Do you have a new Alexa spokesperson? Or consider how Amazon Echo Plus ($ 120 on Amazon) or Echo Input ($ 20 on Amazon) ?
These smart speakers can do a lot – – so much that it can feel overwhelming to figure out where to start Instead of looking for features in the Alexa app, you should look at the top 10 tips and tricks to make it easier to get started
. 1 Telephoning (basically landline calls)
Just when you thought house phones were dead, Amazon brought them back. Alexa can now be used to call other Alexa devices in other homes. And like the answering machines of the '90s and' 00s, you can even leave a message.
Note that anyone with your number can call your Alexa speaker, but can block unwanted incoming calls .
I think it's a wonderful and welcome feature, provided my parents do not use it to check on me too often …
2. Control Your Smart Home
Controlling your lights, door locks, appliances, switches, and other smart home appliances is probably what Alexa does best. You can browse the Smart Home Compatibility Tool to see what works with Alexa, but here are some suggestions:
Control your lights. You can ask Alexa to turn the lights on or off. It will even change the color when the lights change.
Open or close your garage door . Intelligent garage door openers like Garageio work with Alexa.
Change the temperature . "Hey Alexa, set the temperature to 68." Honeywell Nest and Ecobee are just a few thermostats working with Alexa.
. 3 Get cooking ideas and tips
No, Alexa can not cook for you yet, but she definitely makes cooking easier and less stressful. Personally, I'm keeping Alexa in the kitchen to do the following:
Get Conversions. "Alexa, how many tablespoons in a quarter cup?"
Ask for recipes . Alexa can get recipes from AllRecipes. With GoodNes you can follow recipes step by step on your iPad.
Play music "Hey Alexa, play smooth jazz." Because cooking with music is more fun!
Control a Sous-Vide Machine . If you are preparing sous vide, you can ask Alexa to set the temperature.
Set a timer . You can set several timers and ask for the remaining time.
Here's our longer list of everything Alexa can do in the kitchen (and how it all works.)
4. Receive the news
When you get ready for work or come home after a long day, Alexa can tell you what's going on in the world. This is called a flash briefing and can be customized to the news sources you want to hear about. What do you say? You want to hear CNET News? No problem – let's go.
. 5 Entertainment for Your Kids for Hours
Play Now: Look at this:
Children try to stop Alexa
Actually rather "let your children talk". Alexa is full of games, Easter eggs, stupid answers to stupid questions and much more. Here are some ways Alexa can employ your kids:
Play Games . This guide contains some of our favorite Amazon Echo games ($ 70 on Amazon)
Find Easter Eggs . Alexa loves a good inside joke.
Set timer and play music . Children will quickly learn to speak with Alexa and ask them about timers, music and random trifles.
. 6 Learn about more features
If Alexa can not do something right now, there's probably a skill for it. In fact, there are so many skills that Amazon has developed a skill finder that you can use to find skills. Start it by opening "Alexa, Skill Finder," or "Alexa, Skill Finder, telling me to give me the skills of the day."
Here are 35 of our most popular Alexa skills.
. 7 Get Fit (or Try It)
While you can not take Alexa to the gym (unless of course you have a punch), you can get you to give you fitness feedback and guidance give. There are a few ways that it can help you get well:
Check your FitBit values. If you sync your FitBit with Alexa, you can ask many questions, such as: B. "Alexa, ask FitBit how I feel today."
Get nutritional information . "Alexa, how many calories in a banana?"
Do a workout. After you activate the 7-minute exercise, just say "Alexa, start a 7-minute workout".
. 8 Control your TV
Forget about finding the remote – Alexa can control your TV almost exclusively by voice. The setup takes some time (and money), but once you've set everything up, you can say the following:
Alexa, turn on the TV.
Alexa, turn on Netflix.
Alexa, request Harmony to take a break
You will need a Logitech Harmony remote that comes with the Harmony Hub (you can also buy the Hub separately). Then follow this guide.
. 9 Use Spotify to Play Music
By default, Alexa plays music through Amazon Music because it's obvious. If you use Spotify, you can change this setting so that Alexa uses Spotify as the default player. Here is how.
Alexa offers more built-in features for Amazon Music. For example, you can ask Alexa for the song of the day and she will play it for you.
10th Train Alexa to do practically everything else.
Alexa can not talk to any device or website – many companies are just not on board yet. Likewise, not all features of supported smart home devices can be controlled with Alexa. However, there is a workaround that lets you connect Alexa to unsupported devices, apps, and websites. It's called IFTTT.
For example, with IFTTT, you can create a "rule" that changes the color of your bulbs when your timer expires. You can not just ask Alexa – you have to program it via IFTTT. If you're ready to take the plunge, here are our favorite recipes from Alexa IFTTT.
The CNET Guide to Smart Living: Everything You Need to Know to Live Smarter.
Smart Home 101: How to Create Your Own Smart Home.