During the holiday season, one of the hottest products were the new Amazon Echo Dot's, which they dropped the price of drastically to a stunning $29.99 during that period. I was one of those who finally took the plunge and got one myself, and it's been so fun seeing all that it's capable of!
At first it's unclear what the draw of Alexa really is as it seems similar to something like Siri, which anyone who has an iPhone automatically has included on their operating system. However, the fun part comes when you realize the things Alexa can do to speed up tasks that you're already doing.
With the addition of a couple wifi plugs, you can turn your Alexa into a powerful smart hub for your home, and the entry price is so cheap!
When I originally bought my Alexa, for $5 more it came with a Wi-Fi plug that enables me to control that plug through my Alexa voice commands. However, that TP-Link model that came with the bundle was extremely bulky and produced a really annoying low-level hum when the plug was activated.
After researching the best plugs, I finally took the plunge and bought two of the Etekcity plugs and they've been working great so far!
The most logical item to connect these plugs to is lights since that's an item that needs to be turned on and off often, and works well to turn on and off with Alexa, however many people will use these plugs for TV's, speaker systems, etc.
When you connect your plug and enable the skill through Alexa, all you have to do is name the plug (for example one of my plugs is just lamp) and with a voice command 'alexa lamp on' it will preform the command within a second or two.
Additionally, I hooked up a TP-Link bluetooth receiver to my speakers which can connect to Alexa and it makes playing music through Spotify through my Alexa a breeze.
Finally, me and my roommates had some fun being able to link two Alexa's together and enable the 'drop in' feature and we can chat from room-to-room instantly using them almost as walkie talkies. Super fun!
Check the video below for a demo of some of these features!