Amazon has been grabbing the attention of users of all levels of tech prowess since its debut a few years ago. Introducing the Echo Smart Speakers with a built-in virtual voice-controlled assistant called “Alexa”, Amazon stimulated a plenty of device manufacturers to build more products that integrate with Alexa. Ranging from Amazon Echo and Fire lineup to home security, kitchen appliances, and even automobiles, you can see Alexa enabled devices everywhere.
The Alexa enabled devices by Amazon are merely wireless speakers that are meant to answer all your queries as do Siri and Cortana. But when paired with a smart home device or third-party skill (Amazon’s name for “app”), they prove to be extremely powerful. To help you get familiar with all devices Alexa can control, we’ve brought this comprehensive guide.
Alexa Enabled Devices
Not only the very first Echo, Amazon has developed a long series Echo and Fire hardware that syncs well with Alexa to expand the virtual assistant to be multifaceted.
Amazon Echo (2nd Gen)
Released last year, the new Amazon Echo is smaller and more affordable version of its predecessor. Simply instruct this 2017 Echo device using the default wake word “Alexa”, and it will do everything via the internet, from controlling your smart home products to fulfilling your entertainment requests. You can command Alexa to play music from Spotify, Amazon Prime, TuneIn and much more for you, set timers and alarms, control home lights, summon weather forecasts, answer general knowledge questions…you name it.
Amazon Echo Plus
The brand new Echo Plus features the same design as the first-gen Echo. Only this time Amazon experimented with the color, delivering the new product in silver adding to the previous black and white models. As far as Amazon Alexa is concerned, Echo Plus includes a new feature to the existing Alexa features. Now, this personal assistant also helps you locate existing devices in your house.
Amazon Echo Show
Echo Show is the new take on the first Echo smart speaker, with an additional 7in touchscreen and 5 MP camera to help you command Alexa. What makes Echo Show remarkable is the glowing screen that lights up on your entering the room and offering you tips on how you can benefit more from Alexa. Simply instruct Alexa to make video calls for you, run Amazon Prime Videos, show your favorite song-lyrics and food recipes as well as read stories to you with the display of the text on the screen.
Amazon Echo Connect
The next in line of Alexa enabled devices comes Echo Connect. Costing you $35, Echo Connect is dedicated purely to landlines. It allows your existing Echo speaker to a speakerphone that receives and makes phone calls by using your landline number. You need to simply set up your landline number with Alexa and interact with your landline contacts via your Echo device.
Amazon Echo Dot
Bringing voice control to almost any smart device, The Echo Dot is every bit Amazon Echo, except there’s no speaker beneath it and so, costs you one-third of Echo’s price. Notwithstanding the compact size, the Dot is nowhere less in utilizing Alexa’s smart features. The small built-in speaker allows you to interact with Alexa but is not ideal for playing music. For music, you’ll have to connect the device to your existing wireless speakers via Bluetooth.
Amazon Echo Spot
Possibly the cutest of all Alexa enabled devices, Echo Spot brings Alexa in the form of a small touchscreen alarm clock. But it’s more than that! Providing you information as weather forecasts and reminders, the Echo Spot has the same functionality as Echo Show. You can make videos calls, set up your appointments using Google Calendar, make to-do lists, stream your favorite music and many more. What makes Spot beneficial is that you can see Alexa’s replies on screen, rather than only listening to its voice.
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Offering all the conveniences of Alexa in a Bluetooth speaker, Amazon Tap is a portable and more affordable version of Amazon Echo. But it has a downside too! It’s battery-powered and requires WiFi to interact with Alexa. Besides, you need to press its mic button to give commands. Nonetheless, there’s an update which gives you a hands-free option, but you’ll have to compromise an hour of battery life to use it.
Amazon Echo Look
A new member of Echo family, Amazon Echo Look is a $200 hands-free camera running Alexa. By instructing Alexa, you can take voice-activated, floor-length selfies and short videos, comparing your outfits to suggest you which one looks better on you. This way, it makes Alexa works as your personal stylist.
