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Official Black Friday SMART HOME Discussion Thread


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#31 Pnambic  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 17, 2017 - 9:44 am

Woot just blew through some Echo Dots a little while ago for $25 ea.  (Today is a Woot-off.)

I went ahead and bought 3.  We'll see if they improve my life.  :)


Da-shiang bad-tza shr duh lah doo-tze!

#32 Bopeep  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 17, 2017 - 11:53 am

Woot just blew through some Echo Dots a little while ago for $25 ea.  (Today is a Woot-off.)

I went ahead and bought 3.  We'll see if they improve my life.  :)

I've shopped Woot, but I'm not sure what a Woot-off is.  Wish I had caught that deal though. :)



#33 jesusluvu  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 17, 2017 - 12:38 pm

Woot just blew through some Echo Dots a little while ago for $25 ea. (Today is a Woot-off.)
I went ahead and bought 3. We'll see if they improve my life. :)


Dang that was a good deal. I hope they put it back up.

#34 bribri25  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 17, 2017 - 12:44 pm

Woot just blew through some Echo Dots a little while ago for $25 ea.  (Today is a Woot-off.)

I went ahead and bought 3.  We'll see if they improve my life.  :)

 

I wonder if Amazon will go that low for BF... doubt it.



#35 Kanyon71  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 17, 2017 - 1:07 pm

I wonder if Amazon will go that low for BF... doubt it.

They might it was probably the last gen stuff, if you did the pre order for the new firetv stick then you could get one for like $10.



#36 bribri25  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 17, 2017 - 1:09 pm

They might it was probably the last gen stuff, if you did the pre order for the new firetv stick then you could get one for like $10.

 

I already have one Fire Stick not getting used; I don't need another one of those ;)



#37 Kanyon71  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 17, 2017 - 1:10 pm

I already have one Fire Stick not getting used; I don't need another one of those ;)

We use both of ours often with some ADD ONS. :sidesplit

 

Got the new one since it's supposed to be faster and supports 4K.



#38 Bopeep  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 17, 2017 - 1:36 pm

I wonder if Amazon will go that low for BF... doubt it.

I'm expecting $39, maybe $35 on BF, but man I would love to see it at $25.



#39 Pnambic  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 18, 2017 - 7:59 am

The details say 2nd Gen and new.  We'll see.

Amazon now owns Woot, so that might explain the deal a little.

 

<off topic tangent>

BTW, Woot's original shtick was they would offer a truck load of one item for 24 hours for a crazy good price.  The items would vary from just about any category you could think of.  You were limited to buying no more than 3.  Flat $5 shipping.  And they put a lot of effort into making funny item descriptions.  If they sold out, then you just had to wait for the next day to see what was next.  If you didn't like what was on sale, then you just had to wait for the next day.  But when they didn't sell out, they were left with small piles of product.  So about once every couple months, they'd have a Woot-off where they would just blow through all their left-overs.  Everything was even a couple bucks cheaper, but they might only have a handful left.  Stuff would sell out in minutes, and then they'd pop the next item up.  As a gag, they actually offered a "bag of crap" where you would just buy it and they would send you crap.  Cost was $1 per bag plus $5 shipping.  People would rush these things like Black Friday door busters.  Acquiring them became badges of honor.  I got a couple in my day...probably got $10 - $15 dollars worth or random crap... :)  My brother actually got a DVD/VCR combo in his BOC once (long time ago obviously).  

 

Then Amazon bought them.  And Amazon pretty much changed everything.  Now, there's probably at least 3 or 4 dozen things available on Woot every day.  Some things for 24 hours, some things for weeks...  The prices are hit or miss.  It has definitely lost a lot of its charm.  The original creaters of Woot eventually went on to create Meh.com which is truer to their initial intent of one item per day.

</off topic tangent>


Da-shiang bad-tza shr duh lah doo-tze!

#40 Kash  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 18, 2017 - 3:50 pm

We recently got a RING doorbell here at our home and let me tell you it works great! Especially because our home is 3 floors, sometimes we can't get downstairs (and who wants to walk 3 flights of stairs) to check immediately. The video quality on the app is my only concern as it freezes every now and then.

 

 

Which one did you get? I have been thinking about getting the one that's fairly skinny as the doorbell on our house is placed between the door and the side light window. Not a lot of space and the other ones seem to be fairly wide.

