Alexa Stories May 17

Use Alexa or Assistant to control your TV w/ Meross’ Smart Universal Remote: $22 (Reg. $40)

Meross Direct (100% lifetime positive feedback) via Amazon is offering its Smart Universal Remote for $21.99 shipped when clipping the on-page coupon and applying code UEN52KRW at checkout. That’s $18 off the typical rate there and beats the lowest price we have tracked by $16. Once set up, this sleek device will be able to command your home theater via Alexa or Google Assistant. Since it uses IR to operate other devices, you’ll also be able to train it to control other devices like ceiling fans, fireplaces, and more. Rated 4.5/5 stars.

Alexa Stories May 10

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.

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expiredHarman Kardon’s Allure Portable Speaker sports 360-degree audio and Alexa for $75 (50% off)

Amazon is offering the Harman Kardon Allure Bluetooth Smart Speaker for $74.95 shipped. Matched at Dell. That’s $75 off the typical rate and is within $5 of the lowest price we have tracked. Not only does Allure pack powerful, 360-degree audio, it also has Alexa built-in. Charging is a breeze thanks to an included cradle and users can expect 10 hours of playback on a single charge. Rated 4.2/5 stars.

Alexa Stories May 3

Over the past several months, I’ve gone all in on Alexa. At first I was not convinced that Amazon’s assistant was the right fit for my Apple-centric home, thinking it wouldn’t be long until I switched back to (cursing at) Siri. I was wrong. Inexpensive gear and reliable performance have kept me here and I’ve got more items than ever on my Alexa wishlist. expand full story

Alexa Stories May 1

expiredAmazon’s latest Echo Dot receives a temporary 40% discount, bringing it down to $30 shipped

Amazon is offering the Echo Dot (3rd Gen) for $29.99 shipped. That’s $20 off the typical rate there and is a match for the best standalone price Amazon has offered this year. If you’ve seen any of my Echo Dot Diary posts, you know how much I love these devices. Today’s deal makes it very cost-effective to add multi-room audio and smart home control throughout the home. I’m up to fifteen Echo Dots currently, and love using the Apple Music skill to play music everywhere. Rated 4.6/5 stars.

Alexa Stories April 24

My first interaction with a portable air conditioner was not a good one. The central air failed at my business and I needed to ensure the climate was acceptable until the problem could be resolved. Cooling performance was impressive, but the omission of smart functionality was rather disappointing. LG is tackling this problem with its new smart air conditioner.

It’s a portable unit capable of cranking out 14,000 BTUs and is not LG’s first attempt at making a smart air conditioner. The new product joins several other window models that churn up to 22,000 BTUs. It sports LG’s proprietary Dual Inverter Compressor, allowing it to keep noise to a minimum while providing a 40% improvement in energy efficiency. expand full story

Alexa Stories April 13

expiredExperience multi-room audio w/ three Echo Dots for the killer price of $70 shipped ($150 value)

Amazon is offering the 3-pack of Echo Dots for $69.97 shipped. Note: simply add three devices to your cart and the discount will be reflected at checkout. This deal is $80 off the typical rate there and beats the lowest price we have tracked by $2. If you’ve seen at least one of my Echo Dot Diary posts, you have a general idea of how much I love Alexa. With fifteen Echo Dots in my home, this deal is so good that I’m tempted to grab a few more as gifts or for even better multi-room audio coverage. Each day these devices help me turn lights on and off, change the temperature, toggle power on my projector, change inputs, volume, and channels on my TVs, and much more. Rated 4.6/5 stars.

Alexa Stories April 3

expiredHarman Kardon’s Allure Bluetooth Speaker lets you take Alexa anywhere: $70 (55% off)

Dell is offering the Harman Kardon Allure Bluetooth Smart Speaker for $69.95 shipped. That’s $84 off the going rate found at retailers like Amazon, a $30 savings compared to the steep price drop at Harman direct, and beats the lowest price we have tracked by $40. If you’re a sucker for Alexa like I am, this portable speaker is a no-brainer as it has Amazon’s voice assistant baked right in. Pairing is simple thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, and a 10-hour battery provides enough power to get you through a whole day. With 360-degree audio, everyone will be able to enjoy whatever is on deck. Rated 4.1/5 stars.

Alexa Stories March 29

For several months now, I’ve been dabbling in the Alexa ecosystem. This has been due largely to frustration with Siri and the steep pricing associated with HomeKit-compatible products. Through this endeavor, I’ve found Amazon’s voice assistant to be smarter in many ways, but as you would hope, Alexa’s Head Scientist, Rohit Prasad, thinks the platform can go much further.

At the EmTech Digital 2019 Conference, Prasad said, “The only way to make smart assistants really smart is to give it eyes and let it explore the world”. This statement certainly seems logical since a robot would be able to more easily learn about its surroundings.

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Alexa Stories March 28

If you’re anything like me, when hearing about a Yale product announcement, your mind probably jumps straight to its robust smart door lock line-up. Well it just so happens that the company’s latest product is not a door lock at all. It’s actually a feature-packed security camera.

