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[Amazon Canada] Amazon echo dot 2nd gen Pre-order $49.99

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  • Dec 11th, 2017 3:01 pm
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tonedcarrot wrote:
Dec 6th, 2017 10:45 am
What's the difference between this one and the rest of the Amazon alexa devices?
Echo Dot: $50
- Measuring 1.3×3.3×3.3 inches, the Echo Dot has a 0.6-inch speaker inside to play music, but its compact size doesn't make it the best music maker. However, the device has an audio-out port for connecting to whatever other speakers and sound system you may have, and it works with Bluetooth speakers as well. That means you can connect your favorite sound device to the Echo Dot, ask Alexa to play tunes from Spotify, iHeartRadio, or other sources, and the Echo Dot will play those tracks through your favorite speaker.
- Buy this if: you want Alexa but don't want to spend a lot of money.
- Don't buy this if: you want a high-quality speaker.

Echo: $100
- The device that started it all got an update this year with the new Amazon Echo. Not only did Amazon lower the price of the Echo to $100, but the new device has an updated speaker system, improved far-field microphones for Alexa to use to hear you, and a refined design that makes it look more like a home furnishing than a piece of technology. The new Echo sounds better than the original, but it's not our favorite smart home speaker in terms of audio quality. However, if you're upgrading from a smartphone speaker or a cheap Bluetooth device, the Echo will be a solid speaker capable of filling a few rooms with sound.
- The major case to be made for the Echo is that it's a decent speaker that also houses Alexa. If you purchase an Echo Dot, there's no question that you'll want to connect it to a better sound system—it's built to be more of a home for Alexa than a good speaker. On the other hand, the Echo is meant to provide both of those features at a relatively affordable price. If you're not a stickler for sound quality and just want a decent speaker with Alexa, the Echo is a solid device. You can connect the Echo to a larger speaker system as well, as it has the same audio-out port that the Echo Dot has.
- Buy this if: you want the most Alexa features for a decent price.
- Don't buy this if: you want access to Alexa skills that use a screen.

Echo Plus: $170
- The Echo Plus may look familiar because it has a design that's nearly identical to the original Echo. But the new $170 device is a bit different from the original and its now-updated counterpart: the Echo Plus' standout feature is its built-in Zigbee smart home hub. This technology lets the Echo Plus act as a smart home hub, removing the need for other, separate smart home hubs for various devices. For example: most Philips Hue lightbulbs need to be connected via the Hue hub, a small, square device that bridges the gap between the Hue mobile app and your smart lights, as well as the smart lights and your home network.
- Buy this if: you're eager to build a smart home with many Zigbee-compatible devices.
- Don't buy this if: the smart home devices you have or want don't use Zigbee protocol.

Echo Tap: Not Available in Canada

Echo Show: Not Available in Canada

Echo Look: Not Available in Canada

Echo Show Spot: Not Available in Canada (Launches next week in the U.S.)

djino
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I've just received my Echo V2, still in the box...and now I'm somewhat concerned.

Google has just blocked YouTube content from Amazon devices.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/googl ... -1.4136538

I'm not sure how this move will affect the Echo, as I was under the assumption that much like the Google Home Mini, one could ask Alexa to cast YouTube videos to their Chromecast enabled devices such as the Chromecast, Nexus Player, Andriod TV's, etc.

Seems like there's a battle brewing between the two companies, and I'm wondering if we'll begin to see some functionalities removed from both of their competing technologies.
As usual, the consumer ends up getting the short end of the stick.

I've recently picked up 6 Google Home Mini's, and so far have opened up 3 of them and put them in various rooms around the house.
Loving them so far, and all of the music, info and Smart Home ( just Hue lamps so far) functions are incredible.

Aside from the "free" year of Prime, I'm wondering how useful the Echo will be once that year is up and I no longer have access to things like Prime Music.
I don't think it can act like a Bluetooth speaker and accept music cast from a phone or tablet, so it may just become nothing more than a Smart Home device controller and a "dumber" info hub than the Google Home Mini.

