So you just got an Amazon Echo, either from a recent sale or from a vacation. Let’s see how to set it up and some useful things you can use for your Echo.
What is the Amazonian echo?
Simply put, Echo is a voice-controlled virtual assistant that lets you control your smarthome devices, check the weather, play music, get news updates, and more.
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There are several different Echo models you can choose from. The main Echo is the $99 version, which comes with a decent speaker for the price. There’s also a cheaper $50 Echo Dot on the bottom end (which comes with laptop audio quality in a smaller chassis), and on the higher end there’s a $150 Echo Plus, which has a built-in SmartHome hub and a slightly better speaker than the $99 model. dollars. You can also get Echos with screens like Echo Show and Echo Spot.
Before we set up the Echo and experiment with it, let’s take a quick look at the physical device and its buttons. In this guide, we’ll be setting up a regular Echo model, but setting up any of them works pretty much the same.
In terms of physical manipulation, the Echo has three things you can mess with: the microphone button (which turns the listen function on and off), the action button (which calls Alexa without speaking when pressed), and the volume buttons. The Echo Plus (and previous generation Echos) have a volume ring around the edge rather than volume buttons.
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In addition to the buttons, all recent Echo devices have an audio output port (next to the power port at the bottom) so you can connect a more powerful speaker to them.
Having briefly looked at the physical side of things, let’s see how to set up your echo.
Setting up your echo
To minimize Alexa instructions being issued in front of you, the first step (before you even unpack and plug in the Echo in) is to use the Amazon Alexa app for your phone or tablet (iOS/Android). Once you’ve downloaded the app, delay launching it right now.
Connect your Amazon Echo. The indicator ring at the top will flash blue and then switch to rotating orange (as shown above). This means that it is ready to be configured. If you miss this window and it starts complaining (and the ring turns purple), hold down the action button (the button next to the mute button) for about five seconds until the ring turns orange again.
When the Echo is fully powered on and in orange setting mode, pull out your smartphone and open the Wi-Fi settings. Like many SmartHome products, the Echo requires you to connect directly to it during the setup process in order to set it up.
As shown above, select the Echo Wi-Fi connection, which will look like «Amazon-53N» or some other set of numbers and letters, and connect to it.
You can then launch the Alexa app to start the installation and you should see this screen:
Choose which type of echo you are setting up. The app should go straight to the setup process, but if it doesn’t, switch to the Devices tab in the bottom right corner. If you personally purchased Echo on your Amazon account, then you should see something like «Echo of your name» in the list and you can select it.
If you received an echo as a gift or don’t see your device there, click the «+» button in the top right corner to set up a new device, and then click «Add device» to confirm.
On the setup screen, select «Amazon Echo» and you’ll be taken to a screen where you can choose which device you’re setting up.
Once you connect to an Echo with the app up and running, everything else is pretty easy. Enter your Amazon account login credentials, accept the Alexa user terms (for example, you agree that your voice is sent to Amazon to analyze commands and improve service), and then select your Wi-Fi network from the list of networks that Echo can detect.
Once you’ve connected your Echo to your home Wi-Fi network, you’re ready to start using it. Let’s see how to talk to Alexa and then how to customize your Echo experience.
The echo is programmed to respond to the «wake word», which is «Alexa» by default (but you can change the wake word if needed). Every time you say the word «Alexa», you will see the ring of light on the Echo glow blue. You can then execute this with a command or query.
However, there is one command that we want you to know that has flaws: «Alexa, stop.» At some point, you will ask Alex to do something that will lead to a big conversation or noise, and you will definitely want a way to calm things down. Also, how to make music stop playing, and how to turn off alarms and timers when they turn off.
things you can do
Now that you know how to summon Alexa and slow down any racket she might throw out, let’s look at some fun things you can do with Alexa to get you started.
While playing music through the loudspeaker is the least futuristic use of the Echo device, it’s one of the most fun, and you’ll probably find yourself using it quite often. By default, your Amazon Echo connects to your Amazon Prime account and gives you access to both music purchased through Amazon and Prime’s vast library of free music. You can also link your Spotify or Pandora account and use that instead, and play music on multiple Echos at the same time. Just say something like:
Alexa play [музыкальный жанр]
Alexa play [имя вашего плейлиста]
Alexa, play [группа]
alexa, game [песня] [группа]
Alexa play [станция] on the [потоковое обслуживание]
Alexa, what’s playing?
You can issue commands like «Alexa, play Christmas music» and Alexa will spin up a Christmas music playlist. If you have created personal playlists, you can also call them by the name «Alexa, play my Rainy Day playlist». You can also play music through group and song title like «Alexa, play Rush» or «Alexa, play Spirit of the Radio by Rush.
Make requests, get conversions and ask trivia
Right after the music is playing, the most popular thing in the office is asking Alexa questions. You can query Alexa for a wide range of questions and it will either give you a direct answer or, if the query is not part of its database, it (much like Siri) will give you search results for what you asked about. Here are some helpful things you can ask Alexa:
Alexa, what’s the weather like? (If you want to know the weather outside of your zip code, just add «in [название города]»»)
Alexa, what’s the news today?
Alexa, what is 295 x 5?
Alexa, what time is it in [город / штат / страна]?
Alexa, Wikipedia [тема] (you’ll get a short summary and then a link to the full Wikipedia entry in the Alexa app)
Alexa as spelled [слово]?
Alexa, how many cups are in a gallon? (This and other simple conversion questions are easy for Alexa)
Alexa, who won the 1979 Super Bowl? (this and other trivia questions with a clear answer tend to work pretty well)
Make shopping and to-do lists
Music playback is excellent (and, as we’ve noted, the sound quality is very high), and asking trivia questions on Alexa is fun, but if you’re in a performance mood, the list feature is handy. You can use the following simple commands to create lists and add objects to those lists:
Alexa, create a new list.
Alex, add [товар] to my shopping list.
Alexa, read my shopping list.
While it’s very convenient to have Alexa read the listings to you, don’t worry as the listings are also transcribed for you in the Alexa app. Each item you add is stored in the app, as shown above, so you can refer to it while running errands.
Customizing Your Echo Experience
Once you have a few voice commands in the bank, you can move on to customizing the Echo experience by changing some settings and downloading Alexa skills.
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You can adjust your Echo’s settings by opening the Alexa app and going to the main menu, selecting «Settings» and then scrolling down to the «Accounts» section. There you will find options for various things such as Music (where you can link your Echo to your Spotify or Pandora account), «Flash Briefing» (where you can change the source for your daily news briefings), «Sports Update» (where you can change the team you follow in MLB, NBA, and NFL) and other settings such as the route for traffic updates and your calendar link.
There are also Alexa Skills, which add more functionality to your Echo thanks to third party developers. You can access the skill store by going to the main menu and clicking «Skills». From there, you can download all sorts of different skills, from ambient rain sounds to skills that allow you to control SmartHome devices.