If you're sold on the future of smart home, you don't need me to exalt all the benefits of Amazon Echo's voice-activated personal assistant, Alexa. But this post is actually for the skeptics out there. Even if you think the whole voice-controlled smart home thing is silly or extra, I bet I can sell you on it, at least for one room in your home.
See, I was an Echo skeptic for a long time. Until my sister-in-law gifted us an Echo Dot for Christmas last year. We plugged it in and set it up on a shelf in the living room, and it's been an invaluable tool for life at home. I use it to control music while I'm home (you wouldn't believe how much easier it is to say "Alexa, pause" than it is to find the pause button when you've got a call incoming on your phone), shout out to set timers while I'm cooking (hot pan in hand), and I've even ordered replacement trash can liners before I even had the last one on the bin.
So yeah, I love our Echo now. (Believe me: This isn't an ad, just a very enthusiastic endorsement of a product I use every day and truly appreciate.) And I even got a second one — for the bathroom. Which, let me tell you, has been life-changing. Here's why.
You can listen to music, and control it with your voice.
Nothing is better than tunes in the shower. Consider the Echo — the full-sized one that features an incorporated speaker — your new shower radio. Only, it doesn't need to be in the shower. You can leave it across the room on the counter and easily shout out controls like "skip this song" when something comes on that doesn't exactly fit your morning shower or bedtime bath vibe. And, I know this is weird and only a benefit if you're a nervous person like me, you can quickly pause the music if you think you hear a thump or thud or shout from downstairs that needs investigating. And if music's not your thing? The Echo can read audiobooks out loud, too.
You'll never forget a shower thought.
Those brilliant ideas that only come to you mid-shower? You could keep a soggy notepad in the stall to write them down, or just ask Alexa to pen a note for you.
Get an update on the time, set an alarm or set a timer.
For those of us who enjoy long showers and sometimes get a little side-tracked and oops now I'm late for work, you can ask Alexa to give you updates on the current time, or even set an alarm for the minute you have to be out of the shower. The benefit to doing that with Alexa instead of your phone is that you can tell Alexa to shut off the alarm or set a new timer without even pulling back the curtain—it's like a snooze button for the shower. And if you have hair treatments or other shower routines that need to be timed, the voice-activated help makes it super easy.
You can get the news, weather or your calendar appointments read to you.
Who couldn't use a little help streamlining their morning? Kill two birds with one stone by letting Alexa check up on the stuff you normally do on your phone, like the latest news and weather, or your day's meetings off your linked calendar.
You'll never forget that you're low on shampoo.
On the list of things I never expected I'd do with the Echo Dot, ordering supplies is one of them. There's something enthrallingly Jetsons-esque about shopping by voice, but I can attest that it's actually super convenient remember to re-up on the things you need while you're still in the middle of something. Nowhere is that more convenient than the shower. Once you notice the shampoo running low, or the razor's gotten a little dull, you can have a new one on the way to your door before you even get out. Or even if you'd rather shop offline, Alexa can add items to a running shopping list by voice.
Amazon Echo hands-free speaker, $179.99
And if you think you don't have the counter space, you might want to try this little accessory on for size: The Spot ($13.99) turns any outlet into a an Echo Dot dock. Although you won't benefit from the 360º speaker of the classic Echo, this works great for anyone who just wants to set timers, or already has a bluetooth speaker they love.
Do you have an Echo? How do you use it? Any of you convinced you want to turn your morning soak into a power shower?