Echoing the first ten days
I've also had my echo for a few weeks now and for the most part, i agree with your assessment of it. It definitely for me seems to be the most help in the kitchen. Being able to start a timer and change/pause music with just my voice is very handy when cooking. Plus it is where I am most likely to use the shopping list ("Alexa, add butter to my shopping list" comes in handy to remember things).
My downsides to it are a little different than yours. For instance, I have used the Amazon music store for ages which means I am stuck with the Amazon Music Player. It is quite simply the worst app for managing/building playlists and has no ability to import a playlist that you build elsewhere (like iTunes). If you're dealing with a large music library, this gets really problematic. Secondly, it really could use a genius like feature. I can tell Echo "Play Rolling Stones" or "Play Classic Rock". What I can't do is say something like "Play music based on Sympathy for the Devil" and get a genius type of playlist. It's a good app for playback and the extra music available to prime subscribers is a really nice feature.
My other downside is I still find the voice recognition a little finicky on certain letters. For instance, I used to have playlists with names that included "faves". Since faves is not a real word, it always wanted to use "faces" so I got all kinds of unwanted results. I renamed the playlists with "Favorites" and it is better, but it still seems to have a hard time with the letter "v" for some reason (and I'm a midwesterner so not a thick accent by any means).
My final downside is my daughter is named "Alexis". Alexa gets really confused when I talk to Alexis sometimes! So being able to choose a wake word besides "Amazon" or "Alexa" will be really helpful at some point.
But overall, I'm very pleased with the Echo as a $99 kitchen helper. It definitely has some room to grow (for instance, I'd like to see a priority voice feature - let a parent override the kids choice instead of Echo getting caught in the middle of a bunch of people saying "Turn it up" and "Turn it down"). One other thing that I think would be great if they start adding this to the Fire Phone is to have Echo work as a speakerphone. Have the music pause and ask me if I want to take the call then become a bluetooth speaker phone if I say yes. All the tech is there for it already and that would be a very handy pairing! There is definitely room for it to grow as an assistant and become a lot more useful (like having multiple timers available at the same time), but for what it is at this point, I'm glad its in my kitchen!