Lenny

Advice Buying: Amazon Echo

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Hi all, 

I'm looking for advice from any of you whom have an amazon Echo or Dot etc. 

I'm not purchasing for myself and I don't have one, I'll be purchasing one next week as a gift for my mother whom lives alone, 

She's 69 this year and although she doesn't have a smart phone, can't operate a computer and can't operate a tablet, She does have an internet connection in the home as part of her television subscription package, 

I though an amazon Echo would be a good companion for setting reminders, asking questions without having to use a computer and perhaps get her a few bulbs for her birthday which Alexa could control.

I have a few questions regarding the devices; 

I understand the Echo has a built in smart hub which can control compatible light bulbs and switches, 

Which makes me favour the Echo model, 

Questions:

I will need to use a tablet or laptop in order to setup the device on to her wifi network, But will it work on its own after the initial setup? 

I suppose it needs to be linked with an amazon account, so I'll need to setup an email address and amazon account for her?

Will the reminders work independently by just asking Alexa to remind or Set alarm, 

Will music requests work without having to set up a playlist? 

I've watched a few YouTube videos of unboxing and stuff but nothing to say how it works independent of any other devices.

Thanks for all potential information guys 👍

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I will need to use a tablet or laptop in order to setup the device on to her wifi network, But will it work on its own after the initial setup?  yes it will. Just use her tablet, download the Alexa app and follow the instructions. In the app, you can disable the function where you can place an order by speaking to Alexa, I did this

I suppose it needs to be linked with an amazon account, so I'll need to setup an email address and amazon account for her? I believe so, should be straight forward enough.

Will the reminders work independently by just asking Alexa to remind or Set alarm, Yes (from memory) only tried it once myself.

Will music requests work without having to set up a playlist Not sure what music will be available if you just have a basic (non Prime) account, but there should be "stations" that play all sorts. Download the amazon music app to see whats available, though you don't necessarily need it to play music, just easy to see what you can get for free.......Update: just tried amazon music with my non prime account and I couldn't play anything...kept asking me to join up. I could only play music that I had bought previously.

 

Edited by Frembrit

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3 hours ago, Lenny said:

 

Will music requests work without having to set up a playlist? 

 

 

I think Frembit above has answered most things better than I could, we have a subscription to amazon music at £3.99 (I think) a month and has found just about any time we've asked it. 

 

I don't know your mother obviously, but if she has a broad accent Alexa may struggle to understand! We've certainly had times where we've had to speak like a BBC newsreader to get her to understand! 🙄

WARNING!!!! LANGUAGE NOT SUITABLE FOR LITTLE EARS!!! 

 

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4 hours ago, Frembrit said:

I will need to use a tablet or laptop in order to setup the device on to her wifi network, But will it work on its own after the initial setup?  yes it will. Just use her tablet, download the Alexa app and follow the instructions. In the app, you can disable the function where you can place an order by speaking to Alexa, I did this

I suppose it needs to be linked with an amazon account, so I'll need to setup an email address and amazon account for her? I believe so, should be straight forward enough.

Will the reminders work independently by just asking Alexa to remind or Set alarm, Yes (from memory) only tried it once myself.

Will music requests work without having to set up a playlist Not sure what music will be available if you just have a basic (non Prime) account, but there should be "stations" that play all sorts. Download the amazon music app to see whats available, though you don't necessarily need it to play music, just easy to see what you can get for free.......Update: just tried amazon music with my non prime account and I couldn't play anything...kept asking me to join up. I could only play music that I had bought previously.

Thanks very much for taking the time to go through my questions mate, I have prime membership on my own personal account; i didn't want to put the Echo on my account because I was afraid my nieces or nephews would think it funny to order stuff, 

But you said; that feature can be disabled, that's a total game changer for me because I can now possibly register the device on my prime account without her having to pay any extra and me not worrying about getting billed for anything, 

The reminder feature should help her a bit as she's starting to forget some things regarding time of day to prepare to go somewhere. 

1 hour ago, Turvey said:

I think Frembit above has answered most things better than I could, we have a subscription to amazon music at £3.99 (I think) a month and has found just about any time we've asked it. 

