Amazon Echo costs just under 180 euros, Amazon Echo Dot just under 60 euros. Despite the large price difference, the functions of the two devices are very similar. We’ll show you which smart speakers are really worth it.

After only two weeks with Amazon Echo, it’s hard to imagine our household without this device. And that means something. Because my wife is usually sceptical about the new smart home technology that I regularly bring along. Also because many things are unnecessarily complicated and rarely function reliably.

Not so Alexa. The smart Amazon language assistant is the heart and brain of both Echo versions. Her big advantage over many other smart home solutions is that she listens to the word right after the simple installation – both with Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot.


Both versions with impeccable speech recognition

Both versions feature seven microphones that reliably detect the direction of speech and use the other microphones to achieve a kind of noise cancelling.

The code word “Alexa”, which starts the speech recording, was only accidentally triggered twice during the two weeks of use. Who perhaps listens to the name Alex could get more problems with it. In this case Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot alternatively offer the trigger words “Amazon” and “Echo”.

When two or more people talk at the same time, Echo no longer understands his trigger word. Also Amazon Echo (but not Amazon Echo Dot because of the smaller speaker) gets problems if it plays music too loud.
In our household there is an Amazon Echo in the living room and a small Amazon Echo Dot in the bedroom. The biggest difference between the two: The speaker in the Amazon Echo is much better than the one in the Amazon Echo Dot.

Main use of the Amazon Echo in the living room: The playback of music via the integrated music service Amazon Prime Music and the linked Spotify account. In most cases, this works excellently.

But what bothers me enormously is the sound quality of the Amazon Echo. Don’t get me wrong, it’s anything but grottig bad, comes close to a good Bluetooth box like the UE Megaboom (click here for a test). However, it can’t even come close to replacing a reasonable system.

We use Sonos at home. It was already announced in April that in 2017 there will be a deep integration of Sonos into Amazon Echo. From then on Amazon Echo will be able to control its own Sonos system directly.

Until then, Amazon Echo owners will not be able to control external speakers of any kind. Not so with the much cheaper Amazon Echo Dot, which has a jack output for audio signals. The audio signal can be fed directly into the Sonos system via a Play:5, but any other commercially available music system can also be controlled in this way. The Amazon Echo Dot can even be used to control Bluetooth speakers.

This gives Amazon Echo Dot a decisive advantage over Amazon Echo. Even if you order loudspeakers for 20 Euro in addition to the Amazon Echo purchase price, it is still 100 Euro cheaper and offers absolutely the same range of functions.

Inirv React prevents you from leaving the gas open

Did I turn off the gas when I left home this morning? Is the door properly closed? Are the lights off? Questions we all asked ourselves one day. Thanks to Inirv React, you may soon no longer need to ask yourself first. A project currently being financed on Kickstarter will allow you to control the gas from your phone. Practical and reassuring at the same time, a new step in the development of the connected kitchen. We explain the details to you.

inirv react

Inirv React, the reassuring system

You’re sure of that. It’s closed. It’s a mechanical gesture you never forget to make, right? But there’s this haunting doubt lying around in a corner of your mind. What if your house goes up in flames because you forgot to do it today? The idea of Inirv React was born to respond to this fear.

The system consists of a sensor and 4 control buttons. The sensor is equipped with smoke and gas detectors and allows the buttons to be connected to Wi-Fi. It connects to them via Bluetooth, allowing you to control the system from anywhere. In case of a problem or danger, an alert is sent to you in real time. Inirv React buttons can replace those you already have or be added to existing ones.

Controlling the gas through an application

The buttons have a small motor that allows you to activate them remotely and therefore close the gas if your application tells you that you have left it open. A small LED, which is not without reminding you of the flames, also indicates the power level. Finally, thanks to the motion detector, if the kitchen is empty for more than 15 minutes, the gas is automatically shut off.

The unit is powered by a rechargeable battery system and can be adapted to almost any gas cooker. You can also choose a specific color to make it fit in with your kitchen. Inirv React will also be compatible with Alexa, Amazon’s personal assistant.

The project is still in the financing stage on Kickstarter. You have until February 15 to support it. Just over $125,000 has been raised so far, but its creators are targeting the $400,000 to unlock all the features. Small problem, the first level of donation is no longer available so if you want to collaborate, you will have to pay at least $229. For this price, you will be entitled to 4 controllers. It’s up to you. But the system will clearly cost you less than buying a connected furnace with an equivalent system.