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We all love using Alexa and the Echo Show to make our family life easier. But initially, I wasn’t sold on having an Alexa. I was worried about our privacy and the children using more devices in their day. We only bought her because I needed a new bedside clock and I thought the Echo Show would suit my needs.
My family has been using Alexa and the Echo Show for a couple of months now and love it! All the family can use her and we are actually thinking of buying at least another one! She has made daily routines easier, quicker and more fun as well as keeping the children entertained.
A Review of the Echo Show 5
We bought the Echo Show 5 in white because I wanted to use it primarily as a clock. It is great for this purpose because the screen is so clear to see wherever you are in the room. I also love that it automatically dims at night and I have found that I have slept better because I don’t have the bright light of a clock next to my bed. Why did I not realise this earlier?!
The screen is a good size at 5.5 inches and you can customise it to suit your room. I really like to have photos on it – they make me smile every time I look over. If you don’t want to put photos on it you can customise the colour and the design. The device itself is the perfect size for a bedside clock at 148 x 86 x 73 mm.
Another great feature is the built-in cover for the camera. As I planned to use this in the bedroom I was pleased to know I could keep the camera covered up. You can also turn the microphone off if you want to.
12 Ways my family use Alexa and the Echo Show
Alexa has so many skills and uses that I am finding more and more reasons to use her every day! These are the main things we use her for at the moment. You can use the Alexa app to combine some of these skills into a morning or evening routine. Then all you need to do is say Alexa play morning routine and she will go through the skills in order – great if you want to set an alarm, watch the news, hear the weather, have a traffic update all hands free while you are getting your family ready.
1. Alexa…set a timer
We love timers! I use them a lot to speed my children up or so they know how long they have left to do something. It is much better than me having to constantly remind my son of how many minutes before we need to leave for school! He looks at the screen and can see how many minutes are left for himself. He also loves to ask Alexa how many minutes he has left on his timer.
2. Alexa…play Amazon music
We use this skill a lot. It is so easy to ask Alexa to play a specific song, playlist or station. You can also lay your favourite radio station if you don’t have Amazon music. We like to choose playlists on the app and play them through the echo. I can then be busy cleaning, ironing pr getting the children dressed and I can just ask Alexa to play, stop, skip a song, and turn it up or down. We also like that the lyrics scroll up on the screen so we can have a sing-along! You can try out Amazon music unlimited with a free trial to see if it works for you.
3. Alexa…what is the weather like?
This is one of my favourite features. The first thing I do when I wake up is to find out what the weather is going to be like that day. It also shows you on the screen how the weather is going to change that day.
4. Alexa… turn bedroom lights on
We already had Philips Hue lighting in our rooms upstairs so it is an added bonus that they work with Alexa. I can turn lights on and off in different rooms in the house, great for when the children leave the lights on! We can also change the colour or brightness of the lights to suit the room. They are easy to set up and have lots of accessories that work with them.
5. Alexa…where’s my parcel?
Alexa can give you quick updates on when your Amazon deliveries will be delivered. Handy if you are going out or have forgotten what you have ordered!
6. Alexa…play the news
This is a great one to add to your morning routine. It keeps you up to date on the news highlights while you are busy getting ready or just sitting down with a cup of tea. It is much quicker than watching the news on TV or reading it online.
7. Alexa…add milk to the shopping list
I have only just discovered this one and love it already. I can just add items to any list when I think of them without having to find a piece of paper and a pen. You can create different lists and they will show on the screen. You can also see and edit them on your Alexa app – this is useful when you are in a shop and can’t remember what you need,
8. Alexa…what is????
Asking Alexa questions is really educational for the children. She can help with homework, spelling or just those random questions that kids ask!
9. Alexa…add playdate to the reminder
Alexa has her own reminders. She can remind you to go to appointments, school events, water the plants…the list is endless.
10. Alexa…play my book
It is really hard to find the time to sit and read a book when you have two children. So I have been listening to my books on Alexa. It’s not quite as good as sitting down with my Kindle but it is nice to have something to listen to while I am doing a big pile of ironing. You can have a free trial of audible for 30 days on Amazon to see if you like it and use it.
11. Alexa…play storytime
This one really surprised me. My son has started to listen to this when he comes home from school and is eating his snack. It is a really nice way to unwind after being at school.
12. Alexa…play CBeebies
Just a fun one for the kids that I know they can use safely. I really like how these skills have to be enabled on the app before children can use them.
My family has been converted to Alexa and the Echo Show! I actually really love it and I didn’t think I would find myself saying that. We have avoided this trend for so long thinking that we just wouldn’t use it and it would be another device sitting around the house. But there are so many devices and uses for them with more skills being added all of the time. In fact, I have loved using the Echo Show 5 so much that I am actually looking at buying the larger one and a Ring doorbell.
The Echo Show is larger than the Echo show 5 with a 10″ screen. I really want one of these for the kitchen. I think it would be great for following recipes, watching videos, timers, making shopping lists and playing music while I am cooking. It would also be a good screen to display photos on. The children would also be able to use it rather than going into the bedroom all the time just to ask Alexa!
We also really want to get a Ring doorbell. We know a few people who have these and absolutely love them. It lets you see, hear and speak to people at your front door. You also get alerts on your phone, tablet or PC if someone rings the doorbell or sets off the motion sensors. Works with Alexa so you can get alerts on your Echo show.