alexa Gets smarter
AMAZON has spruced up its Alexa-powered (the voice assistant) smart speaker range. We tested the top-of-theline Echo Plus and were quite impressed. Setting it up is easy. Connect the speaker using the Alexa app to the home Wi-Fi network, and you are good to go. Ask Alexa about the weather or to play a particular song, and Alexa will swiftly oblige. Amazon has equipped Alexa with close to 10,000 skills that are to be activated from within the app. Some of the ‘skills’ include booking a cab on Uber and Ola, ordering food on Foodpanda, checking ESPN circinfo for cricket scores and India Today for news. The Echo Plus comes with a built-in hub to control compatible smart lighting and appliances. We tested this feature with the Philips Hue smart bulb. On saying, “Alexa, discover devices” aloud, it started searching for compatible devices and added them under Smart Home on the app in 45 seconds. Once connected, I was able to turn on/ off the Philips Hue, and also command Alexa to change the colour of the LED.
Alexa recognises Indian accents well and gets better at it with use. At an introductory discounted price of 10,499, the Echo Plus is a good buy. But if you are not planning to invest in smart home appliances or switches, you should consider the slightly affordable Echo Dot or Echo.
Price ` 10,499