Echo Dot Review – 5 Echo Skills That’ll Make You Say Whoa!

Dec 29, 2017 | Blog, Reviews | 0 comments

Echo and Alexa

Skills that’s make you say whoa? If you don’t yet have an Echo, get one today. I guarantee you’ll see past the novelty of being a voice command unit, and appreciate it as a device that can truly save time, money and improve efficiency.

Owning the Echo Dot for less than a week has already impacted my life for the better. I love the idea of speaking a command and my questions get answered, or even better, things start to happen around me.

Echo models vary depending on the type of features you want, but one thing that make the Echo special is Alexa.

Who is Alexa? With the Echo, she is your personal assistant, concierge or sidekick. Whatever you want to call her, she is the one who can answer your questions or fulfill your requests.

 

Got Skills

In order to maximize what Alexa can do, you need to set up “skills” for your Echo. What are skills? Skills are functions and tasks that Alexa can perform based on your command.

For example, one built-in skill are clock timers. Ask Alexa to “set egg timer for 10 minutes”. Or “set laundry timer to 1 hour”. And Alexa will set them both.

Do you want to know the weather right now? Ask, “what’s the weather like today in Los Angeles”? Currently, there are over 25,000 skills, and as the popularity of the Echo brand grows, new developers are hard at work creating new skills that will unlock the true potential of Alexa.

I’ve already discovered one superpower of the Echo. Owning multiple Echoes harnesses the true power in the Echo experience. I was fortunate to receive 2 Echo Dots for Christmas and quickly set up one in our master bedroom and living room.

 

Lights

“Alexa, turn on Living Room lights.” This is all I have to say to turn on a primary plugin light. In order to do this, I did have to purchase a smart plug, that’s Alexa compatible. TP-Link is the brand I chose, and as a standalone smart plug, it can be programmed and controlled by their phone application called Kasa.

But when I paired the smart plug to my Echo Dot, I was now able to turn the light on/off just by my voice. Since I have 2 Echo Dots, I can create a multi-room music group. This means I can sync both devices to play music at the same time.

I can also create “routines” where I just speak a phrase like, “I’m going”, and the lights from the bedroom and living room turn off.

 

Guard Dog

This is a bit of a novelty skill, but can be useful depending on your situation. Guard Dog is a simple skill that Alexa activates to create dog barking sounds. The dog barks can be random or schedule it for short time periods while you’re home.

 

Google Calendar

I rely on Google calendar to help me get things done and to stay organized. Every day I review what I planned to do and make adjustments to my schedule as needed.

By enabling this skill, I can now add or deleted events to my Google calendar through Alexa. How do you do that? Simple. To add an event the conversation would go something like this:

Me: Alexa, add an event to my calendar.

Alexa: Ok, what day and time?

Me: Tomorrow at 12pm

Alexa: And what’s the name of the event?

Me: Go to Target get toothpaste.

Alexa: That’s, “Go to target to get toothpaste for tomorrow at 9am?” Is that right?

Me: Yes.

Alexa: Ok, I’ve added that.

 

Fire TV

If you own Fire TV box or stick, using Alexa now is a game changer. Now you have functionality control with just your voice. Play, stop, pause, rewind, fast forward are all commands you can control with Alexa. “Launch Netflix” and Alexa with open the app in Fire TV. Already watched episode two of House of Cards? Ask Alexa for “Next Episode”.

Not all functions work smoothly, but the ones that matter do. As technology for Alexa and Echo get better, so will the functions you’ll be able to do on Fire TV.

 

 

Music

This is my personal favorite. I stopped listening to music for a long time because I just found it a hassle to turn on my stereo or search my phone for the music or genre that I like. I have a short attention span with music and I tend to jump from one song to another fairly quickly.

What’s makes this a strong category is your ability to specifically customize your search. For example, you can ask specific requests like these:

“Alexa, play today’s R&B”

“Alexa, play pop music from 1985”

“Alexa, play jazz songs from 2001”

“Alexa, play Metallica”

“Alexa, play easy listening music”

“Alexa, play Sam Smith from 2013”

You can also integrate music with alarm settings. Ask Alexa to “wake me up to classical music” or “wake me up to Adele”.

 

Start My Day

Do you want to be updated on the things you’re interested in as soon as you wake up? Echo has a customizable routine that you can customize for your liking.

For example, I just have to say “Alexa, start my day” and Alexa will proceed to give my the weather forecast, traffic status for my work commute, and the latest news in tech, golf and the world.

 

Night Light

When I found this skill, I almost fell over. Activate a night light skill, then just tell Alexa to “open night light”  and the Echo lights will brighten a path for you in the dark of night.

It’s a cute app, but one that Leny and I appreciate when we need to get up at night.

If you have some favorite Alexa skills you’re currently using or find useful, be sure to comment below and be sure to share this article to your friends.

Go to Amazon for more information about these products:

Echo Dot

TP-Link Smart Plug

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