Skip to main content

Alexa, you’re great. But please stay away from my PC

i dont want alexa on my pc alexawindows10pc01 640x0
Image used with permission by copyright holder
The proliferation of Alexa in every device imaginable has been an important trend over the last couple of years. You can talk to it, make Amazon orders, ask it to play music, and even play games. So why not have it on your laptop or desktop PC?

The first reason is because although you may not use it much, your PC already has a built-in virtual assistant called Cortana. This is Microsoft’s own virtual assistant, which already replicates a lot of the same functionality on your PC, meaning you’ll always have two virtual assistants vying for your attention.

It’s not a dissimilar situation to what happened with Samsung’s 2017 smartphone, the Galaxy S8. Leading up to its release, Samsung made a big deal about Bixby, its new proprietary voice assistant. Bixby was lacking in features and delayed at launch. Worse, S8 owners had immediate access to two voice assistants. A long press of the home button would call up Google Assistant, while the dedicated button on the side would bring up Bixby. It was a total mess.

Bringing Alexa to Windows 10 PCs will result in a similarly confusing experience. Cortana is baked into the Windows 10 experience, with integration across the board, while it doesn’t look as if Alexa will be optimized for the PC in any significant way. Chances are, it’s probably going to be better at selling you things on Amazon than increasing your PC productivity.

Want to use a voice assistant to ask what the weather outside is like, or who won the game last night? Now you’ll have two options built into your PC. Faced with so many ways of accomplishing that task via voice, you’ll probably end up just Googling it, or using your phone.

Besides, using a voice assistant on a PC doesn’t make lot of sense to begin with. It can be convenient to use Alexa to order food, make phone calls, or turn on music when you’re cooking or cleaning the house. When your hands are in position on input devices like keyboards and mice, though, using voice control is the slowest way to get anything done.

As I write this, I am surrounded by a cornucopia of virtual assistants. Cortana on my PC, Google Assistant on my phone, Alexa on a smart speaker nearby in the office, and Siri on my MacBook Pro — all of them anxiously listening and waiting to be helpful. They all have specific use cases when they’re helpful, but Alexa on a PC is just not one of them.

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Larsen
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
These are the 10 best gaming PCs I’d recommend to anyone
Graphics card in the CLX Hathor PC.

We review dozens of gaming PCs each year. In 2024, there are a ton of great options, but we've narrowed them down to a list of the 10 best gaming desktops that deserve your hard-earned money.

In 2024, we still recommend the Alienware Aurora R16 because of its fantastic design, solid performance, and decent value. However, there are several other options depending on your needs and budget. If you want a deeper look into how we evaluate gaming PCs, make sure to read about how we review desktops.

Read more
This HP 17-inch laptop is reduced to $270 for Memorial Day weekend
A woman video chats with her friends on an HP Envy laptop.

There are a lot of excellent laptop brands on the market running early Memorial Day deals, and if you want to snag yourself a 17-inch laptop without paying an arm and a leg, then HP has the solution for you. It's not often you find 17-inch laptops on the market because they tend to be bulky, but for those who love larger screens, something like the HP Laptop 17z is perfect because it's large and won't break the bank. While it usually goes for $560, HP has discounted it quite heavily down to just $270, saving you a whopping $290 in the process.

Why you should buy the HP Laptop 17z
If you don't need a laptop for any sort of heavy lifting and just want something basic for streaming and productivity tasks, then the AMD Athlon Gold 7220U that the HP Laptop 17z comes with should be more than enough. That said, it is worth considering the upgrade to the AMD Ryzen 3 7320U for $100, which will certainly eat into the $290 discount, but it will also give you a better quality of life and some versatility. Unfortunately, there is no way to upgrade the 8GB of RAM that it comes with, but even so, it should be enough for most folks to have a relatively smooth experience, especially if you keep on top of your open tabs and apps.

Read more
This Alienware gaming laptop with an RTX 4090 is $600 off
Alienware m15 gaming laptop on a desk.

Alienware has been one of the best laptop brands out there for quite a while, and if you want to grab yourself one of the best gaming laptops on the market, it's probably going to be an Alienware. In fact, the Alienware M18 R2 is not only powerful, but it also has a massive screen, which is pretty rare when it comes to laptops. Not only that, but it's having a significant early Memorial Day that brings it down to $3,000, rather than the usual $3,600 it goes for, making this an excellent choice if you want one of the best gaming laptops you can grab right now.

Why you should buy the Alienware m18 R2
The beating heart of any gaming device is its GPU, and we're happy to report that the m18 R2 comes with a very impressive RTX 4090 mobile version, making it roughly equivalent to a desktop RTX 4080. That means that the m18 R2 has enough power to run the 2560 x 1600 resolution of the 18-inch screen while still being able to reasonably hit the 165Hz refresh rate while still maintaining higher graphical settings. Even if it doesn't quite hit all those markets, it will come close, and you can adjust your settings to focus on performance or looks depending on your needs, so you'll basically be able to play whatever you want.

Read more