Guest Blog: “The Echo Dot – A Non-Techy Review” by Jan McDonnal

This is a guest blog by Jan McDonnal a long time friend and fantastic supporter of ForCarol.com. Enjoy!


So, I’m not a “techy” person per se. I do have a smart phone, I enjoy using my iPad and can get around the internet pretty well. I had heard about the Echo before, but really didn’t think it was something I needed. After all, I can turn my own lights on and off, I have fun browsing on Amazon without any help and can make my own phone calls. But then…

I’ve been working on turning my master bath into a spa and have made some great improvements. My personal “spa” has some new paint and wallpaper and luxurious accoutrements like a bubble mat, super fluffy towels and a bamboo tray to hold my favorite book and a glass of wine. But one thing lacking was music to create the spa-like environment. I recently heard about the new Echo Dot with its superior speaker and tiny footprint and, after watching an online demo, I was convinced it would be a great addition to the room and make my spa complete.

I was really excited when the Echo Dot arrived, and found it very simple to set up. I read ten phrases aloud so Alexa could get used to my voice and then we were off and running!

While there are many fantastic music genres available (including the zen sounds I was looking for), the best part is the THOUSANDS of different skills to enable on the Echo Dot and personalize the experience just for you. Alexa can greet you in the morning with a compliment or positive thought for the day. You can even learn a daily phrase in another language (I chose Portuguese and Japanese), and have access to informational podcasts with your Flash Briefings. One of my favorites is DeCluttr Me with helpful hints for organization. Trouble sleeping? The Guided Sleep Meditation talks you down at the end of the day so you can relax, or you can fall asleep to the sounds of a distant train (which, surprisingly, is very soothing).

But back to the music for a minute. There is a vast array to choose from, including Harp Serenade for some of those “spa” days, and even Bagpipes (yes, I really DO like Bagpipes!). My affinity for music is pretty eclectic, so I can wake up with the local country radio station but then switch to Gregorian chants while I get ready in the morning. Alexa’s repertoire from Amazon Music can suit just about any mood and musical interest.

I’m so impressed with the Echo Dot’s quality and breadth of skills that I ordered a second one for downstairs. I set it up today and the cool thing is it synced with my first Echo, so it already recognizes my voice and all of the skills on Alexa #1 are automatically loaded onto the second one. Easy peasy!

There are so many fun and educational skills to choose from, I’m looking forward to expanding my horizons with the 3-minute Ultimate Plank, asking Random Act of Kindness for a daily idea, and exploring Wine Lifestyle. The Echo Dot is a great value for the money and I recommend it highly!

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