Alexa Tap and Echo Dot: first impressions

Alexa Tap and Echo Dot: first impressions

picture of unopened Alexa Tap, Echo Dot, and Sling

They are here…and they are already set up!

As promised, our

Echo Dot (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)


Alexa Tap (at AmazonSmile*)

arrived on release day.

Out of the Smile box  Back of the Dot Unboxed

I must say, I have never had an easier set up of any connected device!

I pretty much just had to plug them into power and pick a Wi-Fi network. I didn’t even have to enter a password, since Amazon now memorizes my network for me (if I want it to do that).

I already had an

Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*)


Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*)

all of which use the Alexa Voice Service. I had the Alexa App on my Fire Phone, so the set-up was a snap!

The Tap did act like it needed to be set up twice, but I suspect it updated itself.

As soon as they were set-up, I could control my lights, ask for the weather, and so on.

Oh, it’s probably worth noting that the devices were delivered to another city (we have Amazon packages get sent to an office rather than our home, for security). I did have to tell the Tap that it was in our city, rather than where it was delivered.

So, not much to say about that because it all worked well. 🙂

I can tell you something to help you.

I bought the “Sling” carrier for the Tap. The device is about as tall as a soda can and a half, and about the same diameter. The Sling (the Tap is battery operated) is a way to carry it (and is designed to help protect it in a drop). I’ve heard people express concern about taking the Tap in and out of the Sling to set it on the charging cradle.

Well, there is a diagram for how you take it in and out. You don’t put it in from the top…you put it in from the side. You just put the bottom of it in the Sling, then you lift the top over it just be stretching it a little bit…no problem.

I have not yet connected either of them to Bluetooth (I’ll do that tomorrow and update this post).

The Dot does have a speaker, although the big difference between the Dot and the Echo is that it doesn’t have the Echo’s Bluetooth speaker. However, the speaker is…serviceable. It’s just fine for conversation, for doing things like telling you the weather. I did play music on it. I’d say it’s a bit like the old transistor radios we used to have. 🙂 I have a tolerance for “tinny” music…my Significant Other doesn’t. I’ll fix that by connecting it to a speaker (there is an included 3.5 mm to 3.5 mm cable…that’s the normal “headphone jack” size).

They can all have the same wake word. The same Skills work on all of them.

Bottom line: we had two more ways to access the Alexa Voice Service within ten minutes…painlessly.

Have any questions? Feel free to ask by commenting on this post.

Oh, and as usual, April Hamilton has a great post on her blog, Love My Echo (not connected to my I Love My Kindle blog):

It may also answer some of your questions. I don’t have a connection with April Hamilton except that we have had some correspondence.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard 

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help!

For more information on the Echo and Alexa, see The Measured Circle’s Echo Central.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

7 Responses to “Alexa Tap and Echo Dot: first impressions”

  1. Phink Says:

    I got my Dot a couple days ago and I can’t do what I was planning on doing with it and am ashamed that I did not think of it. My plan was to hook the dot up to my Bose (Aux cable). Then, for stuff like weather not bother turning the Bose on and just listening through the little speaker built into the Dot. For music or audio books I would turn on the Bose. Here is the problem and I should have known this. Once you plug the aux cable into the aux out slot of the Dot it deactivates the Dot speakers. That means if it’s plugged into the Bose but the Bose it turned off and I ask the weather there is no sound at all. I see the blue ring so it’s telling me what I wanted to know but no way for the sound to be produced. It bothers me to leave stuff on 24/7. I just can’t do that. So now, it is hooked to a bluetooth speaker which is fine but it’s not the Bose.

    I have gone back and forth about sending it back. Since there is nothing wrong with it I think I’d have to pay for shipping and that might be 10% of my purchase price. That’s a motivation to just keep it because it does still come in handy and I do like it. I’m just not sure I $90 like it. I think right now I’d pay the difference and trade it for a tap.

    One thing I love about it is the micro USB power cable. I was so glad to see it was not a propitiatory power cable. That means I can, and have, simply placed an extra plug and micro USB wire in the bedroom and can easily move it from the office to the bedroom. I’m glad to have something to do with the 12 or 15 extra micro USB cables I’ve got lying around LOL.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      Well, this would cost you more money (unless you are already set up with it), but you could use a smart plug with your Bose. Then, you would first ask your Dot to turn on your Bose, then talk to it. 🙂 You would also ask it to turn off the BOSE. You could also but the Bose on a timer, if you have certain hours of the day you are likely (or unlikely) to use this set up. Here is some information on that:

      You can get a smart plug which doesn’t require a hub…I would be sure for under $30.

      The Tap is a good device, but remember that you’ll have to, well, tap it every time. I would think that would seem more inconvenient at home than turning on the Bose…

  2. Phink Says:

    True about having to tap it and that might get annoying for me. I will probably keep it and as of now I have the Dot sitting beside my Bose. I have the aux cable coming out of the Bose and just laying by the Dot. I have tested simply plugging it into the Dot when I want it and unplugging it when I don’t. That seems to work fine.

    One more thing. This is a great device and works flawlessly. I agree with you that this is going to be extremely popular once it hits the market fully. If they can keep them in stock it’ll be a hot Christmas item.

    Here is something else I thought of about an hour ago that I’m going to try soon. My car, and most newer ones now, has a micro USB slot in it. I am going to plug the Dot into that slot and see if it’ll work. I can’t imagine why it would not but you never know. The problem is I can’t test it fully because my phone company does not allow hot spotting with my penny pincher plan. I will have to stay in the driveway and keep connected to my home WIFI.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      Yes, plugging and unplugging should work, too. 🙂

      Your car micro-USB slot should power your Dot…your next car certainly may have Wi-Fi built into it as well. Also, I believe public Wi-Fi is becoming more available…if it’s city provided and password free, that could (hypothetically) work for your Dot.

      Another interesting thing is Bluetooth speaker/power bank combinations. That allows portability and hands free Alexa…although it requires two devices.

  3. Phink Says:

    I thought about the power bank as well. I have a few Duracell battery packs but I am almost certain if the device plugged into it is not doing something, charging, playing something, I think the battery will disengage it’s power. I could be wrong but I believe that to be the case with mine. I want to know. I think I’ll give it a try.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      Let me know what happens! It’s possible the Dot will keep it in some sort of ready state…

      • Phink Says:

        I work weekends only and work 15 hours a week because of my handicap. I have been off 11 days (vacation) and was shocked when I went to work yesterday and on the end cap of aisle 4 was a display of…….the echo. We are selling the echo now. I normally just say I work at a big box retailer because the rest if not important. But now I think it needs to be said and it’s not like where I work needs to be private anyway. I work at Lowe’s. I looked and only our store Paragould, AR. has them in our area. Jonesboro, not in stock. Memphis, not in stock. I wonder why we got them and we only have 5 as of yesterday. I have no idea how many we sold since the display went up but I plan on looking in the computer system today and finding out. However, I cannot divulge that information. That’s insider info that would be against company policy plus unethical in my opinion. Sorry I can’t let you know that.

        They price is $179.99 and today I’m testing the battery pack idea by taking my Dot to work with my battery pack and demonstrating it for customers and staff. It’s amazing that almost every one of our staff had no idea what it was. They will find out today if the battery pack will keep it connected. I will keep you informed. Oh we get a 10% discount and one week during December it’s 20%. Oh if they have it then I could get one 20% off. Christmas present for someone maybe?

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