Amazon Echo Dot – £49.99
Smart devices are taking over millions of homes around the world. Amazon is a leader in developing smart devices to integrate with each other around the homes of their customers. Along with the virtual assistant Alexa, Amazon’s version of Apple’s Siri, they make people’s lives easier. Smart devices in the Amazon Echo range are multi-purpose, often functioning as speakers as well as smart-home hubs. They can act as a diary and calendar, issuing reminders for tasks and upcoming events. You can ask them to turn off the lights or turn on your games console for you. They can play music or the radio, and answer any question on your mind without you having to search the internet. So it seems like it’s merely a question of when, not if, you’re going to get on board with Amazon Echo devices and Alexa.
Which Amazon Echo should I buy?
Over the last few years, Amazon has been rapidly developing their Echo range. There are several different devices, with varying functions and price points. The Echo you should buy depends on your budget and what you intend to use it for. The Echo 2 is the updated version of the original Echo, the standard model offering 360-degree sound. If you want something cheaper and smaller, the Echo Dot is the best choice. It has all of the voice-functionality of the Echo but isn’t as good as a speaker. You can plug it into an existing speaker if you do want to play music with it. On the more expensive side, the Echo Plus is a taller and better version of the Echo. Its built-in smart hub makes it the best option to connect to other smart home devices. It offers higher-quality sound for calls, music, or audiobooks.
If you prefer smart devices with screens, the Echo Show is available. It is at the top of the price range, but it allows you to watch the news and make video calls instead of just listening to audio. The sound quality is second only to the Echo Plus out of all of the Echo devices. On the downside, it is a blocky-looking device with a grille speaker on the front beneath the 7-inch screen. It isn’t as sleek as the Echo Plus or as small as the Echo Dot or Echo Spot. The Echo Spot is the newest release in the UK, clocking in as the third most expensive device out of the five. It’s a cute little ball with a 2.5-inch screen. An Echo Spot is a digital alarm clock and so much more. You can make video calls with it, display notifications, and use all of the voice commands for Alexa. Which Amazon Echo suits your needs?
Amazon Echo (2nd Gen) – £89.99
Are Amazon Echo and Alexa the same thing?
An Amazon Echo is a smart device, while Alexa is a virtual assistant. The Echo is the device itself, but it will come with Alexa installed. Alexa listens to voice commands then responds verbally with a response to your question or direction. After you have set up everything properly, all you have to do is say a trigger word to activate Alexa. This means no fiddling around with buttons on the device every time. Usually, the trigger word is simply “Alexa,” but you can change it to something else if you want to. Some people might change it to “Echo,” for example: “Echo, what is the weather forecast for this weekend?” You can ask Alexa to make phone calls, play music, set alarms, create and manage to-do lists, and check the news, weather, or traffic reports. The type of Echo limits the things Alexa can do.
Does Amazon Echo need to be plugged in?
Unfortunately, Amazon Echo devices are not actually portable. They might be small enough, but they are meant to stay in place. Once you decide where you keep the Echo, that becomes its permanent spot in your home. You need to keep it plugged in at all times, and in range of a Wifi connection. You need to plug it into a power source with the power cord in order for it to work, because it does not have an internal battery. If you want to move it to a different room, the Echo will reboot and connect to your Wifi from its new position quickly after you plug it in. There are third-party battery packs available to buy if you really want to take your Echo device on the go. However, these can cost a lot, and may only give you 6 hours of battery life. It is easier to install Alexa on your phone and connect to the Echo.
Amazon Echo Plus – £139.99
Does Amazon Echo work without Wifi?
Alexa is cloud-based, meaning that if you want to use voice commands, the Echo needs to have a Wifi connection. Feature updates require connection to the internet, as do any questions you ask. Alexa can’t check the traffic or find the closest sushi restaurant to your house without Wifi. If you want the Echo to stream your Spotify library or book an Uber, it will need internet. With no Wifi, an Echo is essentially just a Bluetooth speaker. You can use it to stream saved content from a phone. Or you can use a mobile hotspot to connect the Echo to the internet with the phone.
