Back in July, I bought an Amazon Echo during their Prime Day sale. It’ll be going on sale for the holidays, or at least Black Friday, so I figured I’d tell you about some of our experiences with it.
No, I have not linked it to smart home devices yet, but I do plan on integrating a few light switches and maybe an outlet or two.
So far, I’ve been using it as a baby bottle timer, as a weather reporter, a clock, and to play music for my son.
Yea, I know I have only scratched the surface. It’s regularly priced at $180, and it can do much more than we’ve been tasking it with.
So far, I’ve got just one complaint.
Amazon posts updates to the device or their services, and things just change.
Instead of finding certain songs that it used to play, it’ll bug me about signing up for their new music subscription service. It’ll do this again, and again, and again.
When I ask about how much time is left on a timer, it now goes through a longer process, telling me how many timers there are, even if there’s just one, and then it tells me the time remaining.
And it doesn’t get songs right anymore, it guesses more wrongly about which one I want played.
And sometimes it’s just wonky.
If I ask it to play Godsmack, Voodoo, it won’t. I have to ask it to play Voodoo by Godsmack.
Still, even with these quirks, it’s a neat device that we use daily.
My next step is to install some smart light switches and dimmers for it to control. After that, maybe a thermostat. Maybe the outdoor lights, too, which are currently controlled by a Z-Wave device that I need to reprogram.
There’s a new Amazon Echo Dot, a smaller and far less expensive version of the Echo. It’s regularly priced at $50, and lacks the music-playing speaker(s) of the full-size Echo.
The Dot is designed for integration into an audio receiver or other speaker system you already use for music, or for use in areas where you just need the Alexa connectivity.
There’s a speaker inside for communication and feedback purposes, and apparently the Dot can play music, just not very well.
A lot of places will be selling the Dot for $40 during the holiday season. Maybe I’ll move our Echo to the kitchen and get a Dot for the living room.
Oh – one more annoyance. If I ask for the temperature, it gives me the full weather report every time. And if I don’t catch the temperature, I have to wait until the entire report is over before I can ask it to start over. At that point it’s quicker to whip out my phone.