Yes, Alexa is worth buying, and it comes down to the simple fact that it can make your life easier. I’ve had an Amazon Echo in my home since it first launched, and I’ll admit when it first came out I was skeptical of what it could do.
In the early days of the launch of the original Echo device it was a large monolith that stood about 10” tall on my dresser and didn’t have that many features or “Alexa Skills” which are essentially voice apps for you your Amazon Echo device.
But now years later there are thousands of “Alexa Skills” and devices that work with Alexa that can do everything from play music to control your smart thermostat and smart lighting. Everyday there are new Alexa skills added to Alexa that further increase her functionality.
Why is Alexa worth buying: The simple things
Alexa has thousands of different features but some of the simplest most trivial features actually can make a huge difference in your life. I use Alexa to set an alarm in the morning, or if your taking a nap it’s a great way to make sure you wake up on time.
Alexa Timer Feature: Up Your Cooking Game
One of my favorite features is the timer feature. It’s so easy to tell Alexa to “Set a timer for 5 minutes” that I use it all the time while cooking. It has made me a much better cook and grill master to actually time how long I am cooking something on the grill to get it to the perfect temperature, before I would just check my phone and would often forget how long I had something cooking leading me oftentimes overcook things on the grill. You don’t always have your phone while preparing food or in your hands when your moving back and forth between the kitchen and the grill so having a hands free timer to remind you to flip your food on the grill is a game changer.
Everything I cook on the grill now comes out almost perfectly done because I follow the prescribed times for what I’m cooking. It’s lead meals with more flavor and texture, that don’t end up dry or overcooked.
Is Alexa worth buying: Smart Home Control
Smart Home control with Alexa is probably my favorite feature of the Alexa ecosystem. With your Alexa device you can control other smart devices in your home with just your voice. It’s like magic the first time you tell your lights to turn on and off with your voice. All you need to do is say “Alexa, turn off my living room lights” and Alexa can control compatible smart home devices. You of course need to purchase and install the compatible smart home devices but once you do the set up is easy and the devices remain connected to the Alexa ecosystem.
The most common smart home devices you can control with Alexa are smart plugs which are are typically less than $30 and can be connected to any plug in lamp or light to enable voice control of your lighting. Philips Hue smart light bulbs are another popular option for controlling your lighting with voice. With the Phillips Hue light bulbs you just screw the bulb into an existing socket, connect it to the Phillips Hue Hub and you can control it with your voice.
Most smart home users eventually graduate into installing smart light switches which can control built in lighting. Another option for smart home users that want to get the most out of voice control of their home is installing a smart thermostat like Ecobee or Nest which can be controlled with your voice. With a smart thermostat you can adjust the temperature, change the thermostat from heating to cooling or turn off your HVAC system all with your voice.
Related Post: How to connect your nest thermostat to Alexa.
Is Alexa Worth buying? Alexa Weather Forecast
Every morning as I’m getting into the shower or preparing my breakfast I ask Alexa to tell me the weather for the day so I can properly prepare. With huge swings in weather conditions here in Chicago it’s great to know if I’m going to need to bundle up without needing to check my phone, and I can do it while I’m in a hurry getting ready in the morning without distracting from what I’m doing. Alex will tell you the weather if you have a device like the echo dot, but If you have an Echo Show or Echo Spot which both have screens she will also show you the forecast and extended forecast on the screen when you ask for the weather forecast.
To get the Alexa weather report say “Alexa, what’s the weather today?”
Is Alexa worth buying?: News & Flash briefings
You can set up your favorite news sources like CNN, BBC, NBC, NPR or FOX to provide you with a daily flash briefing of your favorite news. The flash briefing will tell you the most current events of the day whenever you ask for it. You can tailor to your flash briefing to even more specific interests and channels like sports, finance, education, daily meditation or reflection. The customization with flash briefings is endless and you're sure to find something that you will like on a flash briefing customized just for you. Once you have your news feed and flash briefing set up you can start your flash briefing by saying.
“Alexa, play my flash briefing.”
Is Alexa worth buying? Entertainment & Games
There are literally thousands of games available as skills on Amazon Alexa that can entertain you for hours. There are story games, word games, card games like blackjack and choose your own adventure games. One of the most well known and popular games is the Jeopardy game in the “Alexa Skills” store which is completely free.
Why is Alexa Worth Buying: Music
Out of the box if you get an Amazon Alexa and have an Amazon prime account you can listen to hundreds of thousands of songs for free. This is probably one of the best features Amazon Alexa has, if you get one of the higher end Alexa devices like the Echo Show it has great sound quality but even the more economical Echo Dot does a great job playing some music while sitting at your desk.
To play music on Alexa just say “Alexa, play country music”
Is Alexa Worth Buying: A Summary
The Amazon Echo Dot is typically priced under $50 and can be used as an alarm clock, streaming music player, smart home controller, entertainment device or used to listen to podcasts or the news. It allows you to choose the content you want whenever you want it, and you would pay a lot more separate devices that can do all of the things alexa does. On top of that Alexa gets smarter everyday and more Alexa skills are added to the store. Alexa can perform math problems, tell you your daily schedule and answer questions like “Can my dog eat broccoli”. If you value you your time Alexa is one of the best devices you can choose to make your life more efficient.
Related Post: 101 Best Alexa Commands
Is Alexa Worth Buying: All The Alexa Options
Amazon is always adding new devices to the Alexa lineup but we provide you with the information you need on each echo device below so you can choose what Alexa device is best for you. Most people end up with more than one Alexa in their home. I have found that having an Alexa in the kitchen, living room and bedroom are the most useful because these are the areas where I spend most of my time. Having an Alexa in your bedroom is great for controlling your smart devices before you go to sleep to turn off the lights and set your thermostat to the desired temperature. I started with one Alexa device and now have one in pretty much every room which makes it easier for me to control all of my smart devices anywhere I’m at in my house using my voice.
Frequently Asked Questions About Alexa
Does Alexa cost me anything to use monthly?
No, there is no monthly fee to use Alexa. You just purchase the device, set it up and you can start using your voice to use Alexa. If you have a prime membership you will get the most features out of the Amazon Alexa device but even without a prime membership Alexa has thousands of useful skills and features that don’t cost anything and don’t require you to have a prime membership.
Which Alexa should you get?
It’s really a personal preference but if you are someone who wants the best of everything than the Echo Show is the best Amazon Alexa device you can get on the market. It has a 10” screen and full voice functionality. If you are more value minded or want to just test the waters with Amazon Alexa the Echo Dot is a great option to get started with Alexa. What’s great about Alexa is that you can always add more to your home and they will work together to provide you the best user experience.
Does Alexa record everything your doing?
No, Alexa is only listening for your voice commands to do what you ask her to do. The Alexa is only storing the last 30 seconds of data it was listening for and then continually overwrites it. So anything you said more than 30 seconds in the past is gone forever.
Can Alexa Control My Smart Thermostat?
Related Post: How to control your smart thermostat with Alexa