Have you been asking yourself if you should get an Amazon Echo? Have you been wondering if you would find Alexa useful, but don’t want to pay roughly $180 to find out? The Echo Dot from Amazon is your solution! Here are ten reasons why you need an Echo Dot from Amazon.
Alexa is a voice-controlled digital assistant created by Amazon. Amazon now lets you access Alexa from the Echo, Echo Tap, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Look (invitation only!), Alexa Voice Remote, Fire tablets, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV, plus a growing collection of watches, phones, speakers, and other devices that have Alexa built in. Many of the reasons behind getting an Echo Dot are the same as getting any of the other Alexa devices, but the Dot does have some things going for it that the others don’t.
What is a Dot, exactly?
The Echo Dot is basically the top part of the original Echo. It has all of the functionality of the Echo without the big speaker. There was a slightly clunkier first version, but now we’re on the second generation of Dot, and it’s much sleeker looking.
You need the Alexa app (Android, iOS, or Fire OS), or the Alexa web page in order to set up your Echo Dot. But you do not need the big Echo. A Dot can work on its own, in conjunction with other Dots, or with other Echo products.
Ten Reasons Why You Need An Amazon Echo Dot
The original Echo is still pretty expensive, although you can get a refurbished Echo on Amazon for much less (I’m a huge fan of refurbished products). The cheapest way to try out Alexa, though, is with an Echo Dot. It usually sells for $50, but Amazon runs sales periodically, especially if you’re buying more than one. On Prime Day they were going for $35 as a Deal of the Day, but who knows when that kind of deal will come around again.
The Dot is about the size of a hockey puck. It can sit on an end table, counter, or desk and not take up much space. And while it has the same footprint as the original Echo, it’s only 1.3” tall, so it can go on top of other things in order to save space. Don’t even want it taking up space? Hang it on a wall, or stick it to a wall, or even hang it on an outlet (great for a bathroom!!).
Don’t like the speaker in the original Echo? Or don’t like how the Dot looks? You have options. Other companies have made docks for your Dot that give you a bigger, better speaker. This speaker from iHome turns your Dot into a bedside clock. The Vaux speaker, which I bought a couple of weeks ago, hooks your Dot up seamlessly with a bigger, rechargeable speaker, allowing you to get great sound wherever you want.
You can even change the look of your Dot with a custom case. Amazon sells little cases for the Dot to help it fit in with your decor. Some are even leather. Other companies have really cute ways to dress your Dot too, like these colorful cases. Or this owl. Or this sparkly vegan leather sleeve.
Dots are very portable. Going on vacation? As long as you’ll have internet where you’re going, you can take your Dot with you! Going to visit mom for a few days and can’t stand the thought of being away from Alexa? Take her with you! She can even travel in style.
You can use your Dot like an intercom, either with other Alexa devices in your house (your ‘Household’ in Amazon parlance), or with people in your contacts who have enabled the drop-in feature for you. Want to call your son to dinner without yelling up the stairs? Just tell your Dot to drop in on the Dot in your son’s bedroom. He doesn’t have to answer, you can just start talking (and listening). Worried about your grandparents and want to check in? Drop in on them and hear what they’re hearing. Yes, it’s a little stalkerish, but the people outside of your household that you want to drop in on have to give you permission first, and their device will make a noise when you drop in. How-To Geek has a good tutorial on how to get this set up.
You can also use your Dot to call or message people in your contacts, which is less intrusive (the person on the other end has to actually “answer” the call, or they can ignore it). But I can definitely see some uses for the drop-in feature, and they don’t all involve annoying my children.
At this point in my life I am completely unable to hold anything in my head for more than a minute. If you ask me to do something and I don’t make a note of it immediately, it will disappear from my memory. Yes, I know I said I would buy you Nutella, but I forgot twenty seconds after you mentioned it.
Now that I’m almost always near a Dot, I can just say “Alexa, add Nutella to the shopping list.” Or, “Alexa, add Go Shopping to the to-do list.” Later, I can have my Dot read the lists back to me, or I can see them on the app or Alexa website and check things off. I can even see my shopping list right on the Amazon website – how’s that for convenient? Each item on the shopping list can be searched for instantly on Amazon. And if you already use apps like Any.do or Todoist, your Alexa shopping and to-do lists can be integrated into the apps.
7. Timers, Alarms, & Reminders
At any given time I have three or four timers and alarms set, plus a few reminders. Add more if I’m cooking or baking. The other day as I was making dinner while fighting off a cold, I had two timers going for the meal I was making, one timer for bread that was rising, a timer for taking my next cold pill, and a reminder for picking something up for a neighbor. Each of the timers and reminders had a different name (“pasta” “oven” “bread” “Zicam” and “CSA”), so when each one went off I knew exactly what it was for, and I never had to wipe off my hands and hit a button.
8. Music, News, Podcasts, & Books
You can use your Dot to play almost anything from a bunch of different sources, including just using it as a Bluetooth speaker. Your Dot can play your audiobooks or read your Kindle books to you, read news headlines, play music according to your mood, and connect with services like Spotify and Sirius XM. You can even stream music to multiple Alexa devices.
9. Home Automation
There are a ton of devices that work with Alexa, including smart plugs, thermostats, lights, locks, security cameras, even major appliances. Chances are you already have something in your house that can be controlled with your Dot.
10. Random Info
“Alexa, what’s the capital of Canada?” “Alexa, how do you spell Ottawa?” “Alexa, how many tablespoons are in a third of a cup?” “Alexa, how many major-league baseball teams are there?” “Alexa, how much does the moon weigh?” “Alexa, what’s the weather like today?” And she never gets tired of answering!
Should you get an Echo Dot from Amazon? Here are 10 reasons why you need Alexa in your life! Click To Tweet