9 things you didn’t know Alexa could do

Is there anything Alexa can't do?! Probably, but that's not what this is about...

Amazon Alexa Dot

by Lauren MacKay |
Updated on

We all laughed at the little Amazon Alexa Dot thingies when they were released a few years ago, thinking they were for weirdos and techies. Well, we were right. At first.

In the long run, it turns out that we were in the wrong. Amazon Alexa is everywhere. It’s the AI smart assistant that is bundled in near-enough every electronic gadget in existence. Why is it everywhere? Because it is actually pretty handy.

We’ve all seen the adverts. We know that is can play music from Spotify, Prime Music or a radio station of our choice. We know it can tell us recipes, the weather and the news, turn on our smart bulbs, set our reminders and tell us what time it is. But what else can it do?

We’ve had a play around and found out nine things you (probably) didn’t know Alexa could do.

(Oh, and one more thing before we get into it. We know Alexa is technically an “it”, but we can’t help calling it “her”. We’re not going to fight it anymore. Sorry not sorry.)

1. She'll be your personal shopper

If you know what you want, what you really, really want (and it’s on Amazon), you can just ask Alexa to buy it for you (with your money, sadly). This is super handy for cleaning products and groceries, because you don’t have to remember to grab them next time you’re out. And yes, “Alexa, buy me more Prosecco” does work. Hellsyeah. If you’ve got an order on the way, Alexa will track it for you too, the bae.

2. Change the subject when things get awks

You and your bestie arguing about your questionable ‘shag, marry, kill’ choices? Love interest just asked why you’ve been single for so long? Have no fear, just yell “Alexa, change the subject” and she’ll throw out a random fact, topic of discussion or tension-reducing joke. Smooth.

3. Make voice and video calls

If you own an iPhone or Android smartphone, chances are that you’ll be able to set your Alexa device up to make and receive calls just by downloading the Alexa app. If you’ve got an Amazon Echo Show or Fire tablet, then video calling is also an option.

4. Set routines

Alexa’s routine feature basically means getting her to do a few different commands at once across a number of smart devices. You can set this up with the Alexa smartphone app, having the routine initiate by voice command or preset schedule. For example, “Alexa, I’m home” could switch on your smart bulbs, TV and smart kettle, or “Alexa, get sexy” could dim the lights and start playing Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” from the Echo Plus.

5. Tell you everything

…so long as it’s on Wikipedia or a news site. If you’ve got a burning question in your head, and you CBA to grab your phone to have a Google, just ask Alexa and she’ll give you all the deets. FYI, she can’t tell you how to get onto Ryan Reynolds’ property.

6. She’s got the skills, and they’re multiplying

Alexa is a bit of an overachiever, boasting 100,000+ skills and counting. These skills are basically tiny apps that activate certain features on command, from playing thunderstorm and ocean sounds to help you relax, to song quizzes to help you pass the time. We will freely admit that some are less useful: Jurassic Bark, the dog bark app, for example.

7. Be your personal trainer

As part of Alexa’s wide range of available skills, there’s a whole range of fitness and health apps that can be used to help you keep fit. Ask Alexa to start a seven-minute workout, and she’ll throw you out a nice and challenging little exercise routine. Alexa can also sync with FitBit to help you updated on your progress, and Stop, Breathe & Think is there for some on-demand meditation and mindfulness sessions.

Plus, she’s an AI, so she doesn’t know if you need to take a sneaky breather. But FitBit will know. FitBit always knows.

8. Tell jokes, rap and trump

If you ask, Alexa can tell you a joke (they’re pretty good), rap (cringe) and, yes, with a simple voice command Alexa will let one rip. It shouldn’t be funny, but it is. Technology.

9. Tell you what she can do

Okay, Alexa has tonnes going on in her little plasticky shell, and sometimes we’ve been so busy making her fart that we forget about them all. Helpful as ever, simply asking “Alexa, what can you do?” will get her to rattle off a list of her main features. No matter how sarcastically you ask.

Here are some of the primo Alexa devices if you fancy getting your hands on one:

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Closer's Amazon Alexa Devices

Echo Dot1 of 4

Echo Dot

Alexa, but small enough for anywhere.

Echo2 of 4


Alexa, but loud. A great speaker, especially if you love your music

Echo Show 83 of 4

Echo Show 8

Alexa, but with a camera and screen for Netflix, weather and video chatting.

Amazon Fire Stick4 of 4

Amazon Fire Stick

Alexa, but on TV. Plus, all the of the smart TV powers you could ever need.

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