 

I bought a Ring doorbell last year on BF because we have a long driveway with a gate.  We love it.  Only 1 person has "rang" it....that was UPS.  He said UPS just gonna leave your package in the crate here (which is what its for).  lol It is nice that you can talk from your phone threw it to whomever is there, as well as see them in color.  What we really like is that we set the motion range to the distance away we want and it sends a signal when something comes within that.  It also records the motion day and night and can be viewed at a later time.  There is a small fee I think we pay yearly after the 3 month trial.  Now I'm looking at the security cameras available by ring.  If they work as well we will be getting some. 

 

I also have to say I love my Echo.  I tell Alexa every morning to play my spotify while I work out... no need for headphones!



#41 Pnambic  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 19, 2017 - 5:50 am

Woot has more Alexa goodness today...

https://www.woot.com/?ref=so_ft_tn_w_1

 

Amazon Tap for $55 (plus $5 shipping)

certified refurbished

 

Looks like it's $90 refurbished directly from Amazon.

https://www.amazon.c...-4&keywords=tap


Edited by Pnambic, Oct 19, 2017 - 5:51 am.

Da-shiang bad-tza shr duh lah doo-tze!

#42 jesusluvu  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 19, 2017 - 8:06 am

Woot has more Alexa goodness today...
https://www.woot.com/?ref=so_ft_tn_w_1

Amazon Tap for $55 (plus $5 shipping)
certified refurbished

Looks like it's $90 refurbished directly from Amazon.
https://www.amazon.c...-4&keywords=tap


Yea I saw it but I am leaning more in the Google side of things. I might get it just in case and return if I decide so I want loose the price but it might be the same or cheaper BF so what do we do?

#43 Apettigrass  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 22, 2017 - 10:33 am

We use the Zmodo cameras in our house. Uses the wifi but must plug in for power source. What I like is it will store a bunch of data for free, you can pay for more storage if you want/need it, but I check the footage daily and delete daily so there is no need in my household to pay that extra fee. I couldn't decide between 2 models so bought both, the pivot model is the clear winner. Bought them during some deal where we also got a free outdoor camera too, but a year later we have yet to take out of the box and use (not based on any issue with the product, just laziness).

We are really looking forward to getting a good deal on a Nest system this year, wanted to buy one last year but my husband talked me out if it. Now he wants one, so I hope the deals will be even better this year! Haven't really heard any complaints about the nest products, only good stuff.

#44 flosmoney  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 22, 2017 - 3:30 pm

We have Amcrest cameras and they have an app to use on phones and tablets. My husband bought on Amazon. He installed them and replaced the older system. After the initial cost that’s it. We have no camera inside. We all around the house and yard covered. We don’t have it with Alexa. Really enjoy Alexa to work with WeMo and Phillip Hue other devices. A favorite is grocery list and timers and controlling lights stereo and television and music.

#45 Kash  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 22, 2017 - 5:01 pm

Does anybody have the Arlo wireless camera system by netgear? A friend has it and loves it.  Interested in more opinions to help us decide. 



#46 Bopeep  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 27, 2017 - 12:15 pm

I'm expecting $39, maybe $35 on BF, but man I would love to see it at $25.

I saw the Echo in the Kohl's ad for $29.99, so obviously I was wrong 

 

Sometimes, it pays to be wrong. :)



#47 Pnambic  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 30, 2017 - 4:43 am

So, I set up one of the Echo Dots in the living room to see how we might use it a few days ago.  This morning, while getting ready for school, my youngest (just turned 7) asked Alexa to play Halloween music and she did.  Nice.

 

Then my 10 year old interrupted and told Alexa to fart...

 

And she did.

 

And this continued for a good five minutes until I could shoo them out the door to get on the bus.

 

Thank you smart home products, what would I do without you?


Da-shiang bad-tza shr duh lah doo-tze!

#48 HanShotFirst  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 30, 2017 - 9:15 am

I’m sorry but asking Alexa to fart just jumped up to my #1 thing to do when I get home from work tonight.

LMAO!

#49 bribri25  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 30, 2017 - 12:03 pm

I saw the Echo in the Kohl's ad for $29.99, so obviously I was wrong 

 

Sometimes, it pays to be wrong. :)

 

...plus you're over half way to $15 KC!



