Re: They're all crap
I was given an Amazon Echo Dot, for Christmas. It can't play music (unlike its big brother), although you can connect it to some sound systems and use it to run them by voice.
It can do quick Google searches and bring you back results from Wiki - though I've never bothered trying. It can add stuff to your Amazon basket, and by default is set to one-click ordering (even though my Amazon account isn't).
You can set timers on it, though it's not that much harder to pull my phone out of my pocket and do the same, or set the oven timer. Basically I use the phone for accuracy when boiling eggs.
I tried to get it to wake me up with an alarm and some internet radio - but it won't. You say "Echo wake me up at 7am with..." and it's already answered saying OK - without telling you what it's going to wake you up with. Plus that would require having it in your bedroom. Listening to you...
I don't have IoT lights or anything to control.
It can apparently now call people, which might make sense when we all have SIP apps that work properly.
I only do the timer once or twice a week when cooking (so next to the oven anyway) and my existing stereo can't be linked to it. The wake-up function is shit because all it does is beep, I can have Googe searches read back to me but if it's important I'll need to read the results (else how do I trust it's picked the right one) and if it's not important then it can wait.
So what's it for?
The big one has speakers. and is designed to tie you into Amazon music, so that makes perfect sense. If you're happy with the sound quality it's probably quite a good idea. Not sure about the little ones though. Mine's back in the box.