I don't know your mother obviously, but if she has a broad accent Alexa may struggle to understand! We've certainly had times where we've had to speak like a BBC newsreader to get her to understand! 🙄

WARNING!!!! LANGUAGE NOT SUITABLE FOR LITTLE EARS!!! 

 

My mother has a Belfast accent so fingers crossed 😆 im more Connor McGregor accent myself, having moved 17 years ago now

Poor Scottish woman 😭 brilliant 😂

I have Spotify which I don't really want to share because if I'm listening to it, others on my account would change the track, 

I wouldn't mind paying an extra £3.99 on my subscription if it ment it played any song on request, 

Does it really play almost any song you ask with amazon music? Well providing you talk like Dell boy 😉

She would love that be over the moon with it, 

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30 minutes ago, Lenny said:

 

I wouldn't mind paying an extra £3.99 on my subscription if it ment it played any song on request, 

Does it really play almost any song you ask with amazon music? Well providing you talk like Dell boy 😉

 

Pretty much everything we've asked her she's played...... apart from this which my mum wanted to hear 🙄

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Turvey said:

Pretty much everything we've asked her she's played...... apart from this which my mum wanted to hear 🙄

 

 

😅 aw I'm raging it doesn't know that one, be a great wake up tune to get you out the door quick 

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Being a Prime member for £80 per year (£40 for students) allows you to play most songs for free. However there is the amazon music Unlimited option for another £7.99 per month (I don't pay for that) which gives you access to everything they have I think, even new releases.

As you have Prime already, download the app to your phone/tablet/laptop and have a look at what you get already. Bear in mind though, if you stay with just the Prime account, you will only be able to play music to one Echo at a time. So if your mum is playing something and then you want to on your Echo, it will ask if you want to stop playing on your mums Echo first. But I'm not sure if the Unlimited account lets you play music to more than one device at a time, you'll have to check.

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My parents have one, keep meaning to set it up to their own account so that my friends don't call my parents by mistake...

They all have the useful "Drop in" feature, you can set it up so that certain contacts can just drop-in on the Echo, and hear/talk to the other end. This might be quite useful for you especially if there are any concerns to how she is at any point (not answering the phone for instance).

My parents also have a Hive installed and linked, so they can find out the current internal temperature and boost the heating without even getting up.

Smart bulbs are a different matter - there are so many to choose from that all get set up slightly differently. I have been looking at the Ikea range, as they supposedly work with the Echo's without any kind of hub (or with just one plug in hub).

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On 1/6/2019 at 9:02 PM, Frembrit said:

Being a Prime member for £80 per year (£40 for students) allows you to play most songs for free. However there is the amazon music Unlimited option for another £7.99 per month (I don't pay for that) which gives you access to everything they have I think, even new releases.

As you have Prime already, download the app to your phone/tablet/laptop and have a look at what you get already. Bear in mind though, if you stay with just the Prime account, you will only be able to play music to one Echo at a time. So if your mum is playing something and then you want to on your Echo, it will ask if you want to stop playing on your mums Echo first. But I'm not sure if the Unlimited account lets you play music to more than one device at a time, you'll have to check.

Thanks,

I've asked around in work and spoken to a colleague in Ireland whom is originally from London and has an amazon Echo and he has told me;

Unfortunately amazon music isint available in the republic of Ireland, he says I can sign up to it but it won't allow me to listen to anything unless I'm in the UK,

There are also some restrictions on amazon Prime video which I've experienced myself it says "This Video cannot be played while your abroad" so I'll have to go on holiday to catch up on some box sets 😄

He says the only alternative for people outside of the UK is to setup a Spotify account, 

I've already got my own Spotify subscription currently €10 per month,

So I'm going to change that to a family account which will cost me €15 per month instead which he says will operate much the same as prime music

Just thought I'd add that information here for other potential readers aswell, this thread may continue to assist others aswell. 

10 hours ago, Micro said:

My parents have one, keep meaning to set it up to their own account so that my friends don't call my parents by mistake...

They all have the useful "Drop in" feature, you can set it up so that certain contacts can just drop-in on the Echo, and hear/talk to the other end. This might be quite useful for you especially if there are any concerns to how she is at any point (not answering the phone for instance).

