Echo - The beginning of artificial intelligence

In November 2014, Amazon introduced a new concept of smart speaker: Echo, the biggest highlight of this product is the intelligent voice interaction technology implanted in the traditional speaker, giving the speaker artificial intelligence properties. This voice assistant, called "Alexa", can communicate with you just like your friends, and at the same time can play music, news, online shopping orders, Uber taxis, regular delivery, etc.; so to speak, Echo is you Family personal assistant.

â–¼Echo makes the machine conversation no longer icy

Water and soil are not acceptable

Echo supports third-party services for multiple music, radio, and audiobook platforms. In Europe and the United States, users can use these services directly and all are free. However, in China, most of these services cannot be used. For example, streaming music giant Spotify and Pandora do not enter the Chinese market at all. The predecessors who entered the Chinese market, such as Apple Music, are also dissatisfied with the situation. Therefore, Echo's core competitiveness in the Chinese market has also been greatly reduced. Faced with the booming trend of smart speakers in foreign markets, domestic audio and intelligent hardware manufacturers are constantly seeking breakthroughs and have launched a lot of new smart audio products. Today, I try to use the Lenovo smart audio system.

Into the title

As the protagonist of this test, I will first introduce the basic situation of this audio.

As a new product released on CES 2017, Smart Assistant did not choose some companies to establish a self-led ecological chain, such as Google Home. Instead, it worked with to use the Echo voice assistant on the international audio system. This is probably why Lenovo's smart speakers are so similar to Echo.

However, as mentioned above, Amazon's experience has become less favorable in China; therefore, Lenovo has also conducted a series of localization improvements for the domestic environment. What about its effectiveness? You will know after a while.

First, the design

â–¼ As the time of delivery approaches the end of the year, SF Express has also become a slow delivery. After six days, it arrived in Wenzhou from Beijing. The outer packaging is also slightly wrinkled. It is not good news for value-friends who like to collect packaging.

â–¼ The Lenovo smart audio packaging is relatively simple - similar to the insulation cup packaging cube design, after all, this sound also looks like a large "warm mug."

â–¼ There is only a separate button above the audio, the design is very simple. But all the functions are only the one button can be switched, use long press and short press to distinguish, it is not very convenient to use.

There is also a problem that the speaker itself supports Bluetooth, but only voice can be turned on. If you do not set up WIFI or the signal is unstable, the Bluetooth of the speaker cannot be used. This is also a place that you hope to improve.

The silvery circle below is the volume knob. It feels good. The stepless rotation is still quite fun, and you can also use the light to show the volume change and the current state.

â–¼ The rest of the accessories and instructions are at the top of the package. Although Lenovo specifically designed holes that are easy to remove for them, it is still relatively laborious to remove the accessories and the damping is very strong. Hope to improve on the future packaging.

â–¼ Then on a family portrait, the accessories are simple, on a power supply; and the instructions for this evaluation.

â–¼ The silicone material is used at the bottom and fixed with double-sided adhesive. You can see the screws when you open the door and you can turn on the sound from here.

â–¼ The following is a partial close-up of the product:

Second, APP experience

â–¼ Lenovo designed a smart association APP for this sound, which can support the operation of smart audio and intelligent storage of Lenovo. They are also new products released at this CES.

â–¼ To download for the first time, you need to register a Lenovo account (you can directly log in with the Lenovo official mall website account), and add speaker devices as required, and set WiFi wireless network for them.

At present, the audio firmware requires stricter initialization. According to the reply of the engineers in the forum, this speaker does not support 5Ghz network (hardware reason) at present, so must switch to 2.4g network while disposing. And the ip assigned by the router must start with 192.168.*.*.

â–¼ After the network is successfully connected and successfully bound, you will see your Lenovo smart speaker in the main interface. After you click it, you can see the function page of the Lenovo smart speaker. The content provider is cool music and Himalayan. So the content of your key song must be limited to them.

Because the voice song every time you play a song must be repeatedly broadcast a song title and can not be canceled, so personally think that it is more convenient to use Bluetooth play.

â–¼Memo and reminder function. The reminder function I generally use when the alarm clock, the disadvantage is that the ringtone can not be customized, more single.

â–¼ Drip trips and voice recordings. The voice recording will save your reply to the command and sound under the audio. I think it's more convenient to use it on a mobile phone, just as a supplement to the main functions of the audio.

Third, sound quality

For the sound quality, I do not have a pair of gold ears. The sound is a metaphysics, and it is difficult for anyone to admit the evaluation. Satisfactory is that the sense of direction of the emitted sound is not obvious, and the sound field is relatively wide. And the bass is relatively simple, watching movies and TV shows is very good. Dissatisfied is that the vocal sound is a little weak, and it is not very expressive in the treble part. It may be somewhat dissatisfied for music lovers, and I think the code rate of the sound itself will not be too high. It is recommended to have a value to pursue. Friends are still using high-quality music from Bluetooth playback devices.

However, CES said that there are Harman Kardon accessories sold together, I think this is a little compensation for high-quality players.

Fourth, speech recognition

Basically, the sound only responds to the existing instructions given in the manual, and is silent on the commanding sound of the sky. From the use of the situation, the instructions of the track class support the best, such as pause, volume control, open the Bluetooth, etc., for the outside of the system to support the instructions are not in place. Therefore, the instructions given by the user are best provided by Lenovo, otherwise it is difficult to have satisfactory results. As the title says, there are still plenty of things to do on this soundtrack.

V. Summary

There are many problems with this test product, but the focus is on the firmware. Given that Lenovo said at the CES show that it will be officially launched around May, this time, the product should be more similar to the engineering test machine. I believe that future firmware updates will gradually fix the current problem.

I think the main problem now is that due to the lack of ecological links, this time the measured smart sound is not smart. The smart speaker should be more like a home personal assistant. You use it to control all aspects of your smart home, switch curtains, set sweeping robots, automatically feed dog/cat food, and more.

However, I believe that this beautiful product with Lenovo’s vision for the future deserves our patience and tolerance. We have seen Lenovo engineers' attitudes towards the issues are sincere. They also received a lot of feedback from users and made some improvements.

Gold is colorless, and there are slight flaws in the daylight. Nowadays, smart audio has been known for its hard power (hardware), and the improvement of soft power (software) requires users to give it time to improve.

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