As promised, today I continue my Alexa Smart Home on A Budget series. Last time I shared a $150 starter kit and today I’m going even lower, with a $115 starter kit that provides the basic smart home essentials.
Alexa, Audio & Light
This setup offers the digital assistance of Alexa, a quality, water-resistant, budget-priced portable speaker for carrying the tunes or audiobooks from room to room (or out to the deck or porch), plus a smart bulb with white light only.
2. TP-Link Smart LED Light Bulb
(UK visitors click here for an alternative UK option – the bulb I listed here previously requires a hub, so now I’m linking to a LIFX bulb, which doesn’t require any hub)
3. Cambridge SoundWorks OontZ Angle 3 Portable Water Resistant Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
(UK visitors click here for an even less expensive UK-only option)
This Ultra-Budget Setup Is Still Feature-Packed
It begins with all the usual Alexa functionality, like timers, alarms, skills, streaming music, streaming audiobooks, news, sports and weather reports, factual queries, calculator and so on, but that’s only the beginning.
Since the Dot’s speaker quality can leave something to be desired, I’ve added an inexpensive, yet highly rated speaker to connect to Alexa via Bluetooth or audio cable. The speaker’s portable and water resistant, for maximum versatility and portability. It has a wireless Bluetooth range of up to 33 feet when unobstructed, and if you want to go even further it’s no problem: anywhere your WiFi signal reaches and there’s an electrical outlet available, you can plug in the Dot and set the speaker nearby. You’re set for tunes in the kitchen, audiobooks while you take a bath, or streaming podcasts on the deck.
Finally, I’ve thrown in a white light smart bulb because it’s both cool and practical. This bulb doesn’t require any hub, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you get used to, and come to appreciate, controlling your favorite lamp with voice commands.
Just like last time, this bundle is great for renters and dorm-dwellers because there are no wires to run and nothing to be permanently installed. Anyone who gets this bundle as a gift can easily add their own smart home devices going forward, too.
Whether for yourself or as a gift, this starter kit offers a generous taste of what smart home tech has to offer.