After a year of marriage and recently buying a 3 bedroomed house together, there was only one natural progression for me and my husband. Buy an Amazon Echo. We had leftover wedding vouchers and decided that we would bring Alexa into our lives.
What is the Amazon Echo?
If you’re not sure what the Amazon Echo actually is, allow me to explain. It is a speaker with a microphone that can follow instructions and do simple things. It is the beginning of Artificial Intelligence. Like Jarvis from Iron Man. At £150, she is quite pricey but after looking into her features a bit more it is clear that she is only going to improve as technology improves. We have her on a wee table in our hallway halfway between our Kitchen and Lounge, she can be heard throughout the house. Notice how I refer to the Amazon Echo as she – she really does feel like part of the family
How do we use Alexa?
The best feature that we use is her music playing ability. You just need to say ‘Alexa’ play me some music and she will create a playlist based on previous artists you’ve listened to. We subscribe to Amazon Music, although she also playing music from Spotify. You can also ask her things like ‘play party music’ or ‘dinner party music’. There is also a limited amount of songs you can stream for free if you are an Amazon Prime Member. The sound quality is brilliant and the 360 degrees speakers mean that the sound travels well.
Alexa is learning skills all the time. Amazon sends updates regularly to tell us things that she can do. In the morning I ask her ‘What’s New?’ and she reads me a flash briefing- these are sound bites that I have requested she tells me – right now it is BBC headlines and the Weather although you can add in lots more. She can tell you information about the traffic if you commute.
What else can she do?
Alexa can control your Hive heating, she can order Uber Taxis and soon will be able to do things like your banking and paying bills. She can play games with you, read your audiobooks and can set timers. I don’t think I have fully unlocked all that Alexa can do yet. The initial £150 outlay I think is worth it as since we got our Alexa, the skills that she has learned has improved massively. If you already have a good sound system then there is the Amazon Dot that can connect with your speakers. There’s also the Amazon Fire Stick that syncs with Alexa, meaning she will control your TV. Remotes are so last century.
How Could Alexa Improve?
The one downfall is she is not yet portable. You can buy third party battery packs but I think I will wait a wee while and see if Amazon bring out an official battery pack for her. She is getting better with her voice recognition. My nephew went a bit in the huff because she doesn’t understand when he calls her ‘Wexa’. But she will learn!
Where do you get Amazon Echo?
If you are interested in trying the Amazon Echo out or seeing what music is available I have a link here which will give you a 30 day free trial of either Prime or Amazon Music or both. They are available in most electrical stores or from Amazon themselves – Amazon sometimes has a deal on normally at holiday times for about £10 off. Or they also sometimes have a refurbished ones for discounted prices.