As each day passes I become increasingly fond of Amazon’s products and services. My initial love for Amazon all began with Prime shipping which gave me access to thousands of items available for 2-day shipping. I reluctantly gave Alexa a shot and was so pleased I went from one Amazon device to several quite rapidly.
In this Echo Dot Diary I’ll be covering the Amazon devices I currently own and how their features have improved my life. While the Alexa ecosystem is large, I tend to gravitate towards an Amazon-made device over one from a third party. This often leads to less headaches and an experience that works as expected.
Since I began running a business out of my home not too long ago, it was vital that I set up security cameras for peace of mind. I tried several options, but Blink’s offering is inexpensive, incredibly easy to set up, and packed with plenty of useful features.
Amazon acquired Blink back in 2017 and once I began using them it was immediately evident why. One year battery life from two AA batteries, free cloud storage, speedy performance, and Alexa compatibility make them a great addition to its growing ecosystem.
Not only do I use this Amazon device for notifications when someone arrives at my business, I also pull up live feeds using the iOS app or by simply asking Alexa on my Fire TV. The ability to ask Alexa to show me my last motion alert or disarm the system are also very convenient.
Ring Doorbell 2
Instead of standing at a desk all day, I opted to buy a Ring Doorbell 2. Since it is battery-operated, I’m able to place it anywhere without needing to run wires. This allows customers to ring the bell and and provide me with a smartphone notification wherever I may be.
Like Blink XT, I can also view a live feed on this Amazon device via the iOS app or Alexa. Two-way communication is simple and I can even set up automatic recordings when motion is detected. Compatibility with Alexa routines also allows me to trigger other smart home gear when the bell has been rung or motion is detect.
Fire TV Stick 4K
Out of every Amazon device mentioned in this post, the Fire TV Stick 4K is my most recent addition. I was using 4th generation Apple TVs and was getting very fed up with the finicky remote and an overall sluggish experience. This led me to consider upgrading to the latest Apple TV, but with $179 price tag and several TVs to upgrade, I opted to try Amazon’s latest offering.
At $50 (sometimes less), the Fire TV Stick 4K has been fantastic. Instead of relying on a touchpad, the remote use buttons that offer extremely satisfying clicks. The app I use the most is Plex, and believe it or not, it supports picture in picture, allowing me to switch to other apps while I continue playing content.
Each Fire TV Stick 4K has Alexa baked in, allowing me to easily control lighting and several other accessories. My only gripe is that the app layout is not as pretty as the Apple TV, but performance has been top notch and YouTube actually streams in 4K. It relies on a web browser for streaming it, but the return of a native app has been promised.
What better way to round this out than with the Amazon device that started it all for me, the Echo Dot. I nabbed this $50 device while it was on sale over the holidays and absolutely love the value and convenience it has brought to my home. Even my wife agrees that having an Echo Dot for smart home control is better than relying on a smartphone.
This is mainly due to having one or several in each room, allowing both of us to speak commands at pretty much any volume and leave our phones pocketed. Another perk that we both get tons of usage out of is multi-room audio. Once I set up the Apple Music skill, we were both able to listen to tunes throughout the house by just saying, “Alexa, play music everywhere”.
What are your favorite Amazon devices? We invite you to share with the rest of 9to5Toys using the comments below.
Echo Dot Diary Series
- Echo Dot Diary: Five accessories I’m using with my new Alexa-powered home
- Echo Dot Diary: Here’s the Alexa-compatible gear I use to automate lighting in my home
- Echo Dot Diary: My favorite Alexa tips and tricks that help me throughout the day
- Echo Dot Diary: My Alexa wishlist is growing, here’s what I currently have my eye on