The Amazon Echo Birthday Present
I got the Amazon Echo as a birthday gift from my wife. After seeing how useful it was to control the light system in our house with voice command, I got more lights, and also purchased the Amazon Echo Dot so that we could control the lights throughout the house from and in our bedroom.
I don’t think my Amazon Echo devices have solved any problems or changed my life in any dramatic ways but it’s definitely made some difference. I can come home and turn all the lights on at once with my voice through the Phillips Hue Lights s App or WeMo Lights App. It’s convenient because when you go to bed and you forget turn off the lights in the living room, you don’t have to get back out of bed to go turn them off, you can just ask Alexa (Who is Alexa?). We also have a smart thermostat , so we can use voice command to control the temperature.
We’ve used Alexa to order Science Diet cat food once before, but we don’t buy from Amazon through the Amazon Echo very often. I’ve actually deactivated the option of making purchases with voice command because of safety and the fact that I have a three-year-old who can talk! The Amazon Echo also notifies you with voice updates on purchases through Amazon. One time, I got my wife a Christmas gift, and the Echo almost told my wife what I had bought her, so I had to say “Alexa, stop!” Luckily you can turn that off!
The Echo also gives you the ability to call other people who have an Echo device. My parents have one as well, so when they are babysitting my also-three-year-old niece, my daughter Abigail will call my parents and talk to her cousin over the Echo.
Music with the Amazon Echo
My wife and I have Amazon Music Unlimited, so we use the Amazon Echo for music a lot. What I usually do is play stations. For example, I’ll ask Alexa to play some upbeat, energetic, or relaxing music. A lot of big bands music come up, also some types of jazz. Also, as parents, one of the techniques that we use is to use timers for transitions. We’ll tell Abigail “five more minutes of TV” or “10 minutes till bedtime,” and Alexa will let us know when the time is up.
Amazon Echo vs. Google Home Mini
After having an Amazon Echo for a year, I bought the Google Home Mini to try it out because it was on sale. My Sony Bravia TV at home has the Android operating system on it, so it’s supposed to work well with the Google Home devices, so that was another motivator for my purchase of the Google Home Mini .
At first when I bought it, I paired it with the TV, and I was able to have it do things with voice command such as open YouTube videos videos and Netflix … Honestly, I didn’t really use it to watch TV—I just wanted to try it out. It worked okay, but just not well enough for me to keep using it that way. It was easier for me to use the remote than to try to use the Google Home.
The way I use the Google Home Mini the most right now is in the office to control our smart lights through the WeMo Lights App by Belkin. Every now and then, we check the weather with the Google Home Mini . Personally, I like the way that Google provides the weather forecast better than the way Amazon does it with the Echo. When you ask the Echo for the weather, it gives you the entire forecast, while the Google Home Mini just tells you what the temperature is.
I recommend the Amazon Echo , and in fact that is why my parents bought one. For music, I recommend the Amazon Echo Plus because the speaker is better. If someone just wants to try out the product, I would recommend the Amazon Echo Dot . I definitely use the Amazon devices more than the Google Home Mini , but depending on what my friends want to use a home system for, I would recommend the Google devices as well.
- Amazon Echo
- Amazon Echo Dot
- Amazon Echo Plus
- Amazon Music Unlimited
- Google Home Mini
- Phillips Hue Lights
- Smart thermostat
- Sony Bravia TV
- WeMo Lights