Would there be any reason(s) to have an Amazon Echo in the house if I don't have a Prime membership, yet already have a few Google Home Mini's kicking around?
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The only reason I'm sticking to Amazon Echo right now is its integration with Logitech Harmony in Canada. It doesn't work with Google Home unless you do a little bit of work.
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Woah! wrote:
Dec 6th, 2017 9:21 pm

I'm not sure how this move will affect the Echo, as I was under the assumption that much like the Google Home Mini, one could ask Alexa to cast YouTube videos to their Chromecast enabled devices such as the Chromecast, Nexus Player, Andriod TV's, etc.
...

Aside from the "free" year of Prime, I'm wondering how useful the Echo will be once that year is up and I no longer have access to things like Prime Music.
I don't think it can act like a Bluetooth speaker and accept music cast from a phone or tablet, so it may just become nothing more than a Smart Home device controller and a "dumber" info hub than the Google Home Mini.
Alexa does not broadcast to Chromcast devices as they are Google devices, it does to Fire TV. It's always been like that. You can cast music from your phone to Alexa, I can do it with my Spotify just fine. I don't think you're giving it a chance.

As someone who had one of each, I feel that I would have gotten Alexa even without free Prime, there's the Source coupon too. In terms of functionality (not including Google searches), the Alexa is currently slightly on top as it can broadcast to Bluetooth while Google has blocked that. It can also do proper reminders and to-do lists and sends them to your phone. It also finds playlists more smoothly (Google seemed to have difficulty finding playlists with made up words that Alexa found just fine). I also find that it turns on devices faster than Google (sometimes Google lags a bit before turning off lights).

With that said, the technology is rapidly changing and I would not be surprised if Google catches up quickly. It can do Bluetooth if it wants to, it just doesn't on purpose so that we're forced to buy Chromecasts.

Just buy for the moment and upgrade in a year's time if you have to, just like computers, phones and video hasn't consoles. =)
Last edited by silverele on Dec 6th, 2017 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Is there any way I can use IFTTT with my Alexa devices in Canada? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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My echo dot works flawless with my fire tv (the one with Alexa)
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keystothecity wrote:
Dec 6th, 2017 9:50 pm
Is there any way I can use IFTTT with my Alexa devices in Canada? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Install the IFTTT app and link your Amazon Alexa account?
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keystothecity wrote:
Dec 6th, 2017 9:50 pm
Is there any way I can use IFTTT with my Alexa devices in Canada? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Yes, it'll say you're linking to Amazon.com, but IFTTT will work with Canadian Alexa devices. My Canadian phone number also gets calls from IFTTT applets, even though it said US numbers only. Have fun!
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silverele wrote:
Dec 6th, 2017 9:32 pm
Alexa does not broadcast to Chromcast devices as they are Google devices, it does to Fire TV. It's always been like that. You can cast music from your phone to Alexa, I can do it with my Spotify just fine. I don't think you're giving it a chance.

As someone who had one of reach, I feel that I would have gotten Alexa even without free Prime, there's the Source coupon too. In terms of functionality (not including Google searches), the Alexa is currently slightly on top as it can broadcast to Bluetooth while Google has blocked that. It can also do proper reminders and to-do lists and sends them to your phone. It also finds playlists more smoothly (Google seemed to have difficulty finding playlists with made up words that Alexa found just fine). I also find that it turns on devices faster than Google (sometimes Google lags a bit before turning off lights).

With that said, the technology is rapidly changing and I would not be surprised if Google catches up quickly. It can do Bluetooth if it wants to, it just doesn't on purpose so that we're forced to buy Chromecasts.

Just buy for the moment and upgrade in a year's time if you have to, just like computers, phones and video hasn't consoles. =)
Thanks for the info.

As I stated, I wasn't fully aware as to what the Echos' capabilities are, and was now planning to leave it sealed in the box until further investigation.

I don't subscribe to any music services, as I have a massive digital (and vinyl) collection on my home server and various phones/tablets which I generally turn to.
Can't see myself ever using one unless it were free.
I've read that Spotify might have some limited free content, but I haven't set up an account yet.

The Google Home Mini seems to easily play "free" random music.
If I say "Hey Google, play Van Halen", it'll play one Van Halen song and then play continuous random music from other artists in the same genre.
That's good enough for me for some free background music on the GH Mini, basically a genre-based Internet radio.