#50 bribri25  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 3, 2017 - 7:47 pm

I've been educating myself over the past week about smart home stuff and planning out all kinds of stuff that I want all over the house.  This could be my most expensive BF ever...  but there will need to be good deals; I'm banking on Amazon to have the deals as I'm not sure I can get in-store on Thursday evening to BB/Kohls (that Dot with KC has got to be pretty tops)/etc. before they start selling out.  Probably getting a Wink Hub 2, A19 & BR30 bulbs (not sure which brand, yet), some light strips, switches, outlet plugs, maybe some sensors, and a Ring doorbell, definitely a Nest Indoor Camera, and maybe a front door deadbolt lock.

 

Looking for a Google Home, Amazon Echo Show, and a few dots.



#51 HanShotFirst  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 4, 2017 - 1:15 am

I really am interested in the Echo Spot but I’m not sure there will be any pre-Christmas deals on that since the release date is December 19. May have to wait until sometime in 2018 for a lower price on that.

Otherwise I might be talked into a Phillips Hue starter kit for my table lamps. Those of you that have Hue bulbs......are they worth it? I’m only looking into a 2-bulb kit at the moment unless a 4-bulb kit turns out to be a better deal. Can the bulbs be programmed on a schedule? If so, can they be done differently? I guess my main thing is to be able to keep up the appearance of someone being home when I’m not. And of course the lazy factor of not having to raise up off the sofa or bed to turn my lamps off. I’m all about the lazy some days. What happens when a bulb requires replacement? Will the hub recognize that or is there some sort of process to go through?

#52 bribri25  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 4, 2017 - 4:53 am

I really am interested in the Echo Spot but I’m not sure there will be any pre-Christmas deals on that since the release date is December 19. May have to wait until sometime in 2018 for a lower price on that.

Otherwise I might be talked into a Phillips Hue starter kit for my table lamps. Those of you that have Hue bulbs......are they worth it? I’m only looking into a 2-bulb kit at the moment unless a 4-bulb kit turns out to be a better deal. Can the bulbs be programmed on a schedule? If so, can they be done differently? I guess my main thing is to be able to keep up the appearance of someone being home when I’m not. And of course the lazy factor of not having to raise up off the sofa or bed to turn my lamps off. I’m all about the lazy some days. What happens when a bulb requires replacement? Will the hub recognize that or is there some sort of process to go through?

 

I don't have any yet, but I'll answer your questions. Yes, you can program them, and independently. You can add something like 50 bulbs to a single hub, so you can add on more or replace after your initial 2 with just buying a new bulb and setting up the hub to recognize it (though, I expect one of these bulbs to last you 15-20 years). The whole process is on your smartphone to set up and program the bulbs. You can then control them with Alexa, Google Home, or Apple HomeKit.

 

Edit: Oh, and also wanted to add they sell both the color version (you have the full spectrum of color for the lights), or just white where you can set the warmth or the light (warm orangish to white to cool blue).


Edited by bribri25, Nov 4, 2017 - 4:54 am.


#53 HanShotFirst  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 4, 2017 - 5:31 am

Thanks for the info! Sounds like this is something I would enjoy.

#54 bluebear  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 5, 2017 - 4:19 pm

Okay, I need some explanation on the whole Alexa/dot thing please.

So you just talk to it, and it does Amazon stuff for you? Internet stuff? What is the source of the info?

Do you have to have whatever the big thing is, or can you just have the Dot? What do they do different?

Do you have to have Prime? Is that what it interacts with?

Does it work just over your wireless network? Does it require an app? Or can it be used on something other than iPhone/android? Does the app offer any advantage?

I know people have said they ask it for weather, to order something, play music... So you do it if you don't feel like grabbing phone or computer? If your hands are messy? (I'm actually not big in talking to things, guess why I'm a little apprehensive here)

Where does the music come from? Amazon music? What if your music is on another platform?

Who would be a good candidate for this? Would it be appropriate for someone who is in the apple world, but has Amazon prime? What about baby-boomer aged parents?

Sorry for all the probably silly questions. But I don't listen to music, watch movies, or talk to things. I also like to just do things myself, and I don't like being talked to. And I don't have an Apple or Android phone. So I am obviously NOT the target audience for this!

#55 Bopeep  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 5, 2017 - 5:39 pm

Okay, I need some explanation on the whole Alexa/dot thing please.

