The Alexa Echo is a brand of Smart Speakers developed and marketed by Amazon. These devices are able to provide information simply by asking; an intelligent personal assistant called Alexa answers your queries.
The Echo Smart Speaker can also stream podcasts, music, weather, traffic, news and other real-time information; make lists, set alarms, play Audiobooks, and order merchandise on Amazon Prime.
Like Google Home, the Echo can also act as "command central" for automation of a Smart Home.
Here she is at her best in our master bedroom:
Amazon came out with Smart Speakers well before Google did; and so they have a wider selection available at this time. The current models include: the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Spot and the Echo Show.
The Echo, Dot and Plus are simply different sizes of speakers; whereas the Spot and Show feature visual displays. Read all about these five devices below.
As far as Alexa Smart Speaker devices, we only have an Echo Dot in our home, and so are mainly reviewing that model here. Keep in mind that ALL Alexa speakers can perform the functions described below.
This is what you can do with your Alexa Echo Dot:
Ask for information:
Control devices in the home:
Here are some "smart" household devices which we recommend for use with Alexa Echo Speakers: Smart Home Devices.
The Alexa Echo device is heavily linked to the Amazon website and Amazon Prime Services. Although you might see this as a bias, I like it because I am a loyal Prime member for years.
I just don't think you can beat their extensive customer reviews, decent prices and fast shipping. Returns are always a snap, no questions asked. I love the whole Amazon Prime Package!
Amazon Prime Shopping can be done through the Echo by voice, with updates on shipping/tracking provided. You must have an Amazon Prime Membership and account with payment method and default shipping address set up.
We think Amazon Prime Membership is one of the best deals on the planet. For $99 per year, you get free two-day shipping on many items, Amazon Video streaming TV shows and movies, free Amazon Prime Music, unlimited photo storage, Kindle Owners' Lending Library, exclusive early access to Lightning Deals, Prime Pantry, and much more.
Get more info to decide if Amazon Prime is for you here:
Alexa Skills- This is really the one defining feature that sets the Alexa Echo apart.
Amazon allows third-party developers to create independent apps or "skills" for Alexa. They are voice-driven functions which add to the diversity and capabilities of the Echo.
There are now over 15,000 Alexa Skills available today. So how do you find ones you might like? Try asking Alexa! Just say "Alexa, open Skill Finder" or "Alexa, what is the Skill of the day?"
Examples of some popular Alexa Skills:
The main things we use our Echo Dot for:
Linking the Alexa Echo to the Fire Stick
After setup, you should be able to:
*Ed. Note: Now that I have told you how well Alexa can control your Fire Stick directed-TV, I will have to admit that we did not set this function up.
I was all set to hook it up, but Scott just would not relinquish his beloved clicker. :)
Note the last two models have video screens.
For your convenience, we added the Amazon Affil links below. You pay not one cent more if you use them!
Click to read specs, tons of honest reviews and pricing:
For some quick giggles, Ask Alexa these questions.
We've created a list of some Smart Home devices that work great with Alexa Echo (as well as Google Home).
Read up on Alexa's direct competitor, Google Home.
Don't miss our honest reviews addressing Echo Dot versus Google Home Mini.