Alexa, How Do I Set Up My Amazon Echo?

Alexa, How Do I Set Up My Amazon Echo?

Echo smart speakers are pretty simple to set up and customize, provided you have an internet connection and the right app. Here’s how to have Alexa doing your bidding in no time.

I’ve been writing about computers, the internet, and technology professionally for 30 years, more than half of that time with PCMag. I run several special projects including the Readers’ Choice and Business Choice surveys, and yearly coverage of the Fastest ISPs and Best Gaming ISPs. I work from my home, and did it long before pandemics made it cool.

Alexa, How Do I Set Up My Amazon Echo? Image

(Photo: Amazon)

There’s no lack of digital assistants to talk with—Siri, Cortana, Bixby, the Google Assistant—but for Amazon, the audio assistant of choice is Alexa, the technology inside its Echo and Fire TV devices, not to mention other third-party speakers and gadgets.

Amazon Echo speakers really showcase Alexa’s capabilities. Echo is a standalone speaker that needs nothing more than Wi-Fi and power connections. There’s the orb-like Echo and Echo Dot, the high-end Echo Studio for real acoustic snobs, and now an entire line of touch-screen Echo Show devices. They all have their differences, but the setup is essentially identical.

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Download the Amazon Alexa App

Get it free on iOS (Opens in a new window) , Android (Opens in a new window) , or Fire OS (Opens in a new window) on Amazon’s own tablets. Newer Fire tablets should have it already, though first- and second-generation tablets are not supported.

Pick a Device to Set Up

You need an Amazon account to use Alexa, but you don’t need Amazon Prime (Opens in a new window) . Sign in on the app. Then click More on the lower right and select Add a Device. Here you can add any number of Alexa-supported devices to your account, from smart lights to smart plugs. But we’re focused on Echo devices, so tap Amazon Echo. At the next screen, select which Echo you have; it covers almost every type of Echo created since 2014, even the discontinued devices. Make sure your Echo device is plugged in.

Enter Setup Mode

When you enter setup mode, the Echo’s light ring or bar will flash blue and then orange. If you don’t see orange, press and hold the Action button for five seconds. Eventually, Alexa will perk up and tell you it’s "now in Setup mode." (You may also need to hold down the microphone and volume buttons for up to 20 seconds until the light goes from yellow to blue to get it into Setup mode.)

Connect to Wi-Fi

Amazon has an option to save your Wi-Fi credentials—the network’s SSID and the security password/code—so you don’t have to enter them all the time when setting up Amazon products. If you’ve already done this before, Wi-Fi setup on a new Amazon Echo is a breeze. Once the app detects the new Echo, press the name (like Echo Dot-BG8) and you’ll see it search for Wi-Fi, connect to your saved network, and confirm the Echo is on the network.

It’s a little different if you didn’t save your Wi-Fi info (or you did, but want to set up the Echo on a different Wi-Fi network, even in the same location). In this case, you’ll see a list of available Wi-Fi networks visible to your phone or tablet; pick your preferred Wi-Fi network. Enter the Wi-Fi password when asked, if you have one. (You should really put a password on the Wi-Fi.) This is also where you can save your network credentials to Amazon.

Once all the info has been sent to the device, Alexa will say "Your Echo is ready," and the orange lights go out. Select the language to use and set the Echo’s location.

Sudio E2 Review

I’ve been a contributing editor for PCMag since 2011. Before that, I was PCMag’s lead audio analyst from 2006 to 2011. Even though I’m a freelancer now, PCMag has been my home for well over a decade, and audio gear reviews are still my primary focus. Prior to my career in reviewing tech, I worked as an audio engineer—my love of recording audio eventually led me to writing about audio gear.

The Bottom Line

The Sudio E2 earbuds boast unbridled deep bass power, but that’s not enough to make up for their unbalanced default sound and merely decent noise cancellation.

PCMag editors select and review products independently. If you buy through affiliate links, we may earn commissions, which help support our testing.

Sudio E2 Specs

Name Value
Type In-Canal
Wireless Yes
True Wireless Yes
Connection Type Bluetooth
Water/Sweat-Resistant Yes
Active Noise Cancellation Yes

The Sudio E2 noise-cancelling true wireless earphones ($129.99) stand apart from the competition because of their intense bass response. On one hand, we’re impressed that their drivers can produce subwoofer-level, skull-rattling lows. On the other, they invent bass depth where it doesn’t exist and require a fair bit of EQ work to get anywhere close to a reasonable output. They do offer decently effective active noise cancellation (ANC), but we’re not fans of their finicky on-ear controls or SBC-only codec support. The slightly more affordable Anker Soundcore Space A40 earphones ($99.99) remain our Editors’ Choice winner in this price range because of their balanced sound and superior noise cancellation.

Inconsistent Controls, SBC-Only Audio

The stem-style earpieces are available in black, gray, green, or sand, with a semi-matte rubber surface that’s easy to grip. Both the build material and the shape of their enclosure help ensure a particularly secure in-canal fit. They don’t ship with any earfins or hooks, but you do get five pairs of eartips in various sizes.

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10mm dynamic drivers deliver a frequency range of 20Hz to 20KHz, with an impedance of 16 ohms. The earphones are compatible with Bluetooth 5.2 but support only the SBC codec, not AAC or AptX. We’ve tested other models in this price range that also work only with SBC, but this level of support has become increasingly inexcusable because it means both Android and iOS users are stuck without a better-quality listening option.

