The Amazon Echo Dot is a super compact home automation device that, when connected to the internet, can give you access to all kinds of information. Just ask a question and get the answer! It can also be used to control various things inside your home as well.
Personally, I think that this is the perfect device to help introduce you to the world of home automation.
We put together the ultimate guide to the Amazon Echo Dot right here! We will look at how to set it up properly, how to do various tasks with the device as well as different tricks and tips.
Let’s jump right into it!
- What Can The Echo Dot Do?
- How Does It Work?
- What Is The Echo Dot’s Bluetooth Range?
- Getting Started And Initial Set Up
- Getting It Ready To Play Music And Other Audio
- Using It To Enhance Your Video Entertainment And Control Your TV
- Setting It Up For Home Automation Tasks
- Other Super Cool Uses For This Device
- Purchase Guide
- Other Resources
What Can The Echo Dot Do?
There are actually so many things that this little thing can do just by speaking to Alexa. Take a look at some of the top uses for it:
1. ? — Choosing music to listen to all hands free.
2. ? – Using it to tell your smart thermostat to either turn the heat up or crank up the A/C.
3. ? – Tell it to add something to a shopping list in progress.
4. ⛅ – Check the weather by simply asking it.
5. ⏰ – Ask it to wake you up at a certain time with a soothing alarm.
6. ⏲ – Keep track of time with a handy timer.
7. ?- Control all your smart lights in your home allowing you to turn them off, on, or dimming features.
8. ? – Order a pizza!
9. Lots more that will be shown later in this guide.
How Does It Work?
It’s actually very simple. Once it is all set up, you just need to say “Alexa” or another “wake up word” you can set up in the app and the Echo Dot will come alive and begin listening to your voice. You just need to ask for whatever you need.
Here are the basic features that are included:
1. Great for use in any room of your house. Additionally, if you want to have it in multiple rooms, you can simply add one in each room.
2. Built in speaker. I would recommend using another device like a good bluetooth speaker for audio playback for music but the built-in speaker is good for getting back information such as the weather, time, etc.
3. You can control a number of different music services like Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Prime Music, TuneIn and iHeartRadio.
4. It is equipped with 7 microphones and technology that gives it excellent “hearing” capabilities so that it makes sure to get all your voice commands.
5. Simple management using the Alexa mobile app.
What Is The Echo Dot’s Bluetooth Range?
The range is approximately 30 feet.
Getting Started And Initial Set Up
Getting everything all set up and running is actually very simple. Once you get everything out of the box and ready to go, follow these steps:
- Get your smartphone or tablet and install the Alexa App from either the Google or Apple App store depending on your device.
- Plug in the device using the micro-USB and power brick that comes with it. You should see it light up.
- Wait a moment and you will start to hear the Echo Dot talking to you and basically stepping you through the set up procedure. It will direct you to fire up the Alexa App and run through the set up procedure.
- Go through all the steps for set up in the Alexa App.
Getting It Ready To Play Music And Other Audio
How To Set It Up With Streaming Music Services Apple iTunes Music
In order to set up your Echo Dot to be able to listen to music from your streaming music accounts like Apple iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio and more. You need to do the following steps:
How To Set It Up With Bluetooth Speakers
If you are looking to connect your Dot to an external speaker like a BOSE Soundtouch, BOSE Soundlink, Sonos Play 5, UE Boom or other bluetooth speakers, you just need to follow these simple steps and you will be good to go:
Whenever you are ready to disconnect from the speaker, you can simply say, “Alexa, disconnect”.
How To Set It Up With Wired Speakers And Receiver
Got a stereo receiver at home that you want to connect to, it is very easy to do. Note – this will disable the internal speaker of the Echo Dot while it is connected this way. Just follow these simple steps:
Using It To Enhance Your Video Entertainment And Control Your TV
Note – For now, I have only included info on setting up the Harmony Remote for this. Info on Fire TV, Netflix, Chromecast and other TV apps will be added soon.
How To Set It Up With Harmony Remote
Controlling your TV with your Echo Dot using a Harmony Remote is a fairly easy process to set up. Take a look at these steps:
Now you can control parts of your TV watching experience with some simple voice commands!
Setting It Up For Home Automation Tasks
This device can be used for a variety of different tasks around your house. Anything from controlling your lights, thermostat, door locks and other things. Take a look below for step by step instructions on setting these types of things up.
