(Pocket-lint) - Echo Look is one of the newest additions to Amazon's line of Echo-branded devices, and it's also one of the quirkiest.
Each Echo device has a different form factor and is best suited to a specific environment - whether you're at home and want to listen to tunes on the go, trying to enhance your current audio setup, or simply need to take a photo of your outfit to get style advice. You can see the differences between each device here. But the one thing they all have in common is built-in Alexa, Amazon's voice assistant.
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Echo Look is different from its siblings in that it isn't about providing music playback or enhancing your audio experience. While it does have a speaker so you can hear Alexa, it's primarily a camera that lets you snap photos and videos. It also includes a unique service that allows you to capture your daily outfits, catalogue them, and get style advice in real time. Here's what you need to know about Echo Look.
What is Amazon Echo Look?
Amazon said Echo Look has "everything you love about Alexa" - only, now, she can help you "look your best". You can mount it to your wall using the included mounting kit or sit it on a dresser, and then, using voice commands, you can ask it to take full-length photos and short videos of yourself. It has a depth-sensing camera, LED lighting for a flash, and computer vision that blurs the background of your shots.
The idea is that you can use Echo Look to see yourself from all angles, then build a personal lookbook of your outfits, and share those photos with others. Or, using the Style Check service that combines machine learning algorithms with advice from "fashion specialists", you can get style advice. And at anytime you can tap into Alexa as you normally would to get weather updates, control smart home devices, etc.
What's in the Amazon Echo Look box?
You get an Echo Look device, of course, which comes with a screw-on base and standard tripod socket, 21W power adapter with a 7.9-foot cord, and a wall-mounting kit. You can rest or mount Echo Look anywhere, as long as the power adapter is within reach of a wall socket.
Now, inside the Echo Look there is a bunch of sensors and technology, including voice-activated Alexa and dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi connectivity (MIMO. 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz). Other features include a 5-megapixel, depth-sensing camera, front lighting that can be used for a flash, a microphone array so Alexa can hear you, a speaker so that you can hear Alexa, and a mic/camera off button and indicator.
Amazon said Echo Look offers a cloud-based media storage option, but there's no Bluetooth audio input/output or AUX audio input/output. It also doesn't work with the Alexa Voice Remote, but it does use the Alexa app and comes with a second companion app called Echo Look.
How does Amazon Echo Look work?
As with any Echo device, you can setup Echo Look and manage settings for its Alexa features using the Alexa mobile app or web app. Alexa tips are also available in the Alexa app under Things to Try. For more on how to set up and manage Alexa, go to Alexa Help.
Once you're done, you'll also want to download the Echo Look app for iOS or Android. You can use it to get a live view of whatever your Echo Look sees, take a short video so you can see yourself from every angle, view style recommendations via the Style Check feature (which Amazon said combines machine learning algorithms with advice from "fashion specialists"), or create a lookbook so you can browse your outfits.
Echo Look has a 5-megapixel, depth-sensing camera and LED lighting so it can capture full-length photos and short videos of you in your outfits in any lighting and blur the background. Just stand in front of Echo, then say "Alexa, take a photo" or "take a video", and look at the Echo Look app to see the photo, video, or even a live view. With Echo Look, you can see a 360-degree view of your outfit.
Lookbook and Style Check
In the Echo Look app, you will see options to blur the background of your photo, then send the photo to friends, or add it to your lookbook. You can also use the Style Check feature, which lets you submit two photos for a second opinion on which looks better based on fit, colour, styling, and current trends. Amazon said these decisions will get smarter through your feedback and input from its fashion specialists.
Echo Look has the same Alexa found in other Echo devices. It can read the news and audiobooks, set alarms, get traffic and weather updates, control smart home devices, play music, order a latte from Starbucks, access your calendars, check your commute, etc, according to Amazon. For a brief overview of all Alexa can do on Echo Look, just say, "Alexa, tell me what I can do."
Why did Amazon make Echo Look?
Style Check builds on the company's Outfit Compare platform.
In the latest version of the Amazon shopping app, Prime members can upload two pictures of themselves in different outfits and then the app will tell them within a few minutes which one looks better. The results, which again are "powered by a team of fashion specialists", consider all sorts of metrics, such as fit, colour, style, and current trends in order to serve up a score on the "Style Scale".
You get a ranking from “Definitely pick this one” to “We like this better” or “It was a close call”. Amazon said "qualified" staff may also be viewing your photos, and that full-body photos work best. So, don't upload headshots. At launch, Amazon wasn't even recommending new clothes to order, but it's not exactly unclear as to why the retailer would make such a feature; it's easy to see what Amazon could do.
To try Outfit Compare, use the Amazon for iOS app. Then go to Menu > Programs and Features (or More from Amazon)> and Outfit Compare. Currently, Amazon might just be collecting data to improve the types of fashions it offers. But imagine that if Amazon starts storing all your images, along with tonnes of pieces of contextual information, and then track your habits, it'll have a lot of data about you to crunch.
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It can then use that data to determine which products you like so can it can serve up tailored suggestions (aka maybe even clothes from its online shop for you to buy). Although people like to try on their clothes in a store, an AR-like clothes experience could encourage you to try on and buy clothes without ever leaving your house. See where Amazon is going? The Echo Look opens up a lot of potential for the retailer.
Beyond being able to chuck clothing products at you, it could ultimately leverage your data to build partnerships with fashion brands and learn how to start producing its own clothes with custom sizing and next-day shipping. You’ll never want to go to Bloomingdales again if you can just say “Alexa, take a photo”, then try on an outfit, and tap on your phone screen a few times to quickly checkout.
How much is Amazon Echo Look?
Amazon Echo Look costs $199 in the US.
When can you buy Amazon Echo Look?
Initially, you had to request an invite to buy Echo Look from Amazon.
However, as of 6 June 2018, you can now buy Echo Look in the US.
Where is Amazon Echo Look available?
At launch, Echo Look is only available in the US via Amazon (US). There's no word yet on when it will come to the UK.
Want to know more?
Check out Echo Look's support hub for more information.