Tech corner

A beginner’s guide to Alexa


Whether you have an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Spot or any of the other various devices that currently work with Alexa, there’s almost no limit to the things you can ask your handy little virtual assistant to do. We’ve compiled some top Echo tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your Amazon Alexa once she’s up and running.

Using Alexa to help start your day

Now that the alarm-clock-like Echo Spot is available, it’s easier than ever to get Alexa to help you start the day organised and refreshed. The small device features a screen that displays the time and can be set to auto dim at night to ensure it doesn’t interrupt your sleep.

Saying “Alexa, set an alarm” will prompt the device to request a time, allowing you to set yourself a 7am wake-up call daily, weekdays, weekends, on particular days or as a one-off. You’re not limited to standard alarm clock tunes either, as you can set your alarm to whichever artist you fancy hearing in the morning, whether that be Metallica or Lady Gaga.

When your alarm goes off, you can ask Alexa for traffic, weather and news briefings, helping you plan your morning route and even decide what to wear. The Echo Spot and other Amazon devices can also let you know what events are in your Google or Outlook calendar for the day ahead, making sure you never miss a meeting or a school event.


Using Alexa to help out in the kitchen

If you’re a bit of a chef or a star baker, Alexa can be a big help when your hands are occupied chopping vegetables or measuring ingredients. Many of her skills can be utilised here, such as asking her to set a timer for ten minutes or checking up on a recipe.

If you’re trying to put together a dish and you notice you’re missing a key ingredient, you can ask Alexa to add it to your shopping list, ensuring that you won’t forget it next time you’re out.


Using Alexa for entertainment

The Amazon Echo originally started out as a Bluetooth speaker, and you can still use it to listen to music or stream to other sets of speakers with better sound. If you have an Amazon Prime account, you can listen to any of the music available on Amazon Music simply by asking Alexa to play it. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, don’t worry, those with Spotify accounts are able to sync them with their Amazon devices.

You can also add your own MP3s by uploading them to your Amazon Music Library, which can store up to 250 tracks for free.


Using Alexa with other technology

If you’ve got a habit of misplacing your devices, Alexa can help you find them. In the event that you leave the house without your mobile or happen to lose it at work, the Find My Phone feature can help you locate it without having to search down the sofa or behind the fridge.

All you need to do is enable the feature by saying “Alexa, enable Find My Phone skill.” Once this is setup, download the TrackR app on your smartphone and link the device with your Alexa account. Then, when you misplace your mobile, all you need to say is “Alexa, ask TrackR to find my phone” and your phone will ring at maximum volume, even if you left it on silent mode.


Take a look through the wide selection of Amazon Echo devices and choose one that suits your lifestyle.

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