Amazon Fire TV
The Fire TV is Amazon’s streaming video player in the form of a tiny dongle that you can plug directly into your TV. The design is simple and elegant with nothing except the logo in front, an HDMI port at one corner and a micro USB port at the opposite corner. Speaking of Alexa, there’s a difference how you use Alexa on Fire. You will have to turn your TV On and speak into the Fire TV Remote to instruct Alexa.
Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet
Utilizing Amazon Alexa to the fullest, this $80 tablet is the perfect blend of quality and price. Simply use the default wake word “Alexa” and your personal voice-controlled assistant will stream TV and movies, access thousands of apps, play games, read Kindle books and a lot more.
Owing to the recent update to Amazon app for iOS devices, now you have Alexa integrated into this popular shopping app. Although using the personal assistant is not as good as when you use it on Echo series, it nevertheless, allows you to search the Amazon store for products of your choice. Sadly, there’s no report as to when Android users can benefit from the app.
Huawei Mate 9
Huawei Mate 9 smartphone caught every Android user’s eyeballs when Huawei announced that it isn’t Google Assistant, rather Alexa that’s going to take their commands. This makes Mate 9 the first phone to integrate Alexa. Offering a long battery life and Leica camera, this smartphone offers a “Machine Learning Algorithm” that makes the phone optimize eventually to the user’s habits for a better response.
Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat
Ecobee4 is the best choice if you want Alexa to be available to you throughout your dwelling place. It’s super-easy to install and has a built-in Alexa which is compatible with Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, Apple HomeKit, and IFTTT. Simply speak in the Alexa mic and it will track your home’s humidity and monitors your energy usage.
The first third-party device with Alexa integration, Invoxia Triby functions on multiple levels such as a wireless radio, WiFi telephone, wireless intercom, personal assistant, audiobook reader, and a lot more. It comes with a magnetic base to attach to a metal base, a built-in speaker that is great for playing your favorite music, and an ability to make phone calls.
Smart Home Hubs
Although Alexa can run many smart home devices, there are still a lot of integrations that require a smart home hub as an intermediary.
Samsung SmartThings Hub
One of the most robust smart ecosystems, Samsung SmartThings is the one of the Alexa enabled devices that acts as a grand unifying box that connects all those devices that don’t have their personal apps to correspond to other devices. Using SmartThings, you can control devices such as air vents, switches and outlets, thermostats, smart light bulbs, and smart locks.
More affordable than SmartThings, Wink Hubs integrates Alexa to control smart bulbs, thermostats, switches, and outlets. Although the number of devices that are compatible with it is lesser than the number that syncs with Smarthings, Wink Hubs are evolving eventually. In fact, the 2nd Gen Wink Hub offers Bluetooth and a more powerful processor.
Alarm.com works as a middleman between security equipment dealers and hardware manufacturers. Offering you a long list of home defense equipment, alarm.com saves you the pain to set up a smart home system with the help of Alexa which uses your voice to arm your security system.
Working as a professionally-installed smart home and security system, Vivint Hub integrates Alexa to not only arm your house’s security system but also controlling lights, garage doors, thermostats and smart locks.
In addition to the aforementioned Alexa enabled devices, there are many third-party products such as lighting, switches and outlets, heating and cooling appliances, automotive, and even apps that Alexa can control.
The first Alexa enabled home gadget is smart lightbulbs. The manufacturers include Philips, LIFX, Osram, TCP, and Cree. Besides lighting, there are also switches, outlets, and plugs from makers like Belkin, iHome, Samsung, Lutron and Evolve that you can make smart with Alexa’s help. Moreover, there are apps and services; IFTTT, Spotify, Uber, Domino’s, Google Calendar, Pandora, TuneIn, Amazon Prime Music and a lot more you can control using the Amazon’s voice-controlled virtual assistant.
Not only your home but Alexa has also entered your cars and garages, thanks to the new integrations such as Ford Sync. There’s a small device called Automatic which is meant to transmit your driving data like fuel level to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Furthermore, you can use a WiFi enabled-device to open and close your garage’s door. All you have to do is simply instruct Alexa to do so.
Would you like to own Alexa enabled devices? How much they seem useful to you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
More at SoftwareVilla: 11 Best Amazon Alexa Skills You Probably Don’t Know