Hey y’all! This week’s post is going to be a quick review of my Amazon Alexa and how I use it in my college dorm room. When I received the Amazon Tap last year for my birthday, I was super skeptical about how much I would use it or what I would even use it for. However, I’m happy to report that Alexa has become a daily part of my life and made my life just that much easier!
My Amazon Alexa
It kind of feels like there are 1000 different Alexa models, right? There’s the OG Alexa, the Dot, the Tap, and that new one with the screen that came out pretty recently. So which one do I have?
I have the Amazon Tap, which I absolutely adore. I knew wanted an Alexa model that came with a speaker, which immediately eliminated the Dot. So, I ended up choosing the Tap because of its unique portability and functionality.
Unlike the standard Alexa console, the Tap sits on a charging base so you can take the Tap anywhere you go! I’ll be honest with you that I’ve never had the need to take the speaker anywhere else, but I know a lot of people who will take theirs outside on the quad when the weather is nice and use it as a speaker. I think the charge lasts around 8 hours, which is awesome.
I also like the Tap because you can use it as a regular Alexa (voice-activated by saying “Alexa”) or you can turn the voice feature off and tap (get it? Amazon Tap?!?) the microphone button before you say your command.
I like to turn off the voice feature when we have people over in the room because sometimes Alexa will turn on when you say something remotely close to “Alexa”, which is no lie a little creepy.
My Favorite Features
Since I’ve had the Amazon Alexa since this summer, I’ve gotten to use it both at home and in my dorm room. At home, I listened to my “Flash Briefing” every morning while I was getting ready for work.
My flash briefing consisted of 3 different segments: a quick NPR rundown of current events, the New York Times’ “Daily Briefing” chat show, and Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” monologue. Because you gotta laugh a little in the mornings, right??
I also had Alexa give me the current traffic conditions, in case I needed to leave a few minutes early for work because of an accident.
I rarely use these features anymore because I’m at school. However, I know that once I start working next year I’ll definitely put the traffic and morning briefing back on my schedule!
At home and at school, I use Alexa primarily to play music! It’s hooked up to my Spotify account, so all I have to say is “Alexa, play my ‘February 2018’ playlist” when I walk into the room.
To control the music, I’ll either say “Alexa, pause” or “Alexa, next.” Or, I’ll use the buttons on the top of the speaker if I’m near enough to it.
I’m not a sound expert, but I think the sound quality is fantastic. The speaker definitely gets loud enough for a small dorm room!
Amazon Alexa Hacks
So both of my favorite Alexa hacks I have set up through the app “If This Then That” (IFTTT). It’s a free app that links different electronics and social media platforms to make your life super easy.
For example, I have IFTTT put any song that I like on SoundCloud to a separate playlist on Spotify.
My first Alexa hack with IFTTT is to have Alexa email me my grocery list! One of my favorite features of Alexa is that I can say “Alexa, add ~cheese sticks and almonds~ to my grocery list” and she keeps a running list of everything I’ve said.
You can access this list through the Alexa app, but it’s so much easier to pull up my email when I’m at Target or the grocery store. I just say “Alexa, email me my grocery list” before I leave and voila! I never have that mid-Target run panic of “crap, what was that I needed like 4 days ago but can’t remember now??”
My next Alexa hack with IFTTT is to have Alexa call my phone if I’ve lost it! True life, last week I thought I lost my phone in my laundry. Turns out it was just sitting under an old Starbucks pastry bag. LOL.
Since none of my roommates were around to call my phone, all I had to say was “Alexa, call my phone!” and then realize that my life is embarrassing and I go to Starbucks a little too often.
So that’s how I use my Amazon Alexa and some of my favorite hacks! Do you have an Alexa? What do you use it for? Let me know in the comments! And stay tuned on Wednesday for my weekly chat! Have a great week, y’all!