Previously I had seen that there was an optional remote available for the Amazon Echo, and once I had bought the UE Boom 2 speaker, it made great sense for me to buy the Amazon Echo remote so I could control Alexa even when I am away from my Amazon Echo Dot e.g. bathroom, conservatory or living/dining room. Hence I bought it from Amazon for £19.99.
It came in a simple small box. Batteries (2 x AAA) are included. The instructions that came with it are fairly straightforward, as it requires you to pair the device through the Alexa App. Do note that the remote can only pair with one Amazon Echo device at any one time, and if you wish to change the device it is paired with you will need to get the device to Forget remote before pairing it with another.
I have to say that the remote reminds me alot of the Apple TV remote, only thicker (as the Apple TV remote uses a button battery, whereas this uses 2xAAA batteries).
The instructions are fairly simple to follow and worked perfectly for me. I simply went into the Alexa App to the Settings menu, selected the Alexa device I wanted to pair it to, and then Pair Device Remote. You will be prompted to press on the Play/pause button for 5 seconds and then it should pair together.
Alexa then told me that it had to update the firmware of the remote which took a few minutes. Once this is completed, then you can start using the remote. It gives you the ability to give instructions to Alexa via the built-in microphone. All you need to do is press on the Talk button, wait for the Echo to light up (which you may not see if you are out of the room) and then start speaking into the mic to issue the command (without needing to say the programmed start word e.g. Alexa/Echo/Amazon). It also gives the ability to control the volume, change the track, pause or play your music.
What do I like about the Amazon Echo remote?
- When it works, it can work well and extend the voice control to where the noise level is high or the Alexa device is too far away to hear your voice commands.
- It looks similar to other remotes such as the Apple TV remote, so no need to learn a new layout in order to use it – why change what works.
What could be improved?
- Amazon should lower the price of this remote, as RRP £19.99 is a little expensive for what it is and what it does.
- If you are using the remote too close to the Amazon Echo, then it may not work effectively which can be disappointing.
- It would be nice for it to be able to sync with more than one Amazon Echo – either by connecting directly to the closest Amazon Echo device or for the user to be able to choose to improve its functionality.
If the environment where your Alexa device resides is fairly noisy, or you need the ability to control Alexa from further afield without shouting across the room, then clearly this device can be particularly helpful. My intent is to use the remote to control the Amazon Echo Dot in my bedroom when I am in another part of the house with my UE Boom 2. This is possible as the response of Alexa can be heard through the UE Boom 2, to confirm that Alexa had understood the instructions.
If it were possible for the remote to be paired with more than one Alexa device, then there would be one more reason to recommend this remote. However, as it cannot, the decision to buy will depend on whether noise is an issue where you use Amazon Echo and whether you have more than one device to connect with. For my purpose it does work, and in fact you could work with just one Alexa device in the household – as long as you are the person with the remote wherever you are (you will require a connected speaker to hear Alexa’s response to the command though).
I did find that there were times when I was sitting next to the Amazon Echo and trying to use the remote to send commands to it (so I did not need to shout over the sound of the television) but it failed to work, which is very disappointing. Hence if Amazon can fix this problem or if it is not a problem you are likely to encounter, then the remote can be recommended. Otherwise I would not be able to recommend it.