Amazon Echo

The INSIDER Summary:

  • Amazon’s Echo devices have dominated the smart assistant market so far.
  • Curious, I tried the Echo for a week and was pleasantly surprised by how helpful it was.
  • The device shaved ten minutes off my morning routine, helped me multitask, and made me actually enjoy cooking.

Amazon has dominated the smart assistant market with its Echo and Echo Dot speakers, selling 11 million devices between mid-2015 and December 2016.

The company just revealed the Echo Show, which will start shipping in June, and its AI Alexa now has more than 10,000 Skills — 10,000 different ways you can get hands-free help from third-party apps.

I recently had the chance to try out the Amazon Echo, and although I was initially skeptical, the device really did make my life easier during the week I used it.

So, what changed my mind? The Echo made it extremely easy for me to multitask, especially when I needed it the most: during my morning routine and in the kitchen while cooking. Here’s how I used the device, along with 21 of the Echo’s best features that were actually helpful:

SEE ALSO: Amazon’s new Echo camera is weird and a little creepy — but it hints at Amazon’s master plan to rule tech

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Train Alexa to get better at recognizing your voice.

In the week that I used the Echo, I didn’t have any issues with Alexa understanding what I said. However, if you’re experiencing issues, you can use the Voice Training feature to help Alexa better recognize your voice.

The process, as pictured above, is simple: Just say each of the 25 phrases that show up in your Alexa app. Make sure to speak in your normal voice, and stand where you normally would when using your Echo.

Talk to your Echo without saying the word “Alexa.”

The Echo’s default Wake Word is “Alexa,” which allows you to start talking to the device. 

But if you’re a Star Trek fan, you may want to turn your Echo into the Enterprise by changing its Wake Word to “Computer.” So far, you can also change the Wake Word to “Echo” or “Amazon.” 

However, you should know that Amazon chose the name “Alexa” for a reason: It has an “x” sound, and it’s a word you probably don’t use every day, so you won’t accidentally wake up the Echo at random.

If you miss something Alexa tells you, just ask, “Can you say that again?”

This one seems obvious, but until I figured it out, I had to ask Alexa the same question over and over again when I didn’t hear something she said.

You can also see questions you’ve asked recently, and Alexa’s answers, in the Home tab of your Alexa app.

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