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Hands-on first look Amazon Echo UK review and unboxing

Amazon Echo unboxing and first look review: It’s taken over a year, but the Amazon Echo has finally made it across the pond to our fair shores. Here’s our unboxing and hands-on review of the Amazon Echo UK model.

If you haven’t heard of the Amazon Echo, it’s essentially a smart connected home speaker, designed to sit in your lounge or your living room. It listens for questions and commands using its integrated microphones and responds by way of Amazon’s intelligent digital assistant, Alexa.

The box features a blue card sleeve with the speaker pictured on the front along with examples of commands you can fire its way, so once you’re plugged in and set up (via the dedicated Alexa iOS or Android app), you know what to do next. On the back, the sleeve makes mention of both the Echo’s Bluetooth and WiFi support, as well as Alexa’s presence and some of the key software and hardware features on offer.

When you’re ready to open it up it’s a case of removing the plastic bag and then locating the perforated tabs on the top and bottom. They peel away easily enough and once gone, let you slide the blue sleeve off, revealing the familiar matt black card box that the company uses on all of its hardware.

As well as the company’s logo, the word ‘Echo’ is embossed on either side and on one end is another perforated tab that keeps the whole thing sealed shut. Removing the tab and lifting the lid, you’re presented with the same blue as the card sleeve lining the container, with additional shaped card serving to hold the Echo in place along the left side.

The speaker feels weighty and has a precise finish of anodised black metal, with a distinctive speaker grille surrounding its lower half along with two buttons contained within an LED ring running around the edge of the top face of its cylindrical body. The whole thing is protected by a cellophane wrap that, with a little fiddling, peels off.

Under the speaker is a black card wallet that’s glued to the base of the box. Lifting the tab presents you with three pieces of reading material: a quick-start guide, warranty information and a double-sided ‘things to try’ card, which like the outer sleeve features example phrases, questions and requests you can speak at the Echo to perform an action.

The last thing inside the main box is the 21 watt UK power adapter, which comes within its own card container and plugs in via a standard DC cable into a channel cut into the rubber-coated non-slip base of the Echo.

Amazon is selling the Echo in the UK in both black and white, for £149.99 and the smaller Echo Dot offers the same functionality but plugs into your own speakers for £49.99.

Along with being able to answer questions, you can order items on Amazon.com/.co.uk by voice (a feature that won’t be enabled in the UK until Christmas 2016) and control connected home appliances like a Nest or Hive thermostat. Stay tuned for a full review soon and in the meantime, check out our hands-on review of the Amazon Echo.

Read next: Amazon Echo tips and tricks

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