How To Set Up Echo Dot With Philips Hue To Control Lights
Philips Hue light bulbs are basically replacement bulbs that can be controlled remotely. They can also be controlled to dim, change colors and turn off and on. Once you have the Hue set up as per their instructions, you just need to do the following to be able to control it with the Echo Dot:
If you are looking to purchase Philips Hue lightbulbs and are just starting out, I would recommended their starter kit here. This gives you everything you need along with 2 bulbs to start with. If you want to control more lights, you just need to add more bulbs.
How To Set Up Echo Dot With Nest To Control Your Home’s Thermostat
Nest is an awesome little smart thermostat that can be controlled from just about anywhere. However, when combined with the Echo Dot, it basically takes it to the next level. Being able to vocally tell your thermostat to set a specific temperature. It is an easy setup once you have the Nest installed in your home:
How To Set Up Echo Dot With Smartthings
Samsung Smartthings will give you the ability to control a number of things around your house automatically – turn on and off lights, set up water leak sensors, door and window sensors, control door locks, video monitoring, etc. After you have installed Smartthings, just follow these steps to set it up with the Echo Dot:
Note – in order for this to work, you will need to have the correct devices set up. See this list for examples:
- Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit
- Multipurpose Sensor
- Arrival Sensor
- Motion Sensor
- Power Outlet
- Water Leak Sensor
- Light bulbs that are compatible – Osram Lightify
- Door locks that are compatible – Schlage Camelot, Schlage Connected, Yale B1L, etc
Other Super Cool Uses For This Device
For Seniors And The Elderly
Since all commands are simply spoken, once it is all set up and a quick instruction is done, it is very easy for seniors to use and get a lot of benefits from what it can do. Being able to control things around the home without getting up, monitor things around the home with devices like Smartthings, create grocery lists, etc. While, it does take some getting used to, it is a great way to help an elderly person around the house.
For The Bathroom
Setting it up in the bathroom is a great way to kind of multi-task while you are getting ready to go out or go to work. While you are getting yourself ready, you can ask it things like the outside temperature, play music, etc. It’s not a must have in the bathroom but can be a fun distraction while you are getting yourself ready to go out.
For The Car
There are a number of different reasons to want to use this in your car. If your car has an internet connection, you can get local news while driving with hands-free vocal commands or even traffic reports. You can also ask it for specific music to play. If your car has an external audio jack, you can connect it to your car’s stereo system as well. If you have it set up with a garage door device, you can tell it to open your garage when you pull up to the driveway.
Using It As An Alarm Clock
You can set an alarm for any certain time by simply asking it to set an alarm – “Alexa, set alarm for 8am tomorrow”. Imagine never missing another meeting or sleeping in in the morning. I can’t say how many times my bedside clock radio has failed me and caused me to be late for work. I think that this is an excellent way to remedy this type of problem.
Getting Local Information
At anytime, you can just ask Alexa for many different types of local information like the current temperature, traffic, local news, etc. This is perfect for people that have internet access in their cars (and new ones are starting to include this). A great way to get traffic information ahead of time and keep up to date on other local things. I love this aspect of it because it keeps me informed.
For Making A Grocery List
The Echo Dot can maintain a grocery list very easily. Are you in your kitchen and just used up the last of the milk? Just say “Alexa, add milk to the grocery list”! There are many times that I am at the grocery store, get everything I need and realize when I get home that I forgot something or forgot to write it down on my list. This way, you just say it and it’s there!
How Is The Sound Quality Between The Echo And The Echo Dot?
The Echo’s sound quality is much better than the Echo Dot and this is very easy to tell just by looking at them side by side. As you can see, the Echo is much taller and this is because it includes a 9.25 inch bluetooth speaker built in. The Echo Dot has a much smaller 1.6 inch speaker. Both sound quite good but the Echo has the better sound quality.
What Are The Differences Between The Echo Dot and The Echo Dot 2.0?
The 2nd generation Echo Dot included a number of small improvements over the first version. These included:
- An updated speaker grill.
- No more rotary volume dial – volume controlled by voice.
- Glossier finish.
- An updated speech recognition processor for improved voice recognition.
- Echo Spatial Perception (ESP) – this allows you to have multiple Echo’s in your home and only speak to one at a time.
- Reduced price.
- Available in both black and white.
- Get It Directly From Amazon – click here
- Other Comparable Alexa Gadgets – Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap
- Must Have Accessories Available:
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