Amazon just gave its original Amazon Dash Wand a fresh look and it’ll likely introduce Alexa to even more homes. To be honest, the first few iterations of the Dash never seemed like they’d go anywhere. The newest version, however, shows more promise and could be a runaway hit—all thanks to Amazon’s powerful voice assistant being built into it.
It looks like it’ll join the expanding lineup of Echo devices and we’re sure you’re asking: is it worth ordering one? Before we come to a conclusion, let’s get to know the Amazon Dash Wand.
Not the First of Its Kind
The device’s first generation (introduced back in 2014) was a little too cumbersome. Sure, it scanned item bar codes or used voice control to aid in your online shopping, but it couldn’t quite check out your purchases unless you log into Amazon. The second-generation ran into the same problems and eventually slipped under the radar.
With Amazon enjoying immense success with the Echo line, the company decided to revive the Dash Wand. This time, however, they’ve included Alexa in the package.
Alexa, Your New Shopping Buddy
The Dash Wand still scans grocery barcodes and takes voice commands so it’s easy for you to replenish your supplies at home, but it now gives you access to Amazon’s AI assistant. With Alexa at the helm, you can now pull up recipes, search for nearby restaurants, know an ingredient’s nutritional value, or do some of her 15,000 skills.
And because it’s magnetic, simply stick the latest Dash on your fridge and you’re good to go.
Control Your Smart Home
Alexa sits well with the Dash Wand. There’s just a nice synergy between the two. And with the voice assistant at the ready, you can interact with the device as well as control Alexa-compatible smart home devices. Preheat the oven, turn on the lights, set the thermostat, or lock the doors—do all these and more while pressing and holding the Dash Wand button.
It isn’t a fully functioning Alexa speaker, though. Forget about asking it to stream your Spotify playlist.
Requires Two AAA Batteries
The Dash Wand isn’t rechargeable and runs on two AAA batteries instead. That’s the bad news. The good news? You get two AAA batteries right out of the box.
Because it’s run on disposable batteries, it’s logical to expect the Dash Wand not to run for an extended period of time. It doesn’t require you to say a wake word either.
Doesn’t Do Every One of Alexa’s Skills
The Amazon Dash Wand doesn’t do every one of Alexa’s ever-expanding list of skills. It’ll be outright awful asking the Amazon assistant to play a podcast or song on the Dash Wand’s small speaker. You also can’t make calls or send SMS on the device.
For an Alexa device that will likely be a mainstay in the kitchen, the Amazon Dash Wand curiously lacks functionality that would’ve otherwise been perfect for kitchen-related tasks. Those lacking functions include alarms and timers, sadly.
Add Anything to Your Amazon Cart
Amazon calls it the “perfect grocery assistant”, but the Amazon Dash Wand does more than scan grocery items. The fact is that it can add anything you scan to your shopping cart as long as the item is available on Amazon. In case it can’t recognize an item by its barcode, it will tell you. It’ll then add a placeholder to your cart and then allow you to choose a similar item.
When you’re having little success scanning particular barcodes, you can simply tell Alexa to add such item to your cart. She’ll do the rest.
It’s Technically Free
Sure, you have to pay $20 when you order the Amazon Dash Wand. You will, however, get $20 rebate off your next eligible purchase on Amazon. Similar to other Dash products from the retail giant, the Dash Wand is technically free. The device has to be registered, though.
For avid Amazon shoppers, getting the Dash Wand makes perfect sense. Having one means you won’t have to get individual Dash buttons for each product you typically buy on Amazon. Not to mention that ordering one gets you a 90-day free trial of AmazonFresh service.
As promising as the Amazon Dash Wand may seem to be, it’s only available for Amazon Prime members for now. That’s a huge letdown considering the fact that it offers a pretty solid method for introducing even more users to the Alexa experience.
Right off the bat, this new Amazon hardware removes even more friction off online shopping. While that instantly translates into convenience for any long-time Amazon customer, owning one makes it a little too easy for anyone to overspend. That may be the only caveat we see so far.
Speaking of other solid Amazon devices, you might want to check out the new Echo Show. If you already bought into the Alexa ecosystem, though, you’d perhaps be interested to know how to create your own commands for the Amazon Echo.