Amazon Echo is a simple and powerful way to control all kinds of household gadgets.
If you’ve got one, or you’re thinking of picking one up, we’ve found five of the most useful gadgets to help make your life easier.
With Nest, you can control your home’s heating from your smartphone, wherever you are. That means you can make sure the heating’s bumped up an extra few degrees when you’re heading home from work on a cold day, or make sure it doesn’t come on too early if you’re going to be late.
With Echo and Alexa, it’s even better. You can say things like “Alexa, make it a little warmer in here” or "Alexa, turn the heating on at 6 am tomorrow".
The Hue range includes lamps, bulbs and lighting strips, all of which can be linked together and controlled by a smartphone app and your Amazon Echo.
With Echo, all you need to say is “Alexa, dim the lights” and it’s done. The colour bulbs can display more than 16 million colours, making it easy to create a lighting plan for every room and occasion. Give it a try by saying “Alexa, switch all the lights in the living room to purple”.
This little gadget seems simple on its own, but it gives you the power to make any electrical device smart.Just plug it into an electrical socket to allow you to turn it on and off from anywhere.
This means you can power up lamps, music systems, appliances and more using your voice. And, by combining it with a regular household extension lead, you can easily turn on several devices for a low-cost smart room setup.
Robot vacuum cleaners have been around for a while, but Neato’s Botvac steps things up by taking advantage of Alexa’s powerful voice commands.
The Botvac is highly sophisticated. It uses laser scanning, continuous room mapping, and real-time object detection to plan its route through your home, so it spends less time bumping into stuff and more time cleaning. It’s powered by a rechargeable battery, but will automatically head back to its charging station when it's running out of power.
Alexa makes it even better. When your floor’s looking a little untidy, just say the words: “Alexa, ask Neato to start cleaning,” and away it goes.
Fitbit make some of the most popular fitness trackers on the market. If you’re an Echo owner, the Charge 2 is the perfect choice.
It tracks your daily step count, distance covered, calories burned and heart rate. It also monitors your sleep and can even wake you up with a silent alarm.
Try “Alexa, how many steps have I done today,” “how well did I sleep last night” and “what’s my current heart rate”.