Thanks, 

Initially I was going to set an amazon Echo plus for my mother on my own amazon account and just disable the voice purchase capability this way she could avail of the Prime membership I pay for, 

But having discovered that amazon music doesn't work in The Republic of Ireland aswell as the more I read up about the amazon devices; The more I would like one for myself ☺

I'm now going to set up her own personal Amazon account and upgrade my Spotify subscription to a family account which will give her a personal profile aswell, 

That's a great feature being able to call via the device and I appreciate your consideration regarding not answering the phone as she is bad on the feet and has fallen a few times, 

On the other side of things though; I have two brothers and two sisters well mainly one sister hates us all and is quite nosey, 

I'll post the following question in a new post for quoting to keep the quote box small ☺

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@Micro

If the sister was to get an amazon device; could she silently be listening in to conversations taking place in my mother's? Because sometimes they all get a bit vindictive towards each other as families tend to do when they think there's inheritance to be had instead of working for themselves. Whoops here I go at it now on open forum myself 🙊 

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10 hours ago, Micro said:

My parents also have a Hive installed and linked, so they can find out the current internal temperature and boost the heating without even getting up.

Smart bulbs are a different matter - there are so many to choose from that all get set up slightly differently. I have been looking at the Ikea range, as they supposedly work with the Echo's without any kind of hub (or with just one plug in hub).

Ive been in contact with my mother and asked if the amazon device is somthing she had heard of or would like because there are some people whom wouldn't have one in the house, 

I asked her to ask the rest of the family as they visit; before I purchased one, to see what the general consensus was in regards to such devices, 

They all seemed happy enough to visit if one was in the house and some of them hadn't heard about the device but thought it a great idea for my/there mother, 

So getting to the response now; I told her in the mildest way possible; if the Echo model can understand her accent and she's happy with it then I'll purchase a 3rd Generation Dot for her bedroom, as she likes to listen to a certain radio station and reception is difficult in 

10 hours ago, Micro said:

Smart bulbs are a different matter - there are so many to choose from that all get set up slightly differently. I have been looking at the Ikea range, as they supposedly work with the Echo's without any kind of hub (or with just one plug in hub).

Good point there about the choice of bulb brand ideally chose one that is compatible with the Echo smart built in hub, so there's no need to fit a third party hub also finding a reliable and affordable brand that works directly with amazon because once a brand chosen is chosen it's best to stick with it for further expansion of the smart home avoiding the need for additional third party hubs.

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19 minutes ago, Lenny said:

So getting to the response now; I told her in the mildest way possible; if the Echo model can understand her accent and she's happy with it then I'll purchase a 3rd Generation Dot for her bedroom, as she likes to listen to a certain radio station and reception is difficult in 

Hasn't the 3rd Gen gone back to full price now?  I purchased one for a family member on Black Friday at less than half price, well worth it at that but I wouldn't pay £50 for one personally.  They seem to be getting on well with it btw. :smile: 

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1 hour ago, TomsFocus said:

Hasn't the 3rd Gen gone back to full price now?  I purchased one for a family member on Black Friday at less than half price, well worth it at that but I wouldn't pay £50 for one personally.  They seem to be getting on well with it btw. :smile: 

Currently £50 for one or £59 for two on amazon UK, but now says expecting stock in February 

There selling for €80 each at Argos.ie 

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15 hours ago, Lenny said:

@Micro

If the sister was to get an amazon device; could she silently be listening in to conversations taking place in my mother's? Because sometimes they all get a bit vindictive towards each other as families tend to do when they think there's inheritance to be had instead of working for themselves. Whoops here I go at it now on open forum myself 🙊 

You set it up per device. You have to specify which contacts can just "drop in", others can only call as normal (your mum would need to answer). Iirc it plays a tone then turns green whilst dropped in so obvious someone has done so.

Wait for the next sale for buying Amazons devices though - £25 for an echo dot in black friday.

11 hours ago, Lenny said:

Currently £50 for one or £59 for two on amazon UK, but now says expecting stock in February 

There selling for €80 each at Argos.ie 

 

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8 hours ago, Micro said:

You set it up per device. You have to specify which contacts can just "drop in", others can only call as normal (your mum would need to answer). Iirc it plays a tone then turns green whilst dropped in so obvious someone has done so.

