Amazon’s Echo brand debuted back in November 2014. Since then, the Echo’s digital assistant Alexa has become a recurring face, loaning her voice to tablets and televisions, along with other ventures like the Echo Show. Given its success, competing products, such as the Google Home, have emerged, with more on the horizon. So, how well does the Amazon Echo hold up?

AMAZON ECHO REVIEW

All Alexa-enabled devices come with an extraordinarily versatile assistant. Powered by the Alexa Voice Service, Alexa enhances your day-to-day routine upon haring your commands – from starting a podcast to dimming the lights. You active her by saying one of four words: “Alexa,” “Amazon,” “Echo” or “computer.” Upon activation, the machine will emit a light and Alexa will serve any demand she’s given. Furthermore, Alexa can download new “Skills,” augmenting her with new talents, and her cloud-powered background means she’s always gaining intelligence.

For example, Alexa can function as an easy control scheme for Amazon Music and services like Spotify and Pandora. Plus, you can stream from iTunes thanks to the Echo’s Bluetooth compatibly. Notably, you can also chat with your friends and family, so long as they own an “Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, or the Alexa App.” However, while the Amazon Echo’s speakers are more than functional, they aren’t the pinnacle of audio output.

Alexa will reliably hear what you have to say, thanks to the Echo’s built-in noise-canceling abilities. According to CNET‘s reviewer, the virtual assistant could accurately discern what he was saying even if he was “several feet” away with a television show booming in the background. Moreover, if you have more than one Alexa-enabled device, the one that rests the closest to you is the only one that will respond, thanks to Amazon’s ESP mechanic.

The Amazon Echo costs $179.99. Black and white colorations are available, as are two pricier hardware bundles.