Easy to use
Excellent sound with Dolby processing
Continually adding features
Available in various styles
Still not as loud as other speakers
Trouble pairing with some devices
Quality is not as good as previous versions
Inconsistent volume levels across different uses – i.e., Alexa’s voice is not at the same volume as music, books being read, etc.
The Amazon Alexa devices are a line of electronic assistant models—helpful for seniors living alone and wanting age in place. They available in various sizes with various features, and the Dolby-Powered Echo Smart Speaker is one of them. This voice-activated product responds to its name—Alexa—and performs different tasks electronically. The improved Smart Speaker is extremely useful and can hear you from further away—great for seniors who may need help from a few rooms away.
History & Popularity
The world first learned about the smart device called “Echo” back in 2014 when Amazon introduced its first version. Since then, the company has added different smart device speakers and has upgraded to various versions. Today, we have the Second Generation Echo Smart Speaker.
Since its original release, Amazon has made a few changes. Originally, most people used the Echo devices to play music. Today, these features have been amplified and intensified enough that the Echo Smart Speaker has become the central smart home hub.
While the Amazon smart devices weren’t the first of their kind, they were the first to come up with an efficient way of controlling them. Previous devices required the use of a remote control or an app, which frustrated users. The creation of Alexa and voice-control changed everything in terms of smart devices.
From the first generation to the second, Amazon has made changes within its own innovative design. The Second Generation Echo Smart Speaker comes in a smaller package than the original, measuring in at just 5.9 inches tall. It is also available in many different designs, including cloth covers and wood finishes.
The second-generation design also aimed at improving sound quality. Improvements included clearer treble and improved sound dispersion.
While the original Echo was designed to do the same thing as the rest—improve daily activities—the newer version is adding more capabilities every day. Additionally, the microphones have been improved in the second generation so that it can hear you from farther away and in noisy rooms.
All in all, it’s safe to say that the first generation and second generation Echo’s do basically the same things, with slight improvements along the way. However, Amazon is no longer making the first generation anyway, so the popularity of the second generation has gone up.
Cost & Quality
In comparison to other devices in the Amazon Alexa line, the Second Generation Smart Speaker is a little pricier than the Echo Dot. The Echo Dot is the same thing as the Echo, just smaller. It has basically all of the same functions, but it has a smaller speaker system. In reality, all of the Echo products need to be hooked up to speakers for best sound use, anyway.
While it may be more expensive, it still doesn’t break the bank. Amazon’s smart devices are all very reasonably priced considering how much they can do for you and your home. They are well-made, and users rarely have problems with them. When they do find an issue, reviewers say Amazon responded quickly and efficiently solved their problems.
The biggest concern folks seem to have is with the improved speaker not improving as much as expected. But, as we mentioned, all of these devices should be connected to external speakers regardless.
How To Use
The first thing you need to do when you receive your Echo Second Generation is download the latest version of the Alexa app and sign in. The app is what allows you to set up your device and manage everything having to do with your Echo.
Next, turn on your new Echo. Plug the power cord into the Echo and plug it into the outlet. Wait for the light ring to turn blue, then orange. After that, Alexa should greet you.
From within the Alexa app, connect your Echo device to your Wi-Fi. After this happens, you should be able to talk to Alexa normally. The device is defaulted to respond to “Alexa,” but you can change this feature anytime from within the app if you would like it to respond to something else.
This video can also help you set up your Echo Second Generation.
To use your Echo, say, “Alexa” (or your personalized “wake word”) and follow with your command or question. Saying “Alexa” will alert the device and the light ring will light up—that is how you know it is listening.
You can use your device for many things. We’ll discuss these things further in the next section.
Why Seniors Should Try It
New, fancy devices have a stigma around them that make them seem like they are only useful for the younger demographic. This concept is certainly untrue, as many seniors have found the Echo Smart Speaker an excellent and very helpful addition to their home. There are many positive aspects to this product that appeal to the older generation.
If you are a senior and are unsure if you would benefit from this item, read on to learn about all the great things you can accomplish with it.
Listening To Music
One of the top uses that seniors get out of using the Echo device is playing music. The Echo has to ability to play from various music sources, such as Amazon Music, as well as the radio. What’s awesome about the music feature is that you can ask Alexa to play a certain genre, decade, or a specific song.
Elderly folks may find this very useful because there’s no need to fuss with CD’s, remote control, stereos, or radio nobs. Your voice is the only tool that you need.
While most people like to hook their Echo up to a Bluetooth enabled speaker system, the Second Generation Echo has a larger speaker that may offer enough sound depending on the room. For example, seniors may find it nice to have the Echo set up next to their bed or their favorite recliner where they can enjoy the tunes.
Controlling Other Smart Devices
It can be confusing and frustrating for anyone of any age (particularly seniors) to try and manage an assortment of electronic devices. But the good news is, the Echo can connect to all of them, giving you just one device to control the rest.
The Echo lets you adjust your smart thermostat, turn on and off smart lighting, and even work your smart TV. All of those devices individually can be a lot to handle, but when they’re connected to one single hub—your Echo—they can all be controlled with a few words.
Staying Up To Date
One of the greatest things about the Echo is that you can ask it pretty much anything. While most Millennials and generations to follow use social media for their news updates, a wide range of elderly folks don’t bother with it.
You can certainly get the news and weather from your television or the newspaper, but now you have the option of asking Alexa for news updates and weather status. In addition, you can also ask Alexa for updates on your favorite sports teams.
And unlike people, Alexa will never get tired of answering these questions when you forget—no matter how many times you ask!
Alexa does a great job of reminding you of the important things. As we age, our memory might start to fade, and it could become harder and harder to remember daily events. Using your Echo device, you can set daily reminders for certain times. When the time rolls around, Alexa will verbally remind you.
This feature is great for things like taking medication at a certain time or reminding you of your loved ones’ birthdays. It can even help you remember to take something out of the oven, keep track of appointments, or watch your favorite show. Simply say, “Alexa, remind me to take my medication at 8 am.”
For those who love to read, it can be very disheartening to begin to lose your eyesight or even your memory. It can become more and more difficult to see the small words in a book or remember where you left off.
Your Echo device can read audiobooks out loud to you. You can continue to enjoy your favorite authors without straining your eyes. With Amazon, your book options are limitless.
While we’ve discussed a lot of the basics of what your Echo can do, there are still many more tips and tricks to pass along. A quick Google search can get you a long list of these things, but we have picked out a few ourselves to share with you.
“Can You Repeat That?”
If you are hard of hearing or just missed Alexa’s response to one of your questions, simply say, “Alexa, can you repeat that?” or “Alexa, can you say that again?” Alexa will repeat the last thing it said for you.
Alexa is great at performing everyday math problems, including conversions. Recite your math equation to Alexa, and it will do the hard work for you. This comes in handy for do it yourself projects and cooking. Alexa can quickly convert ounces to cups and multiply numbers.
Communicate With Others
With the updated Echo, you can now make calls and send messages to other Alexa users. You can quickly send a message or call anyone on your Alexa contact list, and it will show up on their Echo device.
Additionally, you can use your Echo as an intercom system within your house. If you have more than one Echo, you can send messages from one Echo to the other.
With Amazon consistently upgrading its top-of-the-line smart speaker device, the Echo line, seniors are finding more and more uses for it in their home. Along with the other versions, the Second Generation Echo is versatile enough to make your everyday life easier.
Whether you are having difficulty remembering things or you need a little extra help around the house, the Echo can help you. Control your smart devices or simply play yourself music that can be hard to find elsewhere. The options are endless, and the device is easy enough for any age to use.