Thousands of people are getting their first home bot in the mail from Amazon this week wondering exactly "what can I do with this thing?" We're hear with some answers and ideas.
First, what you need to know is that the Echo device (shaped like a hockey puck) needs to be plugged into a wall outlet or other power source. It's limited by the fact it does not run on batteries. Neither does the original Alexa but the Alexa Tap can be charged and taken anywhere.
The Echo Dot has a speaker for listening and answering questions and will play music; if you want better sound you can connect it to a bluetooth speaker. It can also be connected to stereo systems or speakers through an audio cable.
The Vaux Speaker is made specifically for the Echo Dot. It has a fitted place for the device and connects to both the audio speaker output and power input. Once the Vaux is charged and the Echo device placed inside, the Echo Dot can be taken anywhere without being connected to an outlet. The Vaux is a 360-degree speaker with very good sound and will keep the Dot charged for around 6 hours playing music continually. The Vaux is a handsome device that looks great on a shelf. It's $50 and comes in black or white.
The Dot can also connect to non-bluetooth speakers and headphones by using a bluetooth transmitter/receiver like one from iClever. You can plug this tiny gadget into the audio input of any car or home stereo system and it will enable the system to connect to bluetooth devices.
A bluetooth transmitter/receiver will allow you to play music from the Dot to any system.
I was kind of cool to the Alexa family of devices but after using the Amazon Tap for awhile I grabbed an Echo Dot for another room. I'll end up getting a couple more I'm sure as I've come to enjoy turning on and off lights, turning on or disabling the home security system, play music, order anything from Amazon, make shopping lists and having someone tell me a joke just by asking.
The Echo Dot sells out at Amazon from time to time. On Amazon Prime Day the price dropped from $50 to $35. Shoppers took advantage of the discount to dip their toes into home automation for the first time.