Could the Echo Dot control your home?
Before I received the Amazon Echo Dot, I had little idea of what to expect. As a Prime member, I had heard quite a bit about it, but I couldn’t quite see how it might fit in with me and my family. However, when I was sent a unit to review, I was really excited to finally give this a go!
I wasn’t sure how I’d use it initially, except for music, maybe. But once I installed it and looked into the app and capabilities, I was impressed. You can connect to Spotify via the app (if you have premium) or use Amazon Music. The kids loved talking to Alexa, or Echo as we call her – asking her to tell them jokes and play irritating songs like Gangnam Style and Whip Ney Ney! Shoot me already!!!
Personally, I found it most useful when dealing with my daily schedule. With two boys constantly distracting me, I never remember to make a take down appointments and notes, causing me a whole world of stress. Now I can just announce to Echo that I would like her to add something to my calendar, shopping list etc.
As well as the whole music and planning side of things, there are a number of other apps and devices you can use with the Echo Dot. You can connect an impressive number of smart home devices which include the Phillips Hue Range, Belkin WeMo switches and Nest Thermostats to name a few. The list is huge! It also works with some security systems as well, meaning that the tiny, but powerful Echo Dot can really control your entire home!
It really is amazing that you can buy something like this at such a low price point. At just £49.99 it’s a steal for it’s capabilities! Available in black or white, it comes with a small built in speaker. If you want to listen to your music properly, I would suggest investing in a good Bluetooth speaker. As with all Amazon products, they regularly do special offers. I loved this review unit so much, my Dad bought me one in the Black Friday sale for Christmas for £39.99, so keep your eye out!
There aren’t many cons taking everything into consideration, however, if you live with an Alex or Alexa, you might want to consider changing her name. My son’s called Alex and so it does goes off quite a lot, spewing random bits of information or telling you she has no idea what you’re on about. You can change this in the App and have the choice of Echo or Amazon. Ours is now known as Echo.
You can’t connect it to Google Music as it stands, which is a con for me, as that’s the paid music service I use. I’ve opted to pay the £3.99 for Amazon music for Echo, for now, until I decide what’s best for us as a family.
I do have a slight worry about security, as anyone in the house can order directly from the Dot if you haven’t set a pin. This can be done in the Alexa App under ‘voice purchasing’, which you can also turn off. I do think Amazon need to seriously address security, in general, across their ranges. As well as Alexa being able to order items by anyone that tells her to, their Kindle Fires also come pre registered to the person who buys them. So if you’re unaware of this and you’ve bought one with One Click, to wrap up and give as a gift, you could get stung like I did over Christmas. Luckily it was only a couple of pounds and my Dad was the recipient, but I had basically gifted my bank account without consent. So beware! Don’t ‘One Click’ tech items, as you don’t get the warning that shows up when you purchase through the usual channels. Always read the small print and check all information on the product before purchase.
Overall, I would give the Echo Dot a thumbs up. It has so much potential and has definitely made my life easier. We use our Dot daily and are also considering linking up home devices to it too. It’s an exciting space to watch expand and I look forward to seeing what’s next for the Echo range!