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Alexa can be found in multiple smart home electronics, branded by Amazon or otherwise, but we all know Amazon also charges for products and services such as Amazon Prime, Audible, and more. Rightly so as they’re all reliable and great services, but does this business model affect smart home users?
Can you use Alexa without Amazon Prime?
Cutting a long story short, the answer to ‘Can you use Alexa without Amazon Prime?’ is yes, you can, although there are certain features locked behind a prime membership which we’ll go into shortly. As existing Alexa users will know, an Amazon account is required for activation, maintenance, and use of the Alexa app, Echo devices, and Alexa functionality on other smart home tech and Televisions.
This account is free, and it’s the same Amazon account you’ll use to shop on Amazon.com, so there are no issues with being charged there. In fact, there are quite a lot users can do with Alexa and Echo devices out of the box for free. Users can do the following:
- Use voice controls to control Echo funtionality and other compatible smart home technology (Smart plugs, light bulbs etc)
- Use the skills system to teach Echo how to do new things, including those from third party developers
- Add to your Amazon shopping cart
- Listen to music services such as Spotify and Amazon Music (Ad free and other features are behind a seperate paid subscription)
- Check weather, news, and more information
- Set alarms and reminders
- Use to call other Echo speakers in your smart home and phone contacts
Skills, both made by Amazon and otherwise, really open up Echo and Alexa functionality. For example, Alexa did a promotion a few years ago to have celebrities, such as Samuel L. Jackson, take over Alexa and use their own voice for certain commands, although not all celebrities are included with a free Amazon account or a Prime account.
Regardless of having Amazon Prime, some skills and features are separate purchases. For example, Amazon’s Ring doorbell and security line require a separate subscription for their online storage features. But for the most part, Amazon allows quite a lot of functionality through the paywall that is Amazon Prime.
Why get an Amazon Prime Membership
One of the more popular uses for Alexa is streaming music, which is where Amazon Prime comes in. Amazon Music Prime comes with 2 million songs built-in to stream on Echo devices or take anywhere, podcasts too. Prime also gives users a 20% discount on the Unlimited tier of Amazon Prime Music, giving access to over 70 million songs and millions of podcasts.
Fast delivery is the main reason why people buy an Amazon Prime membership, but there’s a significant amount of Prime discounts available for shoppers, with big savings on Alexa and Echo products directly from your own Alexa or Echo device. Amazon really wants you to stay inside your eco-system, so they only give discounts on other Echo and Amazon tech by ordering via voice. Also, users are free to online shop on Amazon via voice commands on Echo and Alexa too.
There’s also Prime Gaming, a feature of the Prime membership that gives users free PC games to keep each month. Amazon Photos gives full and unlimited storage for all of your photos which can be used with Echo Show to double as a photo frame when not in use.
Readers can benefit from Prime Reading (formally Kindle) with access to more than a thousand eBooks and Magazines as well as reading pre-release material via Amazon First Reads. Not much of a reader? Prime Video has Amazon Original series and Movies alongside thousands of popular Movies and TV shows. Looking for HBO, Showtime, and Starz channels? You can get a discount on Prime Video Channels thanks to your prime membership.
There’s a lot of value in that $119 per year/ $12.99 a month, but it’s not essential for getting the most out of your Alexa and Echo Show products. Although, it’s hard for us now to recommend Amazon Prime just based on the number of features included. If none of the above is for you, then you can run your smart home knowing Echo and Alexa are taking care of everything they need to.
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