If you're the owner of an Amazon Echo smart speaker with Alexa, you have one of the best voice assistants available under your control. There's so much potential - from music, shopping and smart home control - but getting beyond the basics takes some fathoming out. This is where our ultimate Alexa user guide comes in.
The popularity of Amazon Echo speakers is causing a lot of people to jump on the bandwagon - and then ask, what exactly can Alexa do? And the beauty of those first weeks is trying things out, and being pleasantly surprised. But here's a helpful cheat sheet for things to do with your Alexa speaker:
- Play radio stations
- Stream music from key services
- Set Timers and alarms
- Get tailored news reports
- Ask web-based questions
- Control smart home devices
- Group together smart home devices to work together using singular commads
- Make phone calls
- Intercom between Echo speakers in your home
- Play Games
- Play soothing sleep music or ambient sounds
- Make fart noises
Best Amazon Echo Speakers
The key Amazon Echo is now in its second generation, with a shrunk-down design, and features a speaker and microphone built in. The new Amazon Echo uses a 2.5-inch woofer speaker inside and now has a mesh cover, which can be swapped for different colours to better blend in with your home decor. There are seven microphones built-in, with Amazon's second-generation far-field technology designed to better pick up your voice in noisy environments.
Amazon Echo Dot
Amazon Echo Dot is a slimmed down budget version of the full Echo, available at a fraction of the cost. It forgoes the proper 2.5-inch speaker element, and only included a 0.6-inch tweeter good enough for some basic audio feedback from Alexa. However, it can connect to existing speaker systems via auxiliary input.
Amazon Echo Show
Amazon's Echo Show adds a screen into the mix, so you can advantage of visual apps as well as audio skills. This can include video calling, weather apps, video doorbells and recipe apps - all controlled by voice, naturally.
Amazon Echo Plus
The new Amazon Echo Plus includes a smart home hub built in - a Zigbee hub that makes adding things like Philips Hue to the mix a much more straightforward process. By adding a smart home hub at a hardware level, the Echo Plus will automatically find compatible devices on your network. What's more, this means it's able to meld devices together, turning off multiple devices at the same time.
Amazon Echo Spot
The newest Echo is the Spot, a smart alarm which features a built-in screen. That means that, like the Echo Show, it is able to do video calling and display information - but as a bedside companion.