Turning on the lights with your voice is a superpower.
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People around the Reviewed.com office know how much I love my Amazon Echo ($179.99 at Amazon). I know my constant babbling drove some to buying one, and others to madness.
All of the people that I brought into the fold know that the first few days with the Echo are a lot of fun. The whole family takes turns asking it trivia questions, listening to Alexa's dumb jokes, and finding out tomorrow's weather forecast. But it takes a few days of digging into the Alexa app to realize that you can affect the physical world with your voice. Once I figured this out, I immediately knew where I wanted to start: the lights in my house.
My initial purchase was the Philips Hue White Starter Kit ($79.99 at Amazon), which comes with two bulbs and the other necessary hardware. I had to tinker with the sub-par Hue app for the initial set up, but the magic happened when the Echo found my bulbs through the Alexa app. Moments later, I was saying, “Alexa, turn on the family room lights,” and—poof!—the room was illuminated.
I got a little obsessed, buying more bulbs every few days. Each bulb costs a little more than a comparable LED. I bought a bunch of Philips Hue 2-packs ($29.99 at Amazon) and started swapping out bulbs throughout my house.
Before long, most of my lighting was at my beck and call.
We live in a time where we've become a little desensitized to the delights of new technology. But one of the few times I've felt true wonder in the past few years was the first time I stepped into my house on a cold, dark night, uttered a few words, and lit the whole place up.