Alexa - Any good?

Parksy

Moderator
Nov 12, 2009
11,904
2,399
40,935
Visit site
Nothing at all to do with cars or caravans, I'm thinking of getting Herself one of those Echo Dot thingy's as a last minute Christmas present.
She has a smartphone and an i-pad tablet, she's still learning to use both of these items, but she isn't very tech savvy at all.
She loves music, the weather forecast (!) listening to the radio and browsing for stuff in online shops, where she usually loses what she's looking at and I have to rescue her browsing.
Has anybody got one, or would you buy one?
There's around £60 at stake here, money that I could spend buying a perfectly good ironing board for her with. :ROFLMAO:
 
  • Haha
Reactions: Dodger524
Sep 26, 2018
648
210
11,135
Visit site
We're big fans of the Echo Dot, ignoring all the urban myths about "spying". We have two and my parents in law (in their 80's) have two. Our main use is for timing things in the kitchen (set a timer for X minutes), asking odd questions (how old is (e.g.) Kiera Knightley), weather and local tidal information, and more recently have a couple of smart plugs which we use to control table lamps (you can set "routines", so the lights come on an hour before sunset, and go off at 2215).

The in laws use it for two things; m-in-l listens to odd tracks, and uses the timer... f-in-l uses it to listen radio when he goes to bed (and sets it to turn off in X minutes) and again when he wakes up...
 
Oct 8, 2006
1,822
574
19,935
Visit site
Parksy, you should remember that Amazon employ thousands of people to listen in to what is going on, in theory to ensure that the device correctly recognises words and their abbreviations etc, but nonetheless you loose your privacy if you have one.
 
  • Wow
Reactions: Dodger524
Nov 11, 2009
21,167
6,692
50,935
Visit site
The very nature of using mobiles, internet and search engines has ensured a large degree of privacy loss. Add to that social networks and forums and there’s not much privacy left.
Why people get uptight about GCHQ/M15 collecting stuff defeats me when they are quite happy to donate it gratis to all manner of tech companies and retail companies.
 
Sep 26, 2018
648
210
11,135
Visit site
Of course, the real source of spying is all those Russian and American satellites... Put your foil hat on!:D...

You can access the device through an app on your phone (needed to set it up) and see every word that Amazon has heard from you...
 
Mar 2, 2010
1,231
5
19,185
Visit site
ive got three and they're very good especially if you subscribe to a music streaming service, haven't found an artist or song Amazon music haven't got. Also added wifi switches to control outside lights by speaking. She also says goodnight very nicely 😀
 
Jul 18, 2017
13,154
3,753
40,935
Visit site
Our main use is for timing things in the kitchen (set a timer for X minutes
Does this mean that you need to buy something else for the appliance to work using the Alexa? Wish we could phone home and tell Alexa to switch on the porch light on a dark winter's evening! :D
 
  • Like
Reactions: Parksy
Nov 11, 2009
21,167
6,692
50,935
Visit site
Does this mean that you need to buy something else for the appliance to work using the Alexa? Wish we could phone home and tell Alexa to switch on the porch light on a dark winter's evening! :D

could try a Hive. Useful too for putting heating on prior to return home if you’ve been away and set temperature for frost protection or just set it to OFF.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Parksy
Sep 26, 2018
648
210
11,135
Visit site
Does this mean that you need to buy something else for the appliance to work using the Alexa? Wish we could phone home and tell Alexa to switch on the porch light on a dark winter's evening! :D
Yes... There are various "smart" accessories that work with Echo devices, we have three TP Link smart plugs... Plugged into a mains socket, you set them up to work with Echo and then can control whatever is plugged in by voice, or as we do set a "routine" where a light comes on an hour before sunset, and goes off at another time.

For your case, you need to look for a "smart" light bulb that will connect straight to Echo (some require a hub - e.g. Philips), set it up and use the Alexa App on your phone to turn them on or off...
 
Jul 18, 2017
13,154
3,753
40,935
Visit site
So if we are away on holiday we can tell it when to switch on the lights in the evening? Wouldn't a timer be a cheaper option?

Also the light bulb to work with the Alexa is not cheap and there is no guarantee how long it will last. We bought one of those energy saving light bulbs at a cost of more than £5 and it only lasted a couple of months. It was a known branded name.
 