The new Yale security camera is being touted as an all-in-one device as it features light, sound, and well, a camera. Yale appears to be taking a page from Apple’s book by simply calling it the new all-in-one camera. It’s made to work both indoors and out, making it a well-rounded option that will suit many consumer’s needs. expand full story

Alexa Stories March 18

expiredThe ecobee3 Lite Thermostat lets Siri and HomeKit tweak the temp for $127.50 (save $40)

Beach Camera via Rakuten is offering the ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat for $127.46 shipped when coupon code SAVE15 has been applied during checkout. Note: You will need to be logged in to a free Rakuten account to use this code. That’s around $40 off the going rate found at retailers like Amazon and is one of the best prices we’ve tracked. A thermostat was one of the first smart gadgets that I added to my home and I haven’t regretted it. Being able to tweak temps when it’s too hot or cold at night without needing to get out of bed has been a godsend. I’d highly recommend an upgrade, if you haven’t done so already. Rated 4.1/5 stars.

Alexa Stories March 12

expiredThis Echo + TP-Link Smart Plug combo will get you or someone else started w/ Alexa: $90 (save $35)

Amazon is offering the Echo with TP-Link Smart Plug Mini for $89.99 shipped. That’s $35 off the typical value and is the lowest price we’ve tracked. With 15+ Echo devices currently in my home, I’m a huge proponent of giving Alexa a shot. The main reason I switched away from HomeKit to Alexa is so I could expand my smart home for less, and boy am I happy that I did. At such a low price, today’s deal makes for a great way to get yourself or someone else started with Alexa. Rated 4.5/5 stars.

expiredThe iClever Outdoor Smart Plug has two outlets that work in extreme temps: $22 (Save $6)

Thousandshores Inc. (98% positive lifetime) via Amazon is offering the iClever Outdoor Smart Plug for $21.99 Prime shipped. That’s $6 off the typical rate there and beats is the lowest price we have tracked. Whether you have outdoor lighting, an electric grill, or something entirely different, this smart plug will let you toggle energy usage with an app, Alexa, Google Assistant, or IFTTT. With support for temperatures ranging from -4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, this thing is made to work in most climates. Rated 4.1/5 stars.

expiredScore Lenovo’s new 10-inch Smart Tab 32GB w/ Alexa Dock for $180 shipped (Reg. $250)

B&H is offering the Lenovo 10.1-inch Tab M10 with Smart Dock for $179.99 shipped. Note: Since this is a new product, B&H will ship orders on a first-come-first-served basis. Today’s deal is $70 off the going rate found at retailers like Best Buy, beats Amazon’s new sale price by $20, and is the lowest price we’ve tracked. With Lenovo’s new tablet, you’ll be able to charge over USB-C, store apps and games on 32GB of internal storage, expand its capacity up to 256GB, and convert it to an Alexa hub when placing it on the included Smart Dock. Its 10.1-inch display is surrounded by dual front facing speakers that deliver Dolby Atmos audio. Rated 4+ stars from over 70% of reviewers.

Alexa Stories March 8

I’ve been using the Polk Audio Command Bar for several weeks now. While no one can argue that there is a shortage of sound bars on the market today, finding a solution with Alexa baked-in is an entirely different story.

Many will wonder if paying a premium to have Alexa in a sound bar is worthwhile. The answer largely depends on how much your household relies on Amazon’s voice assistant. If everyone is used to conversing with Echo Dots (as am I), then it could offer increased convenience for those in your home.

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Alexa Stories March 7

Whether you’re interested in concerts, sports, art, theater, or many other event types, Ticketmaster is often one of the best ways to find a way in. The company’s ticket-selling dominance comes from spending over forty years in the industry and always being on the lookout for new ways to serve its customers. The company is relentlessly continuing this pursuit with the launch of a new Alexa skill. Once enabled, the Ticketmaster Alexa skill will allow users to search for, then hear a list of events which they can purchase tickets for using its service.

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Alexa Stories March 4

If I had to start from scratch and rebuild my smart home, outside of lighting accessories, Alexa-enabled wall outlets and plugs would easily qualify as one of my highest priorities. While this is largely due to the easy toggling of fans, lamps, and more, it’s also partly because of the energy usage information that most tend to offer.

This feature has provided me with the ability to zero in on which electronics suck up the most energy in my home. Not only do they provide this information in kilowatt hours, but some even offer an estimated cost, laying out an easy-to-understand figure that allows you to tailor usage habits.

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Alexa Stories February 28

expiredEasily upgrade to smart lighting w/ TP-Link’s 3-Way Kit for $45 shipped (Save 25%)

Newegg is offering the TP-Link Smart 3-Way Light Switch Kit (HS210) for $44.99 shipped when coupon code EMCTVVD53 has been applied during checkout. That’s $15 off the going rate found at retailers like Amazon and is a match for the lowest price we have tracked. When I made all the lighting in my home smart, finding low-cost switches capable of working with 3-way wiring was a bit tricky. This solution and current discount from TP-Link is a diamond in the rough and an obvious pick for anyone wanting to upgrade to smart switches. Rated 4.2/5 stars.

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