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Got multiple Alexa devices? Here are are some die-hard features to try

The phrase “quality over quantity” can be applied in numerous situations. When it comes to vacationing, it’s important to relish in the smaller moments of a long-planned trip. Enjoy your family’s reactions to scenery and new discoveries, as opposed to cramming in too many activities. The same can be said for a good meal. Instead of splurging on the biggest platter on the menu, maybe opt for a smaller-sized dish prepared with higher-grade ingredients.

When it comes to the average smart home, quality over quantity operates on both sides of the Internet-of-Things token. While in one respect, it may be better to own less “cheaper” hardware in favor of a singularly more powerful device with a greater set of features, there are often just as many benefits to owning several of the same devices — or at least more than one device under the same product suite. A perfect example of the latter is Amazon’s lineup of Alexa-powered Echo devices.

From smart speakers to displays, one Echo device is plenty capable of automating your smart home, streaming your music, and reading you the news of the day. But, when you combine more than one Echo device, you’re unlocking a whole new world of features that simply are not possible with only one product. To help shed light on this hidden territory, we’ve put together this guide to what you can do with multiple Alexa devices.

While first-party Alexa hardware is capable of connecting with some third-party Alexa devices, we’re choosing to keep everything in-house for this piece. Therefore, we’ll be focusing exclusively on cross-features shared between Amazon’s Echo devices.

Make announcements to the entire household

Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen 2021) interface.
John Velasco / Digital Trends

Screaming that dinner is ready at the bottom of the stairs may be the classic American way, but it can wreak havoc on your much-needed vocal cords. Thankfully, our Echo products will allow us to communicate in a much easier fashion.

If you’d like to make an overarching announcement throughout your home, you can effectively use all of your Echo devices as a multi-room intercom. You can do so in one of two ways. If you prefer to do the talking yourself, simply say, “Alexa, make an announcement.” Alexa will then cue you in to start talking. When you’re finished, the voice assistant will broadcast your audio message to every Echo device in the house.

You can also type in messages that Alexa will announce in her trademark artificial intelligence (A.I.) monotone (or selected accent). To do so, open the Alexa app and tap Communicate at the bottom of the home page. On the next page, tap Announce and type in whatever words you’d like to share with your loved ones. Once you’re finished, Alexa will then read off your prose to all connected Echo devices.

Drop In on the whole family or one member at a time

Amazon Echo Show 8 2021 pan and zoom camera.
John Velasco / Digital Trends

This next feature is one of the most versatile from one Echo device to another. Using Alexa’s Drop In feature, you can use the Alexa app to “drop in” on your home’s connected Echo devices while you’re on the go or even if you’re under the same roof. Let’s start with a drive home from work.

Say you want to get in touch with your significant other’s home office speaker. Pull your car over (safety first), open the Alexa app, and tap the Drop In button. Choose the Echo speaker or display you want to call. Once connected, you’ll be able to have a two-way chat with the person in the particular room you’ve phoned. Now, let’s switch gears to everyone being home at the same time.

Say you’re in the kitchen and want to use your Echo Show to convene with the upstairs Echo Show. Simply say, “Alexa, drop in on [insert chosen device name],” and your Show will connect you to the second Show via live video feed and two-way chat.

Play your music in multiple rooms

Envious of your pal’s intricate Sonos system? Yes, the ability to create custom zones throughout the home for music is an enviable feature set, not to mention the fact that you can have the same playlist jamming on multiple speakers at the same time. Well, guess what? Your friend and his Sonos investment will now be competing with your home’s Echo system.

One great perk to owning more than one Echo device is the ability to group and play music across multiple devices. It’s a function in the Alexa app called Multi-Room Music, and it’s quite simple to use. To get started, open the Alexa app and tap Devices. On the next screen, tap the Plus icon in the top-right corner, then select Multi-Room Music.

Once Multi-Room is live, you’ll be able to simultaneously stream music from services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music throughout your Echo ecosystem. Better yet, you can individualize the listening experience by commanding one Echo device to play something on another. Say you’re in the kitchen and plan on heading upstairs for your before-bed yoga session. Simply command your countertop by saying, “Alexa, play yoga music on the bedroom speaker.” By the time you get upstairs, your meditation tracks will be playing on your bedside Echo Show 5.

Elevate your home theater experience

Ever want the pulse-pounding sound of a top-notch home theater system but can’t shell out the thousands of audiophile dollars required? Not to worry. With just a few Echo devices, you can create quite a beastly cinema experience. Of course, the better your Echo speaker, the better the sound. Personally, we recommend the fourth-generation Echo, Echo Studio, or Alexa-powered soundbar. In order to use Alexa to enhance your TV sound, you’ll also need a compatible Fire TV, Fire Stick, or Fire TV Cube.

To use your Echo products as home theater speakers, open the Alexa app and tap Devices, then tap the Plus button. On the next screen, tap Set Up Audio System, then select Home Cinema. Choose the compatible Echo speakers you’d like to use for your cinema to finish up.

Keep in mind that your Echo speakers will only play audio from the apps built into your Fire TV hardware. Ancillary equipment like cable boxes, game systems, and Blu-ray players will not be able to integrate.

Shared reminders and timers

Yes, you’re already familiar with Alexa’s ability to store important reminders throughout the day, as well as its ability to set timers. But, did you know that Alexa can recall reminders from any Echo product? As long as the speakers and displays are connected to the same network, you can ask Alexa to recount a reminder from any Echo product, regardless of which one you created the reminder on. The same goes for timers that you’ve set.

You can also cancel reminders and timers from any Echo device, whether or not it was initiated on said speaker or display.

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