So you just talk to it, and it does Amazon stuff for you? Internet stuff? What is the source of the info?  Just like Siri on the iphone. But you "wake" her by saying her name.

Do you have to have whatever the big thing is, or can you just have the Dot? What do they do different? You can have just the dot. The only difference is the speaker. The Dot doesn't have a very good one, but can be connected via blue tooth or 3.5m plug

Do you have to have Prime? Is that what it interacts with? Prime is not required.

Does it work just over your wireless network? Yes. Does it require an app? Or can it be used on something other than iPhone/android? Does the app offer any advantage? There is an app, and it is required for set up. It can be on any tablet or smart phone, as far as I know.

I know people have said they ask it for weather, to order something, play music... So you do it if you don't feel like grabbing phone or computer? If your hands are messy? (I'm actually not big in talking to things, guess why I'm a little apprehensive here) There are tons of what they call "skills". But, yes, weather, recipe conversions (I use it a lot for that), etc can be done from anywhere in range.

Where does the music come from? Amazon music? What if your music is on another platform? You can use Amazon music. Most of my "owned" music is on Amazon.  You can also use it for Pandora, Spotify, SiriusXM, iHeart Radio, etc.

Who would be a good candidate for this? Would it be appropriate for someone who is in the apple world, but has Amazon prime? What about baby-boomer aged parents?  I got my mom a Dot last year, and this year I'm going to get her a 2nd one for her room.  She checks the weather on it, but I'm not sure what else she does. I want her to have it so if something happens and she can't get to a phone, she can actually have it call me or my sisters (or anyone else that has the app)

Sorry for all the probably silly questions. But I don't listen to music, watch movies, or talk to things. I also like to just do things myself, and I don't like being talked to. And I don't have an Apple or Android phone. So I am obviously NOT the target audience for this! You don't know if you don't ask. But it doesn't sound like this is something you would get anything out of.

Hope that helps :)



#56 HanShotFirst  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 5, 2017 - 5:42 pm

I have a Dot but do not use it to it's full potential but still love it.  I'll try to answer some of your questions as best I can.

 

You do not have to have the big thing.  I only have a Dot.  The big thing has a better speaker for music so I understand but I listen to my Pandora and iHeartRadio on the Dot and am fine with the sound.  

 

You can order from Amazon via Alexa if you set voice purchasing up.  I think there are Alexa shopping only deals daily.  I don't think Prime is required to have an Alexa device but may be required for the shopping aspect.  Not sure about that.  

 

It does work over your wireless internet connection.  I've had no issues with mine losing connectivity.  It does require the use of the Alexa app.  You use the app to set it up and manage those settings.  You can also browse her skills and enable/disable from there.  It will link to a Google calendar, Microsoft calendar (Outlook, Office 365) and reportedly an Apple calendar.  I have mine linked to my Google calendar.  The music comes from Amazon music If you are a subscriber, a linked Pandora account, linked iHeartRadio account, siriusxm.  It can be paired to a Bluetooth device as well.  

 

If you set up your location, she can give you weather, movie times, things nearby.  She will notify you when an Amazon shipment is scheduled to be delivered and when it is delivered if you set this feature up,  

 

The main thing I use her for is reminders, weather, and timers.  I'm a huge fan of the timer function, especially when cooking.  When I was sick a few weeks ago and had a schedule of times for medication I simply told her to remind me in XX hours to take medication.  

 

I have apple products and Amazon prime.  

 

I felt silly talking to her when I first got the Dot last year but it doesn't bother me now.  The skills I use mostly are the relaxation sound skills when I'm trying to nap during the day.  

 

My mom and dad are in their mid-70's and she is seriously thinking about getting a Dot for them.  My elderly aunts both have one as well.  I think the Target audience is anyone with a smart phone that might get a kick out of it really.  

 

If I am wrong about anything someone please feel free to correct me.  Like I said I don't use it to its full potential but I find it very useful anyway.  



#57 bribri25  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 5, 2017 - 6:07 pm

Okay, I need some explanation on the whole Alexa/dot thing please.

So you just talk to it, and it does Amazon stuff for you? Internet stuff? What is the source of the info?

Do you have to have whatever the big thing is, or can you just have the Dot? What do they do different?

Do you have to have Prime? Is that what it interacts with?

