From the road you would have no idea that behind that unassuming wooden door stands the most incredible home. Featured on Grand Designs a few years ago it is hard to imagine that this building was a derelict and crumbling old violin factory. Just a five minute stroll from Waterloo there is a peace about it, it’s a little oasis of calm.
Echo Sub is the first wireless Echo subwoofer for those who want to pump up the bass when listening to music on their existing or new Echo devices. You can connect Echo Sub to compatible Echo devices to create a 1.1 or 2.1 pairing for stereo sound. Plus, with the equaliser feature you can adjust the bass, mid-range, and treble using the Alexa app.
Until the new Amazon Sub being demonstrated in the cinema room starts playing Believer by Gorillaz and then, well then it is not about the calm, it’s about the bass. All of it. My one criticism of the Echo products up to now has been the quality of the speakers; they are great when just talking to you but not so great if you want to play music through them. Especially when you generally play music as loudly as I do so you can dance around your kitchen. That is, until now. Amazon have really focussed on that with their new products, increasing the size of the speakers within the devices and therefore improving the quality of the sound.
Smart Plug — £24.99
With the Amazon Smart Plug, you can use your voice to control your lights, fans, coffee maker, and more. The Amazon Smart Plug is the first Wi-Fi smart plug to use Wi-Fi simple setup, making it easier to start – and expand – your smart home with connected devices. All you need is an Alexa-enabled device like Echo, Fire TV, Fire Tablet, Sonos One, or even just the Alexa app on your phone to get started. From there, easily set a routine that turns your lights on at 6:00 a.m. and your lights off at 10:00pm; and with multiple Amazon Smart Plugs, you can control multiple outlets
Imagine being able to lie in bed and to say “Alexa, turn on the kettle” or in our case the Sage Tea-maker, so that by the time I come downstairs there is a pot of freshly brewed tea waiting for me. Total genius.
Of all the products I saw at this event, this is probably the one I feel in love with the most. Not only can you ask Alexa to find you a recipe from the other side of the room, but with messy hands you can say “swipe right” to scroll to the next page to ensure your don’t get flour or pastry etc on your shiny device. With a 10″ screen you can actually also see it from across the room too. With an Echo show in other rooms in the house you can then “drop in on the study”, allowing you to make sure the children are, in fact, doing their homework, and now sneakily watching TV.
It also allows you to set up “routines” so that with the simple command of “Alexa start my morning routine”, the headlines from the BBC are read out, the traffic on your commute is displayed, a weather update appears, and the kettle is switched on. With a “Alexa it’s movie time” you can dim the lights, adjust the TV volume and settle down to the latest box set on Prime Video. Presumably with a popcorn maker plugged into the Smart Plug you can also have that prepared too.
Fire HD 8 + Show Mode Charging Dock — From £79.99
The Show Mode Charging Dock design is small enough to fit on a kitchen counter, bedside table, or desk and makes tablet use hands-free and easy while charging. It comes with a case and adjustable stand-just place your Fire tablet in the case, place it into the stand and watch it automatically switch into Show Mode; magnets on the case will guide the tablet into position for charging, while the stand holds your Fire tablet at an adjustable angle for easy viewing. Pick up your tablet to transition it back to portable tablet mode and enjoy your movies, TV shows, books, apps, and games wherever you want.
Already got an Amazon Fire tablet and some of the Echo products so don’t want to buy the Echo Show? With this clever dock you can turn your tablet into a Show allowing you to watch news, see song lyrics etc, and back again with ease.
Echo Input — £34.99
Echo Input lets you add Alexa to your existing speaker. Echo Input connects to your speaker through a 3.5mm audio cable or Bluetooth, and features a four-microphone array so you can talk to Alexa from across the room. Echo Input is just 12.5mm tall, so it blends easily into every room. Unlike Echo Dot, which has a built-in speaker, all audio is played through the connected speaker rather than through Echo Input itself. When connected to Echo Input, your speaker can be added to a new or existing multi-room music group. Echo Input will be coming later this year and will be available in Black and White.
I was impressed with how small these are, really unobtrusive. Great if you have Bluetooth speaker that you love, but want to be able to control with your voice.
There is so much to tell you about this little bad boy that I am going to just link to the Amazon press release so you can have a read of all the features included in it. Basically though imagine being able to say to your remote “play some Beyonce” so you can have your own little karaoke session as you dance around the lounge and then being able to just tell Alexa to turn it up LOUD.
Or how about sitting on the sofa with a cuppa and saying to the remote “Alexa watch The Crown” and it start playing from where you last left off.
I know, right?
The only problem is going to be choosing which one of the devices NOT to add to your Wishlist.
Some are available now, and some for pre-order with shipping mid November. Links to each product are clickable from the product titles above (except for the Echo Input as that is not out until later in the year).