What Is the Amazon Echo Look?

And how does it work?

The Amazon Echo Look is a stripped down Echo with a built-in camera that includes a handful of useful features that aren't available from any other Echo device. It's still a smart speaker at the core, which means it’s a speaker with a built-in virtual assistant. The twist, and what differentiates this device from every other Echo device, is that the camera is the main attraction instead of the speaker.

You can still ask an Echo Look about the weather or what your commute is going to be like, and ask it to set or remind you of appointments, but the camera opens up new options. With the Echo Look, you can ask Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant for advice on your outfit, take and share high-quality selfies, and even create a personal lookbook of all your favorite outfits.

What is the Amazon Echo Look?

The Echo Look is essentially a 5-megapixel camera, equipped with LED lighting and depth-sensing, built into an Echo smart speaker. It comes equipped with Wi-Fi, which it uses to connect to the Internet, and also provides a method for controlling it through the Alexa app on your phone. Like most other Echo devices, the Echo Look requires internet access to get anything done.

Unlike other Echo devices, the Look doesn't include Bluetooth connectivity, so you can't use it to stream music from your phone in the absence of an internet connection.

When you connect the Look to the internet, that unlocks the full functionality of Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant, along with some additional features. You can ask it to do just about everything the Echo and Echo Dot can do, although the built-in speaker is anemic compared to those devices.

What Are the Echo Look's Capabilities?

When you wake up the Echo Look with a specific voice command, it immediately starts listening for additional instructions. The Look understands natural language, which means you can control the Echo Look by talking to it like you would a person.

Echo Look Selfies displayed side by side.

For example, if you ask the Echo Look to take a photo or take a video, it will instantly snap a selfie or record a short video clip. Since Echo responds to natural speech, asking it for advice on your outfit is almost like having a fashionista assistant at your beck and call.

In addition to advice on your outfits, the Look can also suggest new clothes and accessories that would go well with your current wardrobe.

If you ask it to play music from an artist, or even a specific song, it will check your connected services and try to play the music. It's also capable of providing weather and traffic reports, sports scores, and even simple games if you download the right Alexa skill.

How Do You Use the Amazon Echo Look?

The initial setup procedure for the Echo Look is similar to setting up any Echo device. You need to plug it in, and then install the Alexa app on your phone to complete the process.

Once the Echo Look is up and running, you need to install the separate Echo Look app on your phone. You can use the Look like a regular Echo device without this app, but the Echo Look app is required if you want to use any special features that are related to the built-in camera.

Echo Look's Hands-free Camera

With the Echo Look app installed, you can access a live view of whatever your Look can see. If you're standing in front of it, that means it can function as a full-length mirror, except better, because you don't have to crane your neck to see what your outfit looks like from every angle.

You can also use voice commands to have your Look snap a selfie or take a short video, and then choose whether it should save, share, or delete. It's a very competent selfie camera, with a Bokeh-like background blur built in, and a handful of basic options to tweak, like contrast and saturation, before you share or save your snaps.

Echo Look's Style Check and Lookbook

The most important feature is Style Check, which allows you to snap a selfie of yourself wearing two different outfits. The Echo Look will use Amazon's proprietary algorithms, which use a combination of machine learning tweaked by advice from fashion specialists, to tell you which outfit looks better.

After working for about a minute, Style Check provides you with percentages to rate your two outfits. The outfit it prefers has a higher percentage, making it easy to determine at a glance which one looks better on you.

In addition to giving you advice on which outfit to wear, Style Check also provides more in-depth information. It may let you know that one outfit has colors that look better on you, that another one has a better silhouette, or even that your shoes match better in one outfit than the other.

When you snap a selfie with Echo Look, you have a few options beyond Style Check. You can apply a Bokeh-like background blur, tweak some image settings, and then choose whether you want to get rid of the picture, send it to your friends, or save it in a personal lookbook.

The lookbook feature essentially allows you to create a visual record of outfits you like so that you can go back to them later.

Can Amazon Echo Look Spy on You?

One of the biggest concerns that people have about the Echo is that it might be spying on them. The Echo Look takes that one step further because it doesn't just have a microphone. It also has a camera, and the camera can be triggered, at any time, with a simple voice command.

While privacy concerns surrounding the Echo family of devices are valid, the reality of the situation isn't quite as scary as it seems. Echo devices do listen, at all times, for a wake word, and they start recording as soon as that wake word is detected.

This passive listening can result in conversations that are recorded without your explicit permission, but you can easily view or listen to all of the recordings that an Alexa-enabled device has made of you. If it ever records something you didn't want it to, you can delete the recording.

The Look's built-in camera creates additional concerns as there is the possibility of a child, or even a misunderstood word from a conversation in the room, causing the Look to snap a picture when it shouldn't. The only easy fix is to turn the Echo Look to face a wall whenever it isn't in use.

Using the Echo Look for Entertainment and Productivity

Since the Echo Look is still a smart speaker, you can use it like you would any other Echo device. The only catches are the lack of Bluetooth and the fact that the speaker isn't quite up to par.

If you don't already have an Echo Dot or Echo Spot in your bedroom, the Echo Look can effectively extend Alexa functionality into that space. When you aren't asking it for fashion advice, you can have it play music, set an alarm to wake you up, and check the traffic for your commute, among many other options.

Echo devices like the Look can also control smart home devices with the right hub, and some Echo devices even have a hub built in. If you have a connected home, and you already use an Echo in your living room to control devices like lights or a thermostat, you'll be able to use an Echo Look to give all those same commands.

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