Our Echo, purchased in late 2014, is now indispensable. Lights, power outlets, math problems, weather, sports, news summaries...all controlled by voice. I cannot cook without Echo, since it is a hands-free timer and alarm clock. It also performs unit conversions of various kinds like metric to Imperial and C to F.
Oh, it is our go to music player as well.
We see it as a personal assistant (calendar, purchasing, to-do and shopping lists) first, and a Bluetooth speaker as a bonus.
What's missing if I' reading this right is the ability to make a call. As an EMS member in an aging community we often get calls from people who have fallen and can't get up. Sometimes, rare, but for days. Being able to make a 911 call by voice alone is worth the price by itself. Everything else is gravy.
This is the only review I found that has gave a decibel rating to the speaker and at 90 decibels hearing loss starts.
That is very impressive for a unit of that size and the fact it is voice operated just sealed the deal on me buying one.