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If you're looking for a simple way to make your home "smarter," the Amazon Echo Dot is an easy choice. The smart speaker is an Amazon bestseller with a small and compact design that can be tucked into any room. And for a limited time, you can get one for 30 percent off.
Shop: Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation), $34.99 (Orig. $49.99)
The Echo Dot (3rd gen) is Amazon's most popular speaker and for good reason. It has improved speaker quality from the second generation and can be paired with a second Echo Dot for stereo sound. Using Alexa, you can voice control your music: Ask Alexa to play your favorite song using Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify or Sirius XM and then ask her to turn it up!
Alexa is also there to answer any questions you may have when you're not in the mood to check your phone, like what time is it and what's the weather like outside. You can also ask Alexa to read the news, set alarms, act as a sound machine and control compatible smart home devices. That means your device can turn on the lights, adjust the thermostat, lock your doors and make calls when asked.
Personally, my favorite use for Alexa is asking her to turn on and off the lights. You can do so by pairing your device with smart light bulbs or plugging lamps into smart outlets. So for example, if you're up late reading and don't want to get out of bed to turn off the lights, ask Alexa to do it. If you have a hard time waking up, you can ask Alexa to gradually start turning on the lights to mimic the sunrise at 7 a.m. And you can also set your lights to a timer, so when you're not home, it still looks like you are.
Shop: Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) Bundle with Philips Hue White & Color 2-pack A19 Smart Bulbs, $74.99 (Orig. 139.98)
According to Amazon, Alexa has tens of thousands of skills and is constantly adding more.
If you're worried about your privacy, the product description reads that it is "built with multiple layers of privacy protections and controls, including a microphone off button that electronically disconnects the microphones." However, if you're really concerned, you should use a strong password (preferably one you don't use often or have never used before.)
The Echo Dot has over 109,000 positive reviews giving it 4.7 out of 5 stars.
"I cannot say enough about this amazon echo dot. It is WONDERFUL. Loud, crisp, and knows my voice so well. I love the size of this one. It is much more convenient and easy to stow away but still be heard with the far field of sound," wrote one Amazon reviewer. "I would recommend this to anyone who loves to have music around the house being played. Did I mention the price? Unbeatable. Don’t get a knock off! Just get the amazon echo dot 3rd generation and do yourself a favor. I am just over the moon about this item. Thanks amazon!"
"I love my echo dot. I have four of them and they really help make my life easier. They can control almost everything, lights, locks TV, music, thermostat. It hears you almost all of the time and I've run into very few issues with it overall. I really couldn't ask for a more helpful device. It's even more handy when I found that I could get a battery base for it. The GGMM D3 base that I found lets me carry the alexa dot around pretty much anywhere. I love that I can take it into the bathroom with me and listen to music while I shower or take it outside and listen to music. That's really the only thing I think it was missing," wrote another Amazon reviewer.
The Amazon Echo Dot comes in four colors — charcoal, white, plum and heather gray — to match every style. Get one today and see how much "smarter" life at home can be.