| When the Amazon Echo was released from the amazon stables. I was one of the first people to write about the device. I eventually pre-ordered, received and love my Amazon Echo or “Alexa” as she likes to be called. When I initially reviewed the product I had a few questions on expandability and how Amazon planned on extending the capabilities of the device. Well, my questions have been answered with the introduction of Amazon’s two latest devices with the Alexa “engine” at the core of their hardware. Enter stage left (and right), the Amazon Tap and Echo Dot.
If you are not familiar with the Amazon Echo please view my prior review of the device, It was written before the latest updates which now include Home Automation among other benefits, but should give you a good idea of what the device’s intending purpose is. The Tap is an extension of the Echo in the sense that it takes what seems to be the full experience of the “Alexa” virtual assistant service and integrates it into a fully functional portable Bluetooth speaker. The speaker itself boasts a runtime of 9 hours, Wi-Fi connectivity and features “Dual 1.5-inch drivers with dual passive radiators for bass extension”. The Tap solves one of the main problems that I have had with the Echo since I purchased the device by making the Alexa service portable. Imagine having an always available digital assistant that can answer almost any question that you can throw at it, provide you with store locations/hours, the latest news and sports, and also the ability to serve up your tunes via streaming services or your phone. I’m so impressed with the service that I have purchased multiple Echo’s and have already pre-ordered these new devices. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with the excellent features provided by these devices.
Amazon Echo Dot
We spoke about the Amazon Tap and what it has to offer but you may wonder, why would amazon create the “Echo Dot” when the Echo does everything you need? Well, the answer is rather simple. The Amazon Echo has one major shortcoming, and that is the lack of an audio output. The device itself sounds great but for the ahem…..Audiophiles like myself the lack of an audio output was a bit of a turnoff. It didn’t stop me from purchasing the device but it really sucked not hearing my favorite tunes in stereo. The Echo Dot provides a great solution for this problem, by allowing you to connect “Alexa” to a proper audio system to give you music back the fidelity it deserves. There is also the ability to use a Bluetooth speaker or receiver with the Dot, opening the door to a world of audio capabilities with a device the size of a Hockey Puck. I think the Echo Dot will be a great addition to your home even if you already own an Echo.
I think that these two devices really showcase how far technology has advanced throughout the years. I couldn’t imagine being able to “have a conversation” with my radio when I was a kid growing up in the 80’s but here we are. The connected society is here and in your face literally. The wearable and smart appliance industry is taking off with the force of a Tsar Bomba. Smart tech is here to stay, the only thing left is flying cars….nvm, that’s been done too! For more information about the Amazon Tap & Dot, click here and here.
Amazon Tap: 6.2″ x 2.6″ x 2.6″ (159 mm x 66 mm x 66 mm); Charging Cradle: 0.6″ x 2.6″ x 2.6″ (15 mm x 66 mm x 66 mm)
Amazon Tap: 16.6 oz. (470 grams); Charging Cradle: 3.8 oz. (109 grams) Actual size and weight may vary by manufacturing process
Up to 9 hours of continuous playback. Battery life will vary based on device settings, usage, and environmental factors. Actual results may vary.
Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or mobile hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n standard with support for WEP, WPA, and WPA2 security using password authentication
Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your mobile device to Amazon Tap. Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) for voice control of connected mobile devices. Media control over AVRCP is not supported for Mac OS X devices.
Dual 1.5-inch drivers and dual passive radiators for bass extension
Amazon Tap comes ready to connect to your home Wi-Fi. The Alexa App is compatible with Fire OS, Android, and iOS devices and also accessible via your web browser. Certain skills and services may require subscription or other fees. When tethering to a mobile device hotspot, standard data rates may apply.
Amazon Tap, Charging Cradle, microUSB cable and adapter, and quick start guide
1.5″ x 3.3″ x 3.3″ (38 mm x 84 mm x 84 mm)
8.8 oz. (250 grams) Actual size and weight may vary by manufacturing process
Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) for faster streaming and fewer dropped connections than standard Wi-Fi. Supports 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi networks. Does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.
Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your mobile device to Echo Dot or from Echo Dot to your bluetooth speaker. Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) for voice control of connected mobile devices. Hands-free voice control is not supported for Mac OS X devices. Bluetooth speakers requiring PIN codes are not be supported.
Built-in speaker for voice feedback when not connected to external speakers
Echo Dot comes ready to connect to your home Wi-Fi. The Alexa App is compatible with Fire OS, Android, and iOS devices and also accessible via your web browser. Certain skills and services may require subscription or other fees.