Monday, March 5, 2018

Amazon Alexa Review

I mentioned before that I got one of the Amazon Alexa devices, here, and now that I've had it for a few weeks I thought it would be a good time to talk about it.

I have the Echo Spot - it has a decent speaker, and a small screen where I can watch videos, see scrolling headlines, the time, and the weather. I love the size of mine - it's perfect for my bedroom - it's not overwhelmingly big, but I love the screen because it's the only clock I have in my room right now.

Having the screen is great - I ask Alexa what the weather is each morning, and I've started watching the flash news briefing each morning to get me started on my day. I love reading newspapers (online), but I don't often watch the news, so this is the perfect way for me to get in more news viewing, in a condensed way. I also love that I can play a shortened version of Jeopardy on the Spot - I'm a huge Jeopardy fan. I also have the Spot connected to my phone, so I can make video calls, and respond to texts using it. Even if it's not hooked up to your phone, you can call other Alexa devices elsewhere in the house - so I can call my parents down in the kitchen!

The spot also controls my Hue light bulbs (I talked about them here). I just tell Alexa which lights to turn on or off, and she does it! It's really simple (and fun). I am still learning everything that Alexa can do, but so far I've played around with setting alarms, timers, and reminders, making lists, and asking her lots of questions to look up online. My dad loves asking her to tell him a joke (and another... and another... and another... and another...).

I always like to mention how technology like Alexa has the potential to help people with disabilities, so I'll leave you with this story. Overnight, when I'm asleep, I have to shut my bedroom door, because one of our cats LOVES to come in my room and chew the corners of my TV and the tubes of my breathing machines at 3 a.m. when he decides it's time for breakfast. So, if there's something that I need in the middle of the night, I use my cell phone to call one of my parents. A few years ago, though, my phone fell off my bed, leaving me without a way to call anyone. Luckily, I wasn't awake for too long before I heard one of my parents moving around in the hallway outside; also luckily, I wasn't too uncomfortable. But having Alexa as a backup, and knowing that I can use her to make phone calls even if I can't reach my phone, is a major comfort!

This doesn't mean that only people with disabilities should have an Alexa device, though - I think that everyone should have one! I love mine, and I'm loving finding out what all mine can do. Let me know if you have one, and what your favorite thing is that it does!

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