and while the Tap doesn't stand out sonically in any way it does have the advantage of Alexa. Speaking of which, for me, the other drawback to the Tap is having to press the microphone button to activate Alexa functions. Too cumbersome IMO after living with Echo's awesome voice-activated operation for so long. I realize that for a battery-powered device it's probably a necessity to design it this way, but in practical use it didn't work for us, and there went it's advantage.

Here's what we settled on for our portable Bluetooth speaker:

http://gprojectgear.com/products/g-boom-black



While the G-BOOM may be a little too large for some, it sounds GREAT (for a Bluetooth device) and easily trounced anything I auditioned in its price range. It didn't hurt that I picked it up for $79 during a special deal.
 

Ronald Epstein

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That's some speaker there, Doug. Nice. Amazon has it for $89. I am going to watch that price. It did hit as low as $76.50 at one point.
 

dpippel

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I can highly recommend it Ron. We took it with us on a three week, 4,300 mile road trip in October and it was SO nice to have great sounding music in camp when we wanted it. Battery life was good as well. While you're not gonna be carrying the G-BOOM around on your bike commute, for us it's a perfect balance between sound quality and portability.
 

Scott Merryfield

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As for the Tap, I think its fine for what it is - a small Bluetooth speaker. That market is a crowded one, and while the Tap doesn't stand out sonically in any way it does have the advantage of Alexa. Speaking of which, for me, the other drawback to the Tap is having to press the microphone button to activate Alexa functions. Too cumbersome IMO after living with Echo's awesome voice-activated operation for so long. I realize that for a battery-powered device it's probably a necessity to design it this way, but in practical use it didn't work for us, and there went it's advantage.
We do not use the Tap as a blue tooth speaker. It's advantage for us is that it works over our wifi just like the Echo, so we can stream music outside on our deck from Amazon Prime, Pandora, etc. from that single device. I simply pick it up from the charging platform and take it outside. If you are going to use it as a portable blue tooth speaker, I completely agree that there are better choices for the money.

FYI, we used to keep the Tap in our master bedroom before getting the Dot, and I agree that having to press a button to activate is a drawback if you are going to use it inside the house. We didn't use it much in the bedroom for that reason. For sitting out on the deck, though, it's not a big deal. We usually just start some music, and then rarely touch the device until we take it back inside.

I was able to construct a simple cover for the Lyrix Rush speaker, so everything is setup the way I want it with the Dot in our bedroom.
 

sidburyjr

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Well, I bought the Black Friday Special -- white dot with TP-Link bundle for 60, and the Ron recommended Anker speaker (unfortunately at the full ($40 price). I then tried to order a duplicate bundle in black w/o speaker -- but it wasn't available. I did however order the Dot and the TP-Link separately and still got the $60 price. I am relatively impressed although there is a learning curve. The TP-Link is a major disappointment (maybe). I have a Christmas tree on my front porch and an outlet. Unfortunately the TP_Link does not plug into the outlet due to the way it's built (with a cover to prevent rain and other bad stuff. When I tried to plug in an extension cord and plug the TP-Link into the plug it failed, probably because of my weak wi-fi signal. [And despite Ron's glowing review I'm too strapped for cash right now to buy the eero package even at the slight discount]. I'll continue to work on the TP-Link to see if I can make it work since I may be able to use it on my indoor tree once we set it up.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Dick,

Sorry to learn of the problems with the TP-LINK. Keep working on it and let us know if you get it functioning. I returned mine without opening it because I opted to go with Philips Hue Bulbs instead. But I am interested to see one, if it works for you and two, if it can be used in conjunction with an extension cord.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Grab! Grab! Grab!

Amazon dropped its pricing on its Echo products, I would bet, just for today

Echo: $140 (not in stock by xMas)
Dot: $40 (in stock on the 16th)

(We won't even mention The Tap)

 
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