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REVIEW - Amazon Echo Dot / Alexa

Discussion in 'Geeks and Gadgets' started by wmrcomputers, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. wmrcomputers

    wmrcomputers Stafford PC & laptop repair specialist

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    Well, I have just purchased an Amazon Echo Dot (the new smaller version that isn't as loud) for £49.... and I'm sharing this fact here to say how impressed I am.

    As a basic "radio" type of thing it's plenty loud enough, but I can also say "Alexa, connect to my speaker" and she switches the sound straight over to my Sony bluetooth party speaker - hence the decision not to spend the extra £100 on the full sized Echo. I've signed up to "Amazon Music Unlimited" at £3.99 a month (a special price if you only want to use it on one Echo device) which gives instant access to 40 million songs, and so far I've not managed to throw anything at her that she couldn't play. I even have an older friend that loves the 50's and even he found that she could play anything he wanted.

    The speech recognition is brilliant and eventually I hope to buy a few sockets so that I can ask her to turn the bedroom and living room lights on and off and the bedroom fan etc.

    In short.... if anyone has been considering buying one of these things JUST DO IT. You won't regret it. Now I just need to encourage the missus to use it to create shopping lists.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. perry081064

    perry081064 Well-Known Forumite

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    Ive got one of those , a cheaper way of controlling the lights etc is to use a 'broadlink' extender/universal remote and then the dot can be fooled into thinking anything is a light .
    ( saves you buying the expensive lights in most home automated setups )

    to0 complicated to go into detail here , but if you look at this guys youtube page , he explains everything and more besides.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYLnawaM-36HncBBUeWrlGA

    ive got my lights, background lights , tv , tivo box , LED striplights controlled by it at the moment but theres so much more you can do with it.
     
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  4. wmrcomputers

    wmrcomputers Stafford PC & laptop repair specialist

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    @perry081064 thanks for that video link. I'll certainly be looking more into that. :)
     
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  5. perry081064

    perry081064 Well-Known Forumite

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    Going that route will save you a fortune , you will see when he shows you the alternative items you can use once you start using the broadlink with the Dot.
    ...looks difficult at first, but once you get going its actually quite easy mate.
     
  6. Trumpet

    Trumpet Well-Known Forumite

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    Can you just request a tune as & when, or do you have to create play lists?
     
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  7. perry081064

    perry081064 Well-Known Forumite

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    you can just request a tune whenever you want one or you can also set a playlist.
    ...also , you can access various genre radio stations as well ;)
     
  8. wmrcomputers

    wmrcomputers Stafford PC & laptop repair specialist

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    She'll accept requests such as...

    Play the latest song by "artists name"
    Play "song title" by "artist"
    Play me some party music
    Put Radio 1 on

    These are just a few examples. I've not created a single playlist yet, as I'm happy just getting her to play what I want to hear for now. No doubt I'll eventually create some playlists though, as I believe you can also ask her "add this song to my "playlist name" playlist please".

    Not happy though as she beat me at 20 questions with just 6 questions last night. Clever Alexa.
     
  9. perry081064

    perry081064 Well-Known Forumite

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  10. wmrcomputers

    wmrcomputers Stafford PC & laptop repair specialist

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    @perry081064 I've just been looking into my very cheapest option to switch on and off a few basic devices like fans, lamps etc and I've come across these at just £5.99 each
    Apparently they work via an app called "ewelink" and theres an alexa skill called "ewelink fan" that works them. For anyone with a bit of basic electrical knowledge they should be really easy to cut into the mains flex of the item and set up. One guy on youtube prefers to install them into a short extension cable which I suppose makes sense if you may switch their purpose frequently, but I'd prefer to just wire them directly onto each device. Suitable for items up to a 10A rating.

    I have one on order to try first, so I'll update you on how it goes :)
     
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  11. perry081064

    perry081064 Well-Known Forumite

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    Please do , looks ideal if they work ok.
    ..will await your testing ;)
     
  12. perry081064

    perry081064 Well-Known Forumite

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    wmrcomputers likes this.
  13. wmrcomputers

    wmrcomputers Stafford PC & laptop repair specialist

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    Not a prime member but know others that are. This would come only a couple of days after buying my dot! Never mind.
     
  14. Wormella

    Wormella Well-Known Forumite

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    We've had an Echo unit since it launched, Alexa sits in the kitchen and I love her (@Goldilox is a bit more sceptical) but she manages shopping lists, timers, music, radio and gives me a low down on the weather and my daily commute. We don't use her anywhere near to her capabilities but I think they are a fab addition to a home if you're part of an existing ecosystem.

    I was going to buy a Echo Dot for the bedroom - but amazon updated kindle fires to have alexa built in, so it seemed a bit redundant - but being able to add something to a shopping list you remember just before you gon doze off to bed, knowing it's stored (and in our case shared to our phones via any.do) is so very useful and feels slightly like the future.
     
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  15. proactive

    proactive Behind you with a big stick!

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    Does Echo work with Google Music?
     
  16. perry081064

    perry081064 Well-Known Forumite

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    officially no , there are certain hacks around but unsure if theres one for that.
    ( using a hack , i can now tell echo to ask google something )
     
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  17. tek-monkey

    tek-monkey wanna see my snake?

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    They were selling 3 dots for £75 if you were a student! Thought about it but most of my stuff is google so I don't really want competing architectures, then realised I wouldn't really use them anyway so left it!
     
  18. Wormella

    Wormella Well-Known Forumite

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    Most of my stuff is on Amazon, so it made sense to buy an Alexa - if it wasn't, I'd be all over the Google Home units
     
  19. wmrcomputers

    wmrcomputers Stafford PC & laptop repair specialist

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    I personally think the £3.99 a month for access to Amazon's 40 million strong music library is outstanding. It also gives access to Spotify if you have a premium subscription - but Amazon Music Unlimited is still far cheaper if it's just on one Echo.
    If you have google music in action already, then maybe Google Home would be better for you - but I don't personally have any experience of them.
     
  20. perry081064

    perry081064 Well-Known Forumite

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    bagged a 99p for 4 months trial of Amazon music unlimited last week :).
     
  21. wmrcomputers

    wmrcomputers Stafford PC & laptop repair specialist

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    @perry081064 - sorry for the delay as I've been away. Those Sonoff devices work an absolute treat! Only set up one on a lamp so far but now waiting for a batch of them to arrive. Can't believe they're only around £5 each!
     
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