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New Amazon Echo? 5 Essential Tips You Should Know Now


These tips will help you from the moment you take your Amazon Echo out of the box.

Chris Monroe / CNET

You just got you new Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Dot with clock or Echo Show 8 out of the box, but what exactly do you do with it? You already know that can play music, tell you the weather forecast and set alarms – but Amazon’s Alexa does so many things that it can be overwhelming figuring out where to start.

For example, Alexa can learn who it’s talking to, order supplies for the home, and even turn on the lights. Not to mention, you can call and send texts with the Echo speaker – or come by on someone else’s speaker (with their permission of course).

Alexa won’t tell you how to do these things right out of the box, but we’ve got you covered. Read on for essential tips for your Amazon Echo ($ 60 at Amazon) you should know.

19 amazon echo studio

Find the perfect spot in your home for your new Amazon Echo.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Find a good place for your ultrasound at home

The first thing you do after taking your new Amazon Echo out of the box is plug it in. And if you only have one Echo speaker, you don’t want to just put it anywhere in the house – in fact, there are four places where you should never place your device. You need to make sure that it is in a centralized place where your voice can be transmitted from most rooms, such as in the kitchen- or living room. (Here are the four best uses for Amazon Echo in every room of your home.)

Get the basics sorted out first

Now that you’ve plugged in and set up your Echo, it’s time to learn the basics. This includes downloading the Alexa app and setting your location so that you have an accurate weather forecast.

We also recommend that you take your time from the start create a voice profile for everyone who lives in the house. While you can set this at any time, having Alexa recognize different users’ voices gives each user a personalized experience. For example, when Alexa recognizes your voice, it plays the music and news you love to listen to and calls or sends people in your address book.

You can also set up voice purchases so you can quickly order something that you buy often, such as paper towels. To do this, you also need to enable one-click ordering in the settings app. Don’t forget to set a password so that only you can make purchases this way. You can find this in Settings > Account settings > Voice Purchase.


Once your ultrasound is plugged in, you can start with the basics.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Using voice commands to get things done

Any action you want Alexa to do will require a voice command. For example, turn on music, adjust the volume of the smart speaker and create lists or reminders. You just say something like, “Alexa, turn down the volume” or “Alexa, put coffee on my grocery list.”

You can also communicate with Alexa through texts, instead of speaking. Just open the Alexa app and tap it Keyboard button in the top left corner.

Don’t want your wake word to be Alexa? You can change it to Echo, Computer or Amazon. Just say “Alexa, change the wake word” and take your pick.

Read more: We tested all 4 Amazon Echo’s wake words. Here’s what we learned about Alexa

Control your smart home devices from your Echo speaker

Do you wish you could come home at night with the lights already on? If you have smart bulbs, smart plugs ($ 25 at Amazon) or switches, you can control them with the Alexa app so you never have to stumble again when you walk up the porch stairs.

Other devices you can control include smart locks (in case you forget to lock your door before leaving), thermostats, robot vacuum cleaners and Lake


Connect all your smart home devices in the Alexa app.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Call, text and visit your friends with Alexa

Lost your phone at home again? Don’t worry – you don’t need it Alexa can call and text for you. Just say something like, “Alexa, call Mom,” or “Alexa, text Katie.” The contacts must be in your address book for this to work.

You can also use your Echo speaker to drop by on friends and family who have added you as an accepted contact. To do this, just say something like, “Alexa, see Dad.”

Oh, and about that lost phone – Alexa can help you find it in your house.

Now that we’ve got the essentials out of the way, this is the case five surprising things you didn’t know your Amazon Echo could do, 10 Weirdest Things Amazon Echo Can Do and how to turn your Fire TV into a bigger Amazon Echo Show.

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