Amazon took a damned Echo speaker and put it in a ring and called it the Echo Loop. It is part of a program that Amazon calls "Day1", which is code for "here are some products that are not really ready for mass sale, but we still want to release them." The first two are the smart glasses frames and this small ring.
It works, but the audio is not very loud. That is probably a combination of design and necessity, because the idea here is that you don't want everyone to know what you are doing. There is a small button on the inside and you reach in and press it with your thumb, if you do that, there is a small vibration that confirms that Alexa is listening.
You don't do this if it's just sitting next to you or on a desk or something, the idea is that you bring it to your mouth and whisper your request like a little secret that you tell a robot living in a weird piece of technical jewelry around you wrist. After using Bluetooth to access the internet through your phone, Alexa responds with a very quiet, very thin voice. In a loud room it was hard to hear.
That's about the length and width of this device with a limited amount of $ 179.99, but there are some interesting details that I've learned with it in my time:
- It comes in four sizes: small, medium, large and extra large. Amazon used the extra large here for demos.
- The customer gets a ring size set for him with plastic fake Echo Loops, and then they choose their ideal size.
- The battery should last "about a day" with "intermittent use".
- It can vibrate when you receive notifications, just like a smartwatch, but you cannot have custom vibrations for different notifications.
- You can press the button for a long time to go to your phone's standard speech assistant, such as Siri or Google Assistant.
- You can use the button to accept or reject calls, but not to play or pause music. And there is no accelerometer or whatever if you just want to tap the entire ring.
- You can also use the button to quickly select a favorite contact.
I also learned that the extra large ring was extra large for me. Think of it as one of those old-fashioned class rings that you might have gotten to buy as a senior at school. I don't hate what it looks like, but again, as you can see in the pictures below, my wedding ring is an ordinary brushed metallic gray thing that I happened to buy from Amazon for less than $ 20.
Anyway, it has some power, you can feel it. And if you really want to always have access to Alexa, this might be the most convenient way. Until Amazon manages to call a phone again or convince Apple or Google to become a member of the Voice Assistant Interoperability Club. I bet that if they did, Amazon would like to create membership rings for commemoration.