I'm more interested in casting my own music to these small devices/speakers, rather than from one.
But, perhaps the Amazon Echo could prove useful if I were to integrate it into my living room amp, since unlike the GH Mini, it offers an Aux output in case I did start using music streaming services.
Might be the best of both worlds to just open it up and have the different options available, and watch each one evolve.
Heck, if it proves useful then maybe it'd be a good time to grab an Echo Dot or two while they're on for $49 for other areas of the house.

As far as the hardware is concerned,I have no bias either way, but for some reason I thought the Echo could also cast to Andriod devices.
I jumped on it because it was essentially only $20 after taking the 1 year of Prime into account.

Plus, it might be nice to have a secondary voice control for all of these Hue lamps I've been accumulating.
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I agree, I kept one of each because the various discounts made it pretty cheap to do so and I don't really have anything else on my Christmas wishlist... except maybe the large network of expensive Smart Home products that I would need to accumulate. lol Fun fact, both devices can roll a 20 sided dice, but Google makes actual dice noises. =D
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Woah! wrote:
Dec 6th, 2017 9:21 pm
I'm not sure how this move will affect the Echo, as I was under the assumption that much like the Google Home Mini, one could ask Alexa to cast YouTube videos to their Chromecast enabled devices such as the Chromecast, Nexus Player, Andriod TV's, etc.

I've recently picked up 6 Google Home Mini's, and so far have opened up 3 of them and put them in various rooms around the house.
Loving them so far, and all of the music, info and Smart Home ( just Hue lamps so far) functions are incredible.

Would there be any reason(s) to have an Amazon Echo in the house if I don't have a Prime membership, yet already have a few Google Home Mini's kicking around?
The removal of YouTube does not affect the Echo. Also, your assumption was wrong as there is no cast support through Alexa. Google Home does an excellent job controlling what's on the screen with Chromecast and will even turn your TV off/on but oddly enough it will not control content on an Android TV with Chromecast built-in for whatever reason. However, Sony did choose to support Alexa so I can use that to change inputs, turn the TV off/on and control volume. My Sony TV also includes Google Assistant built-in using the remote's mic.. this can be used to control content.. just without always-on listening (oh, and it lags, because the CPU in TVs are terribly underspec'ed) which means I do not use it much. Having experienced it though, it is quite nice to be able to say "Play Ozark on Netflix" and have your TV do just that. I imagine that one day, Google Assistant/Home will be able to fully control my Sony TV and hopefully when that happens my Sonos One will have Google Assistant in a more mature form with more support for more things. Alexa is frustratingly command-based.. Google Assistant is much more natural. I'm glad that with my Sonos One, I will be able to choose which to use by 2019.

One huge thing for me is multi-room lighting control which Google Home cannot currently do. I learnt that the "scenes" I built in HomeKit/Hue app on the iPhone are only usable with Siri. By multi-room lighting I mean being able to say something like "Movie Time" and having the lights in the living room turn off and have the kitchen lights turn off. Up until last month, Alexa could also not do this. But now, it can, through Routines and it takes it one step above with whole home "routine" control. "Movie Time" now turns off the living room lights, dims the kitchen lights, turns on the TV and turns off the air conditioner. HomeKit can also technically do this but compatibility is sorely lackluster at the moment.

Oh yeah, I don't really recommend having both Google Home and Alexa.. it doesn't really make sense.. you have to keep tab of which wake word to use where and what functionality is available in each room. It will all start to get pretty confusing. Plus, you want to be easily able to send music across different rooms which you can't do unless they're the same make.
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Btw someone asked if you can use the the Echo as a BT speaker and yes you can
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willy0275 wrote:
Dec 6th, 2017 9:27 pm
The only reason I'm sticking to Amazon Echo right now is its integration with Logitech Harmony in Canada. It doesn't work with Google Home unless you do a little bit of work.
Hmmm... it was pretty simple for me, I just asked Google to connect to Harmony, and went into app to login, voila... Not sure what work you are referring to. I did Google when I was trying to connect, not much info on it, I just followed what was provided by Logitech.
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tempta wrote:
Dec 7th, 2017 12:35 am
Hmmm... it was pretty simple for me, I just asked Google to connect to Harmony, and went into app to login, voila... Not sure what work you are referring to. I did Google when I was trying to connect, not much info on it, I just followed what was provided by Logitech.
That's strange because it goes against everything I read online on the subject, but maybe they recently "fixed" it.
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