Do you need a smartphone to use Amazon Echo?
You need an Amazon account to use the Alexa app, which you will need in order to utilize the capabilities of your Echo. This app is available to download for Apple and Android devices, as well as Amazon tablets. You set up the device and Wifi connection with the app, then use it to manage its settings. It is better to use a smartphone to do this so you can check things like shopping lists and add new skills easily. However, if you don’t have a smartphone, you can still use an Amazon Echo as long as you have a laptop or computer. You can configure it with the web app.
Will Amazon Echo understand my accent?
Alexa is capable of understanding voices speaking in English, German, and Japanese. If you speak English with an American, British, Canadian, or Indian accent, then Alexa should be able to understand you. For people with strong regional accents, you might experience initial problems. When you first set the Echo up, carry out Voice Training in the Settings. Reading common phrases will improve Alexa’s recognition of your accent. It helps if you speak clearly with no background noise, and be specific. You can review conversation transcripts in the app to see what it heard.
Amazon Echo Spot – £119.99
Can you use an Amazon Echo as a speaker?
Absolutely! That’s one of the main functions of the Echo and Echo Plus. It isn’t the best speaker ever, but that’s not the point of it. The point is that it conveniently allows you to stream music and other audio as well as all the other effort-saving functions it offers. This means that you don’t have to buy a separate speaker rig. The negative aspect is that it isn’t a portable speaker, so you can’t take it on the go or even move it around your home so easily. But, if you do have a separate more portable system, you can hook it up to the Echo and stream music through it anytime.
Can Amazon Echo connect to TV?
As long as you have a smart TV which is compatible with Alexa, you should be able to connect the Echo to your television. Like any smart device, Alexa will be able to execute commands such as turning it on or off. For the TV, you can ask Alexa to change channels or adjust the volume. Simply link your TV using the app. If you don’t have an Echo, you can still use Alexa to control your TV with a Fire TV Stick. You have to press a button to activate it, and it doesn’t have a built-in speaker. With the Echo and voice commands, you don’t have to worry about losing remotes.
How does Amazon Echo control lights?
Alexa and Echo devices are compatible with most brands of smart home hub. If you have a separate smart home hub, you can connect it to use Alexa voice commands to control your smart devices. This includes switching lights on and off or even adjusting the brightness, depending on the lights you have. As long as you have LED bulbs which connect to Wifi or a smart hub, you can connect them to Alexa. Certain Echo devices have a smart hub built in, so you don’t even need to buy a separate one. You can control your smart lights, locks, thermostats, and appliances.
Amazon Echo Show – £199.99
Does Amazon Echo listen to everything?
As part of its voice recognition technology, Echo devices have multiple microphones. When these are on, the Echo is always listening for the trigger word. Once it perceives the word, or one that sounds like it which it interprets as the word, the Echo will wake up and start recording your conversation so it can analyze your commands. The app keeps a transcript of every conversation. You can delete individual conversations in the app, but it might interfere with Alexa’s ability to process your instructions. The collected information helps to improve Alexa’s performance. The Echo does not record everything, all the time. It does not collect and use data the way that online cookies do. You can always press the mute button on top of it to turn off the microphones if you are concerned about privacy.
Are there new Amazon Echo devices?
The Echo Spot is a recent introduction to UK customers, but was already released over in the US. Similarly, there are several other Amazon Echo devices available which are currently exclusive to the US and Canadian market. They’re likely to make their way to the UK as well in the near future. If you do want a portable, wireless Echo, then wait for the Amazon Tap. It is a smaller cylinder which comes with a charging cradle, and has a battery life of up to 9 hours. However, you still need Wifi to use Alexa, and have to tap a button before you give a voice command. Echo Connect is a cheap device for using Alexa to make and answer phone calls. You can do this by connecting it to the landline. There is also a Kids Edition of the Echo Dot, which comes in bright colours. They have child-friendly cases and you can manage the devices with parental controls. You will also get a free 1-year subscription of FreeTime Unlimited.