How to set up an Amazon Echo

DI you just get a brand-new Amazon Echo? Here's how to set it up

Congratulations, you’ve got yourself an Amazon Echo device. You’ll be on your way to asking the voice assistant Alexa stupid questions in no time! This hands-free, voice-controlled speaker can do so much more than meets the eye.

Enabled with Alexa, the Echo can respond to voice commands and play your music, read you audiobooks, report the weather, break down the news, and so much more. With seven built-in microphones, the Echo is designed to hear your voice commands no matter where you are in the room, even if there’s background noise or there’s music playing. Excited to get started? Here’s how to set up your brand-new Amazon Echo, so you can start asking Alexa to tell you jokes.

Step 1: Download the Alexa App

The free Alexa app is a must-have if you’re the owner of an Amazon Echo. You’ll need it to get your Echo device set up. Download it on any smartphone or tablet with iOS 9.0 or higher, Android 5.0 or higher, or Fire OS 3.0 or higher. Simply open up the app store that comes with your device and search “Alexa app.” Downloading the app on a computer? Make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi, then visit the Amazon Alexa website to download it.

Step 2: Plug in the Echo

This is probably the easiest step in the whole set-up process, as the Echo doesn’t require any batteries in order to function. Simply plug the included power adapter directly into the Echo, then hook it up to a power outlet. When the light ring turns blue, that means the power is connected. Then, wait for it to turn orange, as this is a sign that Alexa is preparing to greet you. When that is done, you’ll hear Alexa’s voice telling you the device is ready for set-up.

Step 3: Connect the Echo to Wi-Fi via the app

Next, you’ll need to connect your Echo device to your home Wi-Fi network. The latest versions of the Echo should guide you through this process. However, if you get stuck, simply open up the Alexa app and search through the available networks until you find yours. If you have multiple Echo devices, make sure you go to Alexa Devices in the menu and choose the right device. Under the Wireless heading, you should be able to see the state of the Wi-Fi network connection.

Once you’re connected, you have the option of saving your Wi-Fi password to Amazon, which makes it easy to connect to smart home devices or set up a new Alexa device on the same network — should you decide to purchase more Echoes for other rooms. You also have the choice of connecting your Echo to a public network, although the password won’t be saved on Amazon.

Step 4: Start talking to Alexa

To get started, say the wake word, which by default is “Alexa.” But maybe there’s already a human Alexa in the house and you want to change the wake word to something else? Simply tell the Echo, “Alexa, change the wake word.” You can also change the wake word manually by opening up the Alexa app, tapping help and feedback, and selecting change the wake word. Currently, you can change the Echo to respond to “Echo,” “Amazon,” and “Computer.” No word on when Amazon will allow you to customize Alexa so you can call her “Mr. T,” “Honey Bunny,” or “Jelly McJerkface.”

Step 5: Start using your Echo

Congratulations, your Amazon Echo is all set up and ready to be used in your day-to-day life. To make sure everything’s working properly, you can conduct a simple test by trying out a few basic commands. For example, say the wake word and “Hello.” If your Echo is properly set up, Alexa should respond with a simple “Hello” in return.

But the Echo can do much more than greet you. In the Alexa app menu, you will see two sections called Skills & Games and Things to Try. These are both excellent ways to see what Alexa is capable of. Skills in particular can help you customize Alexa by giving her certain abilities–think of them as mini-apps from many different creators that you can use for entertainment, organization, news, and much more.

You can start using your Echo device to make to-do lists, find out the weather, check on traffic conditions, call your friends, send text messages to your family, stream podcasts, or connect smart home devices. Alexa has thousands of essential and not-so-essential skills you can add, too. Check out some of the most useful things that the Amazon Echo can help you do.

Optional Step 6: Connect smart home devices or an external speaker

Alexa Smart Devices

Head to your Alexa app menu, and select Smart Home (Alexa may show you an ad at this point, which you can exit out of). In this mode, Alexa will try to find any nearby and connected smart devices so you can pair them up. You can also choose to Add Device if Alexa is having trouble locating the device you have in mind. You can also organize devices into Groups here, and create more complex Scenes where multiple devices interact at once. Check out our post on Routines for more information.

