The Amazon Echo could easily be considered the tech product of the year 2018, the real innovator in homes around the world.
The Amazon Echo Dot is basically a wifi speaker that includes the now very famous virtual and voice assistant Amazon Alexa, intelligent and surprising. Alexa then becomes a real presence in the house, answering questions and parrying like a real person every time she is asked. Obviously, it is not a virtual companion for those who feel alone, but an assistant who helps to find information quickly and who is also able to call and control the house – turns your house into a smart home.
You can buy the Echo Dot with Alexa today (4th generation) with the ball shape and an enhanced speaker compared to previous versions.
To get started with the Amazon Echo Dot, you have to decide where to place it, plug it into the socket (it has no batteries so it always stays on and connected to the wire), and download the Alexa app for Android or for iPhone.
Alternatively, you can also configure the Amazon assistant using your PC, by opening the alexa.amazon site, using your Amazon account.
The configuration is completely automatic, it requires you to indicate the wifi connection to which it must connect and to indicate some personal data.
In the app settings, you can find the options to configure a new device, in order to indicate which type of Echo Dot
For the rest, you can immediately start using the voice assistant calling it with the name “Alexa!” And then giving it the desired instructions.
For example, you can start asking “Alexa, who are you?” Or “Alexa, What can I ask?” to get to know it.
The best features of the Echo Dot with Alexa are as follows:
Music with Alexa
The most obvious purpose for an Amazon Echo is to play some songs from your favorite playlist.
The Echo Dot can be integrated with the Amazon Music service (by buying an Echo Dot you get the opportunity to subscribe for 3 months for free, otherwise it will be used freely for free without choosing which song to listen to) or even with Spotify.
If you don’t want to make a subscription, you can also listen to music from Italian radios, thanks to the integration with TuneIn, which is free without any problems.
You can then ask to listen to Radio DJ or radio with the latest hits or to listen to 80s music or any other genre.
Of course, you can also use earphones or headphones with the Echo Dot or use an external audio system connected via Bluetooth.
Books, or rather, Audiobooks
Since Amazon also owns the largest Ebook store in the world, The Kindle Store, you can use Alexa to have the books you buy on Amazon read, so you can relax and close your eyes without reading, just listening.
Smart Home with Alexa
Alexa can be integrated with many home automation devices.
First of all, the smart sockets and light bulbs, which are for sale on Amazon and work with the Echo Dot if they have the (Works with Alexa) brand.
For example, you can find smart bulbs for every type of lamp (there are even cheaper ones) and smart sockets such as the Amazon Smart Plug. With this socket and the smart bulbs, you can then turn on the lights using your voice, turn on the air conditioner, TV, and any appliance attached to that socket. Smart Home devices can be added to the application menu and will be automatically recognized by Alexa with the personalized name.
SEE ALSO: Alexa and Google compatible lights and wireless bulbs to buy
Call for free
This is perhaps the most surprising feature of this Amazon Echo, which allows you to call for free all those who have the Alexa app installed on their phone. If all family members install the app, then, we can ask “Alexa, call mom” or “Alexa, call Claudio” and call free, hands-free. If you want privacy, you can also connect earphones to the Echo Dot.
Use the voice assistant for alarms, reminders, timers, appointments, to-do lists etc.
You can tell Alexa: “Today I have to do the shopping,” to mark this commitment and then, subsequently, ask Alexa, “to be reminded to go shopping”. You can also set an alarm with Alexa, useful if you place the Echo dot in the bedroom.
It is possible to listen to the news of the day with Alexa, asking them out loud.
Alexa uses various news services such as SkyTG24 to let us listen to the headlines.
Voice requests of all kinds
Like any voice assistant, Alexa answers all questions whose answer is well defined. You can therefore ask what the weather is like tomorrow, how many days are left until Christmas, what is the longest river in the world, what is there to see in Milan, ask us to sing a song, ask for a joke, ask for the horoscope of the day and much else.
Alexa Skills are like smartphone apps and allow you to use the voice assistant to request different kinds of information or for different uses. You can then expand the capabilities of Alexa by activating different Skills such as that of the Ansa News, that of the Akinator game, that of nursery rhymes for children, the Skill with recipes, the TV guide, the Cinema guide, and many others. The list of Skills is constantly expanding so new ones will be implemented.
Among other functions, you can also create Routines , that is a series of actions that are activated with a single voice command. The history of voice commands and everything Alexa has done or said is shown on the main page of the site or app. At the moment the integration between Alexa and the Fire TV Stick does not seem to work, to control videos and films, which instead works in the American version.
In the end, therefore, after a couple of days of testing, Alexa is not only fun to use, but also very useful and for the whole family. In fact, everyone can interact with Alexa and ask for things, making themselves recognized without the need for configurations.
The Amazon Echo Dot can be bought, obviously on Amazon, in different versions depending on the size of the speaker. See all Amazon’s Alexa Echo Lineup: Significant Differences?