Sep 26, 2018
648
210
11,135
Visit site
So if we are away on holiday we can tell it when to switch on the lights in the evening? Wouldn't a timer be a cheaper option?

Also the light bulb to work with the Alexa is not cheap and there is no guarantee how long it will last. We bought one of those energy saving light bulbs at a cost of more than £5 and it only lasted a couple of months. It was a known branded name.

Yep, the Alexa app on the phone you can set up "routines". Our lounge lights switch on an hour before sunset, and as we're early to bed turn off at 2215... but that's through a smart plug (TP-Link Kasa)

I first bought a "cheap chinese" smart plug, but it was a nightmare and wouldn't connect to the network, so I returned it and bought the TP-Link Kasa Plug (TP-Link is a proper networking company)...
 

Mel

Moderator
Mar 17, 2007
5,524
1,445
25,935
Visit site
We have just got one. On QVC they are currently around £37 with p&p, and it comes with a smart plug. May be even cheaper elsewhere. So far, I have mastered getting it to turn the Christmas tree lights on and off and tell me the weather forecast.
If anyone is listening in to our conversations, they must be bored stupid by now. Anyway, Trip Advisor always knows where you are, if you download the app.
Mel
 

Parksy

Moderator
Nov 12, 2009
11,904
2,399
40,935
Visit site
Thanks Mel.
I bought an echo dot on Friday from Argos but had to pay the full price unfortunately.
Herself doesn't know anything about it, we stick to the old tradition of exchanging presents on Christmas morning so home delivery was out of the question 🎅🌲
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dodger524
Sep 26, 2018
648
210
11,135
Visit site
Thanks Mel.
I bought an echo dot on Friday from Argos but had to pay the full price unfortunately.
Herself doesn't know anything about it, we stick to the old tradition of exchanging presents on Christmas morning so home delivery was out of the question 🎅🌲

Support available from Boxing Day on this channel....:smile:... One of you will need to install the app on a phone or use the specific Echo set up website... App is best
 
  • Like
Reactions: Parksy

Parksy

Moderator
Nov 12, 2009
11,904
2,399
40,935
Visit site
Thanks Guzz, I might need to get back to you, but with the family round for the two days Alexa might have to wait until later in the week :)²¹
 

Mel

Moderator
Mar 17, 2007
5,524
1,445
25,935
Visit site
OH has now purchased a smart light bulb. So I am sitting here while it flashes on and off as he is trying to work out how to connect it to Alexa. It is not going well.......
Mel
 
  • Sad
Reactions: Dodger524

Mel

Moderator
Mar 17, 2007
5,524
1,445
25,935
Visit site
One Hour later and the bulb is back in its box and it’s going back to the shop. Absolute rubbish, can’t get it to connect. Read the reviews rather too late. We are not alone. What’s wrong with a light switch anyway.
Mel
 
Oct 22, 2009
586
5
18,885
Visit site
Nothing at all to do with cars or caravans, I'm thinking of getting Herself one of those Echo Dot thingy's as a last minute Christmas present.
She has a smartphone and an i-pad tablet, she's still learning to use both of these items, but she isn't very tech savvy at all.
She loves music, the weather forecast (!) listening to the radio and browsing for stuff in online shops, where she usually loses what she's looking at and I have to rescue her browsing.
Has anybody got one, or would you buy one?
There's around £60 at stake here, money that I could spend buying a perfectly good ironing board for her with. :ROFLMAO:
Our son bought us these for Christmas as I had issues with my hands and couldn't hold the phone and it has been brilliant as I can get her phone for me and contact my son at home or in the car to chat. Also use Alexa to remind me about meds etc. Thank you Scott my youngest xxx
 
  • Like
Reactions: Parksy
May 24, 2014
3,687
765
20,935
Visit site
I think in some circumstances they can be brilliant. However, my daughter bought one for my oldest grandson at Christmas, he is six, just. Im not sure I approve to be honest. Im old fashioned enough to believe searching books or even the internet (old fashioned?) helps towards reading and grammar. Too much too soon methinks.
 
Last edited:
Nov 11, 2009
21,167
6,692
50,935
Visit site
We don’t have Alexa but our Siri cracks into life when we call one of the dogs. Izzie. And Siri can’t for the life of her locate my Del Shannon greatest hits album. Everything but gets offered. Shouting doesn’t help either.
 

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts