Give me a quick run down of what the Echo is? Why should I want one?

 

Update 14/12/17 – Amazon is now shipping the Echo Dot, Echo and Echo Plus directly to Ireland! Hurrah! Here is a link straight to all the Echo devices on Amazon

The Amazon Echo is basically a brilliant Siri-esque stand alone speaker, albeit one which is far better at understanding you. As it is a standalone device it is always waiting for the wake word (Alexa), which makes it far easier to start giving commands to it rather than Siri as you don’t have to pull out your phone first and then hold down the home button.

I’m not going to give a full review of the echo here – although I will post one in the reviews section in a later date (update: here is that review) – but the reason I bring all this up is that one of the best commands you can give to the Echo and one which isn’t covered as well (yet) by Siri is giving it commands to interact with your smart home tech. Once you have your smart home products set up it really is easy to simply say “Alexa, turn on my living room light” and voila. It is on.

This is impressive, which is why the Echo has been a run away hit for Amazon as suddenly there is a really easy way to interact with your smart home. The problem at time of writing this however (2016) for Irish readers is that the Amazon Echo isn’t yet shipping it to Eire 😦

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So if Amazon.co.uk isn’t shipping to Ireland, than how do I get my hands on one?

At the moment you have three main options:

  • Overpay and get it from Littlewoods or eBay.

To be fair to Littlewoods I just checked their site and it looks like they have a Christmas sale on, so the larger full sized Echo speaker is only €180 right now, but be warned that it usually is €209. The standard Amazon listed price is £150 (€178), although right now for Xmas it is £129, so do check both at time of purchase to compare them. eBay could have them at any price and I’m sure most people know of the positives and negatives of using their site by now.

  • Get someone to pick you one up when they are stateside or in the UK

If your buddy isn’t already too laden down with requests for fags and drink, then stateside is probably going to be the best option. It will probably be cheaper (depending on the sales tax in the state your acquaintance is visiting and the exchange rate at the time) as well as the easiest option as it is possible to pick one up from high street retailers like Best buy.

  • Set up a postal redirect service from Northern Ireland 

Writing it there, I realise that “postal redirect service” sounds like absolute gobbledy gook but essentially what these services allow you to do is order the Echo on Amazon, and enter a Northern Ireland address. Then once it arrives at that address, they forward it onto another location for you (either a locker service like Parcel Motel or straight to your home like Parcel Wizard). In a nutshell these services work well and are very reasonably priced at only a few euros a pop. For a more detailed run down of these services, check out our full comparison of them here.

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