Excellent it's easy to see then if someone's listening thanks to you and everyone else whom has taken the time to post all the information so far, 

8 hours ago, Micro said:

Wait for the next sale for buying Amazons devices though - £25 for an echo dot in black friday.

I will do mate, I didn't know they were selling that cheap around Christmas and unfortunately I'm a month behind in thinking of purchasing for her, 

Overall update then so far; for anyone whom may be interested in getting in to smart home for a relative or themselves, 

Ive purchased an "amazon Echo Plus 2nd Gen" came with a free Philips Hue bulb 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07H2W3HDM/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_awdo_WVAoCbNTB3YY5 

Ive also purchased 4 Pack "TECKIN WiFi Socket"  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07JFJQ3ZP/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_awdo_lYAoCb80BMGA3 

The reviews seem good on these sockets and says they work directly with amazon devices; no additional hub required, 

Purchased a "Hive Active Heating Thermostat" https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B011B3J6KY/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_awdo_UcBoCbQQDYXBB 

She currently has a basic heating time clock with no thermostat on the system

54531ad0d0a98aa780a95709d868f997043cbf41.JPG.thumb.jpg.d22689526d693c11cf5b693918fc43e2.jpgwhen we were up visiting at Christmas she asked me to turn on the heating for her and was saying about arthritis in her fingers causing difficulty in moving the teeth segments in and out to activate heating, so this Hive device will control the heating aswell as temperatures and it also works with Alexa 👍 it should save on heating costs too.

Since she doesn't have or want a computer as we tried all that and she can't use one; she then can't use YouTube or Google like the rest of us might to look up videos and learn about devices, as result I've purchased some books 

"Alexa for Dummies"

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1119565863/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_awdo_W-AoCbT64RYHD 

And another book 

"amazon Alexa Ultimate User Guide" 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1977082734/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_awdo_0.AoCbTFFFJET 

My mother lives almost 300km away from me as Ive moved away from the home area seventeen years ago, 

My plan was to piece everything together then arrive next weekend and connect it all up; as I don't want to be traveling up and down the country too many times with additional bits specially in the same month, as the increase in miles soon brings on the service interval of the car and I'm funding all this out of my own pocket to help improve her overall well being as she's survived colon cancer, breast cancer and is bad on the feet since an accident in 1994 has a plate for an ankle,

now arthritis Hopfully these devices will help not to remind her of the disabilities setting in by turning on a light remotely; instead of her reaching in or turning the heating, restore normality and remove depression.

I was only supposed to be fitting her television on the wall next weekend as having saw ours mounted on the wall; She asked me at Christmas would it be possible to get some longer cables for her television to go on the wall saving her space in the living room, 

Now I'm doing that and installing a smart home aswell as putting her television on the wall 😅 it's good though I like helping out once or twice per year and I never take anything in return.

I communicate regurally on the phone once or twice per week if she wasn't in great form on the first call, so once it's all physically installed it should be just operating advice .

I'm looking forward to seeing it all operating and if it understand her accent well; then I'll purchase an amazon Dot in the spring sale or somthing,

But at the moment having purchased all of the above aswell as a few 4M HDMI cables for her tv and paying my own household bills I won't be buying anything else until feburary not even a burger from McDonald's I'm out😂

I'll update at a later date on how it's all hooked up and any positives or negatives 

Thanks for all whom have commented to help me make the correct choices here I really appreciate it 

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Don't let me scare you, but I would be cautious using "no-name" wireless sockets to control anything high load or with a potential to catch fire if it were to remain on when you ask it to go off. There are some youtube videos on failed wireless sockets where they stick in the on position (and those sockets that say they're rated to 13A but can't handle any more than 10A without getting lava hot.

Are you going to get the Hive professionally installed or do it yourself? Installed mine in about an hour, but had to wire directly to the boilers stat connections as previously had a wireless stat. Yours may be easier as the Hive receiver may wire directly into the boiler using the cables that currently feed the time clock (or fit the backplate if there is one already on the wall).

 

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13 hours ago, Micro said:

Don't let me scare you, but I would be cautious using "no-name" wireless sockets to control anything high load or with a potential to catch fire if it were to remain on when you ask it to go off. There are some youtube videos on failed wireless sockets where they stick in the on position (and those sockets that say they're rated to 13A but can't handle any more than 10A without getting lava hot.