Does it work just over your wireless network? Does it require an app? Or can it be used on something other than iPhone/android? Does the app offer any advantage?

I know people have said they ask it for weather, to order something, play music... So you do it if you don't feel like grabbing phone or computer? If your hands are messy? (I'm actually not big in talking to things, guess why I'm a little apprehensive here)

Where does the music come from? Amazon music? What if your music is on another platform?

Who would be a good candidate for this? Would it be appropriate for someone who is in the apple world, but has Amazon prime? What about baby-boomer aged parents?

Sorry for all the probably silly questions. But I don't listen to music, watch movies, or talk to things. I also like to just do things myself, and I don't like being talked to. And I don't have an Apple or Android phone. So I am obviously NOT the target audience for this!

 

 

Hope that helps :)

 

 

I have a Dot but do not use it to it's full potential but still love it.  I'll try to answer some of your questions as best I can.

 

You do not have to have the big thing.  I only have a Dot.  The big thing has a better speaker for music so I understand but I listen to my Pandora and iHeartRadio on the Dot and am fine with the sound.  

 

You can order from Amazon via Alexa if you set voice purchasing up.  I think there are Alexa shopping only deals daily.  I don't think Prime is required to have an Alexa device but may be required for the shopping aspect.  Not sure about that.  

 

It does work over your wireless internet connection.  I've had no issues with mine losing connectivity.  It does require the use of the Alexa app.  You use the app to set it up and manage those settings.  You can also browse her skills and enable/disable from there.  It will link to a Google calendar, Microsoft calendar (Outlook, Office 365) and reportedly an Apple calendar.  I have mine linked to my Google calendar.  The music comes from Amazon music If you are a subscriber, a linked Pandora account, linked iHeartRadio account, siriusxm.  It can be paired to a Bluetooth device as well.  

 

If you set up your location, she can give you weather, movie times, things nearby.  She will notify you when an Amazon shipment is scheduled to be delivered and when it is delivered if you set this feature up,  

 

The main thing I use her for is reminders, weather, and timers.  I'm a huge fan of the timer function, especially when cooking.  When I was sick a few weeks ago and had a schedule of times for medication I simply told her to remind me in XX hours to take medication.  

 

I have apple products and Amazon prime.  

 

I felt silly talking to her when I first got the Dot last year but it doesn't bother me now.  The skills I use mostly are the relaxation sound skills when I'm trying to nap during the day.  

 

My mom and dad are in their mid-70's and she is seriously thinking about getting a Dot for them.  My elderly aunts both have one as well.  I think the Target audience is anyone with a smart phone that might get a kick out of it really.  

 

If I am wrong about anything someone please feel free to correct me.  Like I said I don't use it to its full potential but I find it very useful anyway.  

 

Looks like this was pretty much summed up by a few others, but I'll throw in a few things that came to me:

 

It can be used for ordering stuff on Amazon, but that's not all you use it for. Yeah, you can ask it questions about weather and traffic, but also to set timers for you, add things to a grocery list, start playing music.  As you add more smart home components to your house (bulbs, switches, outlets, hubs, and remotes), you can tell her to turn on certain lights, plugged in items (xmas tree), and tv remote activities.

 

This year, when the dot will be under $30, you really can't go wrong with getting one, trying it out, and see if it's something for you. You may use it once or twice a week to save you 2 minutes of your life, or you may use it 30 times a day for all kinds of things (useless, or otherwise), ....or you may just forget it's there most of the time and once in a while accidentally say "Alexa" and she will start answering/commenting on your next statement and then maybe you'll just unplug her for life.



#58 stewarta4  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 5, 2017 - 6:23 pm

I really am interested in the Echo Spot but I’m not sure there will be any pre-Christmas deals on that since the release date is December 19. May have to wait until sometime in 2018 for a lower price on that.

Otherwise I might be talked into a Phillips Hue starter kit for my table lamps. Those of you that have Hue bulbs......are they worth it? I’m only looking into a 2-bulb kit at the moment unless a 4-bulb kit turns out to be a better deal. Can the bulbs be programmed on a schedule? If so, can they be done differently? I guess my main thing is to be able to keep up the appearance of someone being home when I’m not. And of course the lazy factor of not having to raise up off the sofa or bed to turn my lamps off. I’m all about the lazy some days. What happens when a bulb requires replacement? Will the hub recognize that or is there some sort of process to go through?

