Top critical review
Alexa provides one frustration after another
October 31, 2018
Echo is a decent Bluetooth speaker; Alexa's news flash brief (NPR) is convenient, including local weather, once you set the right location within the Alexa website. Why can't you do that directly with Alexa? Just one of many Alexa frustrations.
I have disabled Alexa purchases. That doesn't stop Alexa from trying to sell me Amazon Unlimited over and over and over.
The killer failure is when I asked Alexa to play an album I have purchased within Amazon Music. Instead of playing me the content Amazon agrees I've already purchased, Alexa played me samples and once again tried to sell me Amazon Unlimited. Worse, during the upsell, she asked, "Do you want to learn more?" I answered "NO," which she ignored.
Alexa works with Tune In radio, but apparently can only select stations named in the English language. She has yet to select for me an Israeli radio station, after multiple attempts of multiple stations on two separate Echos. How hard could it be to train Alexa to identify the names of a finite number of foreign language stations offered by Tune In?
Many of your Kindle books can be read aloud by Alexa. However, she has just one voice, no options, and I'd rather go back to my early Kindle and hear a different voice than the one which constantly frustrates me.
Since Amazon sells cheaper decent Bluetooth speakers, I do not recommend Echo, and that's not even considering the privacy risks of sticking Amazon microphones in your living space in this era of cloud computing break-ins. If Alexa actually did what I wanted, I'd consider it a moderately risky trade-off, letting foreign governments hear what's happening in my house, but Alexa is far from keeping her end of the bargain. Amazon has a lot to fix in this product line, and should compensate early customers as product testers.