The Amazon Echo can play also play music, and the sound quality has only improved with the second generation model. To ensure you’re getting a top-notch listening experience when you jam out to music or listen to audiobooks, you have the option of hooking up an external speaker to your Echo device. For best results, get a Bluetooth speaker that’s certified to be compatible with Echo devices. Keep in mind that your Echo can only connect to one Bluetooth device at a time, so if there’s already unit already connected to your Echo, you’ll need to un-sync them before you can connect your external speaker.

Smart Home

Amazon cuts prices on Alexa-controlled Echo and Echo Dot bundles

Amazon cut prices on Alexa and Amazon Echo device bundles. The second-generation Amazon Echo and third-generation Echo Dot are bundled in discounted deals with the Amazon Smart Plug. The Echo and Echo Dot are also bundled together.
Computing

Go hands-free in Windows 10 with speech-to-text support

Looking for the dictation, speech-to-text, and voice control options in Windows 10? Here's how to set up Speech Recognition in Windows 10 and use it to go hands-free in a variety of different tasks and applications within Windows.
Smart Home

The best smart locks to increase your home security in 2019

A good smart lock should offer a combination of security and convenience. Fortunately, these devices keep your home protected, your family safe, and your belongings secure from possible intruders.
Smart Home

Which is better, the original Echo or the Echo Dot? We compare them

Amazon Echo vs. Dot: Having Alexa answer your questions is nothing short of futuristic, but which device should you get? There are some big differences between the two, especially in size, sound, and cost.
Deals

Walmart slashes prices on iRobot Roomba and Shark Ion robot vacuums

Walmart slashed prices of top robot vacuums from iRobot, Shark, Eufy, and Ecovacs just in time for spring cleaning season.  With a robot vacuum on the job you can retire that old upright and let a robot vacuum take over floor-cleaning…
Deals

Amazon slices prices in half for AeroGardens smart indoor garden, today only

AeroGardens can grow up to six plants at one time. The plants grow in water, not soil, so you never have the mess of outdoor gardening in your clean home. This method allows the plants to grow five times faster than if they were planted in…
News

LG’s SnowWhite is a Keurig for lovers of homemade ice cream

LG's SnowWhite conceptual countertop appliance, on display at this year's South by Southwest, is like a Keurig machine for ice cream lovers that produces your favorite frozen desserts from nothing but a little pod.
Deals

Amazon shaves $50 off the Coway Mighty air purifier ahead of allergy season

When it's allergy season, a good air purifier is a must-have for sufferers. The Coway Mighty air purifier (now on sale from Amazon) is one of the best, greatly improving the air quality inside your home by removing dust, dander, pollen, and…
Smart Home

Dyson’s newest products strive to keep your home cool, clean, and well-lit

Dyson launched products to keep your home cool, clean, and well-lit. A Dyson intelligent task light cycles with nature and a personal air purifier harnesses unique airflow. Microprocessors in Dyson's vacuum self-adjust 8,000 times a second.
Smart Home

Smart light switches have become more affordable: Here are the best ones

The ability to control the lighting in your home can have a big effect on your living space. To have more control over your lighting, check out the best smart light switches on the market. 
Smart Home

Update your kitchen with the best refrigerators you can buy in 2019

There are tons of factors that go into buying a fridge, from size and capacity to color. It takes lots of testing and research, but we've chosen the best refrigerators to get you started, regardless of what you're looking for.
Smart Home

Walmart serves up a rare deal on the Google Home Max at $100 off

Some deals are predictable and others are pre-announced, but today Walmart posted a rare deal: $100 off the powerful Google Home Max. Since it rarely goes on sale, waiting may not be prudent. If you want one, grab it.
Deals

Suck up the savings with these vacuum cleaners on sale for $100 or less

Keeping your floors clean around the home is a constant chore. To help make things a whole lot easier, we've picked out some great vacuum cleaner deals available right now, from full-sized upright models to robot vacs.
Smart Home

Is your coffee maker hiding mold inside? Here's how to clean it

Are you a coffee drinker? If you brew your coffee at home and you don't clean your machine, you could be drinking mold, yeast, and other bacteria. Here's how to clean your coffee maker.