Amazon echo – the new way to control your Hue

The power of your voice

The Amazon echo is here to your aid. You need something? Just shout out to Alexa and the Echo will help you with your needs. Yes, you can now control your environment by just using your god-given voice. Need some information on tomorrow’s weather? Ask the echo. Wonder how your favourite team played their last game? Ask the echo. You get the hang of it, right?

And the best thing is, smart home users get a lot of cool features directly available with the Amazon Echo including some Philips Hue functionality. Some functionality you might ask? We’ll come to that in a bit. But first, let us have a quick look at our protagonist.

The Amazon echo comes in two different sizes. The classic Amazon Echo and the Amazon Echo dot, which is a smaller version without integrated speakers. Also, there is the Amazon Tap, a medium-sized version in between those to Echos. The table below should give you a short overview of the features of each. If you do not have one, we highly recommend ordering one and trying out for yourself!

Comparison of Alexa products

Amazon Echo Amazon Tap Amazon Echo Dot
Price 179$ 129.99$ 49$
Size 235 mm x 83.5 mm x 83.5 mm 59 mm x 66 mm x 66 mm 38 mm x 84 mm x 84 mm
Weight 1045 grams 470 grams 250 grams
Connectivity Bluetooth; dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi Bluetooth; 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n Wi-Fi Bluetooth; dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi
Audio 2.5 inch woofer and 2.0 inch tweeter (360 degrees) dual 1.5-inch drivers and dual passive radiators (360 degree audio) Voice-feedback only (you need external speakers)

So once you have your handy Amazon Echo device (or the Tap) you can connect it to your Philips Hue (we will describe how to set that up in an upcoming article) and off you go. Wait, not so fast!

First of all, it really helps to have your Philips Hue setup in place of course. If you are new to smart lighting of your home, check our product recommendation on Philips Hue products. Once you get your Alexa app connected to them, try to switch on lights in a specified room. That goosebumps when you can light your room with voice command for the first time is just so rewarding after some trouble you might have connecting the app. You wonder what to do next: It is kind of cool coming home late at night, having just to say the magic words to switch on your lights. But having switched lights off and on for some time, you might feel that the magic is wearing off a little.

Dimming works as well and is really helping if you normally would have to open the app first pick the right room and then dim. Now, at the command of your voice, just dim the room. But what to do next? Changing colors, this is what you bought your Hue for in the first place!

But this poses kind of a problem. Alexa cannot do color changes, which is kind of a bummer as this is one essential parts of using Philips Hue. Some slight amendments have been made on Amazon’s side. With the launch of the Echo series in Germany and the UK in October 2016, Amazon added the possibility to select preset smart home scenes, that you can define in the Hue App. One of our favorite scenes for example is the sunrise scene, which turns the room into a dark orange-red and brightens over time. You can now call those scenes with your Echo. But what’s missing is the possibility to actually select a specific color via the Alexa directly.

We will provide you with a guide on how to do a workaround that soon but we can only hope, that with the next update of the Alexa app, color changing will become part of the native Echo environment. Having said that, we still enjoy using our Echo’s a lot and would not want to miss it any more. If you are looking for your options with Amazon Echo find them here. You have own experiences or questions? Just post them in the commentaries and we are here to help!

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