We’ve seen digital assistants from all the big names but surprisingly, none have been quite as useful as Amazon Echo.
The cylindrical speaker even has a few sibling rivals now with the Tap allowing portability and the Dot able to turn your speakers into a whole Alexa army.
Alexa is even headed to your wrist thanks to the CoWatch which could make for a compelling experience as it’s far more accessible than the whole line of speakers.
Essential reading: Smart home on a budget
Google Assistant may be the Achilles heel to Amazon’s Alexa, but it’s hard to compete with Alexa’s ability to find information, play music, read audiobooks, set reminders and much more, all done hands free with decent accuracy.
We really can’t wait to test out a watch version of Echo considering the possibilities, but until then we’re happy figuring out ways it makes life simpler. Here’s what you need to know to get the best experience with Amazon Echo.
Resetting the Echo
As with all technology, it’s bound to give out from time to time. Thankfully you can reset the Echo to hopefully fix your issues. Just unplug then plug the device and wait for the Wi-Fi to connect back up. If this doesn’t work, find a paper clip and press the reset button on the bottom of the Echo. The light ring should turn orange, blue, off and then on again to take you through the initial setup process.
New feature updates
Though your app will let you know about new goodies that need to be downloaded, you can ask the Echo yourself. Sometimes it’s quicker and you get a rundown by voice instead of reading about it.
Ask: Alexa, do you have any new features?
Fitness with Alexa
You can sync up your Fitbit with Echo to check your fitness goals and progress. To take it one step further, there are simple exercise programs that can be enabled in the Skills section. If you start the programs with your music on, it will play faintly in the background.
This one comes with a timer and cycles between different reps. The latest version also keeps track of your exercises and resumes where you’ve left off. The companion app also provides images and directions for the various reps.
Ask: Alexa, start seven minute workout
Push Up Century Club
This one pushes you to well, increase your ability to do push ups. Based on your current level, Alexa will determine which set of reps you should start with. Then Alexa will guide you through a workout complete with 30-second breaks in between.
Ask: Alexa, start push ups or Alexa, start push ups on day four (for harder workout)
This skill has Alexa guiding you through a beginner’s pilates class. The skill says you need a mat. From there, it will take about 20-30 minutes to complete.
Ask: Alexa, start pilates class
If you’re dealing with a particularly large set of numbers and don’t want to bust out a calculator, you can ask Alexa to do the math. She can do pretty long equations now along with adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, square roots, power and factorials.
While there aren’t actually that many game capabilities, there’s several pages of trivia you can download from Skills. Jeopardy is a fun one that give yous six different clues every day allowing you to say (or ask) the answers to Alexa.
Ask: Alexa, play Jeopardy
For the older crowd, DrinkMaster has three games you can bring up during parties.
Ask: Alexa, start drink master
Sharing accounts and switching profiles
You can store different accounts to use the Echo though each person has to be a Prime member. Head to Settings in the Amazon Echo app then set up Household through a series of prompts that includes the other person to sign into their Amazon account.
From there, you can then switch profiles.
Ask: Alexa, switch profile
You can also figure out who’s profile you’re using if you’ve forgotten.
Ask: Alexa, which profile am I using
Mute the Echo
Sometimes, you may not want Alexa listening for the Wake word (Amazon, Echo or Alexa). Good thing you can turn it off by muting the Echo for awhile. Simply push the button with a slashed through microphone. A red ring will appear and the Echo will be muted. Push the button again to turn it back on.
Alexa easter eggs
Much like random questions you can ask Siri, you can also ask Alexa fun little questions to get some pretty hilarious answers. Great for parties or if you’re bored.
- Alexa, party on, Wayne.
- Alexa, is the cake a lie?
- Alexa, what’s in name?
- Alexa, what does the fox say? (multiple answers)
- Alexa, who you gonna call?
- Alexa, who is the walrus?
- Alexa, do you have any brothers or sisters?
- Alexa, do you know the muffin man?
- Alexa, knock knock.
- Alexa, my name is Inigo Montoya.
- Alexa, set phasers to kill.
- Alexa, may the force be with you.