I was worried about the wifi sockets prior to purchasing as I was aware of some getting hot but I wasn't aware of them going on fire🔥 

I thought they were fairly well manufactured from looking at the layout of the listing here and the price of them being almost £45.00 for a 4 pack which I suppose isint that expensive when divided down.

1986992836_Screenshot_20190114-094414_SamsungInternet.thumb.jpg.19fc00bb0bcc3c9eeb5e2400e8320e59.jpg

1839736705_Screenshot_20190114-094349_SamsungInternet.thumb.jpg.4bffde1a7fbe52bcf2cc647e1979a608.jpg

Think I'll leave these back without opening them at all, I see there are Genuine amazon sockets available; I'll get maybe two of those instead and be confident there not going to ignite.

13 hours ago, Micro said:

Are you going to get the Hive professionally installed or do it yourself? Installed mine in about an hour, but had to wire directly to the boilers stat connections as previously had a wireless stat. Yours may be easier as the Hive receiver may wire directly into the boiler using the cables that currently feed the time clock (or fit the backplate if there is one already on the wall).

My dads going to drop down when I'm there and install it for me hes a retired lecturer of electrical technology basically teached apprentice electricians, so I suppose you could say professional install without the cost lol 

Once it's working though it doesn't really matter who fitted it I suppose, 

The boiler is kerosene and not Gas, had it been Gas I'd have went for the arrive and Install method to ensure compliance with gas regulations.

There's only three wires on the existing time clock she has fitted,

Thanks for saying about the sockets I'm going to change them then everything will be either amazon, Philips of Hive branded should be safer.

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1 hour ago, Lenny said:

I was worried about the wifi sockets prior to purchasing as I was aware of some getting hot but I wasn't aware of them going on fire🔥 

My dads going to drop down when I'm there and install it for me hes a retired lecturer of electrical technology basically teached apprentice electricians, so I suppose you could say professional install without the cost lol 

Once it's working though it doesn't really matter who fitted it I suppose, 

The boiler is kerosene and not Gas, had it been Gas I'd have went for the arrive and Install method to ensure compliance with gas regulations.

There's only three wires on the existing time clock she has fitted,

Thanks for saying about the sockets I'm going to change them then everything will be either amazon, Philips of Hive branded should be safer.

Just going off previous reading - i'm not saying the sockets themselves will definitely catch fire, but if they were to fail, any devices attached to them could remain on. Obviously that is not something you want if you're running anything that has a low safe duty cycle.

3 wires means you've probably got an incoming Live, Neutral, and a switch line (which the timeclock probably switches 240V to when turning on). The install guide with the Hive is pretty useful and explanatory and there is a circuit diagram on the back of the Hive Receiver which shows how it switches things.

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1 hour ago, Micro said:

Just going off previous reading - i'm not saying the sockets themselves will definitely catch fire, but if they were to fail, any devices attached to them could remain on. Obviously that is not something you want if you're running anything that has a low safe duty cycle.

I appreciate your input mate,

I was sort of warey about the wifi sockets which i had purchased and when you said about it being possibe too; then I'm not taking the chance because there wouldn't be anyone there capable of acting fast 

Also can't see this seller making much profit with his wifi sockets 😀 check out the name "Hot Smart UK socket https://m.ebay.ie/itm/392167611644 

I'm leaving the purchased sockets back and I'll stick to Genuine amazon sockets moving forward just for my own peace of mind, as I may take risks with some things in my own home but not in someone else's, best to do the best possible job throughout.

1 hour ago, Micro said:

3 wires means you've probably got an incoming Live, Neutral, and a switch line (which the timeclock probably switches 240V to when turning on). The install guide with the Hive is pretty useful and explanatory and there is a circuit diagram on the back of the Hive Receiver which shows how it switches things.

Excellent thanks mate, I'm purchasing the Hive from a shop here in Ireland on Thursday because I need it for Saturday and I don't get paid until Thursday so couldn't order until then, 

Local Argos have it aswell as electrical store, so it's good to know that there's an easy to follow guide in there and I've watched an unboxing YouTube video, My dad's not too familiar with LAN routers but if he wires in the receiver I'll show him the LAN router which he should understand no problem; and most likely finish my sentence for me ☺

 

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