The Echo Present provides full-bodied sound with first rate quantity and bass that does a much better job of rocking a medium-sized room than the remainder of Google and Amazon’s audio system (clearly aside from the beefy Google Dwelling Max).
The Echo Present’s beneficiant display screen measurement can also be a bonus in order for you a great view of your photographs, providing barely extra vivid colors than the Dwelling Hub. Like Google’s display screen, it measures the ambient gentle within the room to supply a brilliant, crisp picture with glorious horizontal and vertical viewing angles.
In fact the benefit with Google is that you just maybe already again your photos as much as Google Pictures, so the image body function is able to exit of the field. Google Assistant may kind by way of your photograph library to search for individuals and locations, whereas Alexa wants you to manually kind your vacation photographs right into a folder earlier than you possibly can ask her to point out them.
With the Echo Present, you will must add your photos to Amazon Pictures by way of the cell or desktop app. Like Google, the cell app can robotically again your photographs as much as the cloud; dragging you additional into the Amazon ecosystem except you are blissful to fragment your digital life within the cloud.
Stream to me
The Echo Present can faucet into the identical streaming music companies as any Echo speaker, not too long ago including music to Prime subscriptions, but it surely falls brief with regards to streaming video.
You possibly can watch exhibits on Amazon Prime Video resembling Man within the Excessive Citadel, however you possibly can overlook about Netflix. Ask for YouTube and also you’re proven Dailymotion clips. Nor are you able to stream third-party video companies out of your handheld devices, resembling ABC iView.
In some circumstances you would possibly be capable of beat these restrictions utilizing the Echo Present’s built-in Silk and Firefox internet browsers. We received into YouTube and SBS on Demand and had combined outcomes with Plex operating on a community drive, however no luck with Netflix or iView as a result of it views the Echo Present as a cell system so directs you to the app.
In terms of video, the Echo Present is way more helpful in case you reside within the US — or a minimum of of it thinks you reside within the US — an issue that Australians often encounter within the Amazon ecosystem.
In fact the Alexa good assistant can do way more than preserve you entertained, you may also ask her questions, set timers, add issues to your buying record, see journey instances, examine your calendar and faucet right into a wealth of third-party companies. You would possibly discover Google Assistant smarter, however the hole is closing.
Alexa may management good residence gadgets — each Wi-Fi gear like LifX bulbs and Zigbee gear like Philips Hue bulbs — in addition to faucet into cameras just like the Ring video doorbell. Together with voice, you may also silently management good residence gear from the touchscreen.
In terms of buying on-line, you can also make purchases instantly from Amazon.com.au, which is very useful when you have a Prime membership.
Discuss the discuss
Whereas Google Assistant is likely to be a bit smarter, generally Alexa is less complicated to speak to.
“Alexa” rolls off the tongue extra naturally than “Hey Google” and he or she’s significantly better at listening for comply with up responses. They will each discuss you thru recipes and present you every step, however the necessity to say “Hey Google” each time you need to transfer ahead quickly turns into tedious.
Additionally in Amazon’s favour; the Echo Present includes a entrance digicam for making voice and video calls to different Echo gadgets or the Alexa cell apps (however not customary telephone numbers, as within the US).
Video calls from the Echo Present supply an important image with glorious colors and distinction, a large viewing angle and spectacular noise cancelling to make sure voices are clear. In the meantime, Dwelling Hub customers are caught with Google Duo voice calls.
As soon as once more, the video name function turns into extra helpful the additional that you just and your kin dive into the Amazon ecosystem, which does not have the identical sort of native take up that it does within the US. In the event you’re investing in an Echo Present for video calls then it is likely to be price handing out Echo gear to your kin as Christmas presents.
Alexa should not be too pleased with her listening expertise, as Australians are nonetheless ready for her to realize the power to recognise totally different voices in your house, as she will within the US.
Till then, she’ll preserve treating all requests as coming from the first account holder, quite than giving personalised solutions to “what’s on my calendar?”. This is likely to be an on the spot deal-breaker in case you’re pondering of defecting from Google.
Control the time
Whereas it makes an honest photograph body, the Echo Present additionally exhibits climate forecast, information studies, upcoming calendar appointments and different particulars when it is idle.
It robotically disables the display screen to save lots of energy whenever you kill the lights at evening, however the possibility of an ambient onscreen clock means you might use it as a bedside alarm.
In fact that is the place the Echo Present’s bulk works towards it. It is about 50 per cent wider, taller and deeper than the Google Dwelling Hub; making it a lot tougher to squeeze it right into a small nook.
At this level you would possibly look to the smaller $199 Echo Spot, however you are make an enormous sacrifice when it comes to sound and film high quality. In the event you’re nonetheless baulking on the price ticket, understand that Alexa is simply as good on an inexpensive Echo speaker, she simply cannot present you issues.
As with the Google Dwelling Hub, you are additionally sacrificing a couple of options that you just would possibly contemplate necessary in a wise alarm clock. For instance, you possibly can set recurring alarms however you possibly can’t toggle them off, if you wish to skip tomorrow’s alarm it’s essential cancel it fully. You are additionally lacking out on battery backup ought to the ability fail.
So what is the verdict?
Amazon’s Echo Present has lots going for it when it comes to sound and picture high quality, so long as you have received room for its hefty footprint.
As with the Google Dwelling Hub, it is price contemplating if you really want the Echo Present in a house filled with good telephones and audio system; it is likely to be higher suited as a wise starter system. Whereas it is costlier than its Google rival, the bigger display screen and built-in digicam truly make it simpler to see some great benefits of stepping as much as a wise display screen quite than simply sticking with voice.
The larger frustration is that — 9 months after launching in Australia — Alexa nonetheless cannot recognise the totally different voices in your house. If this does not hassle you and you are not wedded to Google then there is likely to be room for the Echo Present and different Amazon gear in your good residence.
Adam Turner is an award-winning Australian know-how journalist and co-host of weekly podcast Vertical Maintain: Behind The Tech Information.