Amazon released the Echo a couple of years ago now. It has been a great success and continues to sell in big numbers.
Since then, a physical voice remote control unit was included as a bundle, and now it’s sold only as a separate accessory for the Echo, and the Echo Dot.
We’re going to talk about how the Echo Remote works, what it does, how to pair it with the Echo, and also confirm whether or not you need it…
What Is The Echo Remote? How Does It Work?
The Amazon Echo Voice Remote enables you to talk to Alexa without having to talk directly to the Echo (or the Echo Dot) itself.
The remote is battery powered (using 2x AAA batteries), and uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with the Echo.
Once you have your remote paired with the Echo, you can communicate your request to Alexa by talking towards your remote, rather than your Echo. You do this by pressing the mic button on the remote before and during your request.
You have the choice of muting the mic on the actual Echo while using the remote. Muting the Echo mic will still allow you to talk to Alexa via the remote microphone (after pressing the remote control mic button). You can also choose to leave the Echo mic on (listening), giving you the choice to ask Alexa questions either directly to the Echo, or via the remote. Note that when using the remote mic, you don’t have to say ‘Alexa’ before every request.
The Echo Remote isn’t just limited to requests. It’s also possible to control the volume as well. Of course, you can also adjust volume on the Echo itself too.
One really neat feature is pausing music. If you’re using Echo to listen to your favorite radio show or album, you can press the pause button on the remote. Then have your little conversation with Alexa. Once you’re done, you can either press pause again, or ask Alexa to ‘play’.
How To Pair The Remote With Echo
1) Once you have inserted the batteries, go to the Alexa app and select ‘Settings’ from the menu.
2) Choose the Echo you want to pair to, and select ‘Pair Remote’.
3) On your remote, hold the play button for 5 seconds (then release). This engages the pairing to begin. Once complete, Alexa will say “Tour remote has been paired”. The process usually takes up to 40 seconds.
Caveats Of Using The Voice Remote
Does not work with Tap or Fire TV!
Only Pairs To One Echo At A Time
If you have more than one Echo (or Dot, or a combo of the two), you can only pair the remote with one device at a time. So, if you need to use it with different Echos, you’ll need to pair up with the new Echo. The old pairing will automatically drop as a result.
The remote does not include a speaker. So if you ask Alexa a question, you’ll need to be in earshot of the Echo to hear her answer.
Conclusion: Do you need an Echo Remote?
A very good question…
A lot of users will probably get along fine without the remote. There are however times when the remote is beneficial. Perhaps you are unwell and don’t want to (or can’t) speak? You can use the remote to quietly talk into the microphone, rather than talking normally or at a higher volume if you need to make yourself heard over loud music or if the kids are shouting and screaming.
This kind of brings us to the next benefit. If the Echo is playing loud music, you’ll need to obviously talk louder to give instruction. The further away you are from the Echo, the more this matters. The remote is an easy way to get around this issue.
Oh, and (this is a bit weird, but has to be said...) if there’s someone named Alexa in your home (and you haven’t changed the Wake Up Word), then having the remote means you won’t confuse the life out of the Alexa (real person) in your home every time you want to talk to your Echo!
There’s also the option to use the amazon app (explained here) which works in a similar fashion to the Voice Remote. Some people, however, will prefer to use a dedicated remote.
Amazon Echo Voice Remote
Have you got an Echo or Dot? Do you use the voice remote with it? Tell us how it helps you, or if it was a bit of a waste of money...