The outer panel of each earpiece functions as a capacitive touch panel. The default control layout is sensible. Tap once on either earbud to control playback or answer a call (a long press ends a call). Tap twice to navigate tracks (left for backward and right for forward) or three times to adjust the volume (left for down and right for up). Hold for two seconds on the left earpiece to toggle the Dirac Spatial audio effect (we discuss this later) or the right earpiece to cycle through the ANC On, Transparency On, or All Off settings. In testing, the multi-tap gestures were somewhat difficult to pull off—the earpieces often only registered the first tap, regardless of how many times we pressed on them.

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The modest IPX4 rating means the earpieces can withstand light splashes from any direction, so neither light rain nor sweaty workouts should be a problem, but you can’t submerge them or place them under a running faucet for cleaning. This rating doesn’t extend to the charging case, so make sure to fully dry the earbuds before docking them. If you need better water resistance, the JBL Reflect Aero earphones ($149.95) offer a fully waterproof and dustproof IP68 rating. The Jabra Elite 7 Pro ($199.99) and the Jabra Elite 7 Active ($179.99) are also strong exercise-friendly alternatives with an IP57 rating and higher-quality active noise cancellation.

The case is average in size, has a flip-top lid, and sports the same grip-friendly coating as the earpieces. The latter quality makes the case easy to open and close without it slipping out of your hands, in contrast to the glossy cases of many competing models. The front has a status LED, while the back has a reset button and a USB-C port. An exceptionally short USB-C-to-USB-A cable ships in the box, but you can thankfully avoid having to deal with it by taking advantage of the Qi wireless charging support. A cloth also arrives in the box, which is handy for cleaning the smudge-prone exterior of the case and earpieces.

Sudio estimates that the earphones can last roughly four hours (with ANC and Dirac spatial audio on) or six-and-a-half hours (without ANC or Dirac spatial audio) per charge and that the case holds between 18 and 30 hours of additional battery life (depending on your use of ANC and Dirac spatial audio). That’s quite a range for the case, but the lower end is pretty weak and the higher end is still just average. Your results will also vary based on your typical listening volume level.

Sudio E2 App Experience

The Sudio Personal Sound app (available for Android and iOS) lets you perform firmware updates and offers an on-screen switch for choosing between the ANC, Transparency, and All Off modes. Beyond that, there’s an adjustable six-band EQ that allows you to save custom presets or select from a range of preconfigured options (such as Balanced, Bass, and Voice). As is now common, you can also generate a sonic profile based on your hearing. The app doesn’t let you customize the on-ear controls, but that’s less of a big deal because our problem is with the sensitivity of the controls, not their layout.

Modest Noise Cancellation

The earphones noticeably tamp down the powerful low-frequency rumble you hear on an airplane, but add a distracting high-frequency hiss (similar to a faint white noise) to the signal in the process. They’re less successful against a recording of a busy restaurant with clanging dishes and boisterous conversation.

For comparison, heavyweights like the Bose QuietComfort II Earbuds ($299) eliminate wide swaths of noise in both scenarios. But, for the price, the active noise cancellation is at least decent.

Heavy on Bass

Before we discuss the audio quality, we have to explain the Dirac Virtuo Spatial Audio effect. Sudio’s website says this feature is exclusive to this model, but we have tested other products with a similar effect, including the Monoprice Monolith M1000ANC ($129.99). As we noted in the Monoprice review, you might enjoy this simple EQ and reverb effect. Yes, it can sound pleasant on certain mixes, but it rarely improves the original audio—few mix engineers are likely to embrace it even if the ostensible goal is to create a more realistic, room-like sonic experience. Note that this doesn’t have quite the same effect as Apple’s spatial audio feature, which uses head tracking to create a sense of the sound source’s location in the room. We turned off Dirac Spatial Audio for testing the audio performance.

On tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the earbuds deliver thunderous bass depth. But the heavily bass-leaning default sound signature is not very accurate. Even bass lovers might want to reach for the in-app EQ to bring a better sense of balance to the mids and highs. The good news is the EQ makes it possible to get a more reasonable sound signature that still has plenty of bass depth.

Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a track with far less deep bass in the mix, gives us a better sense of the sound signature. The drums on this track sound thunderous, but not quite unnatural. There’s plenty of high-mid and high-frequency presence, which means Callahan’s vocals get some nice treble edge and the guitar strums sound bright. But the drivers scoop the mids, which leads to a slightly muffled sound. The EQ can save the day (again), but we would prefer a more balanced starting point.

On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop receives enough high-mid presence for its attack to retain some of its punch, but the vinyl hiss and crackle from the background get far more attention. The sub-bass synth hits sound almost absurd here, with too much emphasis. As a result, the vocals battle with the sub-bass for space in the mix. Deep bass lovers won’t find much to complain about, but the EQ is available for everyone else who wants a more natural presentation.

Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, sound bizarre. The lows have too much presence and the highs take over in certain areas, while the mids aren’t audible enough. The result is an almost tinny upper-register sound and a tubby bass response. This isn’t an appropriate approach for serious classical listening and you need to use the EQ if you plan on listening to orchestral and jazz music.

The dual-mic array works fine. We had no issue understanding every word in a test recording from an iPhone and didn’t detect any notable Bluetooth artifacts in the mix. You shouldn’t have any issues with calls over a reliable signal.

For Big Bass Lovers Only

The Sudio E2 earphones’ capable drivers and useful EQ are points in their favor, but the default sound signature and SBC-only Bluetooth audio overshadow these positives. Nothing else here, from the so-so active noise cancellation to the take-it-or-leave-it spatial audio effect, makes for a compelling experience. It’s hard to top the sheer amount of bass power here, but if you want noise-cancelling true wireless earphones for under $200, the aforementioned Jabra Elite 7 Active and Anker Soundcore Space A40 models offer stronger sound, better active noise cancellation, and wider codec support.