Absolutely worth it! Over the past few years we have slowly changed out every single bulb in our home with Hue bulbs (including our outside lights)! I see someone has already answered but yes they can be scheduled and scheduled independently. We've had our oldest bulbs for going on 4 years now and they still haven't needed to be replaced so I can't answer that question. If you get the plain white Hue bulbs (which is what most of ours are...we don't even use the color changing function of the ones we have that have the ability to change colors) they are substantially cheaper.


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#59 bluebear  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 5, 2017 - 7:20 pm

Thank you all so much!  This was all very helpful.

So several music services were listed.  But my husband and boys use Google Music.  And mama has her music in iTunes.  These are both a no go I guess?

 

Another question.  If I bought one for my sister and her 3 kids, can they all use and talk to it separately?  Can the kids listen to different music?  Can they talk to Alexa at the same time?  I did a little reading on the drop-in feature.  So assuming the kids are not plugged into earphones (which they will be), could she use this to call them to dinner?

 

 

 

Looks like this was pretty much summed up by a few others, but I'll throw in a few things that came to me:

 

It can be used for ordering stuff on Amazon, but that's not all you use it for. Yeah, you can ask it questions about weather and traffic, but also to set timers for you, add things to a grocery list, start playing music.  As you add more smart home components to your house (bulbs, switches, outlets, hubs, and remotes), you can tell her to turn on certain lights, plugged in items (xmas tree), and tv remote activities.

 

This year, when the dot will be under $30, you really can't go wrong with getting one, trying it out, and see if it's something for you. You may use it once or twice a week to save you 2 minutes of your life, or you may use it 30 times a day for all kinds of things (useless, or otherwise), ....or you may just forget it's there most of the time and once in a while accidentally say "Alexa" and she will start answering/commenting on your next statement and then maybe you'll just unplug her for life.

 

Okay, for the smart home stuff.  We use Smart Things.  Does anyone know if it works with that?  I actually really might would use that, to lock the front door and turn off porch lights from bed.  Or turn on the heat or AC.  Because I don't keep my phone by the bed, it's in another room.  

And the Alexa only deals are a little tempting. 

 

My husband, who is Mr. Gadget, has not expressed an interest, so I doubt I'd get one for here.  But like you said, for the low price, I was thinking of several for gifts.

 

And if it does require the app to actually use and not just set up, then it won't be helpful for me.  My phone doesn't have the app.  :(



#60 bribri25  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 5, 2017 - 7:32 pm

Thank you all so much!  This was all very helpful.

So several music services were listed.  But my husband and boys use Google Music.  And mama has her music in iTunes.  These are both a no go I guess?

 

Another question.  If I bought one for my sister and her 3 kids, can they all use and talk to it separately?  Can the kids listen to different music?  Can they talk to Alexa at the same time?  I did a little reading on the drop-in feature.  So assuming the kids are not plugged into earphones (which they will be), could she use this to call them to dinner?

 

 

 

 

Okay, for the smart home stuff.  We use Smart Things.  Does anyone know if it works with that?  I actually really might would use that, to lock the front door and turn off porch lights from bed.  Or turn on the heat or AC.  Because I don't keep my phone by the bed, it's in another room.  

And the Alexa only deals are a little tempting. 

 

My husband, who is Mr. Gadget, has not expressed an interest, so I doubt I'd get one for here.  But like you said, for the low price, I was thinking of several for gifts.

 

And if it does require the app to actually use and not just set up, then it won't be helpful for me.  My phone doesn't have the app.  :(

 

Playing your Google Play or iTunes music can be done, but will take some effort to set it up; it pretty much just natively works with Amazon Music.

 

For you sister and her kids, they will all be able to talk to it independently, but it's only tied to one amazon account so the playlists, etc. may be tailored to mom. You can interrupt her while she's playing music; or notably "Aelxa, stop" to get her to stop what she's doing. Yup, she can definitely call them down to dinner with the drop-in feature.

 

Alexa definitely works with the smart home.  You'll probably have to configure an IFTTT rule in the hub when Alexa hears "lock the front door", which will be programmed to lock the door for you. If he likes gadgets, I bet he'd love to play with one of these if he gets his hands on one.

 

No, no. Once it's set up, you don't need the app. In fact, I don't think you ever need